New Year’s resolutions. Love them or hate them, they reappear every year. Filled with good intentions each January, many of us start on a litany of goals with a desire to change ourselves. We vow to work out, to get out of debt, spend more time with our families, spend more time reading and so forth. The thing about New Year’s resolutions is that they are often only about ourselves. Our culture tells us to focus on ourselves, but God tells us just the opposite. God wants us to focus on Him and His agenda. That agenda is to help those around us.
The most significant changes can happen when we’re not focused on ourselves but on others. What would happen if we flipped our New Year’s resolutions upside-down and sought to benefit someone else for a change? It might impact our hearts in such a way that it leads to a lasting change in ourselves that lasts much longer than the new year. It can cause the type of change that gets our eyes off ourselves and onto others.
This New Year’s, resolve to do something better not only for yourself, but for others.
Here are some examples of how you can flip your resolutions:
Resolution: I want to get in shape in 2014.
Flip it: I am going to get in shape by entering a marathon to benefit a good cause and training myself to perform well in it.
See what I did here? You will get the same benefit as the original resolution, but you are helping others in the process. By doing it to help others, it also gives you extra motivation to keep you on track during the training process.
You can run or walk a marathon that benefits a charity, works to cure a disease, or supports a family member or friend who’s going through a difficult season in their life. While you’re training, focus on praying for that person or for the cause. Prayer can have a significant impact.
Resolution: I want to save $50 a month in 2014.
Flip it: I want to save $70 a month in 2014. $50 will go into a savings account and $20 will be used for others.
Make room for giving in your savings plan. Giving to others changes our perspective on what we value and how we view our money. Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” If your goal is to save $50 a month for yourself, plan to save an additional $20 and use it for others. This can make a huge difference in your life. For creative ideas on how to give to others, check our www.ilikegiving.com.
Resolution: To learn a new language in 2014.
Flip it: To learn a new language in 2014 so I can help someone who does not speak English, learn how to speak English.
We live in a society where it is a good thing to know more than one language. If you are going to go to the trouble of learning a new language, once you learn the new language use it to help someone else. You can help someone who does not know English and speaks the language you are learning. You can teach them English and they can help you learn their language. What a great tradeoff.
As you plan goals for the new year, consider how you can change yourself by focusing on others. Look for someone or something worthy of your time and energy. You can make a huge impact in their lives and at the same time, make a lasting impact in your own life. Expand your impact and point others towards God in the process. God gave each of us special gifts with the idea that we would share them with others, so share them!