Resolutions That Work

When most people think about starting a new habit, they think of New Year’s resolutions. But research indicates that 92 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail. And why do they fail? They fail for two reasons.

First, they fail because people make resolutions that are too ambitious. Instead of resolving to create a new habit, they resolve to create a new goal. And goals are big things while habits are tiny things. Second, they fail because the only weapon they have at their disposal is the weapon of willpower. They are determined that they are going to start a new thing in their lives.

But while willpower can provide a good “jump start” in developing a new habit, God didn’t design us to live our lives through the power of a determined will. God created the animals to conserve their energy in the wild, and he created man to conserve his energy, too. For this reason, we are preprogrammed to take the path of least resistance in any matter pertaining to our lives.

So when a person tries to develop a new habit through self-control or through sheer determination, that plan may get him a few miles down the road. But it will never take him far enough to get him to his goal of creating something new in his life. To create a new habit, a person must utilize the God-given processes of the “habit loop,” which are based on the creation of a repetitive behavior that is prompted by some sort of “cue” and sustained by some sort of “reward.”

When we learn to harness the processes of the mind that God gave us instead of fighting them every day of our lives, we can create new habits rather easily. And a whole lot of good habits can eventually steer us toward our bigger goals.

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