On New Year’s Day, we are excited to set New Year’s resolutions and accomplish them. But within 30 days, most of us quit.
We’re initially looking forward to doing whatever it takes to reach our resolutions. But as reality sets in, we become less and less excited. It’s hard work to meet our goals—many of us give up on them altogether.
Is there a way we can accomplish our New Year’s resolutions and make them stick? Yes, absolutely! We can learn three principles from farming.
Get rid of contaminants.
We must get rid of the contaminants in our lives. All of us have things in our lives that have the potential to harm us. To grow, it’s important to address the areas that are holding us back. These could be negative attitudes, habits, and anything that is unhealthy. In other words, it’s anything that threatens to destroy our relationship with God, others, and ourselves.
In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus compares soils to hearts when He said, “some seeds fell on shallow soil . . . other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil” (Matthew 13:5-8).
Our soil can be contaminated—if it is, nothing can grow out of it. To get rid of contaminants, we must till the soil of our hearts. This involves getting rid of the hurts, fears, frustrations, and anything else that keeps us stuck. All of these things are keeping our hearts contaminated.
We can be honest with ourselves about the areas we struggle with. Talking to God, a licensed counselor, and a trusted friend or accountability partner will clarify things for us. Going through the 12 Steps for the first time (or going through them again) will also help. The 12 Steps teach us how to deal with past hurts, as well as help us make amends to anyone that we’ve hurt.
Be patient with the process.
As a farmer patiently cultivates the soil to bring forth healthy produce, we can be patient with the process of setting New Year’s resolutions and seeing them through to fruition. We have to be willing to wait.
First, we have to be patient with ourselves. New Year’s resolutions require us to form new daily habits. It takes time for us to establish daily habits. For example, it has been said that it takes at least 21 days to form a habit. Most of us will need at least 21 days to form a new habit. But for some of us, it might take up to three months.
Second, we have to be patient with others. There will be times when people disappoint us. We can adjust our expectations, making sure that our expectations of others are not too high. An accountability partner can help to hold us accountable. Yet, we can’t expect the other person to do the work for us.
Third, we have to be patient with God. We can’t do anything in our strength; it’s only through the Holy Spirit that we can produce any good fruit in our lives. In Galatians 5:22-23, we discover that patience is one of the fruits that the Holy Spirit produces in us. Let us trust God to bring about our healing!
Continue to persevere!
Out of all the changes we can make in our lives, ultimately, the most important is the principle of perseverance! There will come a point at which we will want to quit. But if we want to be fruitful, we’ll never bear fruit in our life if we give up.
We will relapse. And when we do, new habits will be tossed aside. Nevertheless, we can get up after a fall. Being honest with another person, such as our counselor or accountability partner, will help us. Having the support of a group, such as a Life Recovery Group, will empower us to persevere.
Farmers don’t throw in the plow—they keep going! The work they are doing takes place mainly underground. But they keep persevering. Day after day. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year.
Here’s the bottom line: We don’t have to give up on our goals and stop growing. By getting rid of contaminants, being patient, and continuing to persevere, we will accomplish our New Year’s resolutions!
If we can help you reach your goals, please call us at 800-NEW-LIFE. We are here to help you grow!