Statements of Faith

We've all heard it. We probably have said it at one time or another. But is this all-or-nothing mentality really a good thing?

This year, I'm resolving to "re-resolve" all the things I have resolved in the past five years. That's because strictly speaking, I've broken them all.

I say this partly in jest, but if I really think about it, have I lost X-number of pounds? Have I exercised three times a week? Have I read through the Bible in 90 days? Have I intentionally expressed appreciation to a different person each week? No -- on all counts.

So according to conventional American wisdom, I have failed and should "go home."

The problem with that is it makes it easy for me to give up. After I suffer the "great defeat," I feel guilty and sometimes embarrassed at my epic failures.

Instead, I would argue when it comes to making life-change, we need to recapture "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again."

When you make a resolution this year, yes, set your sights high. Swing for the fences, so to speak.

But remember: You're going to slip up. You're going to fail. Some suggest many resolutions are broken within the first week and most are broken by March.

Instead of feeling defeated, worthless and down in the dumps, take things in smaller steps.

If you are resolving to lose weight this year, set that as your goal. But remember if you "cheat" or lose your willpower for one meal or one snack, all is not lost. You have to take each resolution one segment at a time.

Each and every meal, you have to make a decision to eat healthy. If you screwed up at breakfast, don't write the whole day off -- write off breakfast and get back to it for lunch.

If you have decided to stop smoking and end up lighting up in the morning, don't then give yourself permission to give up your resolution for the whole day.

Human experience tells us all we will fail. It's not a question of if, it's a matter of when. So prepare yourself for that. Decide on your "failure contingency plan" now. Don't wait until you fail to try to come up with a recovery plan -- do it before you fail. That way when you do fail, you won't feel all is lost.

Admit to yourself you're human. Admit to yourself it's OK to slip now and then. Plan for it.

That way, when you get to the end of 2013, you can look back and see that while you might not have achieved your resolutions perfectly, you will have at least made strides in the right direction.

Kevin Daniels is pastor at Hays Christian Church.