I Accomplished My New Year's Resolutions! (You Can Too!)

For the first time, ever -- I accomplished all of my new year's resolutions this year except for two, and one doesn't even count!

**Happy dance**

Here's the deal: one is still in progress. It's well on it's way, but not done all the way.  I'm a poet or a prophet depending on the day! So...in all fairness, I'm not calling it accomplished just yet. 

The second unaccomplished resolution didn't happen because early in the year, God told me it wasn't something I was supposed to do anymore -- to take it off my list.

So I did.

What was different about 2013?

In previous years, I made a dream list that pretty much included everything but the kitchen sink. Ironically I got a new kitchen sink this year.

And at the end of each year in the past, usually only a few items on my long dream list was accomplished. A few is better than nothing but still, it felt defeating.

I was feeling an urge to do things differently for this year. I began praying about it last August and by November, I made a list of what I called "Investments."

There were six areas of investment I listed:

Investments in Me
Investments in My Marriage
Investments in my Family 
Investments in the Church
Investments in the Next Generation
Investments in the World

I was very selective and prayerful in making this list. When all was said and done, there were no more than two or three strategic investments under each area. At the conclusion, fourteen things total were on the list.

I didn't think small.
But I did consider everything analytically and more than that -- prayerfully.

Some of the greatest things ever to happen for me were on that list!

Things like launching my adoption blog -- Adoptee Restoration.

Things like launching and leading an in-person adoptee support group in Tampa Bay, also called Adoptee Restoration. 

Things like totally re-evaluating and restructuring Celebration Church Women's Ministries.

Things like praying for my marriage like never before. I believed God wanted to do a new thing in our relationship, grow and increase us. (And it was accomplished -- in a different way than I ever imagined it would happen.)

I'm definitely going to prepare my new year's resolutions -- now called my new year investments -- in the same way for the 2014 year.

Maybe this resonates with someone else besides me and you're thinking, "Hmmmm, I think I might  try this..."

Here are a few things I've learned along the way that might help.

Pray (Don't skip this step!) 

I didn't pull my list out of my head. I pulled it out of God's heart.

James 5:16 tells us that, "the prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results."

Leave room

I received my list as I prayed and wrote it down in my journal, but left a ton of margin.

I wanted to leave room for God to do lots of off the list things if He so chose, and to surprise me. Guess what...He did.

When I made the list, I also didn't envision on a 40-day leave of absence that I took eight months into the year, after my natural mom's death. You would think the break would have torpedoed my goals, but interestingly enough it helped them along much more.

 Don't stress if your list seems small.

Be open to course corrections

I initially put something on my list of fourteen because I felt I was supposed to. It was the advice column I used to write for two newspapers.  I wrote the columns for eight months and felt this was one of my investments in the world - to speak into people's lives in this venue. My work was well received and there was no problem. But some things are a good thing and not a God thing. In March the Lord spoke to me about this and said, "Give it up."

So I did.

This was part of making room for other things. If I'm holding on to what I want for me, I can't take hold of what God has for me -- and in my experience what He wants for me is always much better than whatever I may be bent on doing.

I'm more excited than ever, about the investments I'll make in 2014.
I hope you are too.