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Beyond Resolutions – Creating Your Best Year

One of my favorite children’s books, and the very first one that I bought for our oldest son, Reese, is Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” As I have been reflecting on 2018 and planning for 2019, this book popped into my mind and created a flow of thoughts and insights that I feel compelled to share. This wonderful story teaches that there will be good times, hard times, happy times, and lonely times, but that ultimately we can and will conquer our mountains. This year, push beyond mere resolutions and start creating your best year yet.

The key to creating your best year does not lie in talent, or resources, or experience, but in your ability to decide on a goal and commit to doing whatever it takes to get there.

Beyond Resolutions Creating Your Best Year

Ready, Set, Go!

Start of people running on street,with sunset light.Goal of Success

The first step to moving beyond a resolution and creating your best year is to take action. They say it’s the start that stops most people. It’s one thing to know we should do something and an entirely different thing to actually start doing it. Maybe it’s uncertainty or not knowing how to start that has been holding you back.

We also have to take action even when it’s inconvenient or scary. Although I acknowledge that I am reliant on God for everything, I also understand that He expects us to do our part. Like Peter, we must step out in faith and take those unsure steps upon the water. He supplies the power, but we must put it to use. Perhaps you’ve heard the story of the two farmers who desperately needed rain for their crops. Both prayed fervently for God to send rain, but only one went out and prepared his field to receive it. Which one trusted God to send the rain? A bit rhetorical, isn’t it? The answer is obvious – the one who prepared his fields.

It’s time to start. Not someday–today. Figure out your first step and take it.

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Beyond Resolutions Creating Your Best Year

Keep On Keeping On

Why do most resolutions fail? Because somewhere along the way, we get discouraged or distracted and quit. The late Dr. Jerry Falwell said, “You do not determine a man’s greatness by his talent or wealth, as the world does, but rather by what it takes to discourage him.” Alternatively, for you football fans, Mike Ditka put it this way, “You never lose until you quit trying.”

As I have reflected over my own life, I have found this to be true.

There is a verse in Scripture that God brought to my mind as I was pondering these things.

“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12–14 NIV11).

Even now as I read this, the words “forgetting the past “ and “press on” seem to leap off the page at me. It convicts me, motivates me, and pushes me onward and upward. Let it do the same for you.

Right now, decide to forget past failures and press on to create a better future. When you fall down, get back up, dust yourself off, and keep going. Ask God to help you improve areas that need improving and become all that He created you to be. Commit to trusting God’s promises and strength more than your ability or feelings or emotion. Decide to live each day to it’s fullest.

And never, ever give up.

Beyond Resolutions Creating Your Best Year

Finding Inspiration

Plant breaking through asphalt

Here’s what I know–“with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). I know this because I have accomplished things I previously thought were impossible. And if I can do it, I know you can do it.

I have confidence that 2019 will be even better because I have already seen what God has done in my life in the past. Twelve years ago I hit what felt like rock bottom. My health was horrible. I weighed 284 pounds, had high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and pre-diabetes. I had to decide to change my lifestyle. It was time to “get busy living, or get busy dying.” I chose to live.

I started by working out and adopted healthier eating habits and over the course of the next few months lost more than 100 pounds and forever changed the trajectory of my life and health. I’d like to say it was easy, but it wasn’t. I met every day with a determination and a resolve to never give up.

Likewise, I have seen a drastic improvement in my relationships, particularly with my lovely wife, Tracy. Once I discovered, again from Scripture, that I was the one responsible for the quality of my marriage and my happiness, and started to look for ways to meet her needs rather than trying to manipulate her into meeting mine, our relationship blossomed. We just celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary, and our marriage is the best it has ever been and getting better all the time.

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Beyond Resolutions Creating Your Best Year

Looking Ahead

As you look ahead into 2019, what do you see? Maybe you haven’t always made the best decisions in the past. Perhaps some of the decisions have landed you in a place you never wanted to be. You could choose to live in the past, wishing you had done things differently, wishing things were not as they are, but that won’t do anything but make you more depressed.

The good news is that today is a brand-new day, the first day of a brand new year. You have the opportunity to make new choices that will lead you in a new direction. God has an incredible purpose and plan for your life. Sometimes seeing God’s hand in the midst of difficult times is not easy. I could never have imagined how many lives would be impacted by the choices I made. God has graciously allowed me to go through my trials so that He can use me to help others who are struggling with their own. Today is your day! Become the masterpiece you were created to be (Ephesians 2:10).

As Dr. Seuss said:


Today is your day.

You’re off to Great Places!

You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

You’re on your own. And you know what you know.

And YOU are the [one] who’ll decide where to go.

Have a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year!