Winning Resolutions

by Lee Buford on January 1, 2011

The beginning of a new year always brings hope and optimism for many of us. We have grand ideas about life-changing decisions we’re going to make, and we’re convinced that this is the year it will all come together. Unfortunately it usually never does. Most of our well-intended resolutions never make it to Super Bowl Sunday, much less the whole year. So why even come up with “New Year’s Resolutions?”

There are certainly many opinions, and I’m one who thinks it’s a worthwhile endeavor. In fact, such resolutions don’t have to be made or begin on January 1st…that just seems to be a convenient time since we’re already focused on “out with the old, in with the new” at the turn of each calendar year. 

Whenever we choose to do so, if taken seriously, the exercise has the potential to shape a positive direction for our lives in the coming months. There are a few keys, however, that seem to make a huge difference in our ability to ultimately achieve the desired results when it comes to resolution making, and here are a few for me:


I need to understand the “why” behind the resolution if I’m going to be able to sustain the action(s) necessary to get to the finish line. For example, wanting to lose 25 pounds is not enough. I must be able to refer back to the “why” I ultimately wanted to lose the weight when I’m staring at the box of doughnuts.


I’ve found that resolutions must be specific in nature, much like many of the best practices for goal-setting strategies. Referring back to the previous example, saying I’d like to lose some weight will not hold up because it’s not specific and measurable. I need to be able to measure my progress against the actual desired outcome.


The game plan is the most important part once the resolution is established. How will I actually get from Point A to Point B? If my goal is to run a marathon this year I must have a specific training schedule that will allow me to run 26.2 miles by race day. Again, simply “wanting” to accomplish something means little if I don’t have the right plan to get there.

That said, I wanted to share helpful idea I read about about in an excellent post by Scott Gould:

Have an overall theme or big-picture vision statement for what you want this year to be about in your life!

Scott calls it an “overall statement that will guide what I do.” The big-picture vision statement will provide an “umbrella” or scope for all the details, serving as a one-word (or phrase) personal mission statement of sorts for the year. Scott’s vision statement for 2011 is “Fatherhood.”

What might yours be?

Another great resource is John MacArthur’s Decision Making to the Glory of God. In this post MacArthur shares seven questions for to ponder relative to decisions you are making, each accompanied by applicable scripture references. I trust you will benefit from the read.

Whatever your plan or process, the key thing is that you have one. We can all benefit from an annual (at minimum) personal assessment and evaluation, if properly done with the right motivation and intentions. But more importantly, we can all benefit from the results of a carefully crafted plan of action derived from the evaluation, and ultimately the realization and completion of whatever we’ve resolved to do.

The purpose it to grow and develop, to love more, to serve others better, and to honor God with more of what we say and do each and every day.

Have you made any resolutions for 2011? If so, how can you improve the odds of making them winning resolutions?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Scott Gould January 4, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Hey Lee

Glad the post helped – have you got a vision statement for yourself this year?


Lee Buford January 4, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Thanks, Scott! My vision statement is actually 4-part: Faith . Family . Focus . Finish (blog post coming about that later this week). Keep up the good work, and thanks for stopping by!


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