New Year’s resolutions, we all make them, determined for a new or “better” me, yet so many of us flounder within the first few weeks; we can’t keep up the new gym membership, the diet falls apart when we rediscover pizza, and our positivity drains on that first day back at work.
There’s something about starting over that we all get drawn to, a new beginning, a clean slate, the new year is our opportunity to get it right, and we jump at the chance to change who we are, in an attempt to be happy. But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the years, it’s that if we change in an attempt to fit into other’s perception of ‘happy’ then it won’t work, we will fail. For a resolution to stick, we need to take the time to figure out who we really want to be; and I don’t mean the ideal weight, or the ‘perfect’ fashion sense, but deep down, on a personal level, we need to discover what makes us truly happy. This takes time, and can change regularly, so re-evaluating each year does make sense, to understand what’s made us happy over the last twelve months, and to learn how to integrate those moments into how we live over year to come.
Unfortunately it’s easier said than done. Figuring out who we are, and what we really want can take years, if not a lifetime. We’re constantly changing, who we are now might not be who we are in a few years, even months or weeks. However I believe that if you spend time in God’s presence, figuring out the best course for you becomes a lot simpler.
‘Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.’ Romans 12:2
God doesn’t want us to conform to society but find our path through Him.
Taking moments in your day to pray or meditate can really have a transformative effect. I’ve spent a lot time recently talking to God about what I want to achieve with my life, in my everyday actions, and the longer term impacts of what I do. And I’ve learnt that I want to make changes that help me live in the moment, to grasp every opportunity I can; I’m only 23, yet my regrets in life so far are the things I didn’t do, so my aim this year is to not say no, to ‘Seize the day’. I know from my happiest moments last year that I thrive when meeting new people, through travelling, volunteering, new work, and through church. God has been at the centre of each of my favourite times and I know that his strength will carry me through what’s to come – good and bad.
My best memories this past year were when I was pushed out of my comfort zone, and placed in unlikely situations. So, taking this knowledge, throughout 2016, I want to spend more of my time exploring new ideas, new places and new people. I’m choosing to volunteer at as many events as possible, I’m lucky, in that working for Tearfund there’s plenty of opportunities to do this, but I also want to spend more time with my church, and within my community. I want to engross myself in God’s choices for me.
If you’re anything like me, and looking to live more actively, then I heartily encourage you to do the same. (Find out about events with Tearfund here)
If you’re more introverted and this sounds like your idea of hell, I would still recommend to take some time to figure out what it is you want from the year, don’t just resolve to do something or be someone because everyone else is doing it; it’s your year, talk to God about the best choices for you, and do what makes you happy.
‘For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.’ Romans 8:5-6