I have to be honest and tell you that I’m not a huge fan of setting New Year’s resolutions.
Not because I don’t like setting goals or making plans (because ya girl had her new 2020 planner long before the new year even hit), I just think it’s unfortunate that most folks wait until January to dream big dreams or to start making better choices.
You don’t have to wait for a new year to begin to create a new you; God can help you do that anytime! I’m all for living your best life now, and I believe you can do that right where you are and with what God has already given to you.
Though setting goals is typically about gaining or adding to your life, this year my goal is to leave some things behind. Here are 19 things I plan to leave in 2019:
1. Days without prayer. This had to be first on this list because prayer is tried and true when it comes to changing things. Prayer literally gives us the power to transform every aspect of our life, and always for the better. If you’re not praying, then you don’t really want things to change, plain and simple. “Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” (Matthew 21:22).
2. Living in the past. Whether it’s past hopes and dreams or past hurts, they have a way of creeping back into our lives and robbing us of joy in the present. Whatever it is, let it go so you can move forward. “Every moment you live in the past is a moment you waste in the present.”
3. Clutter. Repeat after me: “Get rid of the junk, girlfriend!” This is embarrassing to admit, but over the last year I have really been working hard to declutter, and I have probably thrown away or donated a dumpster’s worth of garbage or things that I don’t have use for. I feel like with every trash bag that has gone out of my home, it’s cleared a space in my mind. If you haven’t used it or worn it in the last three months, you probably don’t need it. A happy, tidy home equals a happy, tidy mind. “Outer order contributes to inner calm.”
4. Negative thoughts. When we understand that our thoughts ultimately determine the outcome of our life, we recognize how important it is not to allow the ugly ones to stay. Think of your mind as a target, because that’s exactly what it is to Satan. Nothing pleases him more than when a Christian allows negative thoughts to rule and keep them from living in the peace and favor of God. “The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.”
5. Overthinking. When you find yourself stressing out about situations that you have no control over or getting anxiety over scenarios that haven’t happened yet—just stop. Sometimes I will catch myself mid-thought, and I will stop and pray, “Lord, you know I’m feeling anxious about this, and it’s out of my control. I give this situation to You. Please give me peace in exchange.” “Overthinking is the art of creating problems that aren’t even there.”
6. Overspending. For some, this might mean refraining from swiping your credit card for big purchases, and for others, it might just mean making your coffee at home. First, recognize your means, and then prioritize your spending. “A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”
7. Not saving money. Emergencies will arise in life, and if you don’t have an adequate savings fund separate from an emergency fund, the two become one and the same. If you currently don’t have either, start saving now. No matter what your income is, get in the habit of setting something aside from each check. It may not seem like much at first, but if you are disciplined and committed, little by little, it will add up. “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.”
8. Spending too much time on social media. There’s nothing wrong with social media, but when your life is spent trying to get “likes” from strangers rather than building a life you actually like, there’s an issue. “Make sure you are happy in real life, not just on social media.”
9. Unintentional living. It’s so easy to get in a rut in life, especially if you’re a routine-driven person. Be intentional about how you spend your days. Once your daily 24 hours are over, you can’t get them back, so make them count! Recognize that it’s okay to step outside of the norm and live a little! After all, you only get one life. “Living with intention means saying no to the things that aren’t important to us so we can say yes to what matters most.”
10. Laziness. This ties in with intentional living. Don’t mope and sleep your life away; get up and get moving! There’s nothing wrong with the occasional “off” day, but if you’re having one every day, it’s no longer considered relaxation, my friends; it’s just laziness. “Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper” (Proverbs 13:4).
11. Discontentment. This is a feeling that can totally transform your life in the worst way. It’s another tactic of the enemy, and it causes us to place more focus on what we’re lacking rather than our blessings. Thankfully, this is a feeling that can be avoided with daily prayer. “You don’t have to have the best of everything to live a content life, you just need to learn to make the best of everything.”
12. Selfishness. This world tells us to be more selfish, but the Jesus we strive to be like exemplified the greatest act of selflessness there ever was when He gave His life for us on Calvary. This world also tells us that we must put ourselves first, though the Word of God tells us to prefer others over ourselves. It’s so easy to get caught up in our own life’s struggles to the point that we become blinded to the struggles of others. People are hurting and in need of love, a love we can’t give when we’re hung up on ourselves. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition, or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interest, but each of you to the interest of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
13. Unhealthy living. This is a generation that is all about self-care, which is awesome, but I think we get confused about what actual self-care looks like. It’s not really lavish vacations, expensive spa days, and shopping sprees, so don’t feel bad if you can’t afford those things. True self-care is just as much about taking care of your mental state as it is the physical. What does it matter if you look perfectly put together on the outside when you are falling apart on the inside? Be intentional about getting an adequate amount sleep, drinking more water, exercising, eating healthier, and taking care of your mind. Hallelujah, all those things are free and are a great place to start when it comes to self-care! “You’ve gotta nourish to flourish.”
14. Procrastination. Speaking of unhealthy living and taking care of your mind, if you’ve ever procrastinated completing an important task, you know how much it weighs on you mentally. Whether it’s bills, assignments, or household chores, continually putting things off is never good. There are actually several studies that prove procrastination can lead to anxiety and depression. “The results you fantasize about lie in the work you’re avoiding.”
15. Self-doubt. We can so easily see the potential in others while doubting its existence in ourselves. Doubt is the greatest enemy of progress, so let’s eliminate it! “Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”
16. The negative opinions of others. I’ve heard it said that if you live off of the praise and approval of others, you’ll die from their criticism. We must get to a place where our confidence comes from within. When we know and own who God has called us to be, the Negative Nancys cannot deter us. “People have the right to their opinions, and you have the right to ignore them.”
17. Unhealthy habits. First we form habits, then they form us. Whatever unhealthy habits you’ve picked up over the years, acknowledge their existence and work hard to demolish them. “Conquer your bad habits or they will conquer you.”
18. Uncultivated talents. “Yes, I play…but I’m not that great,” or “If I spent more time practicing, I’d be a lot more confident.” These are things you regretfully say when you have chosen not to spend time cultivating your God-given abilities. Everyone wants to be talented, but few people want to put in the work it requires. There must be preparation if you expect there to ever be greatness. Cultivate your giftings and then figure out how you can serve God and others with them. “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say I used everything you gave me.”
19. Uncultivated relationships. If you are blessed enough to have people who love and care about you, take time this year to let them know they are appreciated. None of us are promised tomorrow, so let’s not wait until then to let our loved ones know how important they are to us. We need each other. “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three stands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12).