This is the time of year when lots of people make lots of promises, plans, and resolutions that are not kept. Goals are set at the beginning of the year and abandoned before the end of the first quarter.

Now, there are reasons why people start things and don't follow through until they finish. One is -- they set unrealistic expectations for themselves. Two -- more often than not individuals try to reach goals in big chunks rather small projects. Three -- when they get overwhelmed and discouraged, and have set backs along the way, they equate those with failure.

A number of years ago I decided to read the entire Bible in six months. My intentions were good, but I did not realize how difficult a task that would be with the schedule I had at the time. Time passed quickly. It seemed as if each month flew by. The deadline came and caught me less than half way through the end of the Old Testament. Needless to say, I was very discouraged. Instead of giving of up though, I decided to try again, only this time in a different way, at a later time.

That same year I ran across a chart with all the books of the Bible on it, and it had a title that said, "Read the Bible Through in One Year." The outline illustrated a plan of reading every book in the Bible over 12 months' by completing three chapters each day, and five chapters on Saturday and Sunday. Joy filled my heart, I thought to myself, I can do that. That sounds even easier. So, the next year I tried it again, and finished. Moreover, I learned the all important lesson that certain goals need to be broken up into increments, and accomplished by conquering little pieces at a time
On my second attempt to read the 66 books of the Bible in one year, I made a sincere commitment to read every day. Getting up in the morning and covering the amount of chapters according to the outline became a habit.

At some point I remember missing a day or two and feeling bad about it. There were thoughts of quitting and settling for two or three hours of study every weekend, or joining a prayer group, or maybe enrolling in a Bible correspondence course. Nothing seemed to make more sense than the thought of finishing what I started and reaching the daily goal.

So, I doubled up on my reading to cover what I missed and catch up. At the end of the year I felt great about my accomplishment.

The truth is, success is failure turned upside down. Another word of wisdom is "You never fail until you stop trying."

Like the famous boxer who -- after being knocked to the ground several times looked up at his opponent form the mat with blood shot eyes and said, "I am down, but not out."

Or, like the wounded soldier who enthusiastically responded when hit by enemy fire, "I will lay down and bleed awhile, then get up and fight again."

Personal experiences with making plans and setting goals taught me to work hard at completing what I start. If defeated along the way, reorganize and start again. Make stumbling blocks stepping stones. Remember, Christ's help is available from start to finish. Above all, I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.