My new year’s resolution this year is to never write 2016 on a form and then have to correct it. I was able to keep all of my new year’s resolutions last year. I kept them in the top drawer of my desk…so I can make the same ones again this year.
I don’t really make new year’s resolutions. I do set annual goals. And I do believe the new year is a beneficial time to evaluate our lives, examine what direction we are heading in, and to make course corrections. But whether or not you’ve made resolutions for 2017, or set annual goals, following through on them, though important, will not determine how well 2017 turns out.
However, what kind of year you have is up to you, despite the unforeseen twists and turns ahead. Here’s how…
- Make God your first priority. Talk to him first when you wake up in the morning every day this year. Get something, even if it’s a quick read, from his word to take with you through the day. Gather with your God-family every week. Remember, your purpose in life is to bring pleasure to God. You will never find fulfillment in this year, not real lasting fulfillment, unless you first fulfill your purpose. Make him your number one priority.
- Plan out your year. That doesn’t mean that all your plans will come to pass. And there will be unexpected things that will come up. But we can best handle the unexpected if we plan everything else. But unexpected things overwhelm us when our minds are in constant motion because little or nothing was planned ahead of time. And part of the planning process is preparing for the unexpected. So get your calendar out, electronic or paper, and go through the year, noting vacations, days off, special events, work and school events and deadlines. Putting the things that are on our minds on paper relieves a lot of stress in the long run.
- Do for others. In that annual plan above, insert time and space for serving others. Commit to volunteer ministry to bless other people and in doing so, serve God (Matthew 25:40). Plan some kind of larger service project where you can involve yourself in something meaningful for others. And then add that to your calendar.
- Get your finances in order. We are stewards of all God has given us. This is the year to get it all in order, to get out of consumer debt, to live within your means. We think we just need to make more money. But that’s not it at all. We need to become better at managing what we have. If you have no idea where to start, take Financial Peace University. You can sign up for that here.
- Smile. Did you know that scientifically, people are more happy because they smile, and not the other way around? It’s not just that people smile because they are happy. Smiling actually makes them happy. So begin to purposefully make eye contact with as many people as you can, and smile. Try it at the mall, at church, at work. You’ll be surprised what it does for you. Because a smile is something you give to others, and it takes your attention off yourself and to the person you are giving that little gift to.
Who knows what’s coming in 2017? That’s the exciting part. But these things…you have control over. And if you take care of these things, the unforeseen will have a way of taking care of itself.