Five Ways To Keep Your Resolutions

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour and with that one, is what we are doing.” ― Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

It’s the new year, and of course, you’ve made resolutions. Do you want to exercise more? Cook healthy meals? Write a book? Have you resolved that this is the year you’d accomplish this? Nearly all of us have already broken our resolves. Why?

Because we do what we want to do.

Wait, our resolves are our desire, or so we think.

Not if you’re not doing it.

If I had five bucks for every book never written by people who ask me to help them write, I’d be rich. I’d also probably be accused of a scam because of all the easy money I earned. Do they want to write or have the acclaim being an author brings. (Believe me, 90% of us receive little attention.) Perhaps instead, the lure of the online games call us. Maybe we’ll start after we finish binge watching Gray’s Anatomy (given its longevity, that’ll take a year or two). Is there a big sale at Target?

We fill our days with what we want.

Annie Dillard (sorry to my former students who groan every time I assign one of her works) said how we spend each moment defines our life.

We always have time to do what we want to do. If I quit playing games on my phone, I’d have an hour more to take up my bassoon each day. I’d bake bread or cookies or enchiladas. Take up painting again. Maybe clean my house? (Nope)

How to Keep Your Resolutions

  1. Determine what you really want. You won’t do things that you’re loathe to do. Is losing weight more important or is ice cream with whipped cream and sprinkles more rewarding? If it’s weight loss, is this for your vanity, health, or pocketbook because you’re going to need a new wardrobe soon? In losing weight, decide your reasons for it. Focus on the end result and the reward it will bring. That will help your motivation. Then write your goals down. Check them off. Stay on track.
  2. Set a schedule. I mostly fool with my phone in the morning. Instead of picking it up first thing these days, I pray and read my Bible. At first I had a hard time avoiding the lure of Apple News. Now it’s not so hard. Is exercise your goal? First determine your reason. If it’s “because I’m supposed to,” you’ll fail. If it’s because my doctor said my sugar is out of control, you have motivation. When can you walk or swim or ski or do yoga? For me, motion works best in the afternoon. My schedule is around two or three. When I worked, it was when I got home.
  3. Check with God. I’d say this should be first. Does he want you to achieve this? Losing ten pounds so you look more like Ellen Pompeo, probably is not his will. However, if you want to stop gossiping, you’re in his will.
  4. Watch your triggers. I get angry and upset and intense with politics. I’m interested, but frustrated. My main focus in my life is to be positive, to have more joy. Politics is a trigger. I’ll talk about my frustration, but recognize my building intensity. I stop. I usually toss my arm up and switch the topic. I recognize my trigger and intentionally stop it.

“Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Cor. 15:58)

5. The above is the ultimate way to keep your resolutions because changing our lives takes work. It’s not easy. With God’s help it’s possible, especially when we realize our labor in the Lord is not in vain. Our reward is eternal.

Is your resolution to read more?

Check out my book page. There are lots of handy links to purchase the books.

My suggestion is to start with Borrowed Lives. The final installment will come out this spring. You want to be in the loop.

When an artisan finds three abandoned children she has two choices: send them to social services where they’ll be separated or take them in herself. But what the heck is she going to do with three kids and a barn full of goats?


  1. Carol, you nailed it when you wrote “First determine your reason.” Why we do something is key to doing it consistently. I can’t remember if you have a LinkedIn page. If you don’t, I recommend you get one and post your blogs. Several of my clients do.

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