At the beginning of each new year, about 50 percent of North Americans set a goal they'd like to achieve in the 365 days that follow. The most popular of these often have to do with improving health, mastering a new skill or even finding love.

Certainly, it's great to set goals for self-betterment. Unfortunately, though, statistics reveal that 81 percent of our resolutions are never achieved. Sometimes because of unclear objectives, other times because of a lack of discipline, but all too often, our ambitions fail because they were really set as a solution to a deeper issue that can't be resolved by any self-improvement strategy: dissatisfaction with who we each are at our core.

Satan's Strategy for Your Significance

When we are discontent with something about ourselves, we tend to go on searches to improve those areas. These, of course, can be very positive journeys. But when our unhappiness has to do with poor self-worth because we believe we aren't pretty or handsome enough, are inadequate or are even unlovable, the search turns into a sprint toward a dangling carrot that can never be reached. Accordingly, when the new wears off, and we begin to realize we don't have the satisfaction we had hoped, we give up on our goals out of disappointment or to begin something else with seemingly more promise. And on and on we go.

In truth, the first step to looking better, getting that promotion or finding love actually has nothing to do with setting out to achieve those things at all. But it has everything to do with cultivating a positive self-image by seeing yourself as God sees you.

The Importance of Godly Self-Image

Proverbs 4:23 (NLT) offers great wisdom about the importance of self-image. "Guard your heart above all else," it instructs, "for it determines the course of your life." "Heart" here isn't the blood-pumping organ that we know of it as today, but it's your innermost being. In essence, the proverb urges us to guard what we believe about ourselves because this belief dictates our destinies.

And guard it we must. As we know too well, the enemy brings all kinds of situations and emotions in attempts to conceal or erode the understanding of the divine image in which we were made (see Gen. 1:27). He desires we spend our lives in endless searches for significance, rather than loving ourselves as the masterpieces God's Word affirms we are.

Set Your Goals on a Foundation of Truth

As you work your plan to improve your life, be careful it's not about trying to be someone who God says you already are. Rather, work from the foundation of knowing you are accepted, complete and loved because God already declares you to be in His Word. No worldly possessions, promotions or special someones can add an ounce to the reality of that.

Kyle Winkler equips people to live in victory. His mobile app, Shut Up, Devil!, is the #1 spiritual warfare app; and his book, Activating the Power of God's Word, uncovers 16 strategic declarations to transform your life. Kyle holds a Master of Divinity in biblical studies from Regent University. Get daily encouragement from Kyle on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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