Start the Year Off With a Positive Plan

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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

Finding Your Flow

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Do you ever get so wrapped up in a hobby or activity  or even work that you lose all sense of time? For me, I often become immersed in what I am writing, and hours can slip away without me even noticing. For others, it may be training for a race or designing a floral arrangement or accomplishing a new song on the piano or working on a creative project at work. Being completely immersed or absorbed in an activity that is challenging, yet geared toward your skills is described as the joyful state of flow.

Contemporary psychologist say that flow is highly correlated with happiness. Furthermore, studies have found that people who often experience flow are likely to develop additional positive traits such as self-esteem, focus and greater performance. Flow is not something forced, rather it is intrinsically motivated. It’s what Eric Liddell, of Chariots of Fire fame, spoke about when he said, “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.”

How beautiful it is to allow the flow of the Holy Spirit to work through our unique gifts to bring glory to God and blessings to others. God has equipped each of us with different interests, passions and abilities, and we can experience great pleasure as we express them in this world. As believers in Christ, we have the joy of knowing that God’s Spirit works in mighty ways through us, as He not only gives us gifts, but enables us to use them.

Jesus said, “Whoever believe in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” Invite the flow of His Spirit to pour through you this week.

 

Photo by Robert Lukeman on Unsplash