With the arrival of 2017, it is natural for many of us to be having thoughts of New Year’s Resolutions dancing in our heads. Whereas thoughts of change for the better are desirable at any time, we are all familiar with the natural tendency to be open to change and/or improvement which comes with the sense of “new beginnings” that accompanies any new year.
For example, I have a friend who for the last 30+ years has used the week between Christmas and New Year’s to evaluate his life in key areas. His focus of evaluation has not only included his job performance, but even more in regards to personal matters such as relationships, character, health, and other issues relating to his lifestyle. From his evaluations have arisen, not New Year’s Resolutions, but specific, manageable, measureable, and desirable goals that over the years have helped change his life significantly in key areas.
Recently, with thoughts of the approaching 2017, while reading the late Dallas Willard’s book The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God, the following sentence jumped off page 58 at me: “A saying among management experts today is, “Your system is perfectly designed to yield the result you are getting.” Another way to express that thought is this, “The results we’re getting in various areas of our lives are those results which are to be expected, given the systems we have in place to manage those areas of our lives.”
Think for a moment how that wisdom can be used to evaluate your professional performance, no matter if your job is in the area of management, sales, finance, or administration. Start by identifying the results you have gotten in 2016. Then identify the systems you have employed in performing your job that have produced those results. Consider the changes you would like to see in your results for 2017. Now determine what changes need to be made in your systems if you’re going to be able to achieve those desired results during 2017. Then establish a strategy for implementing the changes and set a workable timetable for doing so. Then do it.
While application of this wisdom to one’s professional life is obvious, I feel I would be remiss if I did not also encourage us to apply it to our personal lives. Just like the systems we have in place in our professional lives lead to the results we are getting, the same applies to our personal lives. The systems we have in place to manage our emotions and attitudes, our time, our health, our personal relationships, our spiritual lives, our character, and our finances, generally speaking, lead to the results we are getting.
As we prepare to start the New Year, I want to encourage each of us to pick 1-2 two areas of our personal lives where we would like to see positive changes occur. Evaluate and identify the results you have gotten in those areas in 2016. Then identify the systems you have in place which have produced those results. Consider the improvements you would like to see in your results for 2017. Now determine what changes need to be made in your systems if you’re going to be able to achieve those desired results during 2017. Then establish a strategy for implementing the changes and set a workable timetable for doing so. Then do it.
My prayer for each of us is that we will not simply make New Year’s Resolutions for 2017, but we will make the changes in our systems necessary to produce the results we desire for 2017.
About the Author
Jerry Long is a retired minister [38 years] living in metro Greenville, SC. He and his wife Lynne have two daughters and three grandchildren. He holds degrees from Clemson University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.