Wednesday, December 31, 2008


In the 1960's, a study was done on the campus of Yale University. The subjects were Yale seniors who were educated about and encouraged to get a tetanus shot. Most of the students were convinced by the lecture that they needed to get the shot. But only 3% actually went and got the shot.

Another group of students were given the same lecture, but they were also given a copy of the campus map with the location of the health center circled. Then they were asked to look at their weekly schedules, make a plan for when they would go and take the shot, and look at the map and decide what route they would take. 28% of that control group got the shot. That is nine times as many! Why the radical increase? Because they identified how, when, and where?

I'm guessing all of us need to make a change going into the New Year. You need to stop doing something or start doing something. You need to do something less or do something more. But I'm guessing about 3% of us will make the change because we never identify how, when, and where!

So here's a plan. It's as simple as 1,2,3.

#1 Look at the calendar and schedule an hour between now and January 4th. Make an appointment with yourself. It may be in the morning or in the evening. It may be at your house or a coffeehouse. It may be on New Years Eve or New Years Day. Just set aside one hour.

#2 Spend an hour reflecting and praying. And here’s a suggestion. Think in categories. I think it helpful to think in these five categories: spiritual, relational, intellectual, emotional and physical. Do an honest self-assessment. And ask God to reveal the answer to this question: what change(s) do I most need to make?

#3 Make the change. Call it a goal. Call it a New Year's Resolution. Call it whatever you want. The goal is to make a change that honors God. Here's another suggestion. Don't make ten resolutions! If you make lots of resolutions you'll probably keep none of them. Make 3 or less. And I'd start with the spiritual category.

Once you come up with your resolution you need to write it down. Then you need to keep it visible. Put it on a screen saver. Put it on your bathroom mirror. If it's diet related, put it on the refrigerator. You might even want to find an accountability partner who will make the same resolution. It helps to have someone hold you accountable.

Just resolving to resolve. For me, the main items will be reading through the Bible (spiritual), taking vacation time (I didn't take a full week of vacation last year, that is not healthy) - more time with family with a plan already in place, increasing exercise / watching my diet.

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