Why do many New Year’s Resolutions fade away? I believe it’s because they are based on emotion. We get emotional after the holidays. We “feel” fat. We spent too much money. We didn’t do everything we should, see everyone we could. We reflect on the year and realize another year has passed and we didn’t do all the things we might have hoped to do. We decide it’s time to change. We “feel” motivated to change.
It is a time of year we may be tempted to make major changes based on our heart. Maybe we swear we are not going to have another loveless Christmas or we feel we need a major change with our job. Maybe we are tired of our clothes being tight or feeling bad about ourselves. The list is endless. Emotions are extremely powerful and can cause us to have a very warped view of reality. In one emotional moment we can make decisions that can ruin our lives if we let it.
I want to encourage you to not set goals based on emotion, but based on wisdom. Our heart is SO unreliable. King Solomon, known for his wisdom shares so much wisdom in scripture. Whether you are a Christian or not, it would be smart to listen to someone who’s #1 goal was to seek wisdom. He wanted it more than anything else in life and God granted it to him. Then he shared it with us. And here is one of his warnings to us:
“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered” – Proverbs 28:26
Now, don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t mean your heart is never wrong, but it does mean it is not always right. There are times I know my heart is right and I know that because it aligns with scripture. Then there are times my heart is very wrong and I know it because if I were to base a decision on it, the end result would be very bad, or at least very stupid! Ha!
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9.
Instead of making goals based on what WE want, we would be so much better off setting goals based on what is best for us. Then, we must adopt a whole new mindset, which is to not allow emotion to determine our actions.
Why do we fail at keeping New Year Commitments? Because our decisions are often based on emotion – and we rely on emotion to get us motivated enough to get on track instead of relying on discipline to get us on track and keep us on track when our emotions scream “QUIT!”
Our commitments fade because we are too tired. We are too lazy. We are too busy. We want pizza. We like to go out to eat. We like to spend money. We want to lay on the couch. We don’t like working out. We hate being sore. We get tired of dieting. We want to have more fun. We want to work less. We are having a good day. We are having a bad day. LOL Seriously, our emotions can help us justify just about anything.
However, if you asked your mind what is best, it would likely tell you to do the opposite of what your heart says. Let’s pretend your heart and mind are having a conversation. It would likely go something like this.
HEART: You worked so hard today. Go home and rest. You deserve it.
MIND: You know you’ll feel better if you workout.
HEART: I am so tired of dieting.
MIND: Food makes you happy for a moment, but being healthy makes you happier longer.
or maybe your argument isn’t about fitness…
HEART: I really want to sleep in. It’s my only real day off.
MIND: You know you always feel so much better after you go to church.
HEART: I hate my job. I hate my boss. I want to quit.
MIND: You need the money. If you work harder, you’ll have more opportunities come – if you just stick it out with a smile.
HEART: I hate my marriage. I don’t think I love XXXX anymore.
MIND: You love what you invest in.
You get the idea!
5 Steps to Leaving Your Emotional Mess in 2015
This year, decide what needs to happen and decide you are going to stop making decisions based on emotions. Emotional eating, emotional venting, emotional loving, emotional working, emotional driving, emotional living. They are so harmful to you and everyone else around you.
1. Make a list of habits and decisions you tend to be prone to that are based on emotion.
2. On that list, describe how those emotion-based decisions make you feel afterwards.
3. Below that list, or on another list, make a list of smart goals – goals based on what is right and good, not based on emotions.
4. On that list, describe your projected result if you follow through. List all the facts that support those goals (unemotional info like, you will be healthier, stronger, have more energy, be able to afford XYZ, will be debt-free, have peace, be proud, be a better person, etc.)
5. Post that list somewhere you will see it daily to remind you of your temptation to let your emotions lead you, as well as remind you of your smart goals.
Let 2016 be your year of victory over your emotions.