A New Year offers an opportunity for fresh beginnings and new perspectives. I will begin the year by reflecting on some questions that will support the intentions of who I want to be and also guide me into the life I want to lead. Won’t you join me?
- What will I leave behind with the old year? Or, what will I say goodbye to and let go of so I can best step into all that the new year offers me?
- What needs transformation? Is it a perspective or opinion about something or someone? Is it a way that I understand myself?
- What gives me hope? And/Or, what gives me energy as I look ahead?
- What is an area of my life that I am being called to be more aware of? Is it spiritual, relational, emotional, or physical? (Try to be honest and specific about the areas that you are usually least aware.) What is one simple thing I can do on a daily basis to enhance my awareness in this area?
- What is one new commitment I will make? This might be a personal or relational commitment. It might be fun, challenging, or completely mundane. Think through the reason and intention behind this commitment completely. Maybe even write it down somewhere so you can remember why this was the one commitment you felt you needed to make this year.
- What is a new habit or behavior I will practice?* Is it something I do on my own, along with others, or reliant on the support of others? If other people will be involved, who will I share this habit or behavior with? How will I invite them to support me in this practice?
- Who is one person I can share my these questions and reflections with? And/or who is someone who I can invite to pray about these intentions with? Take some time considering why this is the person you can trust in this way. Don’t be shy and share the reasons with them too!
Some things I have learned from similar reflection processes:
- Be specific. If you, like me, often begin with the big picture – that’s okay. That’s good! Just remember to spend some time with it and break it up piece by piece. Then choose the one piece you can focus on now. For instance: World Peace. Really? Yes, that’s a great thing to want but how do you really just do world peace? First, focus on your intention. If not the whole world, where specifically do you feel a longing for peace? Let that question guide you. The answer may be closer to home than you realize. Then, choose one way you can be a peace-bearer in that space or for that place. Start there, then build out by slowly adding more actions you can take or more areas you would like to be a peace-bearer.
- Do not grade yourself. Do not should on yourself. Do not judge. Extend grace to yourself and recognize the ways you are doing that day’s 100%, it may not be the same as the day after or week later, but it is what it is that day. Own it, make changes necessary for the next day, and move on.
- Have fun. Experiment. Laugh. Goof off. But also, get uncomfortable. Sit in the discomfort and pay attention. This is where you learn and grow. See #2.
- Pray. You cannot do this alone. Center yourself on listening and watching for who God is calling you to be and how God is already at work in your life.
- Invite participation. You cannot do this alone. Find at least one family member, friend, or trusted neighbor who will support you in these personal reflections and intentions.
*The difference between a commitment and a practice mostly has to do with time. A commitment may not necessarily be ongoing, it could be, while a habit or behavior is something that needs consistent practice.