Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Resolution: Improve by 1%

By now, millions (or billions?) of new years resolutions have been made...and probably most of those broken. It's been a tradition over the years to say that starting in the new year, we're going to totally revamp who we are. Works out good for a while, but eventually the emotion wears off & we're back to our old selves. And probably angry for lacking what it takes to keep our promises to ourselves.

I like Dr. Ben Lerner's strategy, which he writes about in his book, Body By God (no, I'm not necessarily promoting this book as a whole, but I do like this particular idea). He suggests the 40 day plan. That is, during a 40 day period, if you add something good to your life, or take away something bad--each day, then you'll be 40% better. OK, maybe not exactly 1% per day (after all, how can you calculate so specifically?) But certainly somewhat better than you were.

Recently, for example, I've been putting a little less sugar in my tea each morning. Maybe there won't be noticeable results right away, but if I can save 40 teaspoons of sugar, for example, that will be good for my health (& put a few extra pennies in our bank account). Maybe I'll spend a few more minutes each day (or even each week) than before: praying, reading from the Bible, doing something romantic for my wife, spending a little more time learning about blogging (now I really need that!), writing to a friend, writing a devotional, or organizing our garage. I'd better start with the praying, so I can have better guidance for the other choices. Often, after a few weeks or so of doing something consistently, whether good or bad, it becomes a part of us.

It helps (& I'm sure Dr. Lerner would agree) that it's best to improve in those areas related to the mission we've been given (for us believers in Christ, I believe it's He who ultimately gives us the gifts, talents, & vision for who we are to become for His purpose). For example, while it can be fun to spend extra time watching documentaries, we must be careful not to do too much of that if it's moving us away from who God created us to be (I use that example because I'm guilty of it).

I hope to report in the next 40 days (or somewhere in the near future) some significant improvements I've made. 1% at a time. Please let me know if this has worked for you, or if you are thinking about using this method.


  1. I like this idea a fact I think I will give it a try myself!

  2. Hey, ya never know. In another month or so, we'll be two such awesome people that our spouses won't even recognize us. ;>)