If you believe in the law of averages, then you have only a few hours remaining to break 70% of your New Year’s resolutions! That is correct; surveys reveal that approximately 70% of all New Year’s resolutions fail within the first two weeks of January.

On the other hand, if you do not want to be a statistic, here are a couple of tips to assist you in reaching your goals. First, set a goal that is reasonably attainable. Often our newfound enthusiasm prompts us to dream bigger than we are capable of achieving.

Second, ensure that the timetable is reasonable, as well. While often we may tend to allow too little time to accomplish a goal, allowing too much time can also be a hindrance.

When our son was 6 or 7 years old, he set a New Year’s resolution to make his bed every day all year, without being told to do so. Had he asked for my advice, I would have suggested that he shorten his goal to the month of January, rather than the whole year. However, he did not ask, and went about doing exactly what he had vowed. In fact, that habit became ingrained in him for life. Pretty impressive for such a young lad.

In the 1991 comedy, “What About Bob?,” Dr. Leo Marvin had written a breakthrough book titled, Baby Steps, which he recommended to his patient, Bob Wiley. The concept can be a good one when it comes to goal setting.

For example, the idea of needing to lose 40 pounds can be overwhelming. Dr. Marvin would suggest beginning with a goal of five pounds. Once that is reached, then set a new goal of five more pounds. The same principle applies to time frames. Rather than a year-long goal, decrease that time frame to a month. Once achieved, then add another month to it, and so on.

A third observation about goal-setting is to practice the old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try again.” History is replete with examples of people who failed in their first attempt at a thing, or even failed on several attempts at a thing. So, don’t beat yourself up for falling short.

Go ahead; put yourself out there. Dare to self-examine your life’s habits and practices, then hone in on one or two traits you want to improve, and determine to be a better you in 22 — one day at a time.

Steven Callis is the minister at First Church of the Nazarene in Douglasville.

Steven Callis is the minister at First Church of the Nazarene in Douglasville.

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