New Years and God: Be S.M.A.R.T.

by Cody Biby

New Years is upon us. It is extremely popular this time of year to implement New Year’s Resolutions and get excited about improving some area of our life. Keeping a New Year’s Resolution is often harder than we think. I can remember countless times either myself, or someone I knew kept one only a couple of days or at the most a couple of weeks.

What are some of the reasons we do not keep resolutions? We could point to apathy, complacency, lack of self discipline, but I think one reason stands out above all the others. Not setting the right kind of resolution is mostly what is at fault. We usually make the resolution too general, which makes it unattainable. If you really want to keep your resolution this year, try to make it SMART. SMART stands for; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely/ Time-bound.

You will have a ninety percent higher chance of keeping a resolution if you make it SMART. Google some SMART templates to help you put it on paper as well. Let us do a Christian resolution just to illustrate. Say that you want to get closer to God this year. A great resolution, but it would not be a SMART one.

Why not? Because it is too broad, and general. How are you going to get closer to God? We need to make it more specific. There are many ways to get closer to God; going to church regularly, reading your Bible daily, or setting aside a daily prayer time. You are going to have to choose one, and then be consistent. Developing the when, and where would be next on the list as well.

Reading your Bible daily is a great way to get closer to God, but if you never set aside a specific time and place you will probably never consistently fulfill the resolution. Make it measurable. There is power in making something measurable, because then you will know if you lived up to what you wanted to or not.

If I just say I am going to read my Bible every day, and do not make it measurable I will never know if I did too much or too little. If I say I am going to sit down at 7:00 am, or 7:00 pm every day, and read one chapter of the Bible, I will probably meet that goal. I put both times on there so you could pick the one that best fits you. This goal would fit every part of SMART, but the T.

How do we make it Timely/Time-bound? By saying we are going to do it for a week, or two weeks even. Make the goal so that you will meet it, and that will grow confidence, motivation, and inspiration to keep you moving in the right direction and set more SMART goals. The time part is so important, because if you did make it to keeping a resolution for 30 days it will become a habit in your life. You would not have to necessarily set alarms on your phone to remind you to read your Bible anymore.

It would become a natural part of your day, just like brushing your teeth before you go to bed. You would not have to think about it at the normal time of day you did your Bible reading, you would automatically be going to get your Bible at that time of day. You would be organizing your day around it as well. You would make sure you were at home at that time of day, or you would make sure you had your Bible at that time of day if you knew you were not going to be home.

You would inform friends, or family that you could not do anything at that specific time because that was your time with God. Those of you who have been consistent with some goal know I am telling the truth. Those of you who think you could never do this are already psyching yourselves out. I guarantee you if your job had you make a drastic change in your workday; you would get used to it. You can do this if you make your goal SMART and pray for God’s help.

He will help, because one of the Fruits of the Spirit is self-control. The question is will you get closer to God in the upcoming year or not? If you are SMART about it, no question it will happen. Do not take just my word for it.

How about we trust Jesus on this? John 15:4-5, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

If you live out some SMART goals with Bible reading, a prayer life, and going to church there is no way you will not remain/ abide in Jesus. This will result in you bearing much fruit for the Kingdom of God. I cannot wait to see what Jesus will do through you in 2022.