Disclaimer: I’ve had the flu for the past 6 days, but I’m determined to begin the new year on the right foot by posting. But if I write anything that doesn’t make sense, chalk it up to both high and cabin fevers!
I was thoroughly blessed in 2012, but I’m a little more ready than usual to close that calendar and begin afresh in 2013. There are some daunting days ahead of me (like the day my son flies off to Seattle to take a new job mid summer), but there are also great challenges and promises on these clean, white pages. So I’m taking advantage of the newness of this year and starting fresh in some very practical ways. Perhaps you’ll join me.
Right now is a great time to…
1. Start a fresh bulletin board. Last year I posted a new bulletin board in my office diagonal to where I sit and type most days. I immediately filled it with goals, meaningful photographs, daily to-do lists, and brochures from writing retreats I might take. It’s time to clean that bulletin board off and start afresh. Do you motivate yourself with a bulletin board or similar tool?
2. Grocery shop with a new list. I often get in diet ruts, eating the same things for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, day after day, or at least week after week. But it’s time to try some new foods. I’m checking out new ways to prepare and eat Greek yogurt, grapefruit, arugula, fish and couscous. I’m looking for a new breakfast idea or two as well.
3. Break in a new appointment calendar. I like one with both weekly and daily in-review sections. What about you? What are your qualifications for a good calendar? In fact, do you have one you’d recommend? Since I’ve been sick, I haven’t purchased one yet and I’m still in the market.
4. Begin a new quiet time practice. I’m a creature of habit to the point that I like being consistent in my quiet time with God within a year’s time, but I like to shake it up at the beginning of each January. Sometimes I set out to read through the Bible. Other times I choose a certain devotional guide to use. This year I’ll be returning to Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling and I’ll be using my new leather bound edition. (I don’t think it’s real leather, but it’s still very C.S. Lewis-y!)
|I read through the Life Principles Daily Bible last year and absolutely loved it!|
5. Memorize 24 new Scripture verses. As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ll be participating again this year in Living Proof Ministry’s Siesta Scripture Memory Challenge. It’s not too late to join me! This will undoubtedly be one of the greatest investments I make this year and I can’t wait to get started!
6. Up your workout! I’ll be upping my daily workouts first by improving my time on my almost-daily-5-mile walks. I got a new Garmin watch for Christmas that has inspired me to push a little harder. Later, when my recent bout of tennis elbow has healed sufficiently, I’ll be adding new hand weight exercises. My muscles have become over-accustomed to the ones I’ve been doing for the past
3 4 5 who-knows-how-many-years!
|My new Garmin watch. You can get one here.|
7. Clean out your toaster. In my feverish stupor yesterday I decided I needed to do at least one useful thing. So, for who knows what reason, I cleaned out the crumb tray underneath my toaster. Then I cleaned out all the crumbs in the cabinet where my dirty toaster has been sitting between uses. You might want to do the same…or find some other rarely cleaned thing or place in your home and get with it. But just one…we don’t want to over do the cleaning thing before the Spring!
8. Try a new nail polish. Or lipstick or hair color or scent or deodorant. But the new year is definitely a great time to try something new in the beauty department…or the hygiene department, if you will.
9. Tackle a new Bible study. We’ll begin studying Stormie O’Martian’s The Power of a Praying Woman next week at my church. I hope you have a study group to join as well. Studying with other women makes all the difference in my completion rate! But if you don’t have a group with which to study and discuss, consider finding one. It’s worth stepping out of your comfort zone for. 🙂
10. Begin a new relationship. Or invest more consistently in one you’ve allowed to wane. The chilly month of January is a great month to invite someone new to join you for coffee, share lunch, or check out a new movie. I’ll be adding a few such friendly appointments to my new calendar…as soon as I get one!
11. Try a new spiritual discipline. Spiritual disciplines are not legalistic attempts to please God, but are tried, true, and biblically prescribed methods of drawing closer to God through commitment and practice. Do you have a daily prayer time? Do you meditate on Scripture? How do you feel about fasting? Do you worship God, not just corporately, but individually? I’m beginning the new year with a TV fast, but you might choose to incorporate a different spiritual discipline into your daily life so that you draw closer to the God who loves you.
12. Ask God for a new challenge. I’m asking God to grow me up exponentially this year. This past year I’ve grown so disgustingly weary of some of my own immature ways. I want to thrive as His disciple; not just get by. So I’m
boldly shaking-in-my-boots nervously asking God to challenge me in new ways this year so that I have to flex some different spiritual muscles and grow up, for Pete’s sake!
13. Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Instead of just looking back and naming the things for which we’ve been thankful during 2012, why not begin the new year by choosing to be grateful today…and every day…for whatever this day brings. You might start a thanksgiving journal or you may prefer to fill a jar with slips of gratitude-dripping papers like I’m going to do. The bottom line is to count your blessings, name them one by one, count your many blessings and see what God has done!…Every. Single. Day.
|My Gratitude Jar…as soon as I get the Christmas balls out!|
Question: How are you starting 2013 off fresh and new? I’d love to know!
mary austin says
i loved all of this, Im eritting down the books so i can get yhem my self. thanks. Ill be doing my toaster today, LOL
Kay @ Off the Beaten Path says
Happy New Year, Mary! Here's to clean toasters!
Susan Stilwell says
Good stuff, Kay. A new year is always a good time to make a fresh start. I'm excited about my new planner/journal!
Blessings to you in 2013!
Kay @ Off the Beaten Path says
Thanks for dropping in today Susan. Have a blessed new year!
Karen Field Carroll says
Hi, Kay. Great post–thank you! As for the planner question, I abandoned formal planners two years ago. Now I use a regular 5X7 spiral-bound notebook with stickable/movable tabs from 3M. I write "Today" on one, "This Week," on another, "[Name of the current month]" on the third, keep running lists under each, and move the tabs down the notebook as the days progress. Just the right balance of flexibility and structure for me, and I have blank pages at the ready for misc. notes I want to make. As for the toaster, I've gotten into the habit of cleaning out the crumb trays every time I clean the kitchen. If I don't work something like that into a routine, it NEVER gets done. 🙂 Have a blessed New Year!
Kay @ Off the Beaten Path says
Karen, great ideas. You must certainly be a better home keeper than me! I like your calendaring idea, especially since you have room for multitudinous notes. I really like that. But how do you keep track of appointments and such? I'd really like to know because other than that I think you're really on to something here!
Angie Clayton says
Hi Kay. God has really turned me upside down (which I should definitely go do to my toaster right now!) and inside out in the last couple of weeks, preparing me for the adventure of 2013 with Him. It's been one of those little seasons where everything I hear, read, etc. seems to have a couple of common themes, and I am listening! One is simplicity (I have such a tendency to complicate things!) and the other is Him showing me in fantastic and beautiful ways just how much He cares about me. I heard a suggestion to keep a "Promises Journal" – every time I find a promise in scripture (there are more than 6000!) I write it down in my journal. A friend is doing it with me, and we are texting promises to each other all day long! What a change in focus this has brought for me – God is leading me to live in light of those promises, and in light of His fierce love for me. So yes, I have some specific "resolutions," and I did write them down, but I restrained myself from making any plans on how to accomplish them. Instead I am taking them to the Lord and trusting Him to accomplish them in and through me, or to let me know if I need to let it go! I have a list of great books to re-read – books like "The Pursuit of God" (Tozer) and "Hinds Feet on High Places" (Hannah ??). These are books I read when I was first saved, and I remember they had a great impact on me but I sure couldn't tell you what it was! As I've read through a couple of them I've been blown away by (1) the keeping of the common themes I've already seen, and (2) how much was lost on me when I first read them! My prayer journal has changed, as I've been challenged to pray specifically – God is a God of specifics (think of the Tabernacle instructions!) – and I have tended to pray generally unless in crisis. I have been sick all of last year, and have only been able to focus on what's on fire – but two surgeries in the past 6 weeks are showing great promise and once I'm fully recovered … look out!!
I could go on – can you tell I'm excited about what God is up to?
Calendar: This was really tough for me, but I finally switched over to the electronic calendar on my phone (which syncs with my computer automatically). I resisted, being a paper and pencil person, but I have found that it has many views and capabilities that I was unaware of, and I'm liking it more and more. It's always with me, and my purse isn't nearly as heavy!
Wow that was a dissertation. Maybe I should have put it on my own blog! Happy New Year!
Kay @ Off the Beaten Path says
Angie, thanks for all your thoughts! Love hearing what God is doing in your life. I especially like the idea of the Promises Journal. I love that it is already producing such fruit in your life. Isn't it exciting when we develop a spiritual discipline like that and it actually WORKS and we're surprised by the results? I just love it that God's Word always works in our life, never returning void. But when we bother to do something new and different with it, we get even sweeter results!
Unfortunately I do not have a smart phone. As I'm fond of saying, I have a 'dumb' phone! It does little more than call and text. Maybe one of these days!
Angie Clayton says
Me again – I forgot about this fun ap I found for Bible memorization on my phone – lots of different ways the memorize, great review and reminder system. It's called "Bible Minded" and it was free for my iPhone.