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December 28, 2015

6 Ways to Make 2016 Your Best Year Yet!

It happens in a blink of an eye. The old is gone; the new comes. When the clock strikes midnight on December 31, suddenly it’s a brand new year. A blank slate. A new beginning. 

I, for one, love a fresh new year. It’s so full of potential and possibilities. Anything can happen! 

I’ve been pondering lately what will make 2016 different? And how you and I can make this year our best year yet. 

Sure, there are a lot of things I want to change in my life. Like a lot of people, I want to lose weight, save money, find true and lasting love, and a whole lot of other things. 

But I say that pretty much every year. 

How can life be different? How can we move from having goals to achieving them? I think it starts with prayer and a change in perspective. 

Here are some thoughts, six ideas to consider for making this year a really good one: 

1. Start with prayer. Take some time to talk with God about your life. Reevaluate what’s really important to you. And don’t rush off; wait and actually listen for answers. God always answers prayers. Maybe not always in the way you think He should, or on your timetable. But it’s in that one-on-one time, those conversations with the One who loves you most that old patterns fall away and new ideas come forth. Prayer will be the foundation for your best year yet, and for your life. 

2. Ask questions. Get a notebook or a device and start answering some basic questions that will help you move forward: 

What do I have in my life that I am thankful for? 

What do I need to get rid of (or let go of) in my life (e.g., bad habits, unhealthy relationships, etc.)? 

What do I need more of in my life (e.g., more rest, more time with my friends, more self discipline, etc.)? 

What do I really want in life?

3. Get a new perspective. As you ask yourself the questions above, don’t forget this key question: What does God have for me? This life, I have learned, is not about you. Or me. It’s about God and His good plans. Just like the Earth revolves around the Sun, we revolve around Him—not the other way around. The good news is that God is loving and good. He wants the best for you! 

4. Make a plan and take action. Write down your top goals for the year and list the action steps you want to take under each goal. For example, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds, some of your action steps could include: 1) See my doctor. 2) Find recipes I like with healthy foods that taste good. 3) Make time in my schedule each week for grocery shopping, cooking and packing lunches. 4) Make a workout schedule. 5) Have a friend I can call for encouragement when I don’t want to do any of these steps. And so on. It helps to break down your goal into smaller steps you can achieve on a daily or weekly basis. 

5. Overcome obstacles. In any attempt to change, there are often roadblocks. Think about what is keeping you from what you really want. What are the obstacles and how can you overcome them? Sure, those are big questions. As a Christ follower, I have learned—often the hard way—that I can’t make change happen in my own human strength. I need the power of God working in me and through me to make lasting changes. I need His power in my weakness; His strength in my limitations. 

6. Remember the basics. As you think and pray and make a plan for the new year, it’s helpful to get back to the fundamental things that help build a better life and a healthier you like: getting enough rest and exercise, drinking plenty of water, eating healthy food, getting fresh air, taking in copious amounts of God’s truth, having positive relationships, serving others, expressing your creativity, managing stress and making time for fun, play and laughter. 

So pray and plan. Take action and trust God. Start small and don’t freak yourself out. Remember: God is with you. And He will lovingly lead you step by step. 

Thinking about making some changes this year? It’s time. 

The rest of your life starts right now.

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