Discipline and self-control must be applied one day at a time. If you can establish one daily discipline and stick with it for three weeks, you will form a new habit that will lead to the ability to become more disciplined in every area of your life.
A spiritual battle will be waged to keep you from believing that you can be disciplined. The enemy wants to rob you of the fruit of the Holy Spirit and cause you constantly to feel defeated when it comes to areas of weakness. Make this a matter of daily prayer, asking God to help you live one day at a time, to give you self-control and perseverance.
Like any endeavor, you may experience setbacks, frustrations or obstacles that discourage you. That is when you must not give in to the temptation to quit. It will be far more encouraging at the end of the year if it simply takes you longer or a few more attempts to achieve your goals than if you had quit early on.
SET A REWARD FOR SUCCESS
It is a fact that events that cause a strong emotional reaction are more vividly etched in our memories than those that are emotionally neutral. We can remember days of grief, joy or fear in more detail and for far longer than just a normal day in our lives.
If you have had a lifetime of stress when it comes to managing money, use those bad memories as motivation to eliminate the continual fear, anxiety and worry about money that have become associated with trying to solve these problems. Imagine life without that emotional drain and use it to motivate you to persevere toward the opposite end of the emotional scale -- joy, peace and a sense of being prepared.
Now with a mental picture of your goal in mind, how would you like to celebrate on Dec. 31 if you have achieved your New Year's resolution? Be honest. Would you like to eat out at a favorite restaurant, give a gift to an important person in your life, be able to be more generous? These are all perfectly acceptable forms of rewards if they motivate you to finish your goals. Since we are all built to desire rewards, this is an important element in your plan.
GET SOME HELP
Finally, don't go it alone. Team up with a friend that wants to accomplish a similar goal or join a small group that can encourage you to stay the course. God has designed all of us to operate within a body of like-minded believers.
Contact Crown and let us know how we can serve you. Together, let's make 2012 the year that, with God's help, we stick to our resolutions.
Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries. His latest book, "The S.A.L.T. Plan, How to Prepare for an Economic Crisis of Biblical Proportions," is available now. To sign up for Chuck's free weekly e-newsletter, "Handwriting on the Wall," visit Crown.org/handwriting or call 1-800-722-1976.
Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net