It’s here. Another New Year. A fresh start. A new year of challenges, joys, triumphs, defeats, and experiences. You may have a list of New Year’s resolutions, or you may be content to just roll into the New Year as another growing and learning experience. Regardless, the New Year is a good time to stop, think, and form some goals. Here are some suggestions.
Seven Ways to Improve In the New Year
- Read more Scripture. Increasing your Bible intake and meditation is surely a good thing. Set a goal to read a chapter a day or so, or maybe you can even try to get through the entire Bible. If you are in a role of teaching the Bible, encourage yourself to read the Bible apart from your normal preparation time.
- Read more books. Chances are, you’ve always wanted to read more, but can never seem to find the time. This year, try using audiobooks. You can listen to audiobooks on your daily commute, while you’re exercising, or even while you’re doing work around the house. Add audiobooks to your list of books to read, and you may just get through a few more books this year.
- Get rid of things. Simplify your life by decluttering it. You probably have stuff that you don’t need, don’t use, and don’t want. You’ll be a lot better selling, pitching, or donating your old stuff. You may even wish to employ the get-rid-of-things strategy at your church—unused equipment, old play props, stacked pews in a dusty shed, Sunday School materials from the 1960s. Get rid of it, and move on.
- Take more personal time. When we fill our lives with constant activity, stress, and busyness, we tend to burn out. Sooner or later, the buzz that comes from a frenetic pace is going to wear off, and we’re going to find ourselves gasping for breath—and craving a break. Instead of waiting to reach your breaking point, keep yourself refreshed through the year by taking time alone or with your family. Just put a pause on your fast-paced life and rest. You’ll be glad you did.
- Pray more often. God delights in the prayers of His children. Just as significantly, we need prayer to foster our dependence upon God. God loves to answer prayer. As you go throughout this year, do not neglect the amazing gift of prayer that God has given to us. Pray over your joys. Pray over your sorrows. In everything, pray.
- Practice more encouragement. Every person you see today is an opportunity to encourage. The more you learn about people, the more you realize that everyone has challenges and difficulties that they are facing. Nearly everyone can afford to receive a little encouragement now and then. Focus on others, and specifically look for ways you can give people that encouragement. It may make a huge amount of difference in their lives.
Making New Year resolutions or commitments doesn’t make you a better Christian. Our salvation in Christ is the only basis for our assurance, and the only guarantee that we will be continually changed into His likeness. Nonetheless, there’s nothing wrong with setting goals, pursuing the best, and achieving more this New Year.