Do This Before You Make Resolutions

There is a plethora of good resolutions we can make this next year. All things are possible, but it’s not possible to do all things. So, before we volunteer to organize a food drive or sign-up for a membership at the local gym, let’s do these steps first.

5 Steps Before You Make Resolutions

Steps to make resolutions

1. Spend some time alone with God in prayer.

Maybe read some Psalms or other scripture. Invite God into your plan-making. We can do a lot of great things in life, but if not led and empowered by the Holy Spirit, they are just things.

2. Next, brainstorm—in a mode of prayer—about all the practices or goals you want to:

  • Continue doing (Bible study, career growth, etc.).
  • Stop doing (commitments that need to end, sin habit that need broken, etc.).
  • Start doing (exercise more, spiritual disciplines, career goals, etc.)
  • Longer-term dreams (what are some larger goals that you want to work on this next year?)

My list was LONG. Don’t limit yourself on this step. Dream away!

3. Next, lay out your current weekly schedule and how you use your time.

Use whatever format is best for you (I used a blank weekly layout in my planner and then worked out a more detailed schedule in an excel spreadsheet). Sketch out how you use your time. This helps you see where there might be space to change things up.

4. So now, prayerfully review your laid-out routine.

Ask God to show you what can be modified to include some of your dreams/goals. In other words, where can you add or change your pattern of living to include more of what you think the Spirit is leading you to do?

What can be taken out of your schedule to make room for new goals?

What must be added?

This is where creativity comes in. I want to exercise more (honor God with my body) and read more (develop as a writer and leader). So, I will listen to audio books while on the treadmill and strength training machines.

Maybe your resolution is to read your Bible more—so instead of scrolling social media while waiting in line, you can read the Bible app on our phone. Looking at your schedule laid out can show you the possibilities (and limitations) for your resolution goal setting.

5. Finally, what on your list do you need to let go of for this next season? What new habits, commitments, and changes are you going to add? What resolutions fit in your schedule?

For example, I want my resolutions to include publishing a lot more writing, but with this season of family and motherhood, I need to set more realistic publishing goals for now. Sometimes seeing our schedule laid out helps us make commitments we might actually be able to sustain.

Remember this: There is a season for everything. What can you do in this season that you cannot do in another? For me, I can parent my young kids with intentionality, finish seminary and my apprenticeship with diligence, and help my husband develop the ministry he is in charge of, while writing and speaking as much as possible. Other things, well, they have to wait (but they will stay on my list!)


What is one thing you want to start doing in 2020? Would love to hear.

2 thoughts on “Do This Before You Make Resolutions”

    1. Laurie, so glad it was helpful. Of course it is not the only way to go about it, but at least it’s a place to start :-). May the Lord bless you and guide your resolution planning!

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