What is it about Jan. 1 that causes people to talk about new beginnings and trot out resolutions for turning over a new leaf? Every month and each day is a chance for a fresh start.
For several years my resolutions stayed the same — and stayed incomplete. So for the last couple of years I decided (perhaps resolved!) to avoid them. Perhaps I needed a new strategy.
Many individuals enjoy the satisfaction of marking things off a checklist. How about a checklist of positive accomplishments to achieve this year? While all of these can’t be achieved in five minutes or in only one attempt, a list of baby steps may provide more motivation than vague “lose 25 pounds” resolutions. For instance:
• Become an organ donor. Eighteen people die each day because of the lack of a needed organ. Go to organdonor.gov/becomingdonor and register in your state.
• Make or update your will. It’s been estimated that over 80 percent of Americans either do not have an estate plan or need to update the one they have. Since you can’t take it with you, why not bless those you leave behind? Use the Missouri Baptist Foundation’s planning guide (mbfngift.org) to gather needed information.
• Spend time with God. Stop right now and thank God, and then let God know your concerns. For some ideas on prayer, visit str.org/articles/ten-tips-to-help-your-prayer-life.
• Sneaky exercise. The American Heart Association (heart.org) recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate / 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week — even if you break it up into several 10-15 minute segments a day. That may not sound “checklisty” enough, so start with articles on the Getting Healthy > Physical Activity page such as “No time for exercise?” and adopt a task, such as taking stairs or a dance class, that inches you closer to those recommendations.
• Sign up for a Bible reading plan. Does the book of Leviticus scare you from committing to daily Bible reading? Reading plans on biblegateway.com or BibleStudyTools.com that offer a variety of approaches, translations and start times. The YouVersion app (bible.com) also offers plans of various lengths starting with three days. Or use prepared devotions at crosswalk.com/devotionals or gospel.com/topics/devotionals. By starting a subscription, the readings come to you — then keep that subscription active for a year. Even if you miss days, you are growing.
• Make an emergency fund. A Bankrate study found 62 percent of Americans cannot cover unexpected expenses. Financial experts such as Dave Ramsey urge setting up an emergency fund. One plan can be found at thesimpledollar.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-building-a-big-healthy-emergency-fund.
• Maintain your stuff. Lifehacker has tips for maintaining and tracking your home (lifehacker.com/5844978/how-to-stop-neglecting-your-home-and-keep-it-from-turning-into-the-money-pit) and vehicle (lifehacker.com/the-preventative-maintenance-you-need-to-do-on-your-car-1394196018) helping you convert these ongoing needs into checklists.
• Clean your computer. PC World’s “12 easy PC tasks you should be doing (but aren’t)” gives you a dozen checklist tasks from eliminating dust to viruses.
• Change your passwords. One of the PCWorld tasks is changing passwords for sites and services. With multiple security breaches in the news, this has become increasingly important. Find a password tester, four methods and password management tools at open.bufferapp.com/creating-a-secure-password. (And, by the way – stop reusing your passwords.)
Think about areas that are important to you and adapt these or develop your own checklists.
Ken Satterfield is a former media specialist and currently marketing cooredinator for Word & Way.