Turn Your New Year Resolutions To Actionable Goals & Plans

New Year resolutions are common but usually represent wishful thinking. Are you thinking about a New Year resolution? Based on research, 45% of Americans make New Year resolutions regularly, while 38% say they never do. How about the success rate? Eight percent of people report success achieving resolutions; 24% say they are never victorious, and 49% say they hit the mark infrequently.

New Year Resolutions Should Be Focussed
New Year Resolutions Should Be Focussed

Before we choose our new year resolutions, it might help to mull over processes followed and outcomes of previous resolutions. If we are among the eight percent with successful outcomes, let’s rejoice! Otherwise, think of what we could have done differently to achieve prior resolutions.

I want to encourage you to look beyond statistics and to the Lord. The Bible tells us we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). When we surrender our lives to Jesus, He can work in and through us to do His will. Remember how The Lord worked in and through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Esther, David, Apostle Paul? These were ordinary folks like you and me.

Popular New Year Resolutions

What new year resolutions do you make normally? What do you wish to make now? Better yet, what do you think the Lord is telling you now? Here are Americans’ top three 2014 new year resolutions:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Getting organized
  3. Spend less, save more

Notice, these are loose, topical subjects people talk about regularly. They are desires. Sometimes, they are driven by guilt. To become effective resolutions, we need to do them for the right reasons. Do them for us, not to please or appease someone else. Then, we must transform each to a specific goal with supporting plans. After, we need to set up a review process, get an accountability buddy, and decide how we will reward ourselves to stay motivated.

Suppose we chose spend less and save more, here is a suggested approach.

New Year Resolutions Should Be Specific
New Year Resolutions Should Be Specific

We need a goal that’s crisp, clear, complete, and computable. It should show precisely what we plan to do…what, not how. Here is an example:

New Year Goal: By January 1, complete analysis of last year’s spending, and identify behaviors that drove spending. Set target amounts to save and reduce spending. By January 7, set up and start following a process to make wise choices before spending. Ideally, we should do this in November and start tracking expenses in January.

Still, this process turns new year resolutions to goals. Monthly, as we track effects of our spending decisions, we will know whether we are on track, and whether we need to  take corrective measures.

Plan to do the Goal: The plan shows the steps to do the goal. Therefore, we need to set specific times and decide formats to analyze and monitor spending. Several software and Apps can help. As well, we would need to choose a procedure to follow before spending, and a trusted same gender person to hold us accountable.

The key is to ensure we decide spending and not merchants’ enticements. Most of all, we need to prepare a simple budget; again, several effective tools exist.

Review Process: Having set the goal and plan, we need to have a convenient process to check how we are doing regularly. Besides, we can give us a simple inexpensive treat when we achieve our goals.

Review Your New Year Resolutions in The Family Council
Review Your New Year Resolutions in The Family Council

Corporations use boards of directors, small businesses use boards of advisors. I suggest each famply establishes a Family Council to meet regularly to pray, study the Bible, and to set and review goals and plans.

Turning our main desires for the new year to goals with supporting plans is a start. Remember we are not alone, if we follow Jesus. He has promised to be with us on life’s journey. Ask Him to show us His goals and plans for 2014. He will.

As the new year progresses, recall these words from God to Joshua in Joshua 1:9 (ESV): Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

© Copyright 2013-2015, Michel A. Bell

Michel A. Bell

Michel A. Bell is a former senior business executive, author of six books (including Business Simplified released in 2018), speaker, and adjunct professor of business administration at Briercrest College and Seminary. Michel is a Fellow of the Chartered Certified Accountants (UK), holds a Masters of Science in management degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Doctor of Business Administration honoris causa from Briercrest College and Seminary. He is founder and president of Managing God's Money.

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