Every year countless people will make a commitment in the form of a New Year’s Resolution – a decision that usually revolves around starting or quitting something. And every year 92% of the people that made a commitment to better their lives will drop off at some point along the 365 day calendar year. What’s more is that 50% of those that fail to honor their commitment will fall short within the first month.
Why is that?
Why do people have such a difficult time following through on the things that they’re committed to?
According to multiple psychologists, there are several reasons including, but not limited to:
FAILURE TO PLAN
I once heard it said that if you fail to plan you may as well plan to fail. Honestly, making a commitment in one’s mind to start or to stop something without a plan in place generally amounts to little more than a good idea at best.
Life’s best ideas and goals are optimized when a plan is built and put into place. This is one common characteristic that many of the greatest leaders our world has ever known has in common.
GOING IT ALONE
Accountability is often overlooked where people are too embarrassed or uninformed to realize the need for help. There tends to be a gap between the expectations in our minds compared to what comes to the surface through our actions. It’s too easy to become distracted, discouraged, dissuaded and disillusioned when we’re left to our devices.
From the beginning, we were not created to “go it alone”. Instead, we are better together and the benefits that come from community, specifically with realizing our goals and dreams, is tremendous.
TOO EASILY DISCOURAGED
Inevitably, this is one that we’ve all struggled with from time to time – the ability to stay excited, therefore committed to our cause. What starts out as energetic enthusiasm for what we hope to accomplish becomes far too easily compromised when things don’t go the way that we had envisioned. This failure to see things come together the way that we had hoped often leads to discouragement, which can prove detrimental when it comes to achieving our goals.
Much like having a plan in place, we need to intentionally remind ourselves of what it is we’re committed to doing and the reasons why; in others words, cost and affect. So long as we can keep the bigger picture in mind, we will be better able to stay the course when things don’t always go as we anticipate.
“There is no such things as a free lunch.” If I had a dollar for every time I heard a good friend and mentor of mine say this to me, I would be able to feed my Chick-fil-A habit for a year! The principle behind this sentiment is that everything in life will cost us something. Whether financially or relationally, spiritually or mentally, everything that we set our minds to comes with a cost.
When people set out to achieve great things but have little to no personal investment, there tends to be little reason for resolve when things become difficult. On the other hand, when we have personal investment in what we’re doing, we are much more likely to put and keep our hand to the plow, making every genuine effort to see through that with which we have committed.
A LACK OF RESOLVE
“To decide firmly on a course of action”; this is the crucible of resolve. It’s what gives us the ability to apply fortitude and the gumption to keep going when things get difficult and threaten to take us off course from accomplishing those things that we initially commit to. If we make commitments without resolve, we are doing little more than “giving it a shot”, hoping for the best.
Resolve is an incredible ingredient in commitment. Without it I would argue that realizing one’s best can’t happen because at the first sign of trouble, on the surface it always seems easiest to cut bate and abandon ship. However, when we have a deep resolve within us, we will be able to see the forest through the trees and our end-goal in mind, which will provide all of the motivation and incentive that we need to press on and keep going.
When it comes to matters of faith and a real commitment to grow in knowledge and grace, I believe that we can get caught up in the same reasons and excuses that I just went through when comparing reasons for failure to our commitments and goals.
If we want to experience life to the fullest and really Live It Up! as a follower of Jesus Christ, I believe it’s imperative that we:
- Develop a plan of how we are going to grow in our faith, including:
- Personal Bible study
- Church involvement
- Building community and relationships
- Intentionally invite someone into our lives and faith-journey for accountability and encouragement
- Trust in the Lord and remind ourselves of why we’re doing what we’re doing in growing our faith through the promises of God, which not only inform us, but inspire and encourage us as well
- Consider what we need to invest in growing in our relationship with Jesus, including:
- Involvement in church and a Christian community
- Consistently remind ourselves of what we’re committed to and why so as to stay the course when things become difficult and threaten to pull us off-track from our goals
I addressed the need for us to Live It Up! through making a commitment and sticking with it this past Sunday. I invite you to click the video link above from Sunday’s message and consider what God is calling you to commit to and your next-steps in that commitment.