Exactly how many times can I push the reset button? January is over, so by now I should have lost at least five pounds, reduced the amount of time I spend on social media by half and completed 1/12 of my yearly reading plan.
Entering a new year spurs many of us to hit the reset button. It’s time to kick bad habits and create new positive habits. In general, flip the switch to a brand new you. If only it were that simple! The old me was persistently and habitually bad. I liked eating cookie dough ice cream and watching cute panda videos and browsing Netflix for the next binge series. And unfortunately, so does the new me.
“...virtually every study tells us that around 80% of New Year’s resolutions will get abandoned around this month.” - Mark Murphy, Forbes
When My Motivation Fails, God Does Not
How am I supposed to keep my motivation when I fail? Every. Single. Day. I am so thankful God’s mercies are new every day!
“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3: 22-23 ESV).
I have hope that I can change because God is always faithful, always perfect, and always merciful. There is no special timeline or expiration date. We can have a good day, followed by a bad day (or in my case, a good moment followed quickly by a bad moment). And God, because of his great love, offers compassion and grace. His forgiveness is always available. I just need to give myself permission to start again.
Where Lies My True Motivation?
My motives must match my motivation, which directly impacts my mindset. Just look at these two words: motive and motivation. If motive is the process or reason for doing something, and motivation is what creates change because my head and heart are engaged together, then both have to be activated in order to persevere and accomplish anything. Furthermore, if my motive for change is centered on Jesus Christ, he will help me get to the finish line. If my motive and motivation are centered on me, it will ultimately fail.
“The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand” (Psalm 37:23-24 NLT).
Take Baby Steps and Make Course Corrections
Baby steps are the most important steps you will ever take. Just like you can’t eat an elephant in one bite, you must give yourself permission to take it slow. Pastor Roger Thompson wrote Do the Next Right Thing, and he has a bounty of wisdom. In the book, he addresses the need to get back on course when you stumble. Life is a process and it will be filled with ups and downs. If my goals are too big or numerous, I will likely fail. If I set goals that are attainable, it's easier for me to do the next right thing. This way I'll arrive at my ultimate destination.
Let's Cheer Each Other On!
Just like a baby needs the support of a parent’s hand or a piece of furniture before they take their first steps, we will be most successful if we have a friend or group who will support us. This small group of encouragers will build our confidence, keep us motivated, and reinforce our resolve to meet goals that matter.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV).
Exactly how many times can I push the reset button? Every. Single. Day. And I can persevere as I trust in God's faithfulness, mercy, and love. So can you!
I do the very best I know how – the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end. - Abraham Lincoln