5 Ways You Need To Be Honest With Yourself

It’s New Year’s Eve– the time for self-evaluation, promises, and resolutions. The problem?

Most of those goals go unmet & forgotten. 25% of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned within a WEEK.

I’m convinced that a large part of that “failure” rate is that we aren’t honest with ourselves about our real life limitations BEFORE we set our goals.

Today, I want to share with you 5 ways you need to be HONEST with yourself. Truthfully examining these 5 areas will help you:

  1. Not set goals you’ll soon abandon,
  2. Be purposeful and successful in the goals you DO set, and
  3. Set yourself up to live intentionally this year.

new year's resolutions, self-honesty,

#1- BE HONEST ABOUT WHO YOU ARE.

Don’t take on goals that don’t suit the unique way God made you.

  • If you’re a complete “messy,” don’t do one of those “365” day calendars where you “only” plan to do one major cleaning project a day. It’s not going to get done and you’ll feel like a failure. (Ask me how I know…) 
  • If you’re not currently reading your Bible on a daily basis, you probably shouldn’t “commit” to a 6-chapter-a-day Bible reading plan. Consider choosing a plan with a gentler pace… you’re more likely to stick with a doable plan.

Be HONEST with yourself about yourself. See yourself as you really are.

Don’t commit to goals that don’t jive with your “bent.” Instead, set realistic goals that are within sight for YOU. The REAL you. The you that honestly doesn’t mind a messy dresser top, or that misses a few days of Bible reading each week.

#2- BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR SEASON OF LIFE.

  • If you’re in a season with all little kids, don’t set a goal of completing a series of major home renovation projects over the next year.
  • If you live away from family and have no real support system, don’t set a weekly-date-night resolution unless your budget can truthfully manage the babysitting & date costs each week, and unless you have a trustworthy babysitter at the ready.

By recognizing where you really are in life— the season, the location, the life specifics unique to your family & lifestyle– you’ll be able to set more reasonable goals for YOU.

#3- BE HONEST ABOUT WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE ON YOUR PLATE.

  • If you’re caring for an aging grandparent/parent, raising multiple little kids, doing medical transcription from home in your “spare” (haha) time, and/or barely keeping your household running, don’t set a weight loss goal, complete with weekly meetings, a daily journal to complete, and trips to the gym 5x/week.
  • Is your husband in a busy season of work, leaving little time together as a couple, and keeping you perpetually used-up? Take that into consideration before setting goals that will add more time-sucking commitments.

By reminding yourself of what you’re already currently doing, you’ll avoid conflicts in your schedule, and leave yourself more margin to do things well (rather than barely getting by!).

#4- BE HONEST ABOUT WHAT’S COMING.

  • Are you pregnant?
  • Is your husband about to start night classes for his master’s degree?
  • Is this the year you’ll start homeschooling your oldest child?
  • What about the “assumed” commitments (i.e., your child always plays Little League baseball in the spring, or you teach summer classes at the community college)?

Look ahead purposefully.  What can you *already* foresee?

Personal tip: for myself, I typically leave the last month or two of pregnancy and the first two-three months after having a baby completely commitment-free. The reason why I do that is not because I’m a wimp… it’s because I’m human.

Things always come up at the last minute. By carefully limiting commitments made-in-advance, I have enough margin to be able to do the most important things that pop-up. If I tightly packed our schedule, and THEN those things popped up, my energy would be depleted and I’d be good for nothing.

Your life may be different in terms of specifics, but look ahead realistically. Don’t overcommit yourself. You’ll end up doing things poorly, or fill your heart, body, and mind with anxiety. Leave more margin than you think you’ll need, and don’t commit yourself to goals or plans that will eat into that margin.

#5- BE HONEST ABOUT WHAT YOU CAN REALISTICALLY ADD IN.

Honestly answer this question: what has this last year been like?

For most people, instead of answers like “well-balanced,” “purposeful,” and “full of good times together as a family,” it’s more like this:

  • “Ugh! This Fall has been so busy. We never should have committed to Tae Kwon Do; he doesn’t really even enjoy it!”
  • “Sorry we haven’t been able to get together; I didn’t expect for my summer to be so hectic!”
  • “We definitely want to be more involved at church. Just a few more weeks of having two practices a week and then we’ll be down to one. Maybe THEN we can attend a fellowship group.”
  • “I feel like we spend this time of year rushing from one thing to the next.”

This happens all through the year, with almost everyone I know.

So… before you add in a gym commitment, before you sign your kids up for “only one sport each,” and before you join that book-study-group, consider:

  • What was your year REALLY like?
  • Were you able to connect in meaningful ways with people who you are purposefully growing alongside?
  • Are you currently being intentional in your family life?
  • What things ought to be cut from your life, in order for you to add in something else?
  • What things just need to be cut, with nothing replacing them?
  • Are you involved and connected with your church family?
  • Can you genuinely add more to your life?
  • What needs to be prioritized differently in order to make your life work right?

If your life is currently busier than it ought to be, or if you already feel like your kids get the short end of the stick, you *realistically* ought not be adding more on top of that. Instead, simplify. Cut back. Focus on what matters.

Don’t try to add more on top of a life that is already overscheduled.

If, on the other hand, things are swimming along nicely, or there are things you can easily cut out in order to make time for some new commitments, then you’ll be able to proceed with peace and confidence!

 

IN THE COMMENTS, PLEASE SHARE:

  • What goals are you setting this year?
  • In what ways could these 5 questions help you reframe and focus your goals so they work for you, rather than against you?

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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9 Responses

  1. Laura says:

    This year, I only have two resolutions: 1. Speak in a nicer tone/be more patient with my kids and 2. Be more diligent in my Bible reading/praying. Everything else is secondary. I think I have been thinking along the same lines as you in that I don’t want to set myself up for a fall. Sure, I’d like to lose some weight this year, but with homeschooling, and trying to consciously work on my two resolutions, I honestly don’t think I’d be able to stick to any kind of diet or exercise routine. (Not that I won’t try to eat a bit better and exercise more, but I’m not laying it all out as a goal.) Anyway, thanks for the boost of encouragement :)

    • Jess Connell says:

      Great goals, Laura!

      By being more focused and simple with your goals I’m betting you’ll be able to keep them clearly in mind and with God’s help, keep pursuing them throughout the year. Thanks for sharing.

    • Christy says:

      Me, too! I totally could have written what Laura wrote. I want to be kinder and gentler with my children and regularly spend more time in the Scriptures and praying. Lots of other things could make the list, but they aren’t nearly as important as those two.

      I see lots of friends who are busy teaching Bible studies and shuffling their kids around to different activities, but I have to remind myself that they aren’t homeschooling…or if they are, they just have more stamina than I do.

      Thanks, Jess, for the reminder to be honest about who I am and what I can realistically do. I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment (again) this year when I can’t make good on my resolutions. Just last week I found my resolutions from last January. I told my husband that not only had I not lost the weight I wanted to, but I gained 2 more lbs! Ugh. And while I know that health is important, being godly is more important. So this year I want to narrow down my goals to ones that are pursuing godliness.

      • Jess Connell says:

        Sounds like you plan on honing in on what matters, Christy!

        I completely agree with this: “while I know that health is important, being godly is more important. So this year I want to narrow down my goals to ones that are pursuing godliness.”

        See ya in 2015!

  2. Kondwani says:

    Lovely, gentle, compassionate post. I think as Christian women, often with church responsibilities and quite a few of use who read your blog as home educators, we can set ourselves impossibly high standards. You remind us that God is gracious and compassionate (and it says in Isaiah that He is particularly gentle with those who have young). You remind us to focus on those things that really matter, and not get sucked into a (potentially worldly) cycle of impossible goals followed by failure and discouragement. God bless you!

  1. January 3, 2015

    […] Similarly, you can find a plethora of posts about New Year’s Resolutions and/or goals. A couple of the best I’ve seen are Ten Truths That Will Change Your Life in 2015 and 5 Ways You Need to Be Honest With Yourself. […]

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    […] give a big push toward setting goals for yourself (although, if you’re doing that, here are 5 ways to be honest with yourself before you […]

  4. December 8, 2016

    […] Are you being honest in your self-expectations? […]

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