January is the time we set new goals for the year. For many of us though, 2020 held so much unanticipated “hard” that it’s difficult to muster the positive energy needed to set goals for 2021.
Let’s be honest, most of us are weary, really weary, as we wrap up 2020. Instead of goals, what if we just try to start doing some new things? Add some healthy habits to our daily schedule that help us stay healthy as we begin this new year? Just adding some daily habits seems a lot less intimidating to me.
7 Daily Choices for the New Year:
1. Choose your focus
A phrase I heard Lysa Terkeurst use that has always stuck with me is, “You steer where you stare.” I get to choose where I place my focus. It’s an important daily choice because my mind and heart will drift toward my focus. If I’m consumed with my difficult circumstance then I will most likely have a negative attitude. However, if I choose to focus on my Savior and His goodness to me, no matter what is going on around me or in my life, it’s much easier to be hopeful and grateful.
2. Do the next thing
We always have something to do next. It might not be a preferred activity, and it might be mundane; however, when we begin to feel emotionally overwhelmed or stuck, just do the next thing. It might be making dinner, or just getting up and taking a shower, but that forward momentum is powerful. It can help us feel less stuck and there is power in accomplishing something, even something as little as checking the mail or brushing our teeth. Just do the next thing, and one “thing” at a time will lead you to where you need to be.
Coming out of a year filled with so much grief and disappointment, for so many, can lead to a heaviness of spirit. However, the reality is there is much to celebrate as well! As Christ followers we have the Holy Spirit, which that alone is cause for celebration! If 2020 taught us anything, hopefully, it was that we need to be grateful for the moments we have together. Find something and some way to celebrate each day. A rainbow after a spring shower, the heat coming on in your house on a cold night, a warm cup of coffee, your child’s laughter…celebrate these things, with a song, a hug, a piece of chocolate or a tickle fight. Find ways to celebrate, it’s good for your heart, mind, and spirit!
4. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude!
Another gift 2020 brought is that we have much to be thankful for, even in the midst of hard circumstances. There’s great power in choosing to have an attitude of gratitude. This has been proven scientifically to improve mental and physical health. However, it really is a choice we each get to make. Find something each day to be grateful for and write it down in your journal, text it to a friend or download a thankfulness APP. The practice of documenting what you are thankful for is powerful.
5. Get outside
COVID-19 took many things away from us, but it couldn’t take away the beauty or power of Creation. We live in an incredibly beautiful world. Whether you live in the city, mountains, or by the ocean, there’s beauty and peace to be found in nature. Even if it just means taking a walk in your yard at sunset or watching the sunrise from your porch. There are so many health benefits to spending at least 10 minutes a day outside. And it’s free!
6. Be kind
This is also a free and powerful practice that impacts us and those around us. Choose to be kind, both in person and online. There is so much ugliness that happens online that would be resolved through simple kindness. It can start with you. And being kind to yourself might mean stepping away from people or spaces that cause you to feel unkind.
7. Be a hope hunter
This is my favorite. In 2021 can you imagine if we all were on the lookout for hope? It truly is all around us to be found, if we will start looking. And once we find it, share it with those around us. Boy, could we all use hope as we transition out of 2020. So when you observe someone being kind, or beauty in nature or something you see, or the joy of a baby’s laughter….all these are gifts of hope. Recognize them for what they are and share them!
Be encouraged! Stepping into 2021 doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There’s no need to feel guilt or stress about setting goals or resolutions. Just start doing something new. Add one or two of these 7 habits to your day and step with confidence and peace into the new year. You’ve got this!