Wow, it’s the New Year already! But after last year, a new year couldn’t come fast enough! And, I bet like most folks, you still have remnants of Christmas joy jiggling around your midsection. This is the time of year when so many people run around with a new gym membership in one hand and a weight loss membership in the other, all in hopes of becoming that perfect specimen of a human once again. New Year’s resolutions this time of year are as plentiful as political promises and evaporate just as fast.
I personally don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions; I believe they are nothing more than imaginary manmade cliffs used to hurl oneself off upon the craggy rocks of self pity down below after one breaks one’s resolution. I would rather rely on realistic goals, both short and long term. But even realistic goals can become subject to neglect; goals can take a tremendous amount of time and energy to achieve the intended results and many times, we just don’t want to expend that kind of energy; we want to go back to where it’s easy and comfortable. Proverbs 26:11 (NASB) says, “Like a dog that returns to its vomit, Is a fool who repeats his folly.” Even though this scripture relates to Christians who turn away from God, back to their old sinful lives, this could very well describe our own actions when we are on a very productive worthwhile course and for whatever reason, suddenly stop and revert back to our old habits or ways of doing things, whether that be bellying back up to the Double Stuffed Oreos or being a couch potato once again.
Here is another, more graphic analogy I can think of when I turn my back from what I know I should be doing for my own good. This happens to also involve a dog, MY dog. We love our dog and we want to make sure she is safe and healthy. Therefore, we feed her good healthy dog food that does not contain anything that she is allergic to or would harm her. We even give her wheat Chex as treats because they are healthier for her. But for whatever reason there are times when she ingests what she just eliminated. And for those folks who just didn’t understand that, to be blunt, she eats her own poop…there, I said it! It’s like she sees the invisible “Hot and Now” sign in the yard and away she goes, chowing down on her own backyard Mounds bar. Unlike others who might appreciate her “recycling” attempts, we as her “parents” are embarrassed to even admit that our own little Izzy could be so disgusting. I mean, what would the neighbors think? Not to mention, wet sloppy face kisses are out of the question for awhile…you see, when we regress back to our old bad habits like the above disgusting scenario, it really does stink and leaves a bad taste in our mouths!
So how do we stay on course? First of all, I think we need to look at the end product, the goal, the prize, the end game. Is what we are attempting to achieve realistic or just a pipe dream? For instance, at 63, it may not be healthy for me to go back to what I weighed when I was eighteen because bodies change and mature as we grow older. In fact, at this point in time in my life, I would have to cut off all my limbs and shave my back hair to get to that weight; but I could at least lose the weight I need to be healthier. Envision the benefits of losing that weight, putting down that pack of cigarettes or bottle or whatever destructive behavior you need to be released from.
Next, find someone you can trust to be accountable; someone that will have your back through this journey and who won’t let you off the hook, ready to give you that “tough love” when you need it as well as the encouragement to stay the course. Make sure you communicate to that someone what your eventual goal is as well as the short term goals or markers along the way so they can help you meet those goals and be successful. And remember, DO NO HARM—your friend/advocate/sponsor is only trying to help and you did select them, right?
Finally, it wouldn’t hurt to dive in to the Bible and devotionals for added encouragement. There are many encouraging scriptures to meditate and revitalize your spirit. But saving the best for last, how about prayer? God always knows what we need, when we need it and the Holy Spirit can guide you through life’s challenges like no human can. After all, God wants us to be our best as He intended so we can do our best for Him.
So the next time you feel tempted to put it in reverse and once again pick up that “Mounds bar” of a bad habit, just remember; some things are meant to be left behind in the grass, forgotten…just saying…
Philippians 4:8 (NASB)– Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB) — Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.