Not many things compare to the feeling of a fresh year and a fresh start; a chance to do things over with a new plan and perspective. Learning from the previous year’s mistakes, we set milestones and lofty goals to make the year a better one.
Fresh ambition, determination and enthusiasm can barely be contained; we’re like a horse waiting to burst out of its gate at a racetrack. We decide that this is the year all our dreams will come true. We do all these things, and then confidently label them our “New Year’s Resolutions”.
Then, this thing happens. You know the thing. That mysterious often unpredictable thing. That thing between waking and sleeping. What’s it called again? Oh right, LIFE.
More often than not, by the end of the first quarter of the year, these goals, ambitions and dreams have fizzled and dissipated into unmet expectations, forgotten numbers, notes buried into the recesses of our phones and scrunched up pieces of pieces of paper pushed to the bottom of a draw somewhere (many times right next to last year’s list)!
It’s a strange phenomenon isn’t it? We start each year with so much excitement and determination, but it seems to fade and dwindle so quickly.
I Have A Confession…
Now, before we go any further, I have a confession to make: This isn’t a “10 steps to obtaining your new year’s resolutions” post. Surprise! You can actually have a blog and not have everything figured out – go figure 🙂 That is not to say that I don’t have something to offer however.
What I would like to do here is simply share some stories from my life to help encourage you as you pursue your own goals this year. I would like to share a perspective, rather than a program.
A Tradition Worth Keeping
When I was younger, on new year’s eve my family would gather together in our cozy living room around the fireplace. On a piece of paper we would write down something we wanted to let go of; something we didn’t want to bring into the new year with us. It could be anything: An emotion, a memory, a way of being – anything at all.
Once finished, we would each take our piece of paper and we would burn it on the fire. It was an amazing feeling and a great symbolic activity. Not only that, but the physical act of burning the paper also made it much more real and final.
Since being together, Tim and I have always made time close to new year’s eve where we talk through the things we desire to achieve in the coming year. We set goals, and we make lists like most do. We also always pray for a specific word or phrase from God about the coming year however.
This word may be a word that shows us an area where we need to improve in our lives, or sometimes is a word that foreshadows the coming year relating to our family, business or both together.
When you get something from God, rather than just making a list from your own personal desires, I believe there is a special grace that comes along with it to help you hold on to it. It may not always be the word we want, but looking back it has always been the word we needed, without fail!
One year the phrase we got was the “year of giving”. It was about giving more of ourselves, more our time, and yes, even more of our money than ever before. Now, this turned out to be an amazing year. We grew relationally, spiritually and financially.
This year, I’m doing all of the above. I really have high hopes for this year, and you should always have high hopes for a year regardless of past disappointments. Just because something didn’t happen once doesn’t mean it will never happen.
A few years ago, when praying about the direction of my life, God showed me a picture of having my finger on the reset button on my life.
You know when your computer crashes or freezes and you have to hold in the reset/power button for a little bit to reboot it? Well, what He was showing me was a picture of me holding in the reset button – but never letting go! Never allowing the “reboot” and “refresh” to take place. Perpetually stuck. Like I said before, sometimes you just have to let go of some things.
So I was definitely stuck for a while. I was waiting. For a moment my life seemed like a blank static screen – nothing moving or happening. Well, I decided to finally let go of the reset button. No longer being trapped by the past and no longer afraid of the future. This year I am rebooting full steam ahead!
Before I said that I wasn’t offering a “10 steps” type of post. Maybe I should have said there are a few steps found here actually, I just don’t have “all” the steps just yet – but I’m working on it 🙂
Giving you a real transparent example, one of my goals recently was to have my first blog post of 2016 (this one right here) up on January 1st.
As you can see, here we are the second week into the year and I am only just posting now. The thing is, I could have immediately become discouraged and felt like I had failed. If I began going down that route however, I have learned from experience that it will not just stop there.
The moment you start to feel like you have failed is the moment you will want to give up entirely. That is in fact the moment that you must push forward and harder than ever. Breakthrough is on the other side.
Goals are very important of course, but success should not only be measured in reaching the final destination. Success is also forward movement towards your goal, no matter how little – and that need’s to be considered and celebrated too.
If we didn’t allow ourselves to become so consumed with how something should look (in how we have perfectly imagined it that is), we wouldn’t be so unhappy with the results we received. This isn’t to say expect less, it’s to say we need to be more flexible, and understand that movement IS in fact success.
Failure? No Way.
In my life, failure in not an unsuccessful attempt in obtaining the highest peak of my goal. Failure is giving up and quitting.
Failure cannot contend and win in an atmosphere of perseverance and persistence, and so I’ve learned that creating that atmosphere in my life is the key to staying in the race to the goal.
For example, thinking about weight loss goals and resolutions, (which I think is probably 90% of resolutions made!) losing 4lbs a month instead of 5lbs a month (let’s say that was the goal) would not be a reason to quit and devour a tub of ice cream!
Even if only a minuscule amount of weight is lost, it’s still forward motion. Can I push it even further? What if a pound was gained? Is that reason to quit? No! You don’t know what the next month holds! You keep pushing forward and try again.
Obviously this is a pretty simple example, however as simple and obvious as it is – it is often forgotten.
Back to my missed blog post deadline, I could have sat here (which truthfully I did begin to do) and said “ah, I didn’t get my first post out by my deadline, so now the year is starting off wrong and it’s what the rest of the year going to be like!”
That’s not true however, even if it felt like it in the moment. I pushed through and kept writing – and you know what? This post turned out WAY better than what I had when I was on target of reaching the deadline 🙂
Recently I read an encouraging article talking about “RE” words (I’ll explain in a moment). I was happy to have come across it as it falls in line with what God showed me; that it’s time to let go of the reset button and RE-Start!
It’s so encouraging, inspiring and comforting to read things or hear things that show you you’re on the right track (or to help get you back on the track if you’ve already jumped off!) That is what this post has all been about. I simply wanted to say to you, don’t give up. Don’t give in. Don’t quit!
I want to encourage you to not let this opportunity pass you by!
You have the power to RE-create, RE-build, RE-fresh, RE-new, and RE-vive goals and dreams that have previously died. If you have tried and missed it before, that’s okay! That just means it’s now just time to RE-strategize and RE-try 🙂
Have any practical tips to help others reach their new year’s goals? Leave them in the comments below!