by Andrew Cromwell
Every new year brings new opportunities to begin again. Of course, we could say that the turning of the new year is nothing more than the calendar resetting. We are all just one day older and December 31st is not really much different from the next day — you are still in the same family, work at the same job and have the same old problems. But there is something different about a new year.
The new year is a line in the sand. It is here that we can definitively say last year is over and the new year begun. We close the books financially on December 31st. Old laws sunset and new laws go into effect.
Personally, when the ball drops, we have the opportunity to begin again. Sure, the past doesn’t disappear, but the potential for a different future begins right here, right now. Over the coming weeks and months, there will be much said about how most new year’s resolutions are abandoned quickly in favor of the old routine. And if you are not careful, you will be discouraged before you begin. But don’t be, just because we try and don’t succeed, doesn’t mean we should stop trying!
So in this new year, let me encourage you to take some time to imagine a future that is better than the one you are currently living. I’m not suggesting you make a new year’s resolution to win the lottery and make all your problems disappear. Rather, that you set your sights a little higher and a little farther than where you currently are.
First, take some time to look back. Look back at the last year. What was the good, the bad and the ugly? What was accomplished? What was not? Are you a better, more giving person now than at the beginning of the year? Are you closer to God or farther away? What about the people that make up the fabric of your life—your spouse, your kids, your parents, your close friends—have you taken steps to deepen the quality of your relationship or did you throw stones and damage it?
Second, in light of your reflections, think about where you’d like to be at the end of next year. Where would you like to be spiritually? Where would you like to be relationally? Where would you like to be financially?
Third, think about what kind of things a person would do who had those character traits. For example, what would a person do who was close to God? Would they pray more (maybe talk to God like they had a personal relationship with Him), go to church or attend a Bible study, or look for opportunities to give themselves to others? How about a person who was an excellent spouse or parent? What would they do in order to maintain those relationships?
After you have a few examples of what these types of people would do, then pick a few of those actions to do yourself. Begin to do the things and you might be surprised to find that you become the person you desire to be.