Every December, I wonder if I should write resolutions for the new year. This year is no exception, as I have considered whether to write them. I’ve been reading a book about change by Craig Groeschel. In my reading yesterday, he said something that made me think differently about resolutions. He suggested that training is more important and successful than trying.
When we try, we are depending on our own strength and abilities. Groeschel tells us that training is a commitment to strategic habits you do before the moment that equip you to do the right thing in the moment. Training takes discipline, which he defines as “...choosing what you want most over what you want now.” It’s experiencing little wins every day rather than one big win when you meet your goal.
This is a biblical approach to change. Paul told Timothy, “Train yourself to be godly.” (1 Tim. 4:7). Notice Paul does not tell Timothy to try to be godly. He knows that is impossible; we cannot be godly without the help of God, and trying doesn’t allow room for God to work. Training opens us to help from God to do the things we cannot do alone. Groeschel writes, “As I have lived this, I’ve wondered if another, more subtle, distinction is that trying can prevent relying. When I try, I do what I can in my strength. Trying can keep me from allowing God to give me his strength so he can do in and through me what I can’t.”
I have not implemented this yet but plan to do so in the new year. It gives me the courage to plan to make changes in my life even though I have failed in the past. Here’s how this works. Let’s say I want to lose 20 pounds (I do). But if that is my only focus, I will soon be discouraged as it takes several months to lose that much weight. But if I plan to drink eight glasses of water, choose healthier meals, and limit snacking, I will have won every day or most days. And that will encourage me to continue to train to reach my goal.
If you have trouble keeping resolutions or stopping long before you reach the goals that you have set, I suggest you read The Power to Change: Mastering the Habits That Matter Most by Craig Groeschel. There is an exercise at the end of each chapter to help you implement change while reading the book.