10 Ways to make 2020 better than 2019
January 14, 2020
If you are struggling with what types of goals to write for this new year, I want to help. In random order… Here are some suggestions on how to make this year (and decade) better than the last.
1- Dejunk your life…. It’s a proven fact, excess stuff causes stress. So do yourself a favor and get rid of it. But how? I suggest you pick a room in your house and begin systematically going through it.
I started with my kitchen. I got rid of coffee mugs and water bottles we haven’t used in years. I took glue sticks/pencils and other left over school supplies to my son’s teacher. Now that my kids are old enough to use ceramic bowls, I was able to give away the plastic ones. I threw away Tupperware with missing lids, trashed expired spices/medicine and threw away old school folders and half-used notebooks. Now when I open my cabinets, I can actually find what I am looking for without stress.
Try it. It feels good to say bye-bye to clutter. After you do one room, move to the next one. If you need a little encouragement, check out this podcast with Allie Casazza. I am confident it will inspire you to get started the same way it did me. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-happy-hour-with-jamie-ivey/id880741976?i=1000441273109
2- Cut something from your diet for a set amount of time… It’s true the old saying, “You are what you eat.” So, for a better 2020 (and beyond) begin to eat healthier. You don’t have to do it all at once. Just start somewhere. Small changes over time make a big difference. I recommend picking something and cutting it out of your diet for a set amount of time.
This year, I chose to cut out sugar of all kinds- real and false- for 21 days. And quite honestly, it’s been pretty easy. But, before you stone me for saying that, let me also say that the reason it has been relatively easy is because 3 years ago, I began cutting back drastically on the amount of sugar I eat. I certainly didn’t get here over night, but the small steps I took years ago, have made a HUGE difference today. You could begin your baby steps today.
3- Read God’s Word. Letting God in to your life is the best decision you could make. And there is no better way to get to know Him, than to read His Word.
I started a reading plan back in September through the You Version app called “The Bible Project.” It is the first time I have been able to stay 100% dedicated to a plan. It has video devotions at the start of each book of the Bible that help explain what you are about to read. This plan has made me stay the course. I really think you will like it too.
If that is too much for you, dedicate yourself to reading one chapter a day or meditating on one verse a day. Just start somewhere.
4- Pick a book to read that talks about an area of struggle in your life. I have said it before, but I will say it again. If you are not a reader, you are missing out on practical advice that will help you live a better life.
One of the most life-changing books I ever read was a book by Joyce Meyer called “Battlefield of the Mind.” One of the best sections for me personally was a chapter on having a “wandering” mind. When I begin to discover that there was a better way to live in my inner thought life, my outward life changed.
Whatever area you struggle in- whether with disciplining your kids, communication, worry/anxiety, in your marriage- help is only a book away.
5- Exercise. Let me be frank here. I have never been a huge fan of exercise. When I was young I did it because it was healthy and I had lots of free time. When I started a family, I all but stopped exercising for about 13 years. I have never been one who exercised because it was “fun.” I hate to run. In truth, until I had been walking consistently for two full years, I didn’t enjoy that either. But… I chose to do it because the benefits are staggering and- I want to grow old gracefully. I can honestly say that – now – I look forward to my walks. I use them to listen to my Bible/podcasts, pray or to talk with a friend. I have more energy in the day and it helps lower my blood sugar levels as well. You should get started. Somewhere… it can be as simple as a five minute walk. Though it will take discipline, I am living proof that if you stick with it, you can grow to enjoy exercise too.
6- Make a decision to be a better communicator. Relationships rise or fall based on how well we communicate. Each of us have particular quirks when we communicate. For instance, some people bottle up their feelings and give the cold shoulder when they’re upset. Others speak everything on their mind resulting in emotional outbursts that are damaging in a different way. We use various hurtful facial expressions and tones. We are distracted listeners or we don’t really listen at all. Some of us simply talk too much.
It doesn’t matter which area you choose to work on, just start somewhere. Have you noticed a theme? Small steps are the key to any lasting change in every area.
I saw a huge change in my relationship with my son (and in his personality) when I made a decision not to yell at him anymore. For whatever reason, he could push my buttons like no one else. My demeanor would change with him until, at times, I would lose it. After this repetitive behavior over the course of years, I began to notice his heart hardening towards me. God really convicted me that no one could cause me to act a certain way no matter how much he provoked me and that I needed to work on my character. So I made a decision to stay in control and stop screaming at him. I have never lost my cool with him again. That was at least 6 years ago. As a result, we have a great relationship now and he still has a soft heart?.
7- Prioritize what’s important to you. Make sure your choices line up with your life goals. If your family is the most important thing to you, make sure your life reflects that. I recently made a choice to decrease the number of hours I work each week (which in turn means spending less)- allowing me to have more quality time with my children. Now rather than having a frazzled mom, I am able to cook healthier meals and enjoy being their taxi service. By cutting back hours, I am no longer the crank I was becoming and I am free to serve my family well.
8- Purge a toxic relationship. Someone really smart once said… “Show me your friends and I will show you your future.” It’s true. You become like the people you hang around. So if you are hanging out with someone who is going in a direction opposite of where you want to go, distance yourself. Don’t be rude or ugly, just slowly pull away. And begin making new friends who ARE heading in the direction you want to go.
9- Make a new friend. Yep. That’s right. If you want a better 2020, make a new friend. I am not suggesting you need to get rid of the old ones- not at all. (unless they are toxic.) But – I am suggesting that in order to make a new friend, you have to put forth effort in sometimes uncomfortable situations. This stretches us. And stretching… well… it’s good for us. New friends open up new opportunities and make life more enjoyable. So…in take a risk and invite someone new into your circle.
10- Lastly, if you want a better year… Make your kids “do their part” in keeping up with housework. You don’t have to be super-mom/dad in your home. Your job as a parent is to TRAIN your children. Train them to be disciplined in their life. Train them to cook, to clean, and to be excellent in all their doings. One way to do that is to simply MAKE them pitch in and do their share around the house. There is a scripture (2 Thessalonians 3:10) that says if a person doesn’t work, he won’t eat. What better place to learn this lesson than at home before he enters “the real world.”
This year I have committed to teaching my children how to cook- my daughter and both of my sons. I want them to grow up to be well-rounded. Since we live in a world where traditional roles rarely exist, I need to be sure to teach my kids to grow with the times. I want them to thrive in life and marriage, so I am training them to know how a family should support one another’s in every area of life. Taking the time to teach them things such as this will make a huge difference in their future- and mine too. The extra effort I am putting into teaching them today will pay off in “meals” for me as they learn more and more. (Not to mention they won’t be depending on me when they are in their twenties, thirties and forties.) It will be the same for you. As the old saying goes, “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish, feed him for a lifetime.” If you want to grow in this next decade, make sure you are training those behind you.
And there you have it… 10 ways to make 2020 better than 2019.
Feel free to share your tips for a better new year in the comments below. I’d love to hear what you are doing too!