What Empty Gym Lockers Have To Say About The New Year


Early this year, February perhaps, I was at the gym aiming to log a few miles on the treadmill. I juggled one boy on my hip and kept a loose eye on the other as I opened and closed every single locker. Taken. Taken. Taken.

Another lady beside me sighed in frustration, she was trying to find a temporary home for her own belongings. “I hate coming to the gym so early in the year. I can’t wait for a few weeks from now, when it’s much emptier again.”

I smiled slightly at her comment, a bit amused, but also disheartened by her observation. How many of these people sweating hard for their resolutions would be giving up on those resolutions within a few weeks time?


Ditch Your Resolutions


I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, not in the typical sense, anyways. There are too many not met; too many negative connotations surrounding the notion of setting resolutions.

However, this time of year, December to be exact; this transition of the year into newness, it is my favorite. It is full of anticipation. Full of opportunity. Full of hope.

But for many, it is also full of regret. Regret over those resolutions sitting dormant back in March, untouched, unrealized, unmet….again.

Perhaps you can think of a few of your own right now.

I don’t make resolutions. Instead, my husband and I make a habit of setting aside time each December to bid farewell to the current year, and prepare to usher in the new year.

Did you catch that first part? It is the first essential step to having your best year yet in 2015.




Step 1. Bid Farewell To Your Current Year 

{Celebrate, Learn, Wrap it Up in Grace, Move Forward}


I believe it is vitally important to bid farewell to a year spent before we can enter into the new year; an absolutely essential step to take in order to have your best year yet in the coming year.

And so we think back through the months, and we begin by celebrating!


A. Write Down Goals Accomplished This Year


For us this included running our half marathon, blog goals met, Grayson’s sales goals met, and his class goals met. Look back through your year, give it some time, think hard, and allow yourself to celebrate the goals you accomplished throughout this year!




B. Add to the List Unexpected Accomplishments and Gifts


We then move on to things not necessarily expected, but worth acknowledgment. Gifts to be counted. For us this list included:

Grew our own food
The success of the “936 Pennies post”, over 1 million views!
Found and joined a church we LOVE
Success of new jobs
Family vacations
New baby on the way!

This is your chance to notice some things you accomplished, as well as gifts and blessings that might go unrecognized if you don’t take time to see them, celebrate them, and give thanks for them. Don’t rush this step; slow down and be specific.


C. Acknowledge, Learn From, and Move on From Disappointments and Failures


Finally, because knowledge and experience are gained through failures, we look at goals that were not met, and wisdom to glean from them.

I had resolved to enable Grayson to pass all of his classes. Looking back, I could have been more involved in his studies. We could have been a better team and had more communication regarding his class schedules and assignments.

This is an absolutely essential part of closing up your year. Acknowledge disappointments and failures, learn from them, and then move on– do not let them own or define you, and do not carry them into the new year!




Step 2. Write Down Exactly What You Want Your Best Year Yet To Look Like.

{Allow and Require Yourself to Dream Big}


After bidding our year farewell, we prepare to usher in the new year. We get laser-focused on our goals, and what we want to aim our attention and efforts at, so that we can be certain we are working as a team to have our best year yet in 2015!


Map Out Your Best Year Yet


A. Walk Through Your Calendar Month by Month


First, we walk through our calendar for the year, because we understand that what is not written down—what is not on the calendar—will not get accomplished. Obviously, we cannot anticipate each commitment and activity for every month. But everything we can think of, we write down under the month.

When classes begin and end. Dates of vacations. When the baby is due, and when we might need some extra help around the house.

Also think through what your average week will look like; what weekly commitments and activities you already have. Does your average week invoke feelings of dread, apprehension, chaos? Consider which activities you could cut out here at the beginning, in order to protect the sanity of your family, and focus on what’s most important to you this year.


B. Anticipate Large Expenses


Next, we write down any big expenses we expect to encounter, and make a guess at how much they will cost. New baby medical costs. Cost for each trip this year. House renovations.

Don’t be caught by surprise when large expenses come. Know that they are coming, and plan accordingly. You might be surprised by how much stress and anxiety over the “unknowns” this can snuff out.




C. Write down Your “Push Goal”


Now we move on to our goals. We always begin with our “Push Goal”, the one, primary goal that will enable us to achieve our other goals.

My push goal: Wake up by 5:30am 6 days out of the week. Read. Pray. Write.

I understand that this one decision will enable me to have my best year yet. I also understand that not doing this one thing will be the largest hinderance to me meeting my goals this year.


D. Write Down Your Goals


With our Push Goals defined, we move on to writing down our personal goals, financial goals, and health goals.

Simple. Lofty—{Achievable by God’s grace}. Focused. Timely. This is how goals need to be inked onto paper, and etched into our souls so that we can have our best year yet!

Don’t get too elaborate. Keep them simple and easy to remember. Focus on 3 or 4 goals that are the most important to you this year.


For more great inspiration on goal setting for the new year, see Michael Hyatt’s post on goal setting, here.


E. Write Down Things You Need to Implement in Order to Meet Those Goals


Beyond our goals, we write down things we want to implement into our life, family, and home during the new year. Meal planning and organized dinners. Find an accountant. Preserve Sunday as a day of rest. Game night.

These are the things that will enable us to meet goals, as well as protect our family when things get a bit hectic.




Step 3. Keep Doing the Next “Right Thing That is Right in Front of You”.


In order to see yourself at the end of 2015, looking back on your most productive, abundant year yet, you must live according to this one simple yet life-changing principle: do as author Lysa Terkeurst admonishes in her book, The Best Yes, and keep doing, “The next right thing that is right in front of you.”

After all, your year is made up of months, weeks, days, moments, and decisions; each one following the next, each one impacting the next, and each one changing the course of what your year will look like in the big picture of your life and legacy.

Etch into that legacy a year of hope, life, joy, adventure, accomplishment, and renewed perspective; begin now by inking down exactly what that looks like to you. Keep your list of goals somewhere you can see them every day. Read over them regularly, and ask yourself every day, “What is the next right thing I can do right now to achieve my goals?


Seek out and recognize that one next step, take each one at a time, all by God’s grace, and create your Best Year Yet in the New Year!




Eryn Lynum is a speaker and the author of 936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting. (Bethany House Publishers, 2018) She lives in Northern Colorado with her husband and three boys, where they spend their time hiking, camping, and exploring the Rocky Mountains. She loves to travel and share at conferences, churches, and writers’ groups. Every opportunity she gets, she is out exploring God’s creation with her family.

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