Does the New Year Need a New You? 3 Things To Focus On in 2019

One of the things long associated with each new year is the traditional resolutions. I hate them. Always have. My feeling and experience has always been that needed changes need to be made when you need them...NOT waiting for a new year.

However, it seems that this year, changes in my own life have brought me to a place of needing to make changes at the start of a new year. That leaves me in a conundrum of sorts. But as these changes have come about around the first of the year, I suppose, if I am going to be consistent, I have to make those changes now. Besides, what am I waiting for? Next week?

1. Starting My Day.
 I’ve grown slack on this one and I mean it, too slack. It has been the little things too. I can (and have) written and talked about the journey of grief for me and “the valley of suck,” as I have called it. Each of us that is forced on this journey handles it differently and for some of it takes longer. Author and blogger, Megan Devine, notes how important the simple things like even taking a shower help a person survive.

Now, I’m not saying I don’t take showers (I do!) but some days the motivation is hard. I’ve taken to listening to at least one motivational video on YouTube each day. If you think that is hokey, well, get over it. It helps. But so does taking time do the 5 simple soul-healing habits I talk about in my book, Life Sucks Seek God. I still need these and at the start of my day, they make a world of difference.

2. Prioritizing and Organizing. 
 With that comes making things a priority. Taking time to look at the day makes a difference. Putting together a simple list is key and whether that is the night before, or at the start of a day, calendaring and prioritizing has help me keep the main things the main things. I tried my hand a digital planners and calendars for a time but I’m back to paper again and started a new one with the new year. I still find FranklinCovey Planners to be the best and their courses to be the most helpful for prioritizing. However, I really do like Kenneth Zeigler’s book, “Organizing for Success” to be the best book to get your head straight on the practical aspects of organizing.

3. Me
 Maybe that should be first (because the first two items are really about me too) but “me” has to do with my own soul and spirit. There are some things that I simply HAVE to do (WE have to do) to get by in the world. Our physical bodies demand we DO certain things. Stephen Covey even states we must “sharpen the saw.” But there are seasons in our lives we simply have to get by doing what HAS to be done. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs reminds us that we have needs that outweigh other needs.

The valley of suck has taught me new things and with that has come the results of both bad and good choices. There has been painful internal anxiety and stress. I have had to go deeper into spiritual matters of suffering that I didn’t expect to find and have had to look into a “new mirror” to see areas of myself and my soul that need to be rearranged and righted. I need to take care of me. AND I need to not take responsibility for actions I cannot control of others.

I have found a great reminder in St Teresa of Avila’s words, “The water is for the flowers.” Thomas Green explores this more intently and notes that what Teresa is describing is that our prayer life, our devotional practices, are not an end in themselves. Our prayers/devotions are the water and the flowers are what takes root in our lives, namely, the fruits of the Spirit: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Sometimes that water is seen and overflows like when the rains come or we water the flowers of our gardens. Other times, the water comes underground and we don’t recognize it, yet, the flowers still grow. We think it isn’t there, we think God isn’t doing God’s part (or our pastor or our church), but are we looking at the results of what is blooming or what is not? Have we removed the flowers from the true source? It is far easier to do than we sometimes realize.

So does the new year need a new you? I know I need to be made new, I see it now in many, many ways. But more importantly, I see it in ways I can do something about it to enact change. I can see the things I can truly change and, finally, some of what I cannot.

What about you?

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