I am always baffled by this time of year when people start using language such as “2011 is gonna be my year,” “it’s my season,” “taste of Heaven in 2011, and other churchy and not so churchy phrases, such as “out with the old, in with the new,” “next year will be different,” New Year, New You.”
I suppose those phrases are not all bad, and for many the climax of an old year, and the beginning of a new year serves as a marker – a time to pause, reflect, and dream again. So, I’m not totally opposed.
However, for many these catchy phrases, and lofty goals and enthusiasm prove to be just empty words, because around Jan 15th things go back to normal and many spend the bulk of the days of the new year dabbling in sameness, procrastination, and stagnation.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not a pessimist or a kill joy, my only point is that anticipation, hope, and excited expectation should not be limited to one day/time of the year and viewed as though because it’s a new year things will somehow be different. Truth is that some of us could have and should have started in November or December rather than put aspirations off until January 1. Others may not find a new spark of creativity and aspirations until February or March, or maybe even October and rather than wait until the calendar strikes a new year (2012), they just need to start where they are and refuse to delay. There is no magic in a date.
It might also be helpful to remember that entering a new year with lofty dreams, without taking time to think, strategize or plan keeps us in a lulled sleep continuing to dream dreams that never become reality. Though I don’t believe that things will somehow magically be different/better just because the calendar rolls around to January once again, I do believe in setting goals and having hope for better tomorrows all year long. Whatever you have planned, try some of the following practices all throughout the year to keep yourself moving forward:
1. Just Start! By mid year or even before people start the cycle of waiting ’til the “new year” to start something again. Just do it – the calendar date holds no magic whatsoever.
2. Think Deeper Thoughts. When is the last time you read a book? Have you had any conversations with people who know more/differently than you know and allowed them to pour wisdom into your life? Have you had deeper conversations with people who think differently and believe differently than you? Are you still saying the same things, quoting the same Scriptures, singing the same songs, teaching the same lessons, etc that you did last year? What steps will you take to increase your knowledge and understanding this year?
3. Decide not to Squander Opportunities. Every day is an opportunity to make a difference – whether small or great in the life of someone else. Don’t waste the moments you have, maximize them.
4. Be Determined. Life is a combination of things that come easy and things that come with hard work, tenacity, and courage to keep pushing forward in the midst of challenge, adversity, and struggle. Don’t let stuff stop you. If you have a goal, keep moving towards it.
5. Start New Relationships and Readjust Some Old Relationships. I’m not suggesting writing people off, but maybe in addition to the relationships you currently have you might need to initiate some other relationships that will enhance your growth and development as a person. Relationships are always risky – but that’s just the way life is, so go for it.
6. Pray. I place this last, not because it’s least, but because all of the above will be much more difficult without reliance upon Wisdom and a Power greater than yourself. God hears, listens, and helps.
Happy New Year!!!