It's that time again. We make a list of resolutions, begin to work on them, lose interest, and quit.
How do you keep a resolution? I think it starts with how and why you make them to begin with. Like most folks, I'd like to lose some weight, get in better shape, improve my prayer life, grow closer to the Lord, be a better wife, mom, grandma, and friend--and the list goes on.
I think in order to make a do-able list, the first thing to do might be pray. Did it occur to you maybe God doesn't want you to lose weight? Maybe instead, He wants you to give your appetite to Him. I did that this year--and no, I haven't been perfect. But I've all but eliminated sweets from my diet, and with that alone I've lost some weight. Not as much as I want to lose, but I'm being more obedient to God and to what my body needs.
The same could hold true for exercising. Submit your physical well-being to God. Does He really want you to join a gym or buy expensive equipment, or perhaps He'd rather you went for a walk or work out with a fun exercise DVD or two. That would be more affordable, too, if that's a concern. Again--ASK.
Maybe you want to quit smoking. God would probably be in total agreement with that. I remember when my mom counted out her cigarettes and decided she would cut one more out each day. She started out with over a pack a day, but she worked it a little at a time until she was down to one a day. Would that work for you?
Make your resolutions do-able, and make them with God. Ask God to show you His ideas.
Now, keeping or continuing the resolutions: this is perhaps the hardest part. I have been able to maintain the sweets reduction, and gradually, He's been asking me to cut one more sweet out at a time. I'm down to one sweetened cup of coffee per day; that may soon be no sweetened coffee. I'll switch to tea for the rest of the day, which I drink without sugar anyway. And best of all--it's self-perpetuating! I eat less sugar, and my body has been craving less.
Journaling might also be something that helps. Keep track of your progression and your failures--BUT when you get back on track, scratch out the failure! Realize that one slipup doesn't mean you have to continue with the backsliding. Forgive yourself readily and more forward again--and again, and again, and again if necessary. The Bible (in Micah somewhere) said "Rejoice not against me, oh my enemy (cigarettes, pounds, flabby muscles), for WHEN I fall, I shall rise!"
Find a friend to be your accountability partner, one you know will scold you and encourage you. NOT one who will say, "Oh, well, we tried," and quit. Meet with them or talk with them regularly, once a day or once a week. Begin with prayer.
Do I believe He will show you? Yes, I do. You might not hear a thundering voice from the sky; you might only get a prodding of some sort, or a peace in your heart when you ask Him if you should do something, or someone might invite you to join them in exercise or sugar elimination or slowing smoking.
You can do it, you and God together.