I remember that the summer before I started high school, I wrote out a long list of goals to achieve during my high school years. It was a new school for me and I didn't know anyone, so some of the goals were to be more outgoing and talk to a lot of people, to make some good friends, and so forth. Others related to my desires to be well-rounded ... to get good grades, play on a sports team (though I am not terribly athletic) and to join a club. Still others involved my spiritual life and desire to stay close to the Lord.
I put the list away and kind of forgot about it, to be honest. But when I came across the list as I finished high school, I skimmed it again. Much to my surprise, I'd met nearly every one of those goals! I had made some very good friends, had played on the volleyball team, had joined a number of clubs, and graduated in the top ten of my class. And, thankfully, God kept me close to Him.
So, even though I'd pretty much ignored my list, I think writing the goals down had allowed them to sink in a little more.
Experts also say that it helps to break goals down into smaller, more specific steps. So, instead of saying "I want to exercise more this year," write "This week, I will exercise for at least 20 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday at 7 a.m. on the treadmill." Or instead of saying, "I want to study the Bible more in 2016," write, "Every morning starting this Monday, I will study a chapter of the Bible for 15 minutes, starting with the book of ________. I will make a cup of coffee at 8 a.m. and then study in the living room/bedroom/porch."
Whichever method you use, I hope this will be a wonderful and productive year for you. As Gloria Gaither once wrote, The new year is like a fresh morning. It gives us another chance, a clean slate on which to write the story of our lives.
We asked some of the Gaither Homecoming friends if they would be making New Year's resolutions for 2016, and here's what they had to say!
Kelly Nelon Clark:
As I think of the new year of 2016, my resolution for this year is to put my emphasis first on God and meditating on His word. Second in line would be to focus more on my family. Life passes you by when you are totally consumed by your career. It happens so easily as deadlines, recordings, appearances swirl in your life. There seems to be little time left for anything else. But I resolve to make 2016 a year for God and family! Now.... to lose weight! LOL.
Tanya Goodman Sykes:
I resolve to unplug from technology more in 2016. And to hound my husband to do the same... ;)
I usually resolve not to resolve! However, for 2016, I really hope to write more... I am also hoping the OAKS record some new music in 2016!
My determination for the New Year would be to be present in the moment, to feel every single thing — the good, the bad, and the ugly — at a deep level. When it comes to the bad, the ugly, often our spiritual community quickly says forgive, forgive, forgive, but I’ve come to believe that what they are really saying is, sweep it under the rug so we don’t have to deal with it. Perhaps some of what we call depression is a result of sweeping it under the proverbial rug a few times too many. This next year, I will punch holes through the wall at times as need be, for me and for others. Then I’ll fall safely into the arms of my Heavenly Father. Only He can bring the sweet joy of release, and can show me the way to forgiveness. Okay, shoot me, but that’s what I believe.
Michaela from the Browns:
I've been thinking about those a lot in the past few days! I always write down goals and resolutions for the coming year... A couple came to mind right away! One funny, one serious.
1. Limit the lattes! I am a HUGE coffee fan, and looking back at years past. I buy a lot of lattes. So, I'm gonna stick with my French press coffee. Save on the calories and pocket book. Put the money towards something more worth while. Exception: if someone treats me to one ... I will accept!!
2. 100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know By Heart - A dear missionary friend in my church told me about this book. She is the biggest encourager on hiding God's word in our hearts. I have always loved scripture memorization and look forward to diving in to the stories and verses in this book. I think next year we should have a quiz!
Being more intentional in spending my time wisely. Also, staying off my iPhone more often.
Becky Isaacs Bowman:
This is the 50-year Jubilee, So I'm looking forward to the bound set free. Debts cancelled. Release, prosperity and health!! My New Year's resolution is to get closer to the Lord, like never before! And drop a few pounds, LOL.
Pondering my New Year's resolutions. Words like de-cluttering, reorganizing, simplifying come to mind. The boxes of photos that never made it in albums. The messy garage. (Yikes!) How I love my strong cups of black coffee but tend to forget to drink water. My good intentions to prioritize walking, swimming, slimming. The importance to keep thanking, laughing, loving, forgiving. To keep writing, journaling, studying. Collect jokes in a small notebook like Mom used to. Continue study of old hymns and songs of my native as well as new homeland. Keep writing, singing, playing, making time to celebrate the beauty of simple, everyday life with my family and friends. The wish to make my life count for something. My hope to live and breathe in communion with the Creator who sees my every whim, dream and desire. Whose boundless love is ever ready to set free, give hope, brings peace and purpose to us all, even on this day before the calendar year 2015 is over.
Like a lot of people, I would really love to lose a little bit of weight in the new year. Not a lot, just 15 pounds or so. Your prayers are appreciated. :)
Amber Nelon Thompson:
My New Year's Resolution this year was probably not the normal. I was challenged by my mentors to keep a journal of all of my prayer requests and to write them down on a daily basis. As they get answered I'm supposed to check them off and at the end of the year, I'll look back and see all that God has done through my prayer life. It's something I've never done before, and I'm excited to start this journey and see what all God does. I would challenge others to do it as well. What a cool way to see how much God loves us and how He listens to us!
Autumn Nelon Clark:
My New Year's resolution is to grow in the Lord and learn new things. Also to try and eat healthier foods :)
To savor every moment more consistently. To finish what I’ve already started.
To learn French.
To love deeper and accept all people in a broader way.
The first thing that comes to mind is the obvious; I always want to be healthier. However, that’s what everyone says, so my second thought is to have more family time without phones being a part of it. To make an effort to put the phones down and genuinely appreciate each other without distractions. As the years pass, I’m realizing just how fast they grow up. :)
Larry & Sherryl Ford:
You know the old joke, "If I had known I would live this long, I would have taken better care of myself." Our New Year's resolution is to be better disciples—more disciplined. That would mean more disciplined in taking care of our health which seems to be a challenge for us. And, more disciplined in our DAILY study of the Bible. We like to read the Daily Bible in chronological order, then find the corresponding passage for the day in the Homecoming Bible. We really appreciate the wisdom and insights of the "Homecoming family" members. Reading the notes helps us feel closer to them and, more important—closer to the Lord.