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Turning Resolutions into Reality

Did what you resolved at the beginning of January dissolve before the first of February?

Intentions are easier than integrity. As Paul put it, “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” (Romans 7:15). Sound familiar?

How do we change that? The simple answer is: self-discipline. It’s foundational. Peter lists self-control as a basic Christian virtue, essential to life (2 Peter 1:5-7). “Like a city whose walls are broken down,” Solomon wrote, “is a man who lacks self-control” (Proverbs 25:28). It’s our front-line defense against destruction – against being overrun by ruin.

But, how do I develop self-discipline? We can look at the waistlines of America and tell that it’s not native to our nation. So, how do we add this tortoise trait to our rabbit reality?

I would suggest some simple steps: purpose, principles, practice, patience, and preview. Let’s think about purpose now and look at the rest in the coming weeks.

Why is purpose important? Discipline is the ability to consistently choose actions that are in line with one’s goals. It’s staying on course toward where you want to go. To be consistent with goals, we must first know clearly what they are. Then we have to remember to steer toward them.

Sounds obvious and simple, but it can be difficult to do. For example, early one January a “friend” found a fascinating document. It had been on my - I mean - his computer since the previous January, but he had forgotten it. It was titled “Goals and Objectives.” An excellent plan! But I hadn’t seen it in months! I had goals, but forgot to stay the course toward them.

Humans need help keeping on course. We’ve sailed by the stars, explored the continents with a compass, and we cross cities by satellite positioning. But, we lose our way without some sort of beacon. Like a kid headed for the Ferris wheel, we hear barkers along the midway promising fun and prizes, and we forget where we were going.

Whatever change is needed, clarify your purpose. Then make sure you remember it. Write it on your calendar. Post it on your morning mirror. Tell somebody to remind you and hold you accountable. Use your gadgets to give you reminders. Whatever it takes, focus on your destination.

Daily discipline – constantly correcting course toward your destination – will help you turn resolutions into reality.


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