Happy Friday, ladies! What is it about Friday that’s so magical? Truly, I suppose there is something quite satisfying about tying a bow on another week and stepping back a little to admire it. Whether the week went as planned (does that ever happen?), presented a combination of challenges and victories or jumped track altogether, Friday feels like a deep breath at the end of a long musical phrase in an opus of days. So as we relish that breath today, I thought it would be a good time to remind you that we’re about to come to another crossroads as well. As we wind down 2021 I’d like to invite you to get ready for 2022 with me.
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In the past, I’ve been the kind of person who always felt a step behind. Anyone else? Try as I did, I rarely felt truly ready or prepared for any of life’s big events or milestones. I thought about my preparations a lot. And I started thinking about them early. But somewhere between good intentions and the big day I would lose track of time and neglect to actually do the work of getting ready. I failed to order the equipment, materials, food, supplies or whatever is necessary. I’d forget to delegate things to others even though I’d had all those conversations in my head a dozen times. Or the day would just sneak up on me…and sometimes pass me by…and I’d miss carrying out my best laid plans altogether.
But last year I felt like I actually somehow managed to shift gears from 2020 to 2021 seamlessly. Maybe that was because I was so ready for that particular year to end. Ha! And this year I’m determined to repeat the process and be ready to embrace the new year. So today I’m sharing the steps I’ll be taking and inviting you to walk through them with me, if they suit you. Let’s go, shall we?
Take Some Time
I’ll be “taking some time” three different days over the next couple of weeks to do a little thinking and a little planning. I’ve discovered that if I really want to feel the effects of some new beginnings and fresh starts, I need to take a little time to think through things, plan out some new moves and make them happen.
I suggest making these moments of reflection and planning sweet, enjoyable and intentional. Pour yourself a favorite beverage, sit by the fire or on the back porch, light a candle and play some nice instrumental music in the background. And be sure to carve out at least an hour for this exercise, silencing your phone and letting others in your home know that you’re not to be disturbed.
Take Some Time to Reflect on the Past Year
First I’m taking some time to review 2021. For each of us, depending on our personalities, this could look a little different. But here are a few options.
- You could review each month, remembering a highlight and a challenge, a victory or a loss.
- You could review the goals or resolutions you set last year and see how far you’ve come, focusing on progress, not perfection.
- You could look through the photos you took on your phone during 2021, reflecting on the memories and milestones they represent.
It might be nice to journal some of your thoughts, even if you don’t necessarily keep what you’ve written. Just writing your reflections down – in whatever format works for you (illustrations, doodles, lists, diary, etc.) – makes the session feel more definitive and purposeful.
Take Some Time to Plan for the Next Year
Next I’ll set aside another time to write out goals for the new year. I don’t generally make New Year’s resolutions, so to speak. But I’m a huge believer in setting goals and then devising or implementing systems to help me succeed. I like to set measurable goals with intermediate objectives and dates, too.
I like to have my new calendar or planner at the ready when I have this session. I look for a calendar or planner with pages for goal setting or at least lots of blank pages. I really enjoyed my Power Sheets Goal Planner that I used last year and still heartily recommend the system. But, mostly because I really like having a week at a glance pages, I’m switching to this calendar this year.
When setting goals for the new year, you might want to consider the following areas of life, although you don’t necessarily need to set goals in all of them. You do you!
- Health & Fitness
- Work or Career
- Relationships (new friendships, marriage, time with grandkids, etc.)
- Pursuits (back to college, new certification, travel, learning a new language, etc.)
- Service (church, volunteering in community, mission trip, etc.)
Can you think of other areas of life to consider that I’ve left out? I’d love to hear from you if you did.
I’ll also spend time during this session planning for soul care throughout the year. I’ve already been thinking about and praying about what devotional time system I’ll use this next year. I like to begin every morning in a “quiet time,” reading scripture and praying.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading through my Charles Stanley Life Principles Daily Bible (shown above and below) this year, and I’ve heard from many readers that some of you have, too. And I’ve actually decided to read through it again next year. I’m still considering ordering a devotional guide, too. But I figure I just can’t beat reading through God’s Word again.
But this is also a good time to make sure you have everything you need for satisfying, life-altering quiet times each day. Consider purchasing or securing:
- a Bible (I recommend this one for inductive study or this one for daily reading.)
- a devotional guide (I’m looking a devotional guides by Susie Larson)
- a notebook or journal
- a gratitude journal
- fun pens, pencils and/or colored pencils
- a bookmark or two
- study tools and/or Bible study book(s)
I suggest having all of these things in a well chosen location for your quiet times before the new year begins. Maybe choose a new location this year, just to shake things up a bit. Make the area special with a candle, a cozy throw and maybe some soft music.
As I set goals I like to go ahead and get on my phone or computer and set myself up for success. I immediately order anything I need to follow through with my plans. Considerations could include:
- stationery and stamps
- file folders
- spiral bound notebooks
- meal planners
- to-do lists
- pencils (I’m finally learning to use pencils in my calendar instead of pens! James 4:13-15)
During this session I also lay the ground work for setting myself up for success in other ways. Specifically, I plan for accountability and support, and I make sure I have a system in place to achieve my desired results.
For instance, I use the FASTer Way to Fat Loss to help me achieve my fitness and nutrition goals. It also provides me with the accountability and support I need in this area. (If you’d like to know more about FASTer Way to Fat Loss, check out this post and this one, or head straight to their website for all the details. And don’t hesitate to email me for more perspective. I am an affiliate for FWTFL, but I pay monthly for the program just like everyone else.)
Other ways I may arrange for support, accountability and a system for success include:
- having a church family
- enrolling in a Bible study group (another option and another)
- downloading a helpful app
- getting a workout buddy
- joining or starting a book club
- lining up my plans with my spouse
- joining a support group
- and simply telling somebody about my goals and plans
Truly, there are no substitutes for having good systems in place, enlisting support and lining up accountability. You can read more of my thoughts on these essentials in this previous post and video.
Take Some Time for Prayer
Finally, I think it’s a good idea to have a little prayer meeting at the transition of the year. Whether I join up with my husband, spend time with a friend or carve out this time just for me, I like to spend some time intentionally praying through the plans I’m making and the bridge I’m crossing.
This is a good time to sit still before the Lord and ask for His guidance and direction. Here’s a great scripture passage to get us started.
Thank you so much for joining me for today’s post as we get ready for 2022. Here’s to a blessed and fulfilling year! Let’s be a blessing to others by getting ourselves organized and ready for a good year.
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Aren’t you excited to see what 2022 holds? I’ll admit, there are days when I actually dread the future. Things are hard and a little crazy in our world. And, no, I don’t think they’re going to get better.
But I also know we won’t walk through those days alone. Nor are we without hope. God knows the plans He has for us. And He is good and gracious to walk through the valleys and the mountain tops with us. He will provide everything we need to handle whatever may come. Indeed, some days may be too hard for us. But they will not be too hard for Him. Let’s look forward to the future with joy…because we know that He holds our lives in His capable and good hands. We can have hope, not fear, for tomorrow because we know our God.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. ~ Jeremiah 29:11