I’ve never been very good at New Year’s resolutions. I love the idea of setting one giant goal and proclaiming it for the world to hear on January 1st, but having to land on one seemingly perfect goal that I’m bound to for the next twelve months often feels like way too much pressure. What if I pick this beautiful, shiny, Instagram-worthy resolution and then two days later I’ve already failed it? Let’s be honest, I’m typically the girl who takes too long brainstorming and finally lands on a resolution mid-February only to decide, “Well, it’s pretty late. I might as well scratch it.”
Last year, I decided to change the way I went about goal setting by getting an intentional goal planner. I was so excited to dig in to my Powersheets and do the hard work of brainstorming ten actionable goals for the New Year. But, I got the planner late. January 1st came and went, and there was not one single thing written in my planner. Weeks later, when I finally cracked open the pages, I felt discouraged; I was so behind. And then I read this line written in a blog post by Lara Casey, “There’s nothing magical about January 1.”
Naturally, I snapped a picture of these priceless words, accompanied it with a “praise hands” emoji and shared it over on my Instagram-story because this simple wisdom was revolutionary. Who decided January was the time to set goals? Yes, I understand it’s the beginning of a new year so it’s a natural fresh start, but who’s to say that we can’t start whenever we want?
Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (ESV translation) Because of Christ’s work on the cross we don’t have to wait for January to roll around - we can re-start today, tomorrow and every day that follows.
Culture tells us that if we don’t complete our goals, we fail. Jesus tells us that if we don’t meet our goals, so what? His mercies are new every morning and we are loved no matter what. The reset button is limitless.
If we want to set goals to be a better friend, build stronger muscles, or drink more water every day, whether it be in January, March or August, more power to us. But what if we intentionally planned our goals with grace in mind? I’m a firm believer that goals don’t have to be perfect or concrete to be effective. In fact, I think they’re much more valuable when they’re re-visited, adjusted, and sometimes altogether thrown out. When it comes down to it, the only goal that really matters is to be faithful and obedient to Jesus – everything else is secondary.
This year, let’s remember that there’s nothing magical about January. Let’s experience the freedom of goals made with grace and put Him first every single morning.