The year is rapidly heading towards an end and so I’m wondering if you’re planning to make any goals or resolutions for 2017.
A lot of new year’s resolutions run out of steam somewhere between the middle of January and the start of February but some people do a good job of sticking with their goals and resolutions. (Maybe we’d have more success with ‘new month resolutions’.)
As with every year, I’m sure that many will set all the usual resolutions about losing weight, getting fitter, quitting smoking, reducing debt, increasing income and all the rest.
There’s nothing wrong with examining those areas of our lives but I’m wondering how it would be if we shifted focus. Many of the goals we hear about each year are about a better ‘me’. It’s good to want to develop ourselves and to grow personally but it can become rather self-serving if it’s all one-way traffic.
I wonder what 2017 would look like if we made resolutions and goals about improving relationships with those close to us.
Setting the standard for how we treat others and taking practical steps towards growing relationships is far more important than most of the resolutions we generally make. That shouldn’t mean that those other goals don’t matter but it does come down to priorities. Do you want to start another year with broken relationships or will 2017 be the year you begin to mend the rifts?
Maybe your relationships aren’t strained but could they be deepened? Could this be the year to move the conversation below the surface to wrestle with things that really matter?
I wonder how things would be if we made resolutions about helping those we may not even know but who need a hand up.
What if we made 2017 the year that we would seek to more fully understand the deep needs of others and then partner with them in a way that would move us all a little closer to what we were designed to become?
Do we really just want to focus on making life better for ourselves and those we know or can we extend that concern and care a little more widely? What would 2017 look like if we resolved to care for the marginalised and poor?
Could 2017 be the year that we choose to think more kindly of others?
I’m sure that there were times in 2016 when you faced obstacles that no one else knew about or understood. There were days that you just wanted to put on the brakes, pull over to the side of the road, and take some time out. I guarantee you that pretty much everyone else faced those days too and there will be more of them for you and everyone else in the coming year.
With that in mind, how would it be if we chose to respond with kindness to others even when our natural response is to want to strike out? Maybe that person is just being a jerk but just maybe they’re facing stuff that you don’t know about and could do with being treated more gently than their actions deserve. That doesn’t mean excusing bad behaviour or letting others walk all over you. Sometimes we still need to confront issues but we can choose to do that with kindness as our default.
How would 2017 shape up if we determined that family was more important than the demands of work and then structured our schedules accordingly?
I wonder how 2017 would look if we took our fresh new diaries, whether they be electronic or the old pen and paper kind, and scheduled in chunks of family time before the hours filled up with work appointments.
Whether you use paper and pen or an electronic diary, why not spend some time at the start of the year blocking out time for those you love? As someone who often works odd hours and on weekends, I need to be especially careful to schedule in time for those I love. My 2017 diary already has certain days set aside for significant family events. I now need to add several more blocks of time to spend with those I love.
What would it be like if we decided that 2017 was the year that we would look beyond the physical and material things of this world to discover deeper spiritual meaning?
What if we made the coming 12 months the year that we started asking the deep questions of faith and opened our eyes to the reality of what we’ve just celebrated at Christmas? The true meaning of Christmas is about the baby who was born over 2000 years ago; a baby who grew up to change history.
If you’ve never really considered the claims of Jesus, that he was and is God, why not set aside time this year to look more deeply at this figure who has coloured every part of this world. If you want to know how to explore faith more deeply, feel free to contact me. I’d be happy to begin a discussion with you.
I wonder what 2017 will look like. What are your hopes for the new year?