What’s the best way to start the year?

Write a New Year’s Eve reflection about the previous year? List down your New Year’s resolutions? Write new faith goals for the year?

Most people commit to developing new habits to replace old, unhealthy ones. Others resolve to lose weight, hit the gym, try a new look, or strive to excel in school or at work. There are also those who decide to move on from different things like a failed relationship, a terrible mistake, or a painful experience.

As 2019 rolls in, here are some things we can consider as we turn over a new leaf.

1. Start Over

Perhaps to some, 2018 had been a great year—a year full of blessings, surprises, and fond memories. If 2018 had been a great year for you, be all the more excited because God is about to do it again; He can and will exceed what you’ve already experienced last year!

But maybe some of us felt like the previous year had been a season of struggling in the wilderness—your spiritual life felt so dry, you kind of lost your way, a loved one died, or there were important people who turned their backs on you.

If the previous year felt like a wasteland, take heart! God is a God who makes all things new.

As He said in Isaiah 43:19 (NLT), “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”

It’s about time to stop living in the shadow of past failures. Stop reliving the painful memories; quit nursing the hurt. Break free from a life full of regrets and embrace the new things that God is about to do.

A few years back, I hit rock bottom as a result of the mistakes and wrong decisions that I have made. One morning, as I was cleaning my room, a tiny piece of paper fell on the floor. What was written on it hit me hard and had me bawling:

“You may have made a mess of things, but life isn’t done yet. Stand up and start over.”

—God

God isn’t done with you yet. Keep standing, stay alive, never stop fighting. I pray that you can see that the grace of God can pick you up right where you are. He is ready to mend the broken pieces and help you start again

2. Keep Dreaming

The fact that God has promised to accomplish new things in our lives should strengthen our faith to keep dreaming. Those who put their trust in God will never be put to shame, and this hope never disappoints, for He who promised is faithful (Romans 10:11; Hebrews 10:23).

It’s time to stop longing for the glory of past successes. Some of us might be feeling a deep longing to turn back the hands of time to relive the glory days. God is doing a new thing, and He is birthing new dreams and new aspirations in us. If we keep looking back to the past, we might miss out what God is and will be doing in our lives. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past,” He said. (Isaiah 43:18, NIV)

2019 is your year to dream big. This is your year to start believing for things that are as big as God Himself. Have the faith to pray for that college scholarship! Claim the breakthroughs that you’ve been praying for your family! Dare to believe for the impossible!

Also, don’t just dream big for yourself. Pray for the world around you. Pray for God to bless you, so you can be a blessing to others. Pray and dream for the future of our nation. Dream big for other people as well.

If you’ve ever given up on your dreams because of unanswered prayers, may your wounded faith be healed so you can start believing again. The beautiful plot twist that you’ve been waiting for could just be a page away. Have the faith to turn the page and see. Keep dreaming.

3. Connect

As human beings, we’re designed for relationships.

The secret to having a fruitful and meaningful year isn’t so much about how much we are able to accomplish, it is about how well we are able to build and keep our relationships.

The key to achieving our goals and New Year’s resolutions is not just our willpower or self-determination; it also depends largely on the people we surround ourselves with.

This year, connect with people who can guide and mentor you in the areas you want to grow in. Find a leadership mentor who will challenge you to unleash your potentials. Connect with people who have gone ahead of you in terms of your season in life. Find people who can speak into your life and provide godly counsel to you.

Also, find friends you can be accountable with—friends who will not tolerate your bad behavior, but will steer you closer to God’s purpose for your life.

Do you want to grow more as a person, excel as a student, or grow in leadership? The key is to connect. Build relationship with people who can walk through life with you.

4. Find Your Center

Life has a way of keeping us off track and off center.

Last year, an unwise pursuit or the busyness of life may have pulled you away from your most valuable relationship in life—your relationship with God.

Have you drifted away from Him? It’s never too late to come back. He is the center of our lives, the very reason for our existence, “for in him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind (John 1:4, NIV). Life is dark, empty, and meaningless apart from Him, but He promised to grant a full life to those whose lives are surrendered to Him.

As you breathe 2019 in, I pray that you will find the grace and the right motivation to begin again. No matter how the year turns out, remember that your life has already been written by the same hands that made the universe and wrote the best stories ever told in human history.