Do you hate New Year’s Resolutions as much as I do? I feel defeated just thinking about them. Why do resolutions dissolve only months into the New Year, or often after only a few weeks or days?
Are our goals too lofty? Do they lack the strategy and a plan to reach them? Do we want to make too many changes and become overwhelmed, resulting in “throwing in the towel”.
A woman who is recovering from betrayal may feel that making several resolutions is what she needs; she may feel as though her life has been on hold for a long time, with so much ignored during her recovery. She may also desperately want to move forward with strength and gusto toward positive changes.
How do we go about making these achievable, positive changes?
For starters, let’s steer clear of “New Year’s Resolutions”!
INSTEAD, LET’S CALL IT A NEW CHAPTER!
What do you want your life to look like? Let's create some lists. But Instead of envisioning checking off those lists, try to envision functioning as a woman growing through a new chapter of your life. Think about your baseline priorities: Do you want to be an effective woman operating in joy, peace, and confidence? Build healthy relationships for the future? These will need intention behind them and a plan for carrying them out. All that happens in a new chapter doesn’t occur in the first paragraph. Change needs to be slow and steady. We’re bound to fizzle out if we don’t slowly plan and evolve throughout the year.
So where should we start? Let’s write some things out…
First, identify areas where you would like to grow, and place each category on a separate piece of paper. Here are some possible headings: “Spiritual”, “Health” or “Self Care”, “Relational”, “Business”, “Kids”, “Home”... Maybe one of your sheets of paper will be “Recovery”? You can add as many as make sense for you.
Next, under those categories, create lists, concentrating on what you would like to incorporate into your life. Leave plenty of space between points – this way, you can jot down an actual plan of attack under each item visually seeing how you will accomplish it.
Once you have your lists completed, take a new page and create a rough weekly calendar with each day of the week across the top. Begin by filling in the duties in your life that you cannot control, ie. work, care for kids, etc.. Since I work two jobs from home, I also fill in which days I’ll work on which job. Get as much down on your weekly schedule as possible, but remember it is not set in stone.
Now it’s time to prioritize each item on all your sheets, numbering them in order of their importance or urgency. This is something I take time to pray about, because God’s priorities for me may be different than mine. This way, we can give more time to the most important things on the list, and begin to envision how to place them in our week. We can also plan things out gradually, knowing things take time. That way, we can avoid discouragement and build our successes one at a time. This will help them stick!
For me, my “Spiritual” list is my greatest priority. When I consider how to implement spiritual growth, I start with my Bible study commitment. Will I participate in a local small group, a church study, or one online? I set that up first because unless it is online, attending something takes a time commitment in a certain time slot. Staying committed to a study, or your recovery group and therapy session are high priority, especially if it’s early in your recovery.
Some list items will happen at a certain time. Others might need to be eased into, so as not to be overwhelming. For example, under the “Health” category, perhaps your list will look like this:
Now to pacing. Perhaps start with the daily health drink, committing to it until it is a comfortable part of your routine. Then, you can add another item from the list, at whatever speed works for you (e.g., one/week or one/month). Remember, you are writing a new chapter without a deadline. Of course, you can strive to have everything in motion within 6 months, but know you can also edit along the way.
Note: It’s important to start with doable achievements before adding challenging goals.
So, are you ready for a New Chapter in your life? I am too and this unconventional method makes it absolutely doable!
If you are struggling with this exercise, sit down with a few women in your recovery group and work on it together. We recently did this in our local group—it was so helpful hearing other women’s organizational systems.
Remember, with whatever you place on your lists, it is imperative that you NOT get discouraged and give up at any effort of change or opportunities for growth. I struggle with this: I have an all or nothing mentality, and I continually have to refocus toward beneficial change no matter how many times I fall off the wagon. There’s simply nothing wrong with getting back up and trying again. The Bible is full of principles of perseverance and it's truly a positive trait for us.
Perfection is not our goal.
Growth is our goal.
Finally, in all your striving, don’t become a slave to your schedule. This will cause you to neglect your paramount need, which is God. He is to be what we seek after the most!
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33
Getting too busy for God is flat out dangerous! Seeking the Lord needs to be the quintessential part of our life. We’ve heard the story of Mary and Martha, learning that Jesus would rather we sit at His feet relationally connecting with Him rather than being busy, schedule-abiding citizens, taking care of kids, house, even church commitments.
“Do not work for food that perishes but for food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set his seal on him.” John 6:27
“Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually.” 1 Chronicles 16:11
Believe that you are a woman loved by God and that His greatest desire for you is to have unshakable faith. Your faith can only grow by spending quality and quantity time with Him. Make Him your highest priority – you cannot go wrong in your new chapter with Him!
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6
Many blessings to you this year!
Laura serves as the Executive Director on the board of HER. She is passionate about helping betrayed women who struggle emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, and financially. She has been leading weekly marital betrayal support groups for several years. Currently, Laura connects with leaders, writers, and counselors, to unite the efforts of those who share a burden for betrayed women.
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