While I have never been one to party on to usher in the New Year (a combination of being too old, not liking crowds and needing to be asleep by midnight!!) I love the concept of a New Year as it has a sense of a fresh start, a new beginning and/or an opportunity to start over.
Lots of people see this moment in time as the best time to commit to new practices and habits. It is a peak time for gym memberships and diet plan sign ups as we decide to use the start of the year as a marker to turn over a new leaf and leave behind the poor choices of the previous 12 months (or multiple years!).
Many resolutions get made with most failing within the first few weeks. We set big expectations and lofty goals but I have done a bit of reading over the past few months about the setting of new habits and the research clearly points to the greater benefit of starting small – ‘Tiny Habits’ by BJ Fogg, followed by ‘The Power of Habit’ by Charles Duhigg and then ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear.
Each book had similar themes but also introduced different concepts that built upon the previous one. Starting small helps cement a habit that can easily be built upon and it is those initial tiny wins that can spur us on to adding to bigger and better outcomes.
One of the devotional practices I have had for over 20 years is to read the Bible in a year. I do this using an actual Bible prepared for such an occasion (eg. The One Year Bible available from Koorong in a variety of translations). The Bibles are set out so that every day you have a portion from the Old Testament, the New Testament and something from the Psalms and Proverbs.
So, just over a week ago I began the Bible in a Year again. This brought me to the opening words of Genesis which declare, “In the beginning God …” and I paused to reflect about the importance of God at the beginning of everything. All my choices and decisions, all my behaviour, all my conversations – how much better are they when I include God from the start?
This is a really tiny change that can easily be implemented in my life. Before I speak or act, pause for a moment and consider if I have included God in the process.
Now I know that it won’t happen each and every time initially as it takes some time for habits to become automatic, but I believe that even if I manage to stop myself and ask the question only 50% of the time it will be an increase that will reap some benefit and that can more easily be grown until it becomes more second nature.
I am looking forward to a greater inclusion of God in my everyday during 2022 and I would like to encourage you to give it a go also. It’s the best time of year to start something new. Why not join me?