It’s a new year—with new dreams, new challenges, and (like it or not) a new president.
As we approach the end of January my gym is still decently full, which I happen to find bittersweet (sweet because people are taking charge of their health; bitter because I do not like smelling someone else’s sweat right next to me). But it will taper off soon, as it does every year. Because forming a new habit is hard.
We moved our kitchen trashcan from one wall, where it’s lived for over ten years, to the pantry. And would you believe it? It took a solid MONTH for us to break the rhythm of walking to that old spot and train our brains to take the new route instead. Because forming a new habit is hard.
I took a siesta from the World Wide Web these past several weeks to hone in on some top priorities. At first, I found myself wanting to click those social media buttons or craving to lose myself in one of my favorite blogs. Because, as you know, forming a new habit is hard. But once I embraced the empty space and didn’t hurry to fill it with something else, my perspective radically shifted.
It’s not easy to break an old habit or to create new ones, but I never want to allow my routine tendencies to trump what’s most important. I want to live my life on purpose, refusing to settle for merely going through the motions.
“Don’t act thoughtlessly,” Paul encourages, “but understand what the Lord wants you to do.” (Romans 12:2)
My husband and I decided to do a “family word” for 2017—to intentionally involve the kids and think about what really matters. We wanted it to be something like focus; something about fixing our eyes on the important stuff. Since Jack (our almost 5-year-old) is really into nerf guns and constantly shooting his foam bow and arrow, we decided on the word AIM. Aim for what matters most. Notice it’s not “hit the bullseye every time” or “be perfect and never screw up.” No, to aim is to point toward the end goal.
And so we sit around the breakfast table, casually chatting about the seven areas we’ve chosen to aim for this coming year. We wanted them to be short, simple, and easy enough for our kids to remember. And though we’ve elaborated a bit more in our personal scribbles, here is the basic gist:
(1) Love God.
(2) Love people.
(3) Be the Church.
(4) Live healthy.
(5) Work hard.
(6) Play hard.
(7) Stop to rest.
If we don’t point ourselves in the right direction, how can we expect to end up somewhere on purpose?
So if you committed to start something new but have already fallen off the bandwagon, you can still get back on. If you set some fresh goals but have already messed up your record, you can still begin again. If you want the power of Christ to continually change the way you think, but so far you’ve only been focused on yourself, admit your weakness and lean into His strength. Steady your feet, ask for God’s help, mark your target, and don’t give up now.
Your one and only life is far too important.
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” (Galatians 6:9)