Tonight, our world closes the chapter on one year and turns the page to another that is new, untarnished, clean, pure, and open to all God has in store for us.
Tonight, most people will make resolutions related to their physical health and well-being. However, we need an emphasis on our spiritual health and well-being, especially as we lead into the vast new year ahead.
Now is the time.
Now is all we know with certainty.
Reflect on the past year, but look ahead into the new with a motivation to act, to lead now!
While millions of people will make New Year’s Resolutions tomorrow night, the best part of a new year is the opportunity to fulfill our plans.
Yesterday we considered several questions that provide a foundation for the plans we intend to accomplish in 2017.
Once we recognize both the high and low points of leadership development from 2016, we can strategically plan to build on that foundation and improve our leadership in the new year.
Once we acknowledge the area we would change if we could start the year over, we can now plan to make that change as we move into the year, almost as if we reset the clock.
Once we consider the individual(s) in whom we could invest our time this coming year, we can develop a mentoring plan that allows us to give the most valuable gift, ourselves.
Once we know where we were, where we are, and where we want to be, everything we plan involves the changes necessary to achieve our goals.
Instead of “resolutions” for the new year, why not set goals and make plans to achieve them. The difference is incredible.
“Positive thinking is not about expecting the best to happen every time but accepting that whatever happens is the best for this moment.” Author Unknown
The eternal optimist is a beautiful sound when describing of leadership character. We often associate the eternal optimist with the first part of today’s thought. Expecting the best to happen every time is an encouraging consideration, but not as realistic as we would like. One reason is because who and how the word “best” is defined determines the direction of our optimism.
The latter half of the thought helps direct the magic of positive thinking. As Christians, when we trust that whatever happens in our life is best for this moment, then we begin to look at each situation as an opportunity to learn and grow in relationship to God. This is where positive thinking is born and the results create a far better approach to a life well-lived.
Reflecting on the first week of 2016, may all our resolutions, goals, plans, or whatever we work to achieve be bathed in positive thinking in the truest nature of the characteristic.
The last few days of the year bring a focus on renewal. Considering the idea of resolutions for 2016, a couple of thoughts come to mind.
Resolve to improve physical health. We know we need to take care of our physical health. Instead of a new diet, resolve to be moderate. Learn to not eat beyond comfort. Also, add exercise. This is not a push to be in the gym five times a week, but taking small steps to do more. Why not park further away from the store and walk? A brisk walk of twenty to thirty minutes a day will bring surprising results.
Resolve to improve spiritual health. Nothing takes more precedence. This is not about reading and praying more. Obviously, we all need more time reading the Bible and praying more. However, spiritual health involves application of what is written. Instead of speaking in anger, think of the song “Angry Words.” Perhaps the new year will bring a few posts on other practical suggestions for an application of spiritual health.
May this last week help each of us with a new approach.
This common phrase speaks to numerous possibilities. The idea is that after the dust settles a measure of clarity exists that enables leaders to make appropriate decisions and / or provide direction.
The general tendency is to use or think of “dust” figuratively in reference to turmoil or difficulty.
The implication of this phrase plays a key role in how leaders impact the lives of those within their sphere of influence. How?
After the dust settles…
…next-step decisions can be made for moving forward with greater confidence,
…the learning curve on accomplishments and challenges comes into full view,
…resolutions to problems are more easily reached because turmoil has passed,
…opportunities to adjust course direction are made more easily.
We could go a hundred different directions considering all the ways to apply this thought. The main thought for leaders is one that directs our attention to allowing the dust to settle before making rash decisions that impact the lives of everyone around us.
Since we are nearly halfway through January and beginning the second full week of the new year, how are those resolutions coming along?
To avoid boring statistics concerning those who do or do not keep resolutions and the time frame for these statistics, our focus involves a look at a few resolutions leaders should make and keep.
Building upon last week’s discussion of setting an example, leaders also need to demonstrate trust in others.
One of the great challenges in leadership is the micromanagement approach to leading. When leaders give someone a task or job to accomplish, there should be a level of trust that allows them to complete the job.
Standing over someone’s shoulder to guide and counsel every detail in their actions or to correct each area they attempt to complete, indirectly communicates a lack of trust.
Obviously, if the individual is not trustworthy, then they should not be given the job. If they are trustworthy, then a good resolution for leaders in 2015 would be to demonstrate trust by equipping them with the tools needed for the task and let them go to work.
Beginning the first “full” week of the new year with a more familiar routine reminds us to reflect on the resolutions we either made or need to make. Each Monday we will look at leadership resolutions worth making and keeping.
The first resolution is to always set an example of the behavior desired in others. What standard of conduct do we want others to demonstrate in their lives at work, home, or in the church? Whatever that standard is should be modeled by us first.
The idea of expecting others to conduct themselves in ways we are unwilling to do ourselves is the greatest form of hypocrisy and a one-way ticket to losing credibility. Our conduct is all inclusive. We should never compartmentalize our lives into conduct on the job, at home, in the neighborhood, and around Christians. A disciple of Christ always displays a Christlike life 24-7-365. There is never a time we are not reflecting the image of our Savior.
As we plunge into the new year, let us all resolve to provide an example for others that is worth emulating.
“One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things.” John Burroughs
This thought seems appropriate for the second day of the new year. With the numerous ideas about resolutions this week, it is fitting to consider one resolution to shape all others.
Similar thoughts are often expressed by others, such as, “not sweating the small stuff” and “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
Jesus emphasized this thought with a little bit of a twist when He taught us not to worry about food, drink, or clothing, but to seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness (Mt. 6:25-33).
No matter what direction we take with these ideas, the thought of rising above the little things strengthens the character of our leadership and sharpens our focus on how we can better develop others.
The challenge is determining the difference between the big and little things. When we understand the areas that are trivial, we can implement ways to rise above them and focus on areas of greater significance. Make this the best year of your life.
As significant as it is to consider how to end a year, we also need to know how to begin a new year. The beginning of a new year is special. We like a fresh start, new opportunities, a renewed sense of hope that things will be better. Perhaps this is why New Year’s Resolutions are popular, even though the majority do not keep them.
How should we approach the beginning of a new year? Let us consider four possibilities.
1) Establish essential resolutions. These are the kind of resolutions we must keep lest others lose confidence in our leadership.
2) Set daily reminders. Any system (hardcopy or electronic) that helps us remember the necessity of keeping our resolutions strengthens the potential of fulfilling them.
3) Connect resolutions to others. When those we work closest to are involved in the same resolution, we have a support system to encourage the development and fulfillment of each one.
4) Celebrate every victory. With each step toward established goals, find a small way to celebrate the achievement with a reminder of more to come.
These are only four steps, but beneficial in beginning this new year.