As we prepare for a new year we tend to reflect a lot and promise a lot. That is, we often reflect on the regrets of the past and make big promises for the future. This may be useful and motivating for many, but may I suggest some simple practices to keep making yourself new all year long without regret or resolutions -  just a new you:


1. SERVE.  Serve God or something greater than yourself. I happen to be one who believes that a relationship with God and a faith community makes life easier, more wonderful than anyone can imagine, and gives me power to serve others in ways I never think possible. That being said, whether your thing is God or a greater cause in the world or both… Invest your time, money, and talents into a relationship with God, house of faith, and/or organization or cause greater than yourself. This practice will have you rise above your petty concerns. Take the case that most concerns we have are petty, so serve God and invest in something greater than yourself. It is a great way to move you out of your own way!


2. READ. Expand your mind through taking in more information, history, technologies, and points of view. Read books, articles, blogs. Listen to sermons. Listen to books and lectures. Expand your mind. If you do not take the time to expand your mind, take the case your mind and views are shrinking!


3. LET GO.  Author and politician, J.C. Watt said: “It does not take a lot of strength to hang on, it takes a lot of strength to let go.” Be the strong one this year and let it go. Forgive yourself and others. Whatever it may be - betrayal of a friend, divorce of longterm marriage, death of a loved one, bad news, bad behavior, loss of job…or any of the other instances of life happening. Life will happen. Do the emotional and spiritual work to keep living and let it go. Don’t carry it (whatever it may be) another day, let alone another year!


4. TAKE TIME. Take time for self care and to be with the ones you love. There will always be something to do, somewhere to go, a problem to solve, and new priority or request to engage in. You and I will always be busy. Take time to rest and pray. Take time to be still. Take time to eat a home cooked meal. Take time to count the freckles on the face of your spouse. Take time to hold the hand of your grandparent. Take the time to read to your child or walk your dog. Take time to have a pedicure or play a game with a friend. You get the picture, take time!


5.  TAKE NEW ACTIONS. Do something new every day or at least every week. So that gives you anywhere from 52 to 365 new opportunities this year! Take a new route to work, visit a new place for vacation, toss out those old items, create a new exercise habit, learn a new language, or buy fresh new flowers. Whatever the action, do something new that takes you out of your comfort zone and routine. Do something that brings newness in your life or takes you to a new place. New actions create new life. Even when we fail, we learn from taking new actions. Go do something new right now!


These practices will carry you way past the new-ness of January. Schedule time to take on all of these practices every day this year and you will see the results of being made new all year long! God bless and go practice!