New Year’s resolutions. Love them or hate them, they reappear every year. Laden with good intentions each January, many of us start on a litany of goals with a desire to change ourselves. We vow to work out, get out of debt, spend more time studying, and so forth. The thing about New Year’s resolutions — they’re often all about us. Culture tells us to focus on ourselves, but God tells us the opposite. He wants us to focus on Him and His agenda.
The most significant changes can happen when we’re not focused on ourselves but on others. What would happen if we flipped our New Year’s resolutions upside-down and sought to benefit someone else for a change? It very well might impact our hearts for deep and lasting change; the kind that gets our eyes off ourselves and onto others. Resolve to do something better not only for you but for someone else.
If Your Goal is to Get in Shape
Run or walk a marathon that benefits a charity, works to cure a disease, or supports a family member or friend who’s going through a difficult season of life. While you’re training, focus on praying for the person or cause. Pray for them throughout the race day.
If Your Goal is to Save Money
Make room for giving in your savings plan. Giving to others changes our perspective on what we value and how we view our money. Winston Churchill is quoted with saying: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” If your goal is to save $50 a month for yourself, plan to save an additional $20 and use it for others. For creative ideas on how to give, check out ilikegiving.com.
If Your Goal is to Learn Something New
What skill could you acquire that might help someone else? Could your church use another sign language interpreter for weekend services? Could you learn another language and tutor a fellow student whose first language isn’t English? Or sink your hands in the dirt, learn to garden, and plant and tend a community garden for a lower income area.
As you plan goals for the new year, consider how you can change yourself by focusing on others. Look for someone or something worthy of your time and energy. Expand your impact, and point others to God.
“And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)
Johanna Inwood is a South Florida transplant now living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She works in marketing for a Christian publishing house.