It’s that time again. As we turn the calendar to a crisp, new year, I am both reflecting on the past and planning for things to come. You too? In every area of life, January brings the chance to try again, a fresh year with no mistakes in it (as Anne of Green Gables would say).
We research the latest diet, day planner, budgeting app, and online course. We are going to spend less, exercise more, eat healthier, better prioritize and manage time. Our marriage, family and friendships will soar on wings of awesomeness. Our community involvement, giving and gratitude will reach new heights.
By February we’ve lost our zeal. By March, we are tired. We are eating all the things. We burned a hole in our credit card. We are over committed to everything. But I’ve been wondering… in all our planning, have we missed something important. Perhaps something that is the most important?
I’m wondering if instead of continually looking outward for the latest, best thing, we should look inward at our ability (or inability) to control ourselves.
Yikes. I know.
The amazing new diet only works if we can actually stop eating a dozen donuts for breakfast. Like actually control the food we put in our mouths. The budgeting app is only helpful if we do the math and then stay out of Target (I mean really). The workout only gets killer arms if we actually show up. The online class only grows our business if we do the assignments and trust the process.
What if that’s why some things don’t work? I don’t know about you, but it’s easier for me to blame it on the thing for not working. That diet was dumb. The class required too many assignments. The app wasn’t well designed. And on and on. (ps. If you’re in need of more excuses, email me. I’ve got them.)
But, what if sometimes, just sometimes, or maybe more than sometimes…it’s about our lack of self-restraint.
I read a study once that we have a certain amount of self-control each day. That it can actually be used up. I’m not sure if that’s a thing, but it sure feels true. Wonder if that’s why we can’t actually accomplish 32 new self-control goals each year.
What would happen if this new year we decided to focus on just a handful of things. And instead of searching the world for the solution, we searched ourselves. And I wonder if we learned self-control in one area, and then two…would it gradually become a discipline in our life?
So let’s raise a coffee mug to planning with purpose for the new year. To finding good accountability for our self-control goals. To not being burnt out and maxed out by March. I’m right here with you. Let’s do this.