Happy New Year, friends! It’s been a really long time since I’ve blogged and I plan to change that for 2018! To get us started, I’m excited to share my dear friend Joanna’s new blog post about setting holistic resolutions. If you’re like most of the population, you probably started the year with only the best of intentions and now that it’s January 8 you might be thinking, “oh great, I’ve already let life get in the way of meeting my goals!” Don’t worry, you are not alone. That fresh, clean slate feeling you had on January 1 can stick with you throughout the year, but it requires a bit of reframing.
In today’s guest post, Joanna walks us through how to set holistic goals through the lens of a Christian faith perspective. You’ll be challenged to identify how your resolutions overlap multiple areas of your life and how to tackle them in a more intentional way, rather than simply another to-do checklist. I’d love to hear what you are striving towards in 2018 and what resonated with you in this post. Leave a comment below!
Guest Blogger: Joanna E.
How to Make Holistic New Year’s Resolutions
As I hung my new calendar on the wall, I got excited about all the new things that would happen to fill those months. I really want this year to be better than the last, but know it won’t happen without planning and intentionality. So, as I make my own goals, I will pass on some of the things I’ve learned over the years that have helped me craft better New Year’s resolutions and actually accomplish them.
For starters, consider being holistic in creating your resolutions. Sometimes I made goals in one area of life and let other areas languish. Then I learned we as people have interconnected physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional needs. When one area is off, it impacts the others. When we are stressed at work and mentally frustrated, it can come out in physical pain. When we’re emotionally upset and distressed, it can impact our spiritual lives if we focus on our circumstances instead of God’s character.
God’s Word highlights we are to love the Lord with all four of these areas of our lives. Jesus said in Mark 12:30 “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment.” Find ways to use your resolutions to help you love God more in all of these dimensions.
Once you’ve resolved to be holistic, PRAY before making any goals. Ask God what He wants you to do in the upcoming year. You may be surprised. Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” We can make all the plans we want, but if they aren’t what God has for us, they won’t happen. Don’t spend the year striving to do something without seeing if it is what God wants. When you seek Him, even if you face obstacles, God will enable you to accomplish His desires. Philippians 1:6 reads, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
All that said, here’s some insight based on what I’ve learned, and ideas for goals in each arena.
These seem to be the easiest goals to make. And then break a month later.… If you are a believer in Christ, your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). We shouldn’t worship our bodies, but treat them well because of who we host. Personally, I only floss because it glorifies God. One thing that helped me keep my physical goals was by connecting them to other areas. I never went to the gym until I started reading spiritual books while doing cardio. This gave me the added incentive of having time to think without distractions at home and let me do something fun to override the mundane of a treadmill.
Examples of physical goals include:
- Prayer walking your neighborhood to work out your faith and your legs.
- Picking three new super foods to try and feeling like a super human.
- Running a 5K for a cause you love.
- Riding a bike. Many cities are paving bike paths – go try one.
Ours minds are muscles that need to be exercised to stay fit. Mental goals should challenge our minds. Last year, I took a writing class through my county, which really helped me better understand the nuances of fiction writing.
Examples of mental goals include:
- Learning a foreign language. Buy language learning software or register for a class through your county’s adult education program.
- Completing a Soduku or Crossword Puzzle daily to keep your mind sharp.
- Reading at least one new book every month.
Perhaps this sounds a bit fluffy. Emotional goals – what are those? When we don’t admit we have emotions – regardless of whether or not we show them – we miss out on key areas of our lives. I have learned when I try to repress how I feel in one area, it often comes out in frustration in another area. When I examine what I feel and why, I can work through it and grow as a person in the process.
Examples of emotional goals include:
- Journaling at least weekly about how you feel about life.
- Starting a gratefulness journal where you write down things every day you are thankful for.
- Writing a letter to someone you care about to tell them how important they are to you and why.
- Choosing to forgive a person who hurt you, knowing it still takes time to feel better.
We need spiritual goals to grow in our relationships with Christ and find ways to share His love with those around us. Recognizing that we will never be fully mature here on earth, we need to keep knowing and pursuing the knowledge of the Lord (Hosea 6:3). Remember, each person’s goals will look different because each person is unique. Find something to expand your view of God and know Him better.
Examples of spiritual goals include:
- Reading through the Bible in a year. If you read four chapters a day, you finish in a year. I’ve now read the Bible over 20 times, primarily using this method. It never gets old, and I learn something new every time.
- Praying for the world in a year. “Operation World” covers every country in the world and provides specific ways to pray.
- Adopting an unreached people group and praying for it. A great resource to learn about unreached peoples is the Joshua Project.
Based on what I shared, here are my holistic resolutions for 2018. I recommend having at least one goal in each of the four areas, but no more than two so it is not overwhelming. In each goal, I seek to tie it to how I can know and grow in Christ.
My Holistic Resolutions for 2018
Physical – Workout at the gym or exercise regularly. Bring spiritual books to read at the gym to think about deeper spiritual things and know God better.
Mental – Go to a writer’s conference to learn more about writing. Publish a short story by the end of 2018. Pray diligently before, after, and between writing so that it honors God and blesses the readers.
Spiritual – Have daily time in the Word and weekly time in deep Bible study and meditation so I can understand God’s character better and deepen my relationship with Him. Jealously guard this time with the Lord so it is not lost in the busyness of life that can be all consuming.
Emotional – Journal so I can gauge where I’m at emotionally and review it with God so I can draw closer to Him in the process.
Next week I will post about how to make SMART resolutions to help strengthen my goals.
Now it’s your turn to set your holistic goals.
- What are ways you can add these concepts into your plans?
- How do you think holistic goal setting is different than how you set previous resolutions?
- How do you think this can enhance what you’ve done before?
Reposted with permission. Follow Joanna’s work online at Words from the Honeycomb.