It’s the middle of January, and I’m sure that some of your New Year’s resolutions have already ended. There’s a good chance that your resolutions didn’t even make it to January 2nd. You’re not alone! Did you know that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail? I would bet that the number might even be higher than that. So maybe you have already had a soda when you promised yourself you would not. Maybe you only worked out 4 times last week when you promised yourself that you would work out everyday. Maybe you have already binged watched an entire season of some random show on Netflix. It’s ok! Meeting the goal is less important than gaining the benefit of the heart of your resolution.

My advice is to change your New Year’s resolutions to New Year’s areas of growth. It doesn’t sound as flashy, but it offers you some grace. You won’t be hung up on failure, but it does draw your attention to different areas in your life you want to grow in. In our society, we love to make huge goals, but once we meet any resistance or fail in anyway, we give up. It’s important to remember that taking one small step in the right direction is better than making these huge goals and failing quickly. Sure, it feels great to be all fired up with big dreams, but they rarely become a reality without making the small steps.

Here are some of my areas of growth for 2017. I’ve made them the background on my phone to keep my focus on these areas throughout the year. They vary from spiritual areas to physical health to loving people better. Some are tangible so that I can measure my success, and others are just areas I want to be more aware of in my everyday life.

1.Take the meaning of Scripture more seriously.

Am I the only one that reads Scripture and becomes numb to it? Scripture has so many rich promises for us and says so much about our identity in Christ. I want to not just read Scripture, but I want to be able to stop while reading and believe what Scripture says about God and my relationship with him. If the church lived as if Scripture was true, our lives would look so very different.

2. Don’t drink soda until the end of second semester.

My roommate and I drink way too much Dr. Pepper. I have not had any soda this year!

3. Watch considerably less Youtube.

I never watched Youtube until this past year. Such a waste of time.

4. Exercise in some way 6 days a week.

It’s hard to do a big work out consistently, but I want to exercise everyday even if it is just playing pick-up basketball, jumping into an intramural game, or doing a quick ab workout.

5. Tip extravagantly.

I feel like I have always been a good tipper at restaurants, but I want to really bless people who work so hard this year. This seems like such a practical way to represent the name of Jesus well!

6. Eat more vegetables and drink more milk.

I love fruit, but I could eat more vegetables. I want to eat more salad, but sometimes those french fries are more tempting. Milk is just delicious, and it deserves to consumed more.

7. Notice the often unnoticed in society.

It is similar to “tipping extravagantly.” I want to be the hands and feet of Jesus by loving janitors, waiters, and other facility members that I seem to avoid at times.

8. Pray for certain people more consistently.

When I am rushed in my quiet time, I often skip praying for people around me that are struggling or that do not know Jesus.

9. Complain less, specifically about busyness.

We live in a complaining society. I want to be a person that makes my friends more optimistic through seeing the good in every situation rather than promoting pessimism by complaining. Busyness is one area I see a lot of people at Biola complain about. “How are you doing?” “Oh, I am just sooooooooo busy!” We can easily make our busyness an idol. I want to take the focus off of what I do and focus on who I am called to be in Christ.

10. Be missional with friends back home on a daily basis.

I am learning so much at Biola and growing so much in Biola’s Christian community. I do not want to keep that to myself, but instead, I want to share it with people who are close with me.

Those are my 2017 areas of growth. I won’t be perfect, but perfect isn’t the goal. Better is the goal! Make a list of areas you want to grow in, but it’s ok if you fall short! Forgive yourself and keep working.

Reach out with any questions you have about Biola or about me!!! Love you guys!