Photo by Sixteen Miles Out.
Happy New Year!! It’s been a while since I posted anything on the blog. I took some time off to reset and prepare for the New Year. But I’m back inspired and ready to begin the year with fresh ideas.
It’s January, the time of the year when many of us make resolutions. I have often been one for plans but I have noticed that I quickly fall off the New Year’s resolutions bandwagon before the year gets halfway.
So instead of New Year’s resolutions, I know I will drop before February gets here. How about simple habits that can help inspire and hopefully draw us closer to Jesus this year?
1. Learn a new skill
We never grow out of learning and the only way to progress in life is if we commit to being learners. I have made it a habit in my life to learn at least one skill every year. With all the different teaching platforms available to us, learning a new skill has never been easier.
You can commit to learning a new language (I have been meaning to learn Spanish, maybe this year I will finally get to it). Or learn how to play an instrument ( I could dust off my piano-playing skills that have become rusty due to lack of practice). You could learn to play the guitar. How about taking a painting class ( You may not paint like Picasso, but you can learn the basics to paint a decent one).
You can take a cooking class– learn how to prepare a new cuisine from another culture. Maybe take an Italian cooking class ( hello pasta & pizza), Mexican ( learn how to make the best tacos or carnitas). Or learn how to make pastry like the French. Or even singing and voice lessons to become a better singer or worshipper.
2. Reading the Bible
If you don’t intentionally make the time to get in the word, you probably won’t do any bible reading.
I have a habit of mapping out how I want to read the Bible throughout the year. Sometimes I have kept the commitment, other times, I have fallen off because I lacked the intention.
Pick a plan. Whether it’s reading through the Bible systematically- from Genesis to Revelation this year, or committing to a bible study plan. Choose what works for you and do your best to follow through with it.
3. Make practice a habit
Practice. Practice. Practice.
Whatever your craft, you will never get better at it unless you put in practice. I read somewhere that a famous writer writes 2000 words each day. Every single day. No wonder he is one of the best.
The difference between the rookie and the master is the hours of practice they have put in.
Whether it’s writing, singing, photography, or designing, make practice a habit this year, and pursue excellence.
4. Write more
This is for the writers. The more you write the better you become. There is no way around it.
This year I’m committing myself to find different avenues to write. I want to get out of my comfort zone. I want to try different styles and see if I get better at them.
Try writing out of your comfort zone, if your style is more formal try doing informal writing- write a poem or a short story. Try writing an article for a magazine. Push boundaries with your writing and take risks this year.
5. Read. Read. Read
As the adage goes, “ Reading is dreaming with our eyes open.” Let’s be dreamers this year. Books are also the easiest way to sit with someone we admire and be mentored by them.
As a writer, I know that this is something I need to commit to. I’m naturally a reader and I enjoy it, but I find myself piling books on my kindle that I’m yet to open because I lack time. I’m committing to a specific number of books this year. I also want to venture into reading from new genres to expand my perspective.
Take some time off Instagram and Facebook posts or reading through blogs and pick up a book this year. Whatever the form- paperback, digital or audio, get in some reading in 2023!
6. Worship more
As believers, this one has to be a priority. God and the business of attending to God’s presence cannot be at the back of our to-do lists. We have to be intentional to worship.
Find different ways to worship this year. Whether it’s blasting on some anointed worship music and have a praise break in your bedroom, or in the kitchen while you cook. Whether it’s reading through the psalm and worshipping with the psalmist. Taking a five minutes break at work to remind yourself of God’s goodness. Whatever works for you, it’s your acceptable sacrifice before the Lord.
This is worship. So here is what I want you to do, God helping you. Take your everyday, ordinary life- your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life- and place it before God as an offering. Romans 12:1 MSG
Let’s make 2023 a year we become worshippers of God in spirit and in truth!
7. Find a mentor
Find someone who is more advanced and successful than you in what you do. Sit and learn from them. Be intentional in asking people if they could mentor you.
We often struggle through life trying to do things our way while we can learn from those ahead of us and spare ourselves the trouble.
Mentorship could be done in different ways. It could be finding a career coach, a spiritual leader, or pastor, a relationship expert, a life coach , or even a therapist to help you work through some stuff.
Learn from the wisdom of those who are older and wiser.
8. Make new friends
As we grow older, it’s easy to neglect friendships. We just don’t have time to invest in friendships, but there is a richness that we cannot have in life in the absence of good friends.
This year commit to not only reaching out and sustaining old friendships. But also getting out of our comfort zones and making new friends. Find friends who challenge you, it could be spiritually, relationally, or intellectually. Befriend someone who is different from you and use it as a learning opportunity.
Let’s commit to growing as individuals through relationships and gaining new perspectives.
9. Take more risks
We can lead safe lives, go to our safe jobs and come back to our safe homes.
However, if we are going to have new experiences and new opportunities we have to be willing to take risks.
Be open to new ideas. Take a risk on people. Take risks with your dreams. Live boldly and courageously.
Be adventurous this year, go somewhere you’ve never been. Visit a new city, or be wild and go ziplining (or something less exhilarating if heights are not your thing). Be adventurous in your relationships, and find something to do with your partner that you’ve never done before.
Add some excitement to your life this year!
10. Find an opportunity to serve
As believers, we are called to serve. Sometimes we need to look for those opportunities. Serve the people around you. Let this be the year you commit to serving your spouse more than you expect to be served. Serve in your community. Find a place to serve in your local church. By serving in our local churches, we partner with Jesus in building His church and His kingdom.
Find a place to serve and commit to it, could be weekly, biweekly, or monthly.
11. Laugh more
Find something that makes you laugh. Watch a comedy, or a funny video on Youtube and have a good hearty laugh. Life can be intense and we sometimes forget to laugh. They say laughter is the best medicine, so laugh with your family and friends and add some sunshine to your life.
Make room for play and let loose once in a while in 2023!
12. Invest in community
Plug yourself into a community. Find your tribe and grow with them. it could be a Bible study sisters group. A prayer group. An investment group. A married couples group. Women in ministry group. A book club with the girls. A young mothers group. A single ladies’ group.
If you cannot find the group you’re looking for around you, maybe that’s your cue to start one and invite others.
Whatever your season in life find yourself a community and plug yourself into it.
13. Make a plan for your money
What do you want to do in 2023? It probably will require resources. Figure out what you need to do or where you want to go this year and plan financially for it.
Make a plan to budget for your money, when we budget we tell our money where to go rather than wondering where it went. Save for that investment, or to buy a house, or that dream vacation, or for the side hustle you want to start. Get a financial advisor.
We tell God that we can be trusted with more when we become good stewards of what He has given us.
14. Be generous
We serve a generous father, and one way we reveal Him to the world around us is through generosity.
Be generous with your money, find opportunities to give some money away. Be generous with words, with encouragement. Be generous with your time, give people the gift of your time. Be generous and share your gifts with others.
Journal your prayers, journal your praise reports. Journal your dreams and your thoughts. Journal what you feel the Lord speaking to you.
When we journal we can be able to look back and see the goodness and faithfulness of God. Sometimes we can be reminded of a dream we forgot. A prayer we prayed and forgot about it.
I have a prayer/praise journal and a dream( night dream) journal. I have been doing this for over a decade.
I love reading through old journals and seeing my walk with God.
16. Listen more… talk less
We can all do with learning to listen more. With the world of the internet and everyone looking to give their opinions. Let’s become hearers more than we are talkers.
Ask people how they are really doing. Look interested. Call a friend or family and lend a listening year.
Let’s not be people who people hang around and walk away feeling like they didn’t get a word in because we did all the talking.
As James 1:9 exhorts let us be people who are quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to get angry this year.
17. Drink water and be healthy
We can be so busy with life that we neglect taking care of ourselves.
Stay hydrated and nourish your body. Make healthy choices this year, more often opt for fruit when you are tempted to reach for that sugary treat. Opt for a healthier version of your favorite dessert.
We tell God we are good stewards of the bodies he has given us when we take good care of them.
18. Celebrate small wins!
It’s easy to be so focused on the end goal that we never stop to celebrate the small wins.
You prayed for 15 minutes today, celebrate that progress. You studied the word for a whole week consistently, yay! Celebrate that too. You showed self-restraint in a difficult situation, celebrate this! You started a blog or that side hustle! Celebrate that win!
When we pause to see the small victories, we fuel ourselves to keep going and are encouraged to keep trying.
19. Put your gadgets down
We have learnt the art of consistently fidgeting with gadgets. We carry our phones everywhere and have a habit of reaching out for them every chance we get.
Find a day, a few hours, or a few days where you put down the phone and do something not internet related. Like reading a book, taking a walk, or finding a new hobby.
Show up and be present in conversations. We can do well for our lives and relationships when we commit to choosing to unplug from our gadgets for a time this year.
If we fail to commit to all the other habits I mentioned, let us not fail to commit to prayer. Prayer is our fuel for life. It’s how we get a clear vision of what’s truly important in life. It’s how we receive heaven’s perspective for our earthly troubles.
Pray without ceasing, don’t wait to have time to pray. Pray while you do laundry or when cleaning utensils. Pray on your commute to work, or during breaks at work.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 is a good habit to commit to this year. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ for you!
Happy New year everyone! Tell me the habits you are committing to this year below.