Blog – 12-30-15
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas celebrating the birth of Jesus with your family and friends. Mine was busy with lots of family, just how I like it!
As we celebrate New Year’s Eve tomorrow, there seems to be a consistent theme that comes with each New Year…New Beginnings. The New Year brings with it the sense of a new start, a do-over, a chance to get things going in the right direction.
I don’t know about you, but I always get a surge of excitement at the beginning of a new year. I’m full of determination to make it the best year ever. That determination tends to diminish quickly, however, and I know I’m not alone in that struggle. Statistics say that one-fourth of us abandon our resolutions after only one week. Sixty percent give up after six months. Wow, those statistics can be disheartening. So how can we make this year different? How can we make goals and objectives that are more attainable?
I’ve been spending time in prayer about this, and this is where God has led me in my own personal journey. I hope it will help you as well!
No. 1, ask God for direction on setting your goals. If we don’t seek God’s will in our lives, we run the risk of letting other people’s ideas about our lives and trying to please them control our goal setting. Philippians 3:14 says, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” The first and most important step is to set God-given goals that fulfill God’s unique purpose and calling in our individual lives. My goals are going to look way different than yours, and that’s okay. That’s the beautiful thing about being true to our purpose because we are all called to different positions of service, and each of us has a unique place in God’s story.
No. 2, write them down. Studies have shown that we are 42 percent more likely to reach our goals if we simply write them down. In the past I’ve tossed it off as just something else “to do,” but last year I did write my goals down, and it definitely made a difference. I realized that it helps you get specific, it helps you monitor your progress, and it helps you stay focused. I was a little too “pie in the sky” last year, and this year’s goals I am purposely going to make more realistic (maybe winning a Dove award needs to go off the list!) I want to push myself to grow, but I also don’t want to put goals down that will only discourage me if I don’t attain them. Writing them down is the first step to making them a reality!
No. 3, believe that you can change. Sometimes we get stuck in a rut and we give in to behaviors we don’t like, saying that we were “just born that way.” We feel like we can’t change, but I believe that’s the enemy trying to discourage us. I believe that we all have natural instincts and behaviors that are definitely ingrained in us, but we can always make steps towards self-improvement. Some of us are born more athletic and like to work out, but others aren’t. If it isn’t natural for you to want to exercise, find something that’s fun for you and fits your personal lifestyle. When you can’t get outside in the winter, try something fun like Zumba! Some of us are born with more patience than others, but we can always be striving to improve. Telling ourselves we can never change only keeps us stuck! Believing we can change is the first step towards change.
No. 4, celebrate the forward progress. If we don’t know where we are going, it’s hard to see any progress. When our goals are written down, we can celebrate each step forward we have made towards our goal. We may not have reached it yet, but we can be encouraged when we know we are moving in the right direction. I read a great quote today that said, “The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.” Every step forward, no matter how small, is truly a victory!
I hope these ideas encourage you as you step into the New Year. Kay and I want to thank you for all of the love and support we have felt this past year. Our hope and prayer is that 2016 is truly your best year ever and is filled with wonderful New Beginnings!
May you be filled with God’s love and peace in 2016!