New Year…Fresh Start – An Alternative to New Year’s Resolutions

All words are tiring; no one is able to speak. The eye isn’t satisfied with seeing, neither is the ear filled up by hearing (Ecclesiastes 1:8, Common English Bible).

Back at the beginning of this series I told you, I haven’t had a great deal of success with New Year’s Resolutions over the years. If I have ever been successful with more than one resolution I can’t remember it. I also told you I would end this series by giving you an alternative to New Year’s Resolutions.

Several years ago I was walking through a Cokesbury store before they closed all their brick and mortar stores and became a strictly online retailer. It was later in the year and I saw a book on the clearance shelf. It was My One Word by Mark Ashcraft and Rachelle Olsen.

It is a great book I highly recommend. Not only is the book worth the price, the introduction is worth the price.

The book sat on my shelf until shortly after the first of the first of the year the next year. I was scheduled to attend a training event in Jacksonville Florida. I planned to read the book on the plane. When we landed in Jacksonville, it was really, really cold (don’t ever let anyone tell you it doesn’t get cold in Florida). The training was at the hotel and because of the weather, I never left the hotel the entire trip. When I wasn’t training I was in my room reading my book.

When I finished I decided on my word for the year. It was discipline. I wanted God to help me be more disciplined in my life. When I got back home (and got warm), I started a walking program and got more disciplined in my exercise.

Since that time I have used the words fit, focus and joy. This year, I have chosen the word satisfied. I need to be satisfied with what I have instead of doing what our consumer driven culture always suggests: buy, buy, buy.

Getting started is actually a pretty easy thing. Write down a sentence of about the change you would like to see in your life. My sentence was “I want to be a more faithful disciple.” At the time I began I had every intention that my word would be faithful.

Next, make a list of words that fit within your sentence. Don’t get in a hurry with this personal brainstorming session. If it comes to your mind, write it down. You may end up with a whole page full of words. I knew one person once who had two pages full. After you compile the list and you have prayed over it every step of the way, start scratching off words that don’t resonate with you. Don’t stop scratching until you have the list trimmed down to no more than ten words.

After trimming the list, grab a dictionary and look the remaining words up and get a definition. After reading the definition, if the word no longer feels right, scratch it off. Then you get a concordance and look at the words as they appear in the Bible. Keep scratching words from your list until you get it down to that one word.

I would then suggest you find a theme verse for your one word. The word may or may not actually be in the Bible. Even if it isn’t, you can probably find a synonym or something that fits the theme.

Next you want to do some things to keep your word in front of you. You can tape it to the bathroom mirror so it is the first thing you see in the morning and the last thing you see before going to bed. You might tape it in your car, around your desk at work or other places where you will see it regularly. I have even made some form of my word my password.

Then think of one thing, it can be simple, in fact that would be preferred to keep it simple, that can help you move forward with your word. This year I am choosing to journal about how God leads me on my word.

Unlike New Year’s Resolutions, you can’t fail at this one. Things might not go as you planned. You may have something in mind but God probably has something in mind too. They may not be the same. Let the word and the process run their course.

If you need more information drop me a comment. Buy the book. Work through the process. You will be better for it at the end of this year.

Tomorrow we begin a new series, a study series on the book of Matthew I call “Blessed…” I hope you will join me.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Peace,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved.

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