By Victoria Barry
Happy New Year! I may be the 567th person that’s told you that this year, but it’s true. Happiness and hope abound in the beginning of each year. Whether you buy into the idea of resolutions or not, the idea of having a clean slate and a chance to start fresh is appealing to almost everyone.
Now, we all know why New Years resolutions get a bad rap – no one follows through! Statistics say that 80% of resolutions fail by February. Those aren’t great odds. There are so many reasons a resolution could fail, but a common one is this: people feel overwhelmed. As good as our intentions are, they require change – and change is hard! Change requires us to stop something we were doing before, something that has become a natural habit, and rewire our brains and/or bodies to do something completely new. It takes time, patience, and resolve to get past that February fail mark. To be resolved is to be firmly determined on a course of action. Your first task in this is to firmly decide that you want something to improve! From there, we’re all in the same boat.
One thing that can keep us all from getting overwhelmed or discouraged in the process is to make small changes that matter, instead of shooting for big goals that are currently unattainable. If you haven’t run a mile in 10 years, it might be better to start training for a 5K rather than a marathon. Remember, change is a long process! Give yourself time and space to acclimate to a new way of life. Studies show that it takes an average of 66 days for a habit to become automatic.
In the vein of making small changes, today I want to share a few simple resolutions that will both improve your life and are relatively easy to implement. No matter what season of life you find yourself in, everyone could benefit from at least one of these! Pick one that speaks to you personally and give it a go, or better yet, be inspired by these and tweak them to fit your own life!
1. Make your bed every single morning.
I know this one may sound like it came from your mother’s voice and you’re suddenly 8 years old again, but it’s true. Taking 5 minutes in the morning to keep your most intimate space clean, neat and in order will pay dividends in peace and comfort! How many times have you come home and your room is a mess? Doesn’t feel great, does it? When we allow mess to surround us, it carries the chaos of the world, of work, of relationship or financial drama, and invades our most personal sphere. Instead, imagine coming home to a neat and orderly space, ready for you to unfold in the comfort of safety and protection.
2. Get moving!
This is an obvious one, but if you don’t already, challenge yourself to get 30 minutes of exercise (or even just informal active movement) three times a week. Regular exercise has been shown to improve your mood, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and increase your energy levels. Not to mention, it’s crucial for the health of our bodies! It reduces your risk of chronic disease, strengthens your heart, reduces excess weight, and can even improve brain function and memory. The benefits are limitless. If you struggle with motivation to get going, bring a friend along! A nice 30 minute power walk never hurt anybody, and it’s a great way to spend quality time together while also improving your health!
3. Start saving.
This may sound like a no brainer, but it’s never too early (or too late) to start managing your money wisely. A common mistake that people make is using the leftovers of their paycheck to save. Instead, turn this idea on its head. After your tithe, resolve to take 5% (or more, or less – pick a percentage that works for you and allows you to live within your means) and put it away in a savings account with every check. It may seem like a hassle in the beginning and require a sacrifice, but it’s worth it! Knowing that you are covered in the case of emergencies (medical bills, car problems, etc) makes the loss of 5% seem like nothing. And yes, you can do it!
4. Help yourself succeed by being prepared to fail.
This may be the best resolution on the list! Except for the last one…that definitely has to take the cake… In all seriousness though, the best thing you can do for yourself is know that you will fail! At least once or twice. We’re all human and no one is perfect. Knowing that you will fail will help you have the courage to start again. This applies to all of the resolutions on this list and beyond. We all fail – in relationships, at work, with our spouses, our kids, our finances, our family. It’s an inevitable part of the human experience. This difference is that you can decide nowthat, when that day comes, you will resolve to try again.
5. Read the Bible every day.
Woop, there it is! You know I can’t leave the most important detail out of this. The Bible, also know as the Word of God, also known as the Holy Scriptures, also known as the Bread of Life, is the most important and crucial part of building a healthy foundation for our lives. It is the Truth of God in written form, able to guide us and carry us through even our toughest seasons. It also takes the cake on the list of “things that can seem overwhelming.” Lucky for you, we are reading the through the entire bible as a church this year! That’s right – if you haven’t heard by now, we are using The Bible Project’s Read Scripture Plan to read through every single book by the end of 2019. It’s not too late to jump in on this! The readings take about 15-20 minutes every day and can be done from the Read Scripture app right on your phone. Download it now! It’s available in the App Store and the Google Play store. If you have a phone that doesn’t support the app, The Bible Project’s One-Year Plan can be found on the Bible App as well.
I hope you’re encouraged and ready to take on the new year. It is brimming with possibility! Remember, it’s never too late – to reconcile a relationship, to seek God for the first time, to dream a new dream. Resolve today that this will be your best year yet!
If you’ve got any ideas for other simple resolutions, feel free to leave them in the comments!