"The one thing I do, however, is to forget what is behind me and do my best to reach what is ahead.” Phil 3:13 (ESV)
A new year means new beginnings. Turning over a new leaf gives hope to all who want to build a better and brighter future. Before we embrace change in the new year, it is important to first prepare our hearts for what's to come. It is the perfect time to lay aside bad memories from our past, and take up that which is good and beneficial for our growth in our continuing journey.
In order to write a new chapter of joy and happiness, we need to make space in the rooms of our hearts for them. Take some time to reflect on your own and with your family; then keep the following tips below in mind as you unpack and declutter before the dawn of a new year:
- Let go of the past. Simply saying that you're going to stop doing counterproductive habits is not enough. We should add concrete actions to these declarations that will make it easier for us to break out of cycles that are hindering us. Making the conscious choice to "let go" also gives you the resolve to make better choices and confidence to face challenges that will come your way.
- Forgive. Think about the pain that you've experienced this past year. Try your best to come to terms with them, then reach out to forgive those who have hurt you. Pray if you haven't found the courage to communicate with individuals that you have grown apart from in the hope that you can eventually find the closure that you need.
- Don't blame yourself. There is simply no way to go back and undo the errors that we committed in the past. Remember, as humans, we all make mistakes. As you forgive others, don’t forget to also forgive yourself. Let your past be your teacher, motivating you to build a better version of yourself. In time, you will be amazed to see how far you've come.
- Embrace the present. It's easy to fall into the trap of dwelling on painful memories rather than being grateful for the many beautiful moments that come to you each and every day. Don’t be a prisoner of your past. Enjoy the present, and open your eyes to behold blessings of all shapes and sizes that are around you. Focus your attention on the people and other aspects of your life that bring you the most light, joy, and peace.
Starting the new year fresh is a gift. Greet it with open arms and leave the baggage of yesterday behind. Let go of old habits and devote yourself to some new, healthy ones. Forgive those who have hurt you, and work hard to be more gracious to yourself, too. Bask in the glow of the present – do not take your loved ones and your trusted friends for granted. Remind yourself of all the good you have built through your hard work and determination. By starting the year right, you’ll surely find that the best is yet to come.