Resolutions that Last

How are the Lenten resolutions going? I know I’ve failed already with a couple of mine. The good news is that Lent is a pretty long season and it’s never too late to commit to drawing closer to the Lord by way of those practices chosen at the beginning of the season. Each day, each week is something of a fresh start to the season. Here are a couple of tips I’d like to offer:

Words are cheap. I can resolve to do a lot of things and then either give up on them or forget them faster than they come to me. When I make a resolution, it’s best to write it down AND tell someone about it. Why?

– There’s something about writing things down that aid the memory to remember. What’s more, it can be very helpful to write your resolution down a few times and leave yourself notes: near the bathroom sink, on your bedside table, on the fridge, on the computer/TV, etc. If you really want this resolution to last, these notes will help you remember what tasks you’ve undertaken.

– There’s also something to the idea of someone holding me accountable. There are a few guys I hang out with frequently and we talk about how life is going. Throughout the week, I remember that I’m going to have to give an account of my life to these men, whether I’m being a man of integrity or otherwise. Since I want to be a man of integrity, this accountability motivates me to stick to my resolutions.

– Finally, there’s a way that is the best of both worlds – in fact, it’s even better that both of the two options: write down your resolutions as a prayer to the Lord. For example: “Lord, I will not complain about the weather.” “Jesus, I will not place before my eyes any images that might tempt me to sin against purity.” “Lord, I will pray for X minutes everyday.” “Father, I will always give you thanks for the food on the table, no matter how bad I think it tastes.” “Holy Spirit, I will always pray for the person who seems to suddenly pop into my mind.” After you’ve written down your prayer, finish with, “Lord, help me remember this prayer each time a situation relating to it comes into my life.” These prayers will help you remember your resolutions and they will motivate you to live a life of integrity before the Lord, who sees everything and is always with you.

In summary, three good ways to make resolutions that stick: Write them down. Tell other people about them. Write them out as prayers to the Lord. Doing these three things will help you live in the freedom of your own convictions, even if you seem to lose those convictions from time to time.