In my recent post titled “5 Resolutions You Shouldn’t Make This Year,” I cautioned against setting and striving for unrealistic and unbiblical goals, arguing that they set us up for failure, frustration and even self-righteousness.
But that doesn’t mean all goals are bad. So in the spirit of attempting new things without fearing immediate failure, here are four broad ideas for giving your year a little boost:
1. Quit something. Author and humanitarian Bob Goff may have the corner on this one. In his book Love Does, he encourages readers to quit something every Thursday. What? I’m gonna let Bob be Bob. But he’s on to something. Maybe it’s a bad habit, time-sucking pastime, a go-nowhere relationship or maybe it’s that committee at church you were guilted into joining but have never felt called to. Work up the courage to quit it. Quitting something just may create space in your life for something new, different and better. If you’re a commitment-phobe, this isn’t a pass to be flaky and lame. But a quick inventory of your personal time, habits and commitments can only lead to good things.
2. Join something. Stuck in a rut? Feeling isolated but don’t know what to do about it? Join something. Is it time to finally sign up for a small group? Or maybe give a deep and true friendship a chance? Maybe it’s your turn to step up to some form of leadership in your church or at work. Even examining your giftings and how they’re aligned with what you’re doing could be a good exercise right now. I’m not telling you to do more so you’ll feel better about yourself. I am encouraging you to lean in — to relationship, service, accountability and belonging. You never know what may happen.
3. Give something. Here, the possibilities are endless. I got rid of 500 things in 2015. Not only was it freeing, it was incredibly fun. I found new owners for the iPod I never used, the sno-cone maker that’s perfect for the kids’ parties I don’t host, the books I owned only for the purpose of impressing others. But stuff isn’t all you can give. Maybe you’ve gotten a raise and can now take on that missionary or child sponsorship. Or is it time to (aack) turn off your TV or smartphone and give up some precious time? You can volunteer, meet your neighbors, befriend an elderly person in your church, or help a friend craft a budget or fix their computer. God loves a cheerful giver, y’all.
4. Take something. Takers get a bad rap nowadays, and for good reason. But sometimes taking isn’t bad. Like when you realize you need advice or help for something you just don’t have the courage, resources or will to do alone. We’re such a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps culture, it’s almost embarrassing to admit need. But it’s biblical. Are you burdened to finally tackle an addiction? Or maybe you just need a shoulder to cry on. Ask for help. Is this the season for you to get serious about finding a mentor? Write down a few names and make the necessary calls. Just do it. Reaching out will allow you to connect, grow, heal and succeed. It’ll also set you apart from everyone else who’s too scared to take the first step. It may even prompt them to follow your lead. Sometimes “needy” is good. Give it a try.
Let me know below how you intend to apply any of the above ideas in the coming weeks. Maybe we can encourage each other in the journey.