“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.” – G. K. Chesterton
If the idea of making anything close to a resolution causes you to pull your hair out, this post is for you. I’m not about banishing snacks from my home or even picking a number on the scale. I prefer to speak in terms of goals that help me to live a better story. I wanted to share some thoughts, resources, and encouragement for embracing the New Year.
1. Write out your story from 2013. I did this last week and spent 45 minutes to an hour tops on the whole project. I wrote out my highs and lows for the year. After doing so I stared at a list of God’s provision and providence. I was overwhelmed to see how many good gifts were poured out in abundance. I’m also humbled to see His hand in the midst of heartache. Writing out my story helps me to remember where I have come from and where He is taking me.
2. Include your family in the process of setting goals for the year. Sitting down with your whole family to reflect on the past year and prepare for the next can lead to some really great conversation. Not only that, sharing goals together can help you encourage each other to achieve them! If you are looking for a great place to start when it comes to some serious goal setting, consider making a list for the year. This list can be a great motivator for you as an individual or together with your family. I’d encourage you to consider these areas in your goal making: Spiritual, Family, Social, Physical, Work/School, Self-Development, and Finances. Don’t set too many, and don’t take too long. This should be a fun process!
3. Don’t get discouraged! I didn’t finish everything on my list from last year, but that doesn’t mean I failed. It just means those things need to be reworded, reworked, and refocused. This verse keeps me encouraged:
“So here’s what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t.” 2 Corinthians 8:10-12, The Message
5. Write out your hopes for the year. When I step into 2015 (yikes!) I hope to:
– Know my neighbors beyond their names and a few surface details. (I want to know their stories.)
– Have finally read “Mere Christianity.” (How many times can you stop and start one book?)
– Tried out and attended a group activity class at my local rec center. (I’m not meeting people jogging by myself.)
– Have given away multiple copies of the Jesus Storybook Bible in English and Spanish.
Those are just a few… there are some more that are going to stay close to heart for safe-keeping! But more than any hope I have for the year, I am waiting in expectation for all that the Lord has in store. For “many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21). I trade in my lists for whatever He purposes.
My hope is that these words encourage you in your own story!