January 1, 2020 // by Laura Malone
Walking into a new decade is exciting. As I box up ornaments and file away the Christmas cards, the clutter disappears. I take a deep breath and glance around. My cleared counter tops and lamp tables bring back a sense of control and make me wonder. What are the things that clutter my life and need to be removed to restore my peace and purpose? What things would add beauty and meaning?
Growth vs. Perfection
The new year energizes me. I love physically and mentally wiping away the year’s fruitless efforts, things we’re bored of, activities or responsibilities that have just been there without a real purpose. Looking at my life this past year, as with all years, I can see some things that need to change. But that’s ok. This is that time of year that I stop everything to reflect on what worked and what didn’t. I dream and I make changes. And guess what. Some of them I might look back on at the end of this year and determine they didn’t work either and that’s OK, too.
Perfection isn’t my goal. Seeking perfection is like climbing a mountain with no peak. It only breeds discouragement. That doesn’t interest me. Growth is my goal. Growth can be seen weekly or monthly and that encourages me. Perfection says, “Look how far you have to go,” and Growth says, “Look how far you’ve come!”
I want to challenge you this year to set three goals that will impact your health – physically, mentally and spiritually. As humans, we tend to only focus on that which we can see, the physical body. But God made us in three parts and if one part is unhealthy, it will affect the other two. For instance, if we aren’t mentally healthy, we might not be motivated to meet our physical or spiritual goals. If we’re not feeding our spirit, we might waste our whole year making unwise choices that negatively affect us physically and mentally. It’s important to prioritize each part of our being and when we do, we will see growth.
As you think and pray about your 2020 goals, take time to meditate on these verses below. I’m using them as my guide as I set my personal goals and write posts to hopefully inspire you and me to better health this year.
Physical Health –
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Mental Health –
Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Philippians 4:8
Spiritual Health –
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. Matthew 22:37-38
Once you’ve determined your goals, make sure the ones you chose are realistic and achievable. Otherwise, you’ll get discouraged, throw the resolutions out the window, think you’re a loser and live another year without growth. That’s depressing. God has a better life in mind for you, an abundant life.
Resolutions Aren’t Enough
Many people roll their eyes when you ask about their New Year’s resolutions. They’ll reason through past experience that they just don’t work. But, there’s a reason they don’t work. They see resolutions like wishing on a star. They say them out loud or even write them down and poof! When the clock strikes midnight, they expect that all their wishes will come true. Of course, if we really stop to consider this, we know that can’t really happen.
The Oxford dictionary defines resolution as a firm decision to do or not to do something. Just as we have to physically buy dog food and scoop it into his bowl for him to eat so that he doesn’t die, we have to take physical steps to make a resolution happen and keep it from dying. So, making a resolution is not enough. We must also define the steps necessary to make that resolution happen.
Break each resolution down into short-term goals with target dates. To get to your resolution by 12 months, what must be done at six months? Three months? This is a valuable exercise. Most people don’t realize how much work is required in short amounts of time in order to be successful. This exercise will also help you determine if your resolution is actually realistic. Once you’ve mapped it out, you might find that with your current schedule, it’s not possible to reach that six-month goal. That’s fine. You’re not a failure. Just push it back to a realistic time so you can be successful. Remember, growth is our ultimate intent.
Failing and Forgiveness
One last thing. Be forgiving and compassionate toward yourself throughout the year. Write down what needs to be included in your week in order for you to accomplish your goals. Be proud, celebrate and thank the Lord when all your boxes are checked, but understand that there will be weeks throughout the year that life gets in the way, especially if you have little ones at home. Take note of what got in the way so you can determine if it can be avoided in the future and then march ahead. The new week stands before you. Don’t let the previous week’s defeat determine next week’s fate. Cover the new week in prayer, look back at how many previous successful weeks you’ve had and thank the Lord for His help.
One of my resolutions this year is to write blog posts that will encourage you and me to grow in our physical, mental and spiritual health because I believe that healthy families make happy homes and happy homes glorify God and point others to Christ.
I’d love to hear your resolutions for 2020! Share your goals and let’s grow together this year.
Happy New Year, friends!