The new year is here. And by now your New Year’s resolutions are probably a distant memory. Most of us cast lofty goals for ourselves and end up with the resolve “maybe next year.” Can I give you just one thing that might help?
For years I struggled with all of the dreams and ideas I’d tried to accomplish over the course of 365 days. And after all of the failed attempts at New Year’s resolutions, I can only remember one that I actually kept. Start taking my coffee black. No more cream, Sweet ‘N Low, etc.–just black. I’d drink it like a man. And save a flat white here and there, I’ve kept it.
I kept failing resolutions until I started a new process for the first of the year, one that I learned from many trusted sages–the power of one.
Just pick one thing to focus on for the entire year.
Here are a few things I’ve done:
One prayer to pray. Now granted, I will pray for many things over the course of a year, but my focus is now on one specific thing to pray. For instance, what if for 365 days you made sure to pray the Lord’s Prayer, or the Serenity Prayer, or even Psalm 23 every day. What a difference this would make in your outlook for each day for the year.
One fruit to bear. The scriptures give us the nine fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. Instead of seeing them as a checklist that will be wrought with failure, maybe just focus on one. This is the year of patience. Or this is the year of faithfulness. Then let your actions and prayers focus on that quality.
One exercise to do. It’s been said the best exercise for you is the one you’ll do. So pick one thing. Walk every day. Hike once a week. Ride your bike on the weekends. Whatever you want, but pick just one and do it.
One verse to memorize. Granted, you can try for one verse a day, and there are reading plans on YouVersion to help you do this, but that can be a bit daunting. What if you tried for one each month?
Here’s the one I’d encourage you to do this month: Micah 6:8.
Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with your God.
I spent a good portion of last year with this verse as I worked on the book “Justice.Mercy.Humility: The Simple Path to Following Jesus.” I found this verse to be life-giving and a huge help in focusing my efforts throughout the day.
In fact, I’d love to get that book in your hands to help you. It comes out February 5, but you can preorder now and get the first chapter immediately.
Whatever you choose to do, make it known to others. Let them hold you accountable, and let them join you in the process. This one decision will get you further faster this year.
So, what’s your one thing?