Fresh, new, positive and full of hope…that is the attitude a new year seems to bring. As I look around and listen at my workplace, at my church, in my home and just everywhere I go: I am noticing that people just seem optimistic and excited about life. Negativity seems to have disappeared, and that sense of heaviness that the end of the year brings when we reflect on all of our struggles and trials seems to be lifted somewhat. It is a beautiful thing to see and seems to have a domino effect on those around us. We see it, feel it and want that in our own lives.
However, as time moves forward and the days, weeks, and months creep by…we tend to lose that excitement and light-hearted attitude. The demands of life return. A new set of trials emerge. Unexpected struggles ensue. But what we need most during these times IS that carefree and positive attitude. Studies show that a positive attitude and happy thoughts can actually heal illnesses, prevent the advancing of disease, reduce stress and allow an individual to handle circumstances much better. So, how do we adopt an optimistic and grateful attitude that will last ALL YEAR LONG?
You MUST think these words each day—“New Year, New Me”! My pastor spoke these words just days ago and it had a profound impact on my thought process. It is easy for us to say that at the very beginning of the year. But how often do we say that after the newness of a fresh year has passed? Probably not very often. And that may be the problem. Our lack of consistency in stating the positive allows for the negativity and hopelessness to creep back in. There are many ways to keep the positivity, even on hard days—it is a matter of willpower and “want to”. We WANT our days to be easier and lighter, so why do we not put in the few minutes each day to make this happen? Busyness, procrastination, exhaustion…the list is endless. But when we do that, we are letting emotions rule, instead of letting God’s Truth rule. Here are a few ways we can lighten our days:
- Every morning profess out loud, “New Year, New Me!”. Yes, even if it is July, October or December 31st! Every single day is a new day in a new year!
- Spend as little as 5 minutes silently talking to God in the wee hours of the morning before anyone is awake, or read a small devotional. Quiet, intentional time with Jesus before the days demands weigh you down.
- Look around at the world and remind yourself of all of your blessings: Did you wake up this morning? Do you have a place to live? Do you have an income? Do you have clothes to wear? Do you have food to eat? I am not talking lavish living…but if your basic needs are met you have so much more than so many others—and we often so easily take that for granted and ignore it.
- Connect with someone at your church or in your community, or even a friend online. Take 15 seconds a day to text something uplifting and encouraging—and be consistent in it (this is something I struggle with but need so badly). This will not only bless them and may be just what they needed at that moment, but it will bring you thankfulness and blessings also. Remember, you may be the only Jesus that person connects with that day.
Now, keeping that in mind, let’s end with a few Scriptures that can help remind us how we are supposed to act and live. NEW. PURPOSEFUL. JOYFUL. BLESSED. Be good to yourself and others each day of this new year and watch how your attitude, your relationship with Jesus, and your life turns around!
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)
“Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete.” (Colossians 3:10 MSG)
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22 NIV)