“New year, new me!”
Did you see this in your Facebook newsfeed a few weeks ago? How about the posts of varying levels of making fun of such posts? I had both in my feed. It’s kind of amazing to me how pessimistic so many people have become about things like resolutions and goals.
I’ll say it again, I’m a fan of goals and resolutions, or whatever you want to call them. I believe them to fall in the same vein as Proverbs 29:18a – “Where there is no vision, the people perish“. Goals give us a vision of what the future can look like.
Does that mean our future WILL look like our vision? Not always. Sometimes we start out with certain goals for specific reasons and along the way we realize that God had different reasons. And sometimes that reason is for us to fail.
Yes, I believe that God wants us to fail sometimes. Is that scandalous? It totally flies in the face of any prosperity or candy-coated gospel, for sure. Life as a Christian isn’t all sunshine and roses. If it was, why would we need faith in God? Why would we still need a savior?
Yep, I believe God wants us to fail sometimes because it reminds us of three things:
- We can’t do this alone.
- His grace is sufficient for our shortcomings.
- He is always working in us for a greater good.
Actually there are more reasons, but suffice it to say that we learn a great deal from our failings and God is more concerned with growing us in our faith than He is with our earthly circumstances.
This is why I don’t mind setting new goals, even if I didn’t meet a previous goal. I want to always be learning and growing.
Enough backstory, now I want to challenge you.
One of the best ways to jumpstart change in your life is by taking up a challenge. What kind of challenge? Well, that depends on what problem you want solved and your end-goal. Let’s break it down a bit by common areas people look to make change in their life.
Does your faith feel stagnant? Don’t be satisfied with that! Listen for that still small voice in your heart and see where God wants to grow you. Consider challenging yourself in these areas:
- Challenge yourself to pray for your husband every day for a month.
- Pray for one of your children in depth each week day. A couple resources to help – Praying the Scriptures for Your Children, Praying for Boys, and 10 Prayers for Your Daughter
- Are you waiting on an answer to prayer? Consider spending 40 days praying the scriptures while you wait.
- Do you see issues in your church leadership that you think need changing? Stop talking about them and lift your leaders to God daily for the next 9 days.
- Challenge yourself to spend a specific amount of time in prayer. Or to start your day with prayer.
Reading the Bible
- Pick a topical study of the Bible and do it daily.
- Read through the Bible or a portion of the Bible in a set timeframe.
- Commit to reading the Bible daily for a week or month (baby-step it, whatever you need to do to create a better habit with this).
- Choose a book of the Bible and read it every day for a week.
- Teach your children to serve by serving with them. Challenge yourself to do a service project each week with your children.
- If you have young children, you can still model service. Commit to these acts of service each time you go out.
- Commit to one random act of kindness each week for a year.
If you want to see improvement in some area of your life, challenge yourself to start today. Are you miserable in your job? Map out a plan to change jobs or even career fields. Set a time frame and get going! A few other ideas:
- Reduce your spending. Challenge yourself to not spend any money for a whole month (outside of necessities that you decide upon BEFORE starting).
- Save more money. Do you have a daily purchase like coffee or lunch out? Or maybe a bigger weekly/monthly purchase like dinners out? Commit to skipping that for a month (or 2-3 if it is a bigger/more sporadic expense) and saving the money in a special account.
- De-Clutter. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of STUFF in your life? Try out a de-cluttering challenge, there are a LOT of options out there. A few to consider – 10 Minutes a Day, 31 days to clutter free, or do a mini challenge.
- Better food choices. Give up sugar for a month. Drop your daily coffee or soda. Try meatless Monday for a month. Add a green smoothie to your day for a week. Pick your weakest area and challenge yourself to make better choices (spell it out better than that though).
- Move more. Sit at a desk job? Commit to standing while talking on the phone for two weeks. Or use your break time to take a quick walk outside all week. Work at home or are a stay at home parent in a rut? Set a timer each hour for 10 minutes and climb steps, stretch, bounce on a rebounder, or go outside and pull some weeds in the garden.
- Keeping a clean home. Try leaving your sink empty each night for a week. Or challenge yourself to clean something everyday that you won’t have to touch again for at least 2 weeks.
- Weight loss. If you are struggling with weight loss, commit to no sugar for a time of at least 21 days. This will help reset your cravings and likely jumpstart your loss.
- Drink more water. Try setting a goal of 6-8 glasses of water each day for a week or more and then see how you feel at the end.
- Exercise. If exercise is a 4-letter word to you, but you want to lose weight, tone up, or boost your energy…you’re going to need to add exercise to your list. Challenge yourself to try a new form of exercise every day (or 3-5x’s per week) for a couple weeks. By trying new things, you may find a form of exercise that you just love to do!
- Kick bad habits. Pick one and hyper-focus your efforts to kick it to the curb. Replace bad habits with good ones. It takes 21 days to create a new habit, so be patient with yourself.
- Take the Yes, Mom challenge regularly for three months.
- Capture the beauty of daily life with Instagram this year.
- Practice the art of saying no. Commit to taking at least a day to consider any commitments you make this year.
- Set aside a set amount of time every day to do something that makes you relax.
The whole point of these challenges is to try something new. Make different choices to see different results. It really isn’t about the goal, it is about the day-to-day decisions that lead you there. Be intentional to challenge yourself this year and see where God takes you!