There’s a huge difference between trying to do something and training to do it. Most New Year’s resolutions don’t work because we only “try” to keep them (hoping that somehow a change of date will make all the difference).
For any lasting change to take place, we need more than a list of “resolutions”. We need more than mere will-power. According to Dallas Willard, for a “revolution” to take place in our lives we actually need three things:
1. VISION: A compelling picture or dream that engages heart, soul, mind and body (more than our “will” alone). We won’t follow through on a resolution if we are not fully invested in the outcome. Not every vision is worth pursuing – is your vision helping you to be the person you were created to be?
2. INTENTION: A good idea is not enough. There must also be a willingness to do what we can to see it come about. This involves things like being clear on the priorities required and setting specific and attainable goals. It also involves a readiness to train our mind and body – just as a musician or sports-person has to undertake some particular practice or training to become proficient in their craft.
3. MEANS: We need the right tools for the job. Many well intentioned people still fall short of their goals because, although they are very sincere and well-intentioned, they simply lack the wisdom, tools, motivation and support to see it through.
Transformation is not a matter of trying harder, but of training wisely. This is why in 2013 I am leaving aside isolated resolutions and putting my energy into refining a “life plan” – into crafting what many great people through history have called a personal “rule” or “rhythm” of life. This process includes resolutions (“intention”), but places them within a more healthy and sustainable framework (“vision” and “means”).
While I will be sharing more of my own experience of this journey in the coming weeks, to get you going in time for the New Year I am listing a couple of the FREE resources I will be using:
* LIFE PLAN. Click here to access your own free copy of Michael Hyatt’s 90 page e-book, “Creating Your Personal Life Plan.” This very helpful resource has been downloaded over 170,000 times by people around the world. It is free to anyone who is willing to follow his excellent blog (which I also do, by receiving an informative free email each week.) There really are no other strings attached.
*RULE OF LIFE. This approach to life has been used by great people of faith through the years, such as St Francis of Assisi, Bonhoeffer, Billy Graham, John Wesley and Mother Teresa. Here are a couple of websites that explain more about what a “rule of life” is and provide some concrete examples to inspire us and get us going.
Click here, here and here for a 3 part explanation of what a rule of life is. (Renovaré is a really helpful and generous organisation that provides wise and balanced guidance – these PDFs and other resources can be found here.)
Click here for some worksheets and examples. (As you will see, Steven Macchia has just released a very practical book on the topic, for those who are especially keen.)
May your 2013 be a year of fresh vision and purpose, leading to a deeper sense of satisfaction and joy!