It’s hard to believe how fast this year is going. It wasn’t that long ago that we welcomed in a new year. And when a new year arrives, we make resolutions. Lose weight. Exercise more. Eat healthier. Stick to a budget. Declutter.
It doesn’t mean compromising our faith and values, but rather to respectfully disagree.
These days, it seems people are angrier and less inclined to give others the benefit of the doubt. Less likely to show grace. Quicker to assume the worst of someone. Abruptly forgetting that it’s all right to agree to disagree, especially on trivial matters.
Having our own opinions isn’t wrong, as a matter of fact, it’s a good thing and a testament to the creativity of our Creator. He made us each different with different longings, different ideas, and different ways of seeing things. Wouldn’t it be a boring world if we all had the same thoughts on every topic? If we all had the same hopes and dreams?
What if this year we made it a goal to be kinder? Here are 11 ways to do just that.
Give people the benefit of the doubt.
Offer a genuine smile. Smiling not only benefits others, but also, according to Benefits Bridge, benefits you by improving your mood, enhancing your immune system, and reducing blood pressure.
Offer ample appreciation and encouragement.
See a need and fill it.
Dedicate yourself to praying for others often, even your enemies. (Matthew 5:44).
Be generous with forgiveness. (Matthew 18:21-22)
Offer grace, especially when it’s undeserved.
Be humbleand put others first.
Agree to disagree, and do so with respect.
And most importantly, tell someone about Jesus and make an eternal impact in their lives.
We don’t have to align ourselves with a culture that is harsh, angry, and divided. We can choose to be kind and gracious, even to those with whom we strongly disagree.
It doesn’t seem possible that we’re already ushering in the New Year. Most of us can agree that 2021 flew by faster than ever. May, June, July…they all seem like distant memories.
Each year, New Year’s resolutions are made, and each year, New Year’s resolutions are broken, some within a month or two of making them. Below are some suggestions for keeping your New Year’s Resolutions.
Resolution: Exercise more.
How to fail: “I’m going to exercise every day for two hours without fail.” or “I’m going to run twenty miles a day.”
Tips to succeed: Beginning an exercise program doesn’t have to be daunting. Make it a goal to join one class at the gym and stick to it. Choose a class that is not too intense and is within your abilities. You can always move on to the next level at a later time. If you aren’t a gym member, plan to start a workout program (check with your doctor first) tailored to something you enjoy for up to 30 minutes, a couple of times a week to start. Some suggestions include a workout video (either the old-fashioned DVD way or through streaming); jumproping to several of your favorite songs; going for a walk each day through the neighborhood or in a nearby park; investing in a mini-trampoline; taking a swim at a nearby indoor pool; turning on the tunes and dancing; or purchasing some inexpensive dumbbells (or water bottles) and do a weight training routine. Whichever exercise you choose, be sure to warm-up first and start slow. It’s far easier to start slow and work your way up than to start with zest and burn out.
Resolution: Eat healthier.
How to fail: “I’m going to only eat healthy foods without fail.”
Tips to succeed: Start small. Choose one unhealthy food to eliminate from your diet or decide to add one healthy food to add to your diet. This past month, I added pumpkin to my list of healthy foods to eat on a regular basis. A few months ago, I added a “green drink” that consists of kale, spinach, and broccoli. Plan to give up an unhealthy food choice each month until it becomes a habit. If you “accidentally” consume the unhealthy food, no worries. Try again the following week. No pressure.
Resolution: Get organized/declutter
How to fail: “I will organize and declutter my house all in one day and will never, ever again succumb to the temptation of purchasing useless items again.”
Tips to succeed: Begin with manageable portions of organization. Tackle one room or space at a time. To do otherwise will be overwhelming. My plan for getting organized and decluttered consists of starting in my home office (where I spend a lot of time) beginning with my bookshelves, then my desk, then my exercise equipment. After my home office is completed (and giving myself ample time to finish it), I will move on to the kitchen, starting with countertops, then cupboards, and so on.
Resolution: Making your relationship with God a priority.
How to fail: “I will read the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation fourteen times in two months”.
Tips to succeed: Make growing your relationship with the Lord less a list of “to-do’s” and more of a sincere time to grow closer to Jesus. Spend time with Him first thing in the morning in prayer and in His Word. Pray throughout the day and without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and keep a prayer journal. Choose a book of the Bible to read and study each month and read a chapter each day for a month. I read a chapter each day, and when I run out of chapters, I start over again in the same book until the next month. For instance, in December, my book of choice is Romans. It has 16 chapters, so I will read each chapter almost twice in one month. My goal? To become a more knowledgeable student of His Word by really allowing the chapters to “sink in”, which will take me more than just one time reading them. I am working my way through the entire Bible this way, slowly and at a manageable pace, not because I have to, but because I want to know the Lord more fully.
Resolution: Save money/spend less/get out of debt.
How to fail: “I will never, ever buy anything, except the absolute necessaries and, if I do buy something extra, I’ll return it right away.”
Tips to succeed: For saving money, skim an amount off the top of your paycheck each month (or start with most months and work your way up). This can be a manageable amount to be increased in reasonable increments. To spend less, make a handwritten budget (handwritten is more intentional), make a grocery list with most important and necessary items at the top and lesser important (but not frivolous) items at the bottom for if your budget allows. To get out of debt, add an additional amount to pay on a debt each month. For example, pay extra toward your credit card, medical debt, or mortgage each month. Even if the additional amount seems minute, it adds up fast.
Resolution: Spend less time on social media/the computer/my phone or device (for things other than actual work projects).
How to fail: “I will give up all social media and only use my phone to call people”.
Tips to succeed: The all-or-nothing approach sets us up for failure. Instead, choose one or two social media platforms to spend your time on and step away from the rest. You can change those one or two at any time. Set the timer and allow yourself that amount of time to catch up on posts, “likes”, “retweets”, etc. Do the same for returning emails.
Setting unmanageable goals for ourselves is never the key to success. Rather, set an attainable goal and allow yourself grace if you fail. You can always start again.
It’s that time again! Time for New Year’s Resolutions, one of which is to get healthier. To do so, many people head to the gym.
Here are seven rules for gym etiquette. Follow these and your fellow exercise enthusiasts will thank you!
Clean your machine after you are finished. You’d be surprised how many people fail to do this. With flu season currently here and the risk of other illnesses, including MRSA, always high where people (and germs!) congregate, it only makes sense to wipe down your machine, whether it be the treadmill, elliptical, or that weight bench.
Stay home if you are sick. This goes without saying, but you’d be surprised how many folks show up at the gym hacking up a lung (and oftentimes not covering their mouths).
Take cell phone conversations out of the workout area. Important calls do inevitably happen at the worst moments. When they do, be courteous.
Don’t wear strong perfume. Many people have asthma and allergies. Resist the urge to shower yourself in perfume and cologne before heading to the gym. However, please do wear deodorant!
Use modesty when workout choosing clothes. Make sure that you do the “bend, move, and twist” test at home. If things are hanging out, you’re wearing the wrong clothes. Make sure your outfit is not too tight, too low, or too see-through.
Don’t be a fan stealer. In my experience as both a frequent gym user and a group fitness instructor at a couple of different gyms over the years, I have discovered that “fan” people fall into two groups. They are the pro-fanners or the anti-fanners. The pro-fanners are working out hard and need the fans on and circulating air, especially since cardio rooms tend to be stuffy and humid. The anti-fanners strongly dislike fans and don’t want them on. In my personal opinion, we need fans and they need to be on at all times. We are coming to the gym to sweat, after all. A great compromise if you are an anti-fanner, turn the fan away from you so that it’s still circulating air, but not causing you distress. And a note to pro-fanners: if someone has the fan blowing on them, don’t steal it and point it on yourself.
Watch your language. The best rule of thumb: keep it PG-rated, especially when it’s a gym that’s shared by families and children are present.
The best rule of all? Treat others the way you’d like to be treated – including at the gym.
What are some of the pet peeves you’ve noticed while at the gym?
Thanks so much for taking the time to share this post. I appreciate you!
A high percentage of New Year’s Resolutions fail by February. Instead of making a Resolution (or having a list of them), why not decide to make some changes throughout the year?
Here are three suggestions for changes to make in 2019 for you, for your health, and for others.
Spend more time with the Lord. I have made it my goal to spend time with the Lord first thing when I wake up. I know myself too well that with all of the busyness of the day that He has to be my first priority. As such, the first words that I utter when I wake is “thank You, Lord, for another day. Please help me to glorify you, be a blessing to others, and please keep my family and me healthy and safe.”
Don’t only take your time reading through a book in the Bible, but if you have a Bible with commentary, read those notes as well to fully understand what God is trying to tell us through His Word. Go as slowly as you need to in order to understand what you are reading.
Start a prayer notebook. Add in specific prayers for those you care about, plus any strangers (such as someone you read about online who just lost a family member). Also be sure to add in prayers that the Lord has answered.
Listen to upbeat music. There is so much negativity in some of the current songs these days. However, there is also an abundance of options for positive and hopeful music. K-love radio is a wonderful alternative solution when listening to music.
Cut back on news consumption. Watching and reading too much news can be overwhelming and discouraging.
For your health…
Eating healthy is an important goal. But if you plan to make it a goal just to “eat healthier,” you may not succeed. Instead, choose one or two food items to add to your menu that you are able to commit to eating. For instance, I detest broccoli – always have. But I determined last year to incorporate it into my diet slowly and intermittently. So far, my plan has been successful.
Revamp the typical resolutions. Losing weight and getting fit are at the top of New Year’s Resolutions. It’s common at the gym where I workout and teach a cycling spin class that January will be a crazy busy month and then return to “normal” attendance by mid-February. Instead of just saying you’ll lose weight and get fit, make your goal specific and manageable. Plan to go to the gym three times a week or take one new class for the next six weeks. Or plan to incorporate 20 minutes of weight training twice a week. One of my goals last year was to be sure I spent ample time stretching after a workout. Too often, sufficient stretching would (unwisely) be the thing that would suffer if I ran out of time.
Offer yourself small rewards at several junctures of attaining your goals. You made it through the first session of kickboxing. How about that new workout top you’ve been eyeing as a reward? Just be sure not to make sugary treats your motivation for working out. 🙂
Declutter your life and your home. Again, start small and aim to declutter one manageable area at a time.
Speaking of decluttering? Sometimes, sadly, it’s time to weed your garden of friends as well.
Rethink friendships. God tells us in His Word to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44). Thankfully, He doesn’t say we have to hang out with toxic people – those who cause us undue distress or are cruel or unkind. If you have someone in your life who is jealous, hateful, abusive, a gossiper, or any other type of negative person, it’s time to spend less time with them. Not to be unkind or to retaliate, but to distance yourself from that person and the negative effects they can have on you and your health.
Learn to say no. Easier said than done, but sometimes we have to cut back on the massive amount of things we undertake on a daily basis. Pray for God’s wisdom this year, that He would show you what to cut back on and not feel guilty about it.
For others… (click on the blue links for specific suggestions).
Volunteer. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Volunteers spent a median of 52 hours on volunteer activities during the period from September 2014 to September 2015.” Volunteering can range from coaching a soccer team for kids, to delivering meals to the elderly, to teaching Sunday School.
Bless others in unexpected ways and perform random acts of kindness.
All right, so New Year’s is still a few months away, and we certainly don’t want to rush time away. However, here are a few suggestions for resolutions to make any day of the year…
1. Laugh more. In our world of stress, it’s nice to be able to find humor in the small things. “Laughter, along with an active sense of humor, may help protect you against a heart attack, according to a new study by cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.”
The Bible talks about laughter – and let’s not forget who created laughter. He also created our mouths to turn upward, our tummies to shake, and our eyes to tear when provoked with humor. Kids provide the best humor and pets can bring about some laughter as well!
2. Stay in touch. In our day of modern technology, it’s easier than ever to stay in touch with those we love. One night Lon called me from his cell phone while he was in the driveway arriving home from work. I answered the house phone and we had a great conversation, continuing as he entered the door of our house and as we stood face to face with phones pressed up against our ears.
Hey, it’s good for a marriage to communicate, right? Communication is indeed important, even if you are as different as an ostrich and kangaroo. 🙂
3. Make healthy lifestyle changes. It’s probably safe to say that most of us at one time or another have made a resolution to lose weight and/or get more exercise.
One evening Lon said as he rested on the living room floor, “I’m getting ready to do a sit up.”
I wondered why anyone would want to do a sit up at 8:00 p.m., so I asked him why not wait until he works out in the morning. “Because I’d like to have another cookie,” he told me. He was of the one sit up equals one cookie philosophy.
Another time, he decided to do an experiment. Before Christmas dinner, Lon weighed himself. After the meal, he weighed himself again. The prognosis? He’d gained five pounds in that short time after eating my mom’s famous Christmas dinner. However, men have it good. For us women, we need only to look at a delicious Christmas dinner with all the trimmings to gain five pounds!
Not only can we make healthy lifestyle changes and care for the body God gave us, we can also make spiritual changes and vow to dig into God’s Word more frequently.
4. Vow to serve others. Make a vow to serve others and truly love your neighbor as yourself as stated in Matthew 19:19. Each morning before climbing out of bed, I pray that the Lord will show me someone to bless that day. Blessing others doesn’t have to be a huge project. Even something as simple as letting someone go ahead of you at the grocery store can be a way to bless someone.
5. Use your gifts.
God gave us all gifts to use to further His Kingdom.
Just be sure not to do things that aren’t your gifts. Case in point: my oldest daughter downloads all my favorite songs onto my phone. Wow, what a pleasure to listen to my contemporary Christian rock music while working out at the gym! I learned the hard way, however, about adjusting to modern technology.
During my workout, I was rocking out to the fast-paced Newsboys song I am Second. I love the lyrics that speak of being second to my Savior and Redeemer and that He is second to none.
Somehow, in all my zest, I forgot that I alone had the earplugs to listen to this song. What I didn’t realize was that I was singing out loud. (Wasn’t everyone in the gym listening to Newsboys?!)
As I belted out the words to the song while running on the treadmill, I soon heard a familiar voice. One that was off-pitch. Yep. It was my voice (talk about embarrassment).
Singing isn’t my gift. Although I have won awards for lip syncing when I was a teenager.
But it is important to use the gifts we have been given. Are you gifted with kids? Why not volunteer to teach Sunday School? Are you gifted with a beautiful voice (I’ll try not to covet!) then use it to lead the worship team at church. Can you sew? Why not offer to mend some clothes for those who cannot afford new ones?
What resolutions would you make even though it’s not New Year’s?
Thanks so much for taking the time to share this post. I appreciate you!