We all know that the New Year’s holiday is full of people making “resolutions” for the coming, new year. Truly the most beautiful thing of celebrating the New Year is the chance that it gives us all to reset our lives a little and point ourselves in a new direction for the next year.
I’ve never been a big fan of making resolutions, as I tend to make them at times throughout the year as I get vision and direction to make changes in my life, and not just on one day at the beginning of each calendar year. However, I really do appreciate the socially-accepted (and encouraged) opportunity for all of us to collectively resolve to set new goals, make changes, and burst into a new 12-month period full of expectation, hope and vision.
As I have looked back on 2014 with incredible gratitude on the immense changes that have taken place in my life in a short 12-month period, I’m charged to keep moving forward in 2015 to bigger and better things. (on that note, I should clarify that “bigger and better” are not specifically quantitative… e.g. moving into a bigger house, making more $)
With that in mind, I’ve narrowed in on 3 ways to make 2015 the best year ever:
1. Look around.
One of the biggest things to causes us to miss opportunities in life – that could truly bring monumental change and satisfaction – is the fact that many of us are not looking around us with eyes open. It’s all too easy to get consistently caught up on the details around us that are overwhelming us, that we are excited about, or that are demands on our time. Sometimes the most basic, but life-changing thing you can do is to stop and look around. You can’t get where you’re going, if you don’t know where you’re at.
When you broaden your perspective, you see the world more colorfully. You see how blessed you are. You see the people who love you and are cheering you on. You see the opportunities and possibilities that could change in your favor in a moment’s notice.
2. Look at what you have.
One of the lessons I have learned thus far in my year studying in Jerusalem is to stop looking at what something (or someone) doesn’t have, and start looking at what it does have. This is easier said than done. Usually, when we are faced with a problem that needs solving, the first thing we do is look at what is lacking:
“We need more money to do this.”
“We need another employee to get this work done.”
“I need more time.”
We’re all trained to look at problems like this. But what if, instead, we looked at what we HAVE and try to figure out how to be creative in using it to solve our challenge. This is something I love about the “Lunatic Farmer” Joel Salatin. He has literally made a successful living as a farmer (yes, that’s possible) by looking at the things he has and figuring out how to use them in new and different ways to make their farm more productive, and ultimately make them more money. You need only look at his incredibly profitable “egg mobile” as proof that he makes use of the stuff (junk?) he finds around his farm vs. going out and buying something he doesn’t have.
3. Look alive.
If this is not the first image that conjures in your mind when you read #3, then I guess you never played baseball when you were young or in high school. “Look alive out there!” was something you could hear numerous times from the dugout when you were out in the field. It seems like a pretty basic thing, right? What does it mean, though? I’ll interpret what my coaches meant by defining one of their favorite phrases as:
“Show some passion!”
One of the things I have been thinking of most in the past few months is the idea of “waking up on purpose”. It might seem like a small thing, but when you stop and think about how you get out of bed each morning, what does it look like? Getting up so you don’t miss the bus or won’t be late for work? Or maybe you’re a blessed parent who wakes up to a kid jumping on you, ha!
I want to wake up on a mission each morning – with vision, with purpose, and mostly, with passion to live the day before me to its fullest. Sometimes that doesn’t look very glamorous. At times for me, it’s meant getting up and attacking my dirty kitchen before walking out the door. (Hey, a clean house is living life to the full sometimes!)
Life is short. I want to be alive for it. I want to be the most excited person in the room, full of expectation and hope for what the day ahead of me could bring. This makes me think of my childhood neighbor. Almost every time I saw him and greeted him “Hi Jim, how are you?” he would immediately snap back with a joyful “UN-believable, Nic!”
I have another friend whose dad had a similarly passionate approach to life. When I first met him, I shook his hand and said “Hi Gary, how are you?” He quickly shot back “Better than you!” with a giant smile on his face and an energetic handshake.
This makes me think of one of my favorite quotes:
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then do that thing. Because the world needs people who have come alive.“
If you’re reading this blog, know that I have prayed that the LORD would bless you and lead you into an amazing year in 2015 – your best one yet!
Happy New Year, friends!