Make the best of 2018 by putting your best foot forward
Happy New Year!
That's the cry that is on everyone's lips this time of year. We have survived the rigors of the Christmas shopping season and the celebration of the birth of Jesus, and we still have our souls firmly enmeshed in our bodies. And now we find ourselves facing the blank slate of a new year with varying degrees of hope and fear. We hope it will be a happy new year, but we all know that there's no guarantee.
Of course, a new year is not entirely blank. The direction and general location of some of our initial steps into the new year are already determined by some of the choices that we made in the old year. Financial choices, health choices and relational choices that we make at the end of 2017 will determine how we do in those areas at the start of 2018.
Lots of jokes are made about New Year's resolutions, and the fact that the average resolution lasts less than three weeks. But the thing that motivates us to make resolutions in the first place is that there is something about the start of a new year that speaks to our hearts about new starts and fresh beginnings, the possibility of a do-over, and the ability to make better choices than we have in the past.
I believe that the new year will offer potential, possibilities and pitfalls, just like every year before it. But I also believe that the best way to ensure that we make the most of the possibilities and avoid the majority of the pitfalls is not to make a bunch of resolutions, but to set a few goals that come from the heart, that will move us forward and that help us to choose the best path.
I have set several goals for the new year; some I will be able to accomplish in a very short time, and some will require me to work consistently at them over the whole 12 months. I thought I would share a few of them with you.
One goal is to continue my habit of reading through the whole Bible at least once each year. Along with that, I plan to read at least 50 pages in a good Christian book each week. I plan to memorize the entire Sermon on the Mount by my birthday.
I have set a goal to integrate diet and exercise into my life more completely, so that I can accomplish my goal of hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon (and back to the top again!) this fall with my wife. And I have set a goal to prayer walk the whole city of Woodburn between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31.
I have many more goals that I will be pursuing. But lying behind each of them is the firm belief that, even though none of us knows what the coming year may bring, the best opportunity to bring the best out of it is to intentionally put my best into it.
May God richly bless you all this coming year!