Everyone always thinks of the new year as a fresh start. Most people set resolutions and goals, or at least attempt a new diet or exercise plan. I have been known to set the same new years resolutions year-after-year, only to fail. There's a reason for that, ya know... the thing about a fresh start is that we have to keep working at it every day. Fresh starts happen every day, even when it doesn't feel so fresh anymore.
The problem is, we tend to look at fresh starts as a yearly occurrence. But depending on your level of self-discipline, the feeling of a fresh start may dwindle pretty dang quickly! Some people have more will-power than I do. However, it's well know that many people give up on their resolutions far before the end of the following year.
So what do we do when the motivation we had yesterday is gone today? What do we do when we are tired, weary, frustrated, or hopeless?
Fresh Starts are a ChoiceHere's the thing about fresh starts- they are a daily choice! They don't come once a year or once a month. They don't even come once a week. Fresh Starts come every day, every hour, and every minute.
We all make mistakes. We all fall short, and we all have moments of weakness. We are going to fail on our resolutions, goals, and dreams at least a little bit and at least for a short time. But if we failed an hour ago, that doesn't change the fact that we can still do a good job for the rest of the day.
Why do we so often feel that if we mess up once, we might as well give up and start again next year. Geesh! That is a terrible idea, guys! Just because you ate an entire pizza last night doesn't mean that the rest of your year is blown. Just because you smoked a cigarette after weeks of being clean doesn't mean that you should just quit. Whatever it is that you've failed at in the moment, dust yourself off, repent/make amends if need be, and make the rest of the day (and the next day, and the next) count!
Find Some AccountabilityPlain and simple- going it alone is just not as effective for most people. We all need someone to verbally "slap us in the face" when we get off track. We need someone who will tell it like it is and who truly cares about our goals and well-being.
Oh, and your accountability partner needs to be someone who is self-disciplined on their own.
What's the point in asking someone to keep you accountable who is undisciplined and probably won't even remember to check up on you? Answer- there is no point at all.
Forgive YourselfFresh starts require a lot of grace. They require that we forgive ourselves for our failures and that we give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. Fresh starts can only exist if we believe in ourselves, and we aren't going to believe in ourselves if we cannot let go of our past failures.
Seriously, guys! Let it go. We have got to give ourselves grace, forgive ourselves, trust God for his help, and believe that we can accomplish what we have set out to do.
Friends, mistakes are inevitable. But fresh starts are all about making the choice to move forward and do well NOW. Forget what you did yesterday, or even an hour ago. Your fresh start begins as soon as you decide that it does!
I'm here cheering you on. And I wish you a wonderful, goal-achieving new year!