During a recent board meeting, a member of our staff gave a talk about New Year resolutions. She started off her talk by referring to a cartoon where two boys were talking. One boy asked, "What is a resolution?" The other boy replied, " It is a to-do list for the first week in January."
The most common New Year resolutions are to lose weigh, exercise, sleep more, watch less television and eat healthier. One of the proposed resolutions that resounded with me was "to learn something new." We all know that coming up with resolutions is the easy part. The difficult part, for most of us, is keeping them throughout the year. Most people do not keep their New Year resolutions past eight weeks!
What do we need to do in order to keep our resolutions past eight weeks? For me, one of the ways is expressed in the story of Jesse Owens.
When Jesse was in high school, one of the speakers was Charlie Paddock. At that time, Paddock was hailed by sportswriters as "the fastest human being alive." Charlie told the students, "Listen! What do you want to be? You name it and then believe that God will help you be it."
After the speech was over, young Jesse ran to his coach and told him that he wanted to be the world's fastest human being.
What the coach told Jesse was good advice we can use in order to keep our resolutions. He told him that to attain a goal, you need to think of a ladder. "On the ladder to your dreams are rungs. The first rung is determination. The second rung is dedication. The third rung is discipline. And the fourth rung is attitude!"
Determination: The problem with most of us when it comes to keeping our resolutions or goals is that we do not desire it enough. For many of us, the resolution is something we would like to do but it is not a 10 on a desire list so it doesn't happen. To illustrate the desire, imagine being in the dessert and extremely thirty. Our chief desire above all the rest would be to find water. Water is our focus and we will do whatever it takes to acquire it.
Dedication: Another word for dedication is commitment. Commitment is rearranging our life and time to accomplish the resolution.
Discipline: This means rearranging our lives by making time for our resolutions. Things do not happen until we put them on our calendar and they becomes part of our lifestyle.
Attitude: One of my father's sayings was, "We never rise above what we believe. If we believe it cannot be done, we will stop at the first obstacle and say, 'See? I told you.'"
These rungs worked for Jesse Owens and they can work for us.
Dr. William E. Austin is a licensed psychotherapist and holds a Doctor of Divinity degree. He is a therapist with Tidewater Pastoral Counseling Services . He is well known for his warmth and sense of humor. His book, Creating Our Safe Place - Articles on Healthy Relationships, can be purchased through www.amazon.com.
Tidewater Pastoral Counseling: 623-2700
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