How To Keep News Years’ Resolutions from Reverting to Default

new year 2016


There are two problems with resolutions.  If we can nix those problems, we can complete the resolutions.  Trouble is, we end up reverting to default because we don’t do the nix.

First, we set such high goals that we become discouraged and give up before the first month is gone.

Second, even though we might have some good goals, we don’t really have a definitive plan to complete them.

Before we know it, we’re back in default mode.

Tell me how many goals you’ve set in the past and what your plans have been to fulfill them, and I can almost certainly tell you whether or not you made it to the finish line.  You could look at my track record, and you could tell the same about me.

I’m not an expert in this.  It’s just that I’ve often lived in default, so that’s how I know.

When we fix these two problems, we can be guaranteed success with our resolutions.

I’m sharing this, not because I’m so good at resolutions, but because I’ve been doing some serious thinking about the difference between being a short-distance sprinter and a long-distance runner.

This year, I have a plan.  Sort’ve a plan. For three months, that is.

Why?  I’m tired of planning for twelve months and not making it through the first month.

This time, I’m aiming at three months and I’ve asked someone to keep me accountable.  She says she will.  Uh-oh.

new year crystal ball


Working as a nurse, I learned a little something about putting a plan in place to reach an end goal.  I know it’s easier said than done, especially when the goals I make from home are not contingent on a monthly salary.

Yet, I know that having a doable plan in place and a way to carry out that plan is what it takes to achieve success.

It also takes commitment and accountability.

new year fireworks

I like to think I understand this. I experienced it when I worked as a nurse in a medical center, oh so many, many years ago.

That was before the days of computers, and our charting was done in longhand for every single patient.

Yep.  And people wonder why my handwriting is so terrible.

In addition to having each plan personalized, it was amended weekly and sometimes daily. It had to be changeable because the conditions of our patients changed daily, and sometimes hourly.  We had to have a plan in place.

From doing nursing care plans, I learned the value of picturing and aiming for an end result.

new year snow tracks

I also learned that, if no plan was in place, we’d revert to default – which was never a good place to be.

It was better to have a “what if” plan in place rather than to assume that all would go well with our original plan.

I learned the value of avoiding potential dangers by recognizing them and then developing a plan to avoid those pitfalls.

I learned that when we follow our plan and have the cooperation of the patient, most times we complete the goal.

And I learned that, when an audit occurred, it really was a good idea to have those care plans completely intact!

That’s why I’m having my own “auditor” for three months.  While I might want to make excuses, she will hold my feet to the fire.


To simplify things, I’m showing a scaled-down care plan that is easy for anyone to understand.  You can see that this fictional patient has the potential for several problems following abdominal surgery.

Please remember that this plan is based on an abdominal incision and not a laparoscopy procedure because that’s the way it was done back when I was in nursing school and when I worked in that medical center.  Yep.  That was a long time ago.

Please also remember that this is a scaled-down version of what an actual nursing care plan looked like back in my day.  I’ve changed the plan and the wording to make it reader-friendly.

chart for blog

This plan shows the potential problem/complication and the steps that were taken to prevent the problem from occurring. You can also see how the steps were taken and how often it was necessary to take these steps.  That’s the same as a resolution.

Stating and outlining the plan wasn’t enough.  We had to implement the plan.

Every shift.

Every single day.

Stating the plan and not following through with action merely caused the patient to revert to default.

A written plan with no action really is no plan at all.

That’s why we need to do more than just make the resolution.

new years candle bible

So you’d like to read the Bible through in a year in ten translations?  How about choosing one translation and then choosing a plan to follow?  There are so many choices out there. You can follow a plan online, or print out your own plan.  Try this , or this.  Or you can google and find your own plan.

new years apple water


So you want to lose weight in 2016?  You’re really not going to have any desserts for an entire year?  Come on, be realistic. What’s your plan?  Exercise or attend a gym?  How often?  For how long?  What about nutrition? What about water intake?  What about check-points?  What’s the plan?  If you lack a plan, will it really happen?


new year sparkler


You  want to improve a relationship with someone?  What’s your plan?  You’re going to wait for them to call you, hoping things will get better without your doing anything about it? If you don’t have a plan and don’t implement it, you’ll revert to default mode.  At the end of the year, what are the chances the relationship will be any better?  Would a plan be better than living  in default? I realize that there is more involved in relationships than a scheduled encounter.  The point I am making is that if you don’t do anything, your relationship will remain in default.

new year church


You want to start attending and/or choose a church?  What’s your plan?  Visit four churches in four months, one a month for each month?  Visit in a Bible study?  Just stay home  until the mood to be a stranger in a church hits you? What are the chances it will happen if you don’t have a plan?

new years kids painting


You have a child who struggles with his temper, procrastination, or disrespect?  What’s your plan?  (Yes, the first thing we must do is pray). But after you keep praying, how are you going to see a difference by the end of the year?  Do you have a  plan to talk to the child and explain rewards and consequences?  Do you have a plan to provide affirmation with words and rewards? If it’s a character quality you’re after, rest assured that your diligence can make a difference, but it must begin with the heart.  If you don’t have a plan, what are the chances that, at the end of the year, your child will still  struggle with his problem?  What are the chances his attitude will continue in default?


new years hands praying

You’d like to spend more time praying for your family.  How about making a “prayer plan”?  List the character qualities of which you have a concern, then find scriptures that you can actually pray back to God.  I love praying God’s Word back to Him.   You’ll be praying with a purpose instead of by default.  Oh, I know that God doesn’t have a set way to pray, and He hears our prayers no matter whether they are planned or not.  Yet there’s something about being intentional in our prayers that gives us a purpose.  If we’re not intention, how many times do we stop praying because we don’t see any results?

So you want to make New Years’ Resolutions?

new year 2016 many times

Go ahead.

Write down the resolution.

Develop a reasonable, doable plan.

Find a friend to be your “auditor”.

Then go for it.

And a  Happy New Year to you!


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