Start the Year Off With a Positive Plan



The end of December brings with it the opportunity to make some changes from the past and design a fresh start for the coming year. It is wise to take some time to ponder, pray and consider what you want to accomplish in 2020. Here are a few ideas to help you develop a purposeful plan.

Write Down at Least Three Things you Want to Accomplish. As you prayerfully consider the year ahead of you, think specifically about what you want to achieve. Perhaps you want to start volunteering at a local outreach or maybe you want to learn a new skill or there may be a project you want to complete. Guard against being too vague as you write down your desired accomplishments. The more specific you are, the easier it is to measure if you achieved your goals.

Create Doable Action Steps. Under each item you want to accomplish, design at least three actions steps that will help you get there. Ask yourself the simple question, “What will it take for me to reach this goal?” If you have a specific sales goal for the year, then consider how many people you need to call or meet with each month and/or week in order to reach your target. If you are targeting a certain weight, then ask yourself what changes in diet and activity do you need to make in order to achieve your goal.

Formulate a Daily Routine. Great accomplishments begin with positive daily habits. Initiate several new daily routines that will help lead you toward success. For instance, if one of your goals is to de-clutter one room of the house per month, then you may want to set a time each weekday that you will devote 30 minutes to an hour to work on re-organizing and throwing out old stuff. If you goal is to read 12 books a year, then you will want to etch some time into your daily routine for reading.

Chart your Progress. If you have set specific and measurable goals, then you should be able to chart your progress. We all need the motivation of knowing that we are headed closer to our goals and making progress along the way. You may want to keep a notebook or have a board or chart on which you can make notes of the steps you are achieving toward your goal. You may even want to share it with a friend or family member for the encouragement and accountability.

Review Monthly.  Studies show that most people fizzle out on their New Year’s resolutions by mid-January, so make an appointment with yourself every first day of the month to review and renew your commitment to your stated goals. I encourage you to write out your personal mission statement and yearly goals each month as a form of review. This is also gives you an opportunity to regularly chart your progress and consider where you may need to readjust your daily routine.

If you are like me, you want to make the most of your days and live a life of purpose. Prayerfully putting a plan into action gives you a framework and allows you to use your strengths to make a positive difference in this world. Ask the Lord to lead you and guide you as you employ the gifts He has given you for His glory and to bless others. I hope that 2020 is a year of greater vision and purpose for each of us.


Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

10 Principles of Positive People


How would you describe a truly positive person? My personal definition includes someone who is both realistic and optimistic – a person who is an encourager rather than a discourager. Positive people don’t ignore the frustrations and the downsides of life, they just choose to look at them in light of the possibilities, not the problems.

The question is, can anyone become a more optimistic thinker, even the cup-half-empty sort? Recent studies in neuroscience tell us yes, people can change the way they think. Often when we get in a rut of negative thinking, we continue to play the same patterns of thought over and over again, but it is possible to start new patterns. When we change our thinking habits and focus on what is good and hopeful, our brains create new neuropathways. We can develop a new pattern of looking toward the opportunities, rather than dwelling on the obstacles.

Generally speaking, there are a few common characteristics I have observed in those people who live with a sunny disposition. Positive people tend to:

  1. Focus on the potential in both people and circumstances.
  2. Consider the needs of others, looking for ways to bring joy into someone else’s life.
  3. Practice daily gratitude to God and to others.
  4. Let go of past hurts and bitterness, and live with a forgiving heart.
  5. Choose to learn from their mistakes and mishaps.
  6. Grieve when they need to.
  7. Smile and laugh often.
  8. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, recognizing the benefit of exercise and eating well.
  9. Speak with love and kindness to everyone, no matter the position or role they play.
  10. Pray daily, giving cares and worries to God.

What about you? Are there any new habits you want to start forming?


Photo by Eduardo Dutra on Unsplash

It Only Takes a Spark


Many of us remember when we were teenagers, sitting around the campfire singing, “It only takes a spark, to get a fire going. And soon all those around, can warm up to it’s glowing. That’s how it is with God’s love…”

Just the thought of that song revives fond memories with my church friends at Mt. Lebanon and with my campers when I was a counselor at Pine Cove.

Recently, I read an article on the topic of leadership that made that old familiar camp song pop back into my mind. The author, Sean Lynch, used the word “Sparks” to describe people who exhibit behaviors consistent with a leader. He wrote, “A Spark is a doer, thinker and innovator whose unique approach to creative problem-solving betters the lives of others.”

I believe that each of us, whether we think of ourselves as leaders or not, have the opportunity to influence others. We can be Sparks by using the gifts and talents God has given us to share the hope and love of Christ. We “better the lives of others” by shining His light into their lives.

The question is, do we let His love shine through us through our words and actions, or do we hide it, afraid of what people may think? Or worse yet, do we spend most of our time putting down others?  Let’s be bright sparks. Let’s love boldly. Let’s stop criticizing, and let’s start letting His love shine through our words and actions to help build up others and point them to Christ.

May God use each one of us this week to bring His light to dark places.


If you want to explore more on leadership check out Positive Leadership Principles for Women on sale now for $5! Click Here for more info.

True Positive: Day 19 – Refreshing People

FullSizeRender (15)

There are certain people in our lives that refresh our spirit. They not only inspire and encourage us, but they also empathize with us and pray for us. Who are the positive people in your life? Consider the people in your life right now that bring enjoyment and delight into your life – those friends who are sunshine to your soul.

In our social media driven culture, we can fool ourselves into thinking that we are surrounded by friends. But do these friendships satisfy our heartfelt need for true connection in relationships? We were created as relational beings, and we need real time with real friends. Be intentional today about connecting with people who are a blessing to your life, and in turn, be sure you are being an inspiration and refreshment to others.

True Positive: Day 12 – Work


Our work can bring us joy, enrich our lives and even increase our positivity. Projects, chores or responsibilities give us a sense of accomplishment and commitment to a greater cause. Work often gives us the opportunity to serve others and to get our minds off of our own self-centered problems. We learn and grow as a person through hard work and perseverance. Certainly, we must be careful to keep a balance in life and not take on too many responsibilities which may increase stress. Additionally, we must avoid complaining and grumbling – which we will talk about in tomorrow’s post.

Let’s teach out kids that work is not something to be avoided, but rather something to be embraced. Paul wrote to the Colossians, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ (Colossians 3:23,24).” Find joy in your work by thinking of your work as an opportunity to serve Christ. When you have down days (which we all do), ask God to give you a fresh viewpoint or a new perspective to help you see a greater purpose in your work.

Some of the happiest people I know are also some of the hardest working people I know. Don’t avoid work, embrace it and discover a new strength and confidence as a result.