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Entries in Resolutions (3)


Busy, Busy

Insightful and practical, Susan K. Stewart challenges women to consider what they're doing in light of God's Word. In this Biblical Thinking UPGRADE, she asks us to consider the busyness in our lives, and if there might be a better approach to goals.

"By the end of 2016, I was tired," Susan says. "I accomplished many of my goals. I had a stack of check-offed to-do list. I had been busy. Why did I feel as those I hadn’t accomplished anything?"

Oh, I (Dawn) know a lot about checked off lists. I've lived by them since I was a child. But Susan makes me think—is there a better way?

Susan continues . . .

I had accomplished a lot that year:

  • published an award-winning book,
  • spoke at national conferences,
  • taught classes online,
  • and many other achievements, which say "success".

I met my goals for the year.

That’s was the problem. I had met my goals.

Each year we are bombarded with resolutions, goals, and focus words. We are encouraged to plan out our year for success.

Midway through the year, just as we begin to think we’ve failed, more articles and podcasts land in our email boxes telling us how to pick up the goals we haven’t finished and move forward.

Even Christian material tells us how to make plans and we can accomplish them. It might be a three-step list or a twelve-step program. The point is, “make a plan and work the plan.”

This can seem like a circle of life—no, more like a race track of life with no finish line.

I needed not just a pit stop; I needed off the track.

Here are some of the ways I’ve conquered the busyness.

1. Don’t buy a planner.

If you already have one, put it at the bottom of the bottom drawer.

We can become slaves to the lists and boxes. It can steal our joy in what we do.

I choose to have a plain calendar. Once a box is full, I don’t schedule anything thing else for that day.

2. Nix the goals and resolutions.

Instead, determine your priorities for the year. And it’s fine if you have the same priorities each year.

Some people tell me priorities are the same as goals. I don’t think so.

The month of July, my priority is my granddaughter’s visit. It’s not a goal; she comes every year. Those tasks take second chair to my priority.

3. Limit the number of items on a to-do list.

I have sticky pad to-do lists. It has space for four items. That’s truly manageable, there’s no space to keep adding on.

I don’t take the top sheet off until I’ve completed the tasks on it. I do add items to the next pages, but I don’t see them until I get there.

Long term projects get their own four-item to-do lists, which I pull out only when I’m working on that project.

Without a long to-do list I don’t feel overwhelmed, and I have a sense of accomplishment with each sticky note I pull off.

These are some tangible ideas how to not be bogged down in the endless cycle of resolutions, goals, and failure. They help me keep perspective on my day and my life. I feel more in control.

But this list in not the real answer.

Henry David Thoreau said, "It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?"

I answer this question each time I get bogged down in accomplishments, when I think I should be doing more, when I’m tired of being busy. Yes, it happens even with the above steps.

Jesus was busy about doing good and His Father’s will.

  • Yes, He got tired.
  • Yes, He needed to draw away from the daily tasks to rest.
  • Yes, He needed to spend time with God the Father.

We are told by Jeremiah God has a plan for us, a plan for good.

God's plan doesn’t require to-do lists and goals, and it doesn’t leave us exhausted.

God’s plan also has hope and future. What more do we need? (Jeremiah 29:11)

The reason 2016 was so exhausting and lacked fulfillment is I was working from MY goals and plans. I was busy about busy work, instead of doing good and God’s will.

For those of us who need a final step, it is this:

4. Seek His kingdom first (Matthew. 6:33), and make it your priority.

God will add what you need to your to-do list.

Which of these action steps could help you get off the busy-busy treadmill right now? What can you do to seek the Lord and do more of His will?

Susan K. Stewart teaches, writes, and edits non-fiction. She is known for practical solutions to real-world situations. Susan is senior nonfiction editor with Elk Lake Publishing, blog content manager for Mount Hermon Writers Conference blog, and has published five books. Susan lives in Central Texas with her husband, Bob, three dogs, three cats, nine chickens, and two donkeys. Discover more about Susan's ministry at



Are Resolutions a Good Idea?

Author and speaker Kathy Collard Miller is one smart lady. I've grown to trust her insights. In this UPGRADE for the New Year, she asks us to get real about resolutions.

Kathy asks, "Did you make a resolution but you’ve already forgotten it, flubbed it up or forsaken it? It’s hard to believe a resolution won’t succeed, right?"

I (Dawn) want to say, "Don't go there!" I've blown more resolutions in decades of living than I care to remember. I wish I'd known a wiser perspective.

Kathy continues. . .

Although it’s against common beliefs that resolutions might not be the best idea, they often don’t succeed because of three reasons.

Let’s see what will work instead.

1. Resolutions are often “all or nothing.”

Haven’t we all resolved to:

  • “ the Bible every day”?
  • “...never get angry at my children again”?
  • “...always be content in everything”?

Do you see those “absolute" words: every, never, always? Who can do that? Only Jesus and we aren’t Him!

How about if we become realistic with our desires?

  • “I’m going to study the Bible three times this week for five minutes each?”
  • “I”m going to examine when I become angry most often and ask my friend to pray for me at one of those times.”
  • “I’m going to choose one area of discontent and surrender to God in that area today.”

Those are reachable, but even if we don’t reach them

God’s unlimited second chances called “mercy” are always available to re-boot our plans.

2. Resolutions are often beyond our personal resources.

If we are using a huge resolution to try to force change within us, it’s usually beyond our level of maturity or trust in God. Who hasn’t wanted to trust God in every situation?

When I’m thinking that way, I love to be reminded of Jesus’ compassion for the father who replied, “I do believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24 ESV). Jesus healed his son anyway.

God knows the next step for our growth and He’s not impatient with our progress.

3. Resolutions are often beyond our control.

Did you know there’s a difference between desires and goals?

Desires are what we would like but we may not be able to reach them because someone else has to cooperate. You may desire to have a spectacular marriage but guess who else has to have that desire—and take action? Right!

There’s nothing wrong with the desire. The problem is thinking we can force it to happen ourselves.

Different from desires, goals are attainable and within your control. A goal regarding your marriage might be, “I will think of something positive I like about my spouse three times (or five—whatever is a reasonable number) this week.”

Can you do that regardless of your spouse’s involvement? Yes. And it may have an impact on your marriage towards making it spectacular.

These three perspectives can be drawn from First Timothy 4:15:

“Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress” (ESV).

The word “progress” is the idea of “a pioneer cutting his way through the wilderness” (Vine’s Biblical Dictionary). Guess how a pioneer does that? One step at a time with a machete or axe. Not one fell swoop with a mile long sword.

If God had intended for us to have instant, complete, “all or nothing,” perfectly-fulfilled “resolutions,” He wouldn’t have used the word “PROGRESS.”

He would have inspired Paul to write “perfection.” Plus, He says, “practice these things.”

That takes time and involves seeking the power of the Holy Spirit moment by moment.

So how are your resolutions going? Great? I hope so. But if not, don’t be discouraged. How can you consider revising them to be more reasonable, attainable, and realistic?

Kathy Collard Miller is a popular speaker and award-winning author of over 50 books. Her most recent book is Choices of the Heart in the Daughters of the King Bible Study Series. Kathy has spoken in over 30 US states and eight foreign countries. Find out more about Kathy at her website.




Resolutions, Goals and a Bucket List

Ready for the New Year? I always appreciate those who help us forget those things that are behind and push forward to greater things. Marcia Ramsland is one of those people, and I asked her to share this special New Year's UPGRADE.

"January 1 is the day to write a resolution or two," Marcia says. "If you’re not living the life you love or at least enjoying each day, then perhaps it’s because you don’t know what you want, you know what it is but haven’t worked to get it, or you’ve let life get in your way."

Last year, I [Dawn] picked a special word that motivated me all year long, but I have to admit, my office fell apart last year. Picking one motivating word has nothing to do with organizing your life (unless, perhaps, the word is "organization!") So I'm looking for tips from people like Marcia to help me get back on track!

Marcia continues . . .

Here are three ways to change that while you are poised at the beginning of the new year. Pick One Style for a New Year, New You!

1. A Resolution

A New Year's resolution is a January 1 personal commitment for the coming year to change a habit or lifestyle for the better, such as the two most popular ones, to lose weight and get organized!

2. A Goal

A goal is a dream with a plan attached, and is best achieved if there is a positive emotional response to its success, such as moving to a warm climate, redecorating at home, or doubling your income. Jot them on your new monthly calendar.

3. A Bucket List

A Bucket List is a wish list of things you’d like to do in your lifetime that captures your imaginationsuch as climbing Mt. Everest, running a marathon or writing a book. Fill your bucket list with 5-10 things you’ve only dreamed about.

What would it take for a “New Year, New You” lifestyle makeover?

Here is a list of 15 ideas to stimulate your thinking. Write your own list of eight to ten goals you would like to have or do in the coming new year. Think big!

  • Prioritize my life and say “no” with confidence.
  • Find a regular exercise program I like.
  • Eat healthier every meal.
  • Get to bed by 10:30 p.m.
  • Reorganize and upgrade my office.
  • Create a budget and save for my dream car.
  • Plan one enjoyable activity per 52 weekends.
  • Trade childcare for more personal time.
  • Get together monthly with a good friend.
  • Become team manager for your son’s sports team.
  • Go on my bucket list dream vacation.
  • Call parents/grandparents once a week.
  • Send out birthday cards (or birthday emails) on time.
  • Join a new business group.
  • Wrap up leadership responsibility in current organization.
  • Complete a degree over the next three years.

I know this setting goals works for two reasons:

1) Proverbs 13:4 says, “The sluggard (sluggish) craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.”

Practically, that means if we steadily work toward a goal, we will get there. Also, if we just set the goal, we won’t get there.

2) I coach women via Face Time, email, and photos to achieve anything from writing a book, or organizing their paperwork, closet, garage or officein 30 days or less! Things they never thought they could do!

When they know I do three-month, six-month, and one-year checkups, they achieve their new, organized lifestyleand maintain it. It works and you can see the “Before and After” photos yourself here

What works best for you: resolutions, goals, a bucket list or something else? What motivates you?

NOTE: This post is an adapted excerpt from Marcia's book, Simplify Your Holiday Season.

Marcia Ramsland is well known as the "Organizing Pro,” a national speaker, and author of over 100,000 books sold in her Simplify Your Life series. Marcia personally coaches individuals and organizations to be highly productive in managing their time, space, and life. Hundreds of clients and audiences from New York to California agree with her belief that anyone can become more organized - even YOU! Contact her at

New Year Graphic adapted, Image courtesy of noppasinw at