A New Year, Fresh Start

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Happy New Year! It’s a new year and a fresh start for many. The hope and excitement is almost palpable with some. It’s been interesting as I’ve noted a couple of themes popping up this past week as people are so on fire to light up 2018 for the better. I’m seeing themes of ‘joy’, ‘overcoming’, being kind to your neighbour. All this perhaps to come out of what was a tough year; in the news, personally and professionally for many. This is also one of the first years I’m seeing on social media, people encouraging others in a practical way about their new goals. “Fall in love with the process and the results will come”.

I don’t make new year’s resolutions. I used to. My most successful year for resolutions was a huge success. I decided not to work out, to eat as much chocolate as I wanted and to maybe, be kind. Yes, I set the bar very low that year, but it was because until that point resolutions were more like wishful ‘thinkings’. Sure I would have liked to have worked out more, eaten healthier, but there were so many things I wanted to change I just got overwhelmed and I didn’t do anything. Even when I pared it back down to one resolution, the goal was there, the intent was there, but the process was not. So after my year of successful – albeit unhealthy – resolutions, I decided to make a different sort of change. 12 years ago I started to work on the process and thinking long term. My one goal that year was to read a book a month. For you avid readers this may seem comical, but for me, reading had become a chore. I needed to reclaim the love. That year I read a whole three books from cover to cover. I was pumped! That was a 300% increase from the previous year. The next year I made the same goal and managed to read six books. Finally, that third year, I successfully read 12 books during the year and I’m not talking about toddler board books. I’m talking full fledge grownup books! I was very excited, but not surprised as I had worked up to it and was expecting the results. By the third year though, my family knew of my goal, that I had a plan to tackle a certain number of pages or chapters a day, and after every book there was a chocolate bar waiting!

I’ve found that the years I was most successful at sticking to whatever goals I set, there were four things I had to do:

1) Think long term.
2) Be armed with a plan.
3) Tell my family and friends so they could support me.
4) Make sure to celebrate the small victories along the way!

I had to create my safety net to give me the best shot at success.

I want to encourage you that positive changes are worth making. But, as life and being human would have it, it isn’t easy. We have to persevere through those tough days and have the discipline and fortitude to carry on when your mind says ‘yes’, but your body says ‘no’.

As I sit here with my sick, almost 4 year old on my lap trying to write this with my index fingers, I’m reminded that while we may have the best intentions in the world, life happens. Build that net, think long term, have a plan, have support, and celebrate your victories, large or small! Then sit back this time next year and look how far you’ve come. Life is a journey, not a (year at a time) sprint. You can do it!

Hebrews 10:36 (NIV)    You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.