How to Avoid Great Expectations in 2012 by Julie Arduini

With Christmas behind us, the conversation of the week seems to be about resolutions. People are reflecting on their year and making goals for the new one. I giggled watching Live with Kelly as Kelly Ripa mentioned resolutions and how she avoids the gym for the first three weeks of the new year. Her observation is that new members with great intentions take over the facility those first three weeks. But day after day the numbers drop until that third week when it’s pretty much back to the regular members. I can relate to that.

I’ve read that it takes 21 days to form a habit, good or bad. When I talk with friends about resolutions, one thing stands out—they have great expectations. They place a huge burden on a single month, expecting immediate transformation. For those who have a personality like mine, all or nothing, this is a plan destined for disappointment.

My take is to prayerfully take stock of your life and see what God has for you. He knows you best of all, why not ask Him what He wants for you this year? His answer might surprise you. Whatever your 2012 goals are, why not implement this strategy into making these goals success stories—

1. Eat that elephant one bite at a time. I have a writing friend who received great news, but with her contract came a formidable deadline. When she looked at the end date and total word count, she grew anxious. The task was daunting and the more she looked at the big picture, the more she felt she would fail. After praying she realized to scale things down. She looked at how many words a day she needed to write to meet that deadline, and factored in days where life would get in the way and she might not get a lot of writing accomplished. Turns out she needed 1,000 words a day to meet that goal. That overwhelming task was now manageable. She’s well on her way because she took that elephant and as the joke goes, she ate one bite at a time.

2. Make it your job. This is for the all or nothing personality. I look at what I want to accomplish as a wife, mom, writer, and ministry leader and break each category down. Last year I wanted to lose weight but knew from previous failures just saying I wanted to lose wasn’t going to be enough. I researched methods and chose following Lysa TerKeurst’s Made to Crave online study. The principles in that book gave me the “want to” and I watched the weekly webinars for additional support. I knew I needed accountability so I started teaching the study in a small group study. I put in my Outlook calendar tasks for my goals, breaking them down to quarterly, monthly, weekly, and sometimes daily deadlines. I’m someone that needs to see small goals in writing, and I love checking them off when completed. Although I’ve slacked off during the holidays, I hit that initial weight loss goal. I got specific, set deadlines, researched methods, and looked at my strengths and weaknesses to implement the tasks. If you are a details oriented person, make hitting your goals  your job. Don’t just randomly announce your resolutions.
Resolutions Pictures, Images and Photos
3. Pray! It’s so simple we miss it, I know I do. I’m someone who writes and speaks on all things surrender, so you’d think I’d pray first when starting something new. I’m a firm believer that prayer changes things and can make the impossible possible. I’ve had too many diagnosis and negative events that looked like obvious failure on paper turn into the biggest success stories of my life because I believed God through Christ. My next post will expand on this to explain why I’m a believer in creating a prayer team to cover you no matter what you do for the Lord. Prayer is the foundation of everything I do—writing, marriage, parenting, and everything in between. Start the new year right with prayer.

My goal is pretty much to keep on keeping on. I want to return to the high fiber eating I adopted in 2011 and remember regular exercise. I have this broken down and hope to start even before the ball drops.

I want to keep working on my contemporary romance, listening to the Lord’s leading as I wrap up sharing it with two critique groups. Perhaps this is the year I seek an agent.

I believe praying for others will be a big part of the new year, and I want to make sure I’m spending time with Him and His word so that I’m filled. I overextended myself this year and I don’t want to burn out again. The word I believe God has for His people this coming year is “Justice” so I’m reading up on that and want to be open for His leading.

How about you? Have you set yourself up for disappointment but creating great expectations for the new year? What are your goals for the year and how do you plan to implement them? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Image by OdRodyssey

About juliearduini

Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to find freedom in Christ by surrendering the good, the bad, and ---maybe one day---the chocolate. She’s the author of the new contemporary romance series SURRENDERING HEARTS (Anchored Hearts, Repairing Hearts, +four more.) Her other romance series is SURRENDERING TIME (Entrusted, Entangled, Engaged.) She also co-wrote a YA series with her daughter, SURRENDERING STINKIN’ THINKIN’ (You’re Beautiful, You’re Amazing, You’re Brilliant.) Her stand-alone romances include MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN and RESTORING CHRISTMAS. Julie maintains a blog at and participates in the team blog Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at
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1 Response to How to Avoid Great Expectations in 2012 by Julie Arduini

  1. Pingback: How to Create a Prayer Covering « Christians Read

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