Do you get more enjoyment out of beginnings or endings—out of starting something new or seeing something across the finish line?
I find this a challenging question. My immediate reaction is emphatically: Both!
But if I have to choose, I probably prefer endings slightly because there is no better personal satisfaction than pausing to appreciate a job well done.
It's so important to take time to stop and acknowledge (and give thanks for) past accomplishments.
But I also really enjoy the feeling that comes from starting a new year.
Have you ever considered the simple blessings that come from new years?
Here are three of my favorite simple new year blessings.
Blessing #1: A perfect opportunity for self-evaluation.
The end of one year and the start of a new year provide a natural time to look back.
- How would I summarize the past year?
- What were my major accomplishments and challenges?
- How have I grown over the past year?
- Am I further along today?
- Am I pleased with the person I am today versus this time last year?
- In which areas do I need to grow over the next 12 months?
- What do I need to incorporate in my prayers going forward?
Too many people go through life simply drifting. It's easy to do. And we can be really disciplined in certain areas and drifting in others.
Resolve not to be a drifter. Take time to take inventory of yourself.
Blessing #2: The chance to start fresh.
I treasure the opportunity to start over. Self-reflection can be painful because it reveals our flaws and weaknesses.
But the intent is not to beat ourselves up, but to live intentionally. Regardless of our best efforts, we each fall short. As the Scripture says:
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(Rom. 3:23 NIV)
The beauty of the gospel is that Jesus makes up the difference in our shortcomings—if we take them to Him.
Perhaps last year wasn't your best year. Perhaps you didn't grow or accomplish what you had hoped to.
Today can be a new day for you. All you have to do is choose it.
Blessing #3: An optimal time to chart a course for the future.
Each new year reminds us that we're one year older, that time marches on and that life here is temporary.
Pause, take time to look forward and target where you want to be in a specific timeframe.
Define a plan to get there. A plan is the difference between a dream and a wish.
- What do you want to accomplish this year?
- What one to three areas do you want to grow or character traits do you want to improve?
- Where do you want to be at the end of this new year physically, financially and spiritually?
- Now, what will it take to get there?
As of this post, my current daytime job is in the discipline of Enterprise Architecture. An over-simplified view of my team's role is a sort of microcosm of living an intentional life.
- Define the current state. (What is your current situation?)
- Define the target state. (What is your desired situation?)
- Define the gaps and devise a plan(s) for how to reach the desired target state.
That's pretty good life advice.
And the start of a new year is a perfect time to reassess (or get started, as the case may be).