Making All Things New

There is something about the New Year that is clean and refreshing, vibrant and robust.  It is where I can symbolically push old baggage to the side and get a fresh start trying something new.  I always have an excitement about the New Year because it is as if I have been given an empty sheet of white paper where nothing has been written.  I am the one who has a choice of what is to be written on that paper.  What will it be?  How shall I begin my year?

Choices.  Shall I begin my year calling all the shots?  Will I be the one who is in control?  Honestly, I will have to confess that I am not my best master.  In fact, I am a horrible ruler of my own soul.  I make countless mistakes, if left to my own volition.  Therefore, I am not the best lord of my own fate.  Yet, the thought of making positive changes to make certain aspects of my life or the lives of those around me better bring me great joy.  I am always ready and willing to dash and clamour to climb up onto the bandwagon if I believe that I can even begin making some minor change in my life that will actually be an improvement that will benefit myself and others.  For I see change as a constant process that is continually happening all around us and within us.

Many shy away from the act of making resolutions in the New Year, often due to the fact that most people actually don’t keep the promises that they make. surveyed over 5,000 people on their New Year’s Resolutions for 2016.  The top 6 resolutions were the following:

  • Enjoy life to the fullest
  • Live a healthier lifestyle
  • Lose weight
  • Spend more time with family and friends
  • Save more, spend less
  • Pay down debt

These resolutions are given as the top resolutions to make for 2016, yet I came upon another list that laid out the Top 10 Commonly Broken New Year’s Resolutions.  They are:

  • Lose weight and get fit
  • Quit smoking
  • Learn something new
  • Eat Healthier and diet
  • Get out of debt and save money
  • Spend more time with family
  • Travel to new places
  • Be less stressed
  • Volunteer
  • Drink less

Why is it that we have such grand ideas at the beginning of the year that gradually putter out and vanish into thin air?  One study below, suggests that it is the way that we “phrase” our resolutions.  We should ask ourselves, instead of making a statement.

From a study just published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology researchers analyzed findings from 104 past studies, all of which looked at the question-behavior effect” or how answering a question about a specific behavior influences whether or not you’ll engage in that behavior.   According to the researchers, you’re much more likely to influence behavior using questions instead of statements.    Thus, researchers encourage people to use questions as New Year’s resolutions as motivators to trigger a psychological response by prompting people to remember why something is important.

Others might say that our resolutions aren’t specific enough.  They need to be written more like goals, with steps that you will take to meet that goal, and a target date when you hope to meet your goal.  For children and families I think that this is very important.  Life is constantly changing.  Children and parents, alike, are in the perpetual flux of going through one stage into the next.  Their wants and needs adjust as they grow and mature.

Hence, with all of that said, I believe that the first step in making New Year’s Resolutions needs to be a quiet time with you and God and your clean sheet of white paper.  You need to go before the Lord acknowledging that you know that He has plans for a hope and a future for you.(Jeremiah 29:11).  He has created you and given you the gifts and the talents that you have.  He also knows the weaknesses and shortcomings that plague you.  Ask God   where He wants you to change and how He wants you to do that.  What goals does the Lord desire for you to work on?   He is the one who can guide you and instruct you.  

Maybe God desires you to:

  • Spend more time with Him daily in having a quiet time.
  • Be more positive with the kids.  A critical spirit can be like a poison in a family or organization.
  • Not spend as much time on your “hand-held” devices.  They can literally drive a wedge between you and your family members, with your kids feeling that your phone activities are far more important than they are.

Psalm 119:10 states “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”

Romans 12:2 states “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

When we spend time with God daily He renews our mind as we read His Word, the Bible.  Then we know what the right and wrong way to go is for us.  We know what His will is, and that aids us in fulfilling any goal that we have made.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Philippians 4:6-9, 13,19 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally brothers, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, of anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me- put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

When we feel that we are weak or unable to fulfill a goal or expectation, we have a helper to aid us in giving us the strength to meet the goal.  God will help us when we go to Him in prayer.

The Teacher Treasury has some wonderful tools that can be used when making your resolutions and in goal setting.  Adults, parents, and children alike can brainstorm and fill in goals or resolutions to the following prompts.

  • I will be better at…..
  • I will try harder to….
  • Before the end of the year I want to……
  • I will practice…..
  • I will learn how to….
  • I will think about….
  • I will not be afraid to…..
  • I will always remember to….

Other grids that can be used are the following:

My goal is:                                                                                                                                      

My target date is:                                                      

To reach my goal I will do these 3 things:                                                      

I will know I have reached my goal because:                    

                                                        I am good at….

                                                        I need to work on….

                                                       My plan to improve is….

                                                       If my plan doesn’t work, then I’ll…

                                                      I’ll know my plan is working when…. 

My goal for________is_____

These are some things I will do to get to my goal……………

Rebecca Gruber shared a fantastic post for New Year’s Resolutions for Parents on her blog, POPSUGAR.

  1. Save on the small things so you can do the big things.
  2. Go on a family tech diet.
  3. Be a better parenting team.
  4. Become cleaner eaters.
  5. Erase the mom guilt.
  6. Break the common bad-parenting habits.
  7. Boost your kids’ self-esteem.
  8. Be in the picture…literally.
  9. Reinstate the family dinner.
  10. Live in the moment (not on instagram).
  11. Don’t judge other parents.
  12. Simplify; remove things from your life that you do not need.
  13. Be positive.
  14. Keep your family healthy.

(I have this as one of the resources, where you can get more “How-to’s” for each item listed.)

God’s Word tells us the following:

Colossians 3:12-14, 17  “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Putting on love.  Think about that for a moment.  For this New Year of 2016 making a goal of putting on love.  Choosing to clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Choosing to tuck away that critical spirit, and set free a spirit of love and grace to all who live around you.  Choosing to let the spirit of Jesus, shine through you.  If we all did this we would be a part of working together with the Lord in making all things new.

Revelation 21:5  “I am making everything new!”

Have a blessed and wonderful 2016!

Here are some resources for a fantastic 2016!

New Year’s Resolutions Kids Can Make

Parenting Resolutions

Reward Charts 4 Kids

15 New Years Activities for Kids

May the Lord keep you in the palm of His hand.

Debra Smith

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