Do you experience joyful anticipation as you swap calendars? Are you hopeful that the next 365 days will be so much more ________________(adventurous, purposeful, successful, sane, prayerful, meaningful…) than the previous batch?
I do. I am. And then I promptly load most days with last year’s procrastinations and activities I committed to during a carefree day in June, no doubt. Voila, my life at-a-glance is looking strangely familiar. Out with the old and in with the new, right? My impulse is to shout YES to this invitation! Yet, not one of those calendar squares indicates that I’m selling my house and buying a villa in Italy.
Changing Our View of New
If we believe in the One who “makes all things new,” let’s release the idea that only through complete elimination of something is a new something able to emerge. Let’s welcome ways to be renewed, restored, and transformed in the life we’re living. No need to eradicate, quit, move, or win the lottery and then move to Italy (though dreaming is still allowed!) Transformation can begin in subtle ways and gradually let light enter our days and possibility enter our thoughts and hearts.
Here are six simple ways to put the new in your new year.
1. Refresh your spirit and mind with a daily practice
Choose a regular activity or ritual that will breathe new life into your days and year. Take that literally and do ten minutes of deep breathing upon waking. Consider a creative practice that will inspire ideas, solutions, and new ways of expression:
* Draw a sketch each afternoon
* Sing a prayer of praise before breakfast
* Write unedited responses to creative prompts every day
2. Reenergize your conversations
Ask open-ended questions that ignite new lines of dialogue. Allow genuine creative exchanges to unfold as you infuse your communication with earnest curiosity. Ask your spouse to describe their happy place. Sit with your teenager and welcome a discussion about their view of world events or the one change they hope to make in their lives in the next 365 days.
3. Return to the joy of a former hobby
What activity used to captivate and refresh you? Did you collected crescent-shaped rocks, paint abstract landscapes, write novels, hunt with your cousins, browse the farmer’s market for your week’s produce. Maybe you enjoyed the fellowship of a Bible study, running team, or reading group. Give that old interest a new shine and a new place in your current life.
4. Revamp a routine
Ruts. Routines. Potato, Potatoe. Take inventory of your defaults with a willingness to modify. Choose one to shake up for a pay off in more intention and in happy surprises. Change the route you walk your dog. Attend a different service at your church. Trade out your backpack or purse and prioritize what you carry. Use a different form of transportation to get to and from work. Choose a local coffee shop for your mid-day treat instead of the chain you frequent. Dare I suggest a mint tea instead of coffee?
5. Reserve space on your calendar for surprises
Let a philosophical debate begin: Can you plan a surprise? I vote yes. You can plan for a surprise. Before your phone calendar is filled with have-to’s, set aside a couple random windows of time that are reserved for whatever arises. Decide in the moment what you might do. Tour a historical building in your town, go to a theater or museum you’ve never visited, do a photography scavenger hunt, take a drive to a hilltop park and bring your new creative practice along to sketch, draw, or respond to a writing prompt while you savor a broader vista.
6. Notice what God is doing
This is last because it is the best action to lead you into your 2020 with hope. Embrace, memorize, and cling to these words for your personal year of wonder:
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!
Hope Lyda has a heart for inviting people to experience the still and quiet voice of God in their lives. As an editor and writer, she has worked in publishing for more than 20 years. Her popular devotionals, novels, and prayer books include One-Minute Prayers® for Women and Life as a Prayer and have sold more than one million copies.