Happy New Year, my single Christian friends all over the world! Happy New Year also to all my married Christian friends who have been reading, following, and supporting my blog, FB page and/or IG posts. Isn’t a new year fun? Refreshing? I like new years.
I’ve been reviewing my life over the last several days, like I’m sure many of you have. And I’ve been mad-dogging the negative things in my life that I know I need to work on or eliminate once for all.
In case you haven’t heard me say this at least ten times in the last two weeks: I hate new year’s resolutions. I stopped making them years ago.
It helps me more to make life changes all year long. Life changes produce more godly character and consistent, desirable results.
I’ve already decided: I’m generally a pretty content and joyful person. However, if I want to take it up several more notches and have a happier new year, I will have to make a happier new me.
If you’ve been noticing more than one area of your life is lacking or even pitiful, like parts of mine have been, let’s make some life changes together. After all, the Lord has commanded us to be good stewards of our temples and all the other resources He has given us to manage (1 Corinthians 4:2; Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 12:42-46). May as well start now so we can start seeing progress sooner than later. Why put off my—and your—blessing? Makes no sense.
I’ve provided 12 categories so we can establish a new SMART goal for life change each month this year (for help creating SMART goals, click here: https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/smart-goals.htm ). It only takes 21 days to establish a new habit, so hopefully you can get a few good ones firmly planted in your life by this time next year.
Get some godly Christian friends and family around you to pray for you and with you and help you be accountable (that refrain sound familiar?). Remember: Getting a good grip on all the major areas of your life will be good for your upcoming marriage! Here goes (be patient; this is the longest article I’ve written in almost a year):
- Career. Are you in the right job or even career? Has the Lord called you to do something else and you ended up here instead? It might be time to evaluate whether the boredom, burnout, or disdain in your work is because you’re not doing what He called you to do. See if you should be completely fulfilling His will by changing jobs, completing your degree, attending a conference, or starting your own business. For more help, see my post from 10/8/17: http://glendablogz.com/2017/10/08/reclaim-the-original-mold/
- Financial. How much debt have you accumulated? Do you have a written budget (done) and a current will (guilty as charged)? Do you have 3—6 months’ living expenses in savings? What are you doing for retirement? How regularly and how much are you tithing? For help with your finances, I suggest reviewing Christian financial guru Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps: https://www.daveramsey.com/baby-steps/?snid=start.steps. Better: go through his Financial Peace University and get on the road to full financial recovery.
- Physical. Do you exercise regularly? If you do any sort of regular physical activity, have you plateau-ed? It might be time for a big change. If you’ve been doing everything solo at the gym, consider taking a class or joining a local sports team. Consider hiring a personal trainer or adding HIIT (high intensity interval training) to challenge your endurance. If you’re a woman and you’ve only done cardio classes (Zumba and cycle come to mind), add resistance training to increase your bone density and muscle mass. That will increase your resting metabolism, which is what we want. Right? So consider shaking your routine up.
- Input. What are you taking into your ears? Your mouth? Your mind? Often I find myself listening to too much news and talk radio and I have to turn on some Christian music just to balance out the bad news, worldly opinions, and gym music. I also find myself snacking too much on junk food, gossip, social media, and a critical attitude and not enough Living Water or literal water. I’ve already been working on grabbing my Bible and reading that first every morning before I touch my phone to post on IG. I’ll admit, it is hard work and I struggle to be consistent. To keep your devices, your eating, your gossip mill, and your negative attitudes from completely taking over your life, you may have to resort to drastic measures and strong boundaries. Reign it in.
- Intellectual. This is an area many believers have done nothing in for years. What are you doing to challenge your intellect, strengthen your reasoning ability, and push back the onset of Alzheimer’s? Puzzles, brain teasers, reading autobiographies and news commentaries, learning a new skill, listening to guest speakers at the local university, and hearing the experiences of someone who is very different from you can help you sharpen your intellect, increase your compassion, and develop informed opinions instead of emotional ones.
- Living Space. Has your home or room become drab and uninviting? Make your space a place where you really feel at home, not just somewhere to store your stuff and shower. If you plan to stay there for at least six more months, it’s probably time for an update. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Getting a calendar with scripture references or getting picture frames from craft stores or overstock outlets like Hobby Lobby, Home Gardens, or Ross can help keep redecorating costs down. Moving furniture around, applying a fresh coat of paint in your favorite soothing color, or picking up a secondhand home accessory from a thrift store or garage sale also can make a big difference.
- Ministry. Do you know what your spiritual gifts are? Have you ever gone overseas on a missions trip? When was the last time your heart was tugged for more than one week about a ministry opportunity that you ended up not taking? How long has it been since you have read a Christian book and not just the Bible? Have you personally ever led anyone to the Lord? These and other questions are good ones to ask yourself, without comparing yourself to others, to see if you have made any progress in your Christian walk since you decided to become a follower of Jesus. If you don’t know what that means, click here to read a page on my blog that I wrote just for you: http://glendablogz.com/how-to-know-you-are-right-with-the-one-true-god/
- Medical. This is a tough one. Lots of people hate to go to the doctor or dentist for preventative maintenance even if they have insurance and/or could afford to go. However, it is important to establish a baseline for all your important vitals and measures. If you have never been one to do so, for the sake of your future spouse and children if nothing else, make an appointment for a complete physical, including gender-specific exams (prostate, uterine, or breast cancer, etc.) and get your bloodwork done. This is especially significant if there is any history of medical problems in your family.
- Romantic. Are you ready for love again? Pray. Read some good books on Christian dating if you haven’t in the last three years. Let the Holy Spirit point out some areas you need to change. Get involved in ministry, whether in your church or outside. And allow the Spirit of God to lead you to Christian singles groups whether through your church, someone else’s church, or community groups such as Meetup for fellowship & ministry opportunities.Keep your standards high, your expectations low, and a purposeful attitude in your dating intentions. If you would like to read a resource on standards and expectations, click here to read my first article for Single Matters from July 4 of this last year: http://www.singlematters.com/standards-vs-expectations-why-the-difference-is-important-for-christian-singles/
- Sleep Hygiene. Good sleep is something most of us lack on a regular basis. Maybe this is an area you really need to address. Adequate sleep is vital to our emotional as well as our physical health. For help on developing good habits that lead to good sleep, read on this article I wrote for Single Matters on 8/8/17: http://www.singlematters.com/healthy-habits-for-singles-part-3-sleep/
- Social or Solitude. If you’re an extrovert and you’ve been isolating yourself, or you’re an introvert and you’ve been accepting every invitation, you’re going against your nature and wearing yourself out. Figure out which side you lean toward and learn the proper self-care for who you are. If you’re not sure what you’re like, click on this link to take a self-test: http://brainfall.com/quizzes/myers-briggs-are-you-extroverted-or-introverted/#SJGcQ2KXz .
- Spiritual. Here’s a biggie. We often know the character deficits and sins of omission we’re being convicted to obey the Lord in. Or the spiritual disciplines we’ve slacked off on. Instead of ignoring or trying to sacrifice, negotiate, or rationalize our way through sin, let’s try something different. Let’s try repenting and obeying. Let’s try getting some help by the way of prayer and accountability. Let’s stop making provision for sin. And let’s move forward into the new year facing the positive instead of running from the negative.
I’ll be scrutinizing my own life dealing with all these issues. Pray for me as I pray for you.