Hold on a sec…I have to stuff the rest of the bag of m-n-m’s in my mouth before my New Year resolutions begin tomorrow!
Am I the only one?
Living it up before everything changes?! Ha!
Seriously though, the new year is a great time to at least evaluate what happened this past year, and any changes you might want to see in the year ahead.
I already talked about how much I hate New Year’s Resolutions , so I am not going to go down that road again.
I just think it’s always good to take inventory of where you are in life so you don’t get stuck in a rut.
No one likes being stuck in a rut!
Here are Five easy steps to starting the New Year off right.
1. Start small.
Baby steps. I talked about it in my last post.
Doing resolutions for each month, instead of resolutions for the entire year is more doable.
Make goals for January.
Then, when you have completed those, make new goals for February.
You can get a list of goals here
2. Start with what’s right in front of you.
Don’t set big, vague goals, set small, reasonable ones.
*I will have an organized house this year.
*I will organize my bedroom closet before January is over.
*I will not gossip this year
*I will not talk negative about ____________ for the month of January.
*I am going to get healthy this year
*I will drink water before I have my coffee every morning this entire month.
Start with what’s right in front of you and conquer that before you move on to the next goal!
Write them down as you complete them! It will be so amazing to look back after a few months and see what you have accomplished!
3. Make your spiritual growth your biggest priority.
There are going to be a lot of things pulling at you and fighting for your attention, and they may be really great things…
Getting healthy, making better financial choices, starting a business, growing your business, being a better friend, wife or mom.
But the foundation has to be your relationship with God.
It has to be.
If you are choosing to read your Bible when it’s convenient, praying when you are in desperate need, going to church only if there’s nothing else going on, and not serving at all? You are choosing for your foundation to be weak.
If your foundation is weak, you will crumble when hard times come.
Matthew 7 is an amazing passage that talks about the importance of doing more than simply hearing God’s Words.
He likens that person to a foolish man who is building his house on the sand. When the storms came, he fell and fell hard.
Compare that to the man who is building his life on the rock.
That person can go through the same storms, but not be shaken.
If you are “pushing off” time with God, serving, church attendance..you are putting yourself in danger.
This has to be your first priority.
And it has the greatest rewards!
Easy steps for this one are:
*I will go to church every Sunday in January. (Or maybe, if you are already attending church weekly, decide to start attending Sunday School or a small group for the month of January as well!)
*I will set aside ____ time in the morning to pray before I start my day.
*I will memorize one Bible verse this month.
*I will start a consistent personal Bible study.
*I will get an accountability partner.
4.Don’t try to be superman/woman
I don’t think it’s just a New England thing, although I do think it’s pretty common around here.
But thinking we can do everything on our own is a trap we can fall into.
We either take hurts from people in our past, or just simply don’t want to “put people out” and we turn that into reasons for us to go it alone.
We think we can handle the stress, the pressure, the pain and the burdens alone.
That is not the way God created us.
He created us as relational people!
He created us with a need for each other!
We are hurting ourselves when we think we can just do everything on our own.
An easy way to start the year off right, is joining together with community and realizing that we need each other.
I need you. You need me.
Going through life together makes everything better.
*Practice asking people for help this month.
*Offer yourself to help other people this month.
*Join a small group or a Bible study this month.
5. Give yourself a break.
Life is hard. We are human.
We are going to make mistakes, we are going to fail.
But. God is faithful. He forgives, He restores and He gives strength.
You aren’t expected to be perfect. Just to be growing.
So if you find yourself being discouraged and overwhelmed by ways you have failed, focus on the positive ways you have grown and celebrate those!
I remember running my first road race.
It was a 5 mile race in Dover. I was so excited and even though I had trained for it, and felt prepared, I took out of the gate like I was running for my life!
I let the excitement of the event, the people around me, the loud music and the thrill of running get to me and I did not start off at a pace that was practical for me to run the entire race!
By mile three, I was dead.
I realized that in the races I ran in the future, I was going to have to pace myself.
Start off slow and steady and just focus on my race.
Life is not meant to be a sprint all the time.
There are going to be times that life just plain stinks
(in that first race, right after I started running, a guy next to me spit and it landed right in my mouth!! I had to just keep running and not let it affect me!)
There are going to be circumstances that come up that you might not have control over.
But it can’t stop you from running.
It can’t stop you from looking forward, picking yourself up and just staying on the course.
When hard times come, when you blow your goals, when you feel like quitting…
Just give yourself a break!
Don’t take things too seriously.
Keep running and you’re going to be ok.
Next time you start feeling like a failure:
*Remind yourself that you are God’s creation.
*Read Psalm 139.
*Text a friend and ask them to pray for you.
This year can be the best year ever for you, one month at a time.
When we start to realize that it’s not about us, but it’s about bringing glory to God and it’s about looking more like him tomorrow that I do today? My perspective changes.
And it makes starting the New Year off right EASY!
These steps are going to make it easy to start this year off right!
What about you?
Do you have areas you have to work on?
Are you setting goals that are just too hard for you and you are overwhelmed?
Are you trying to do too much too fast?
Where are you spiritually?? Are you growing and serving, or are you hearing God’s word but not obeying it?
And how about the people around you? Are you surrounding yourself with people who are holding you up and helping you run this race?
And then how are you doing with beating yourself up? Are you being too hard on yourself?
Let’s start this year out right!
And let’s do it together.
I really feel like this year’s gonna be a great one!
We are in this together!
Keep running your course!