I laughed-out-loud at the post a friend made about the upcoming new year: “No one claim 2022 as ‘My Year’! Let’s all agree to just walk in to the year slow, humble, cautious!” If we haven’t learned to slow down a bit and see what the year has in store for us by now, we’re never going to learn. Here are a few thoughts and goals I believe we should (and can) all set for ourselves for 2022…

  • Rest more. Slow down, breath, use your vacation time, take a sick day (mental health counts!), praying and meditating more… in fact, just practice sitting silently in God’s presence listening for a change would be great. Do something that actually brings rest to your soul even if it’s still technically an activity – like working out, reading, catching up with friends. We’ve been so drained in so many ways these past two years, but we still need to learn how to gain rest for our souls.
  • Learn a new skill. Rest isn’t always stationary. Last year I began the journey of learning new skills that could help me in the job market. I gobbled up several classes online for a nominal cost and earned some IT certifications in the process. There are several platforms, but I’ve grown to prefer Udemy as a fantastic site/app to learn practically any new skill or even hobby (like professional photography on your iPhone!). I learned so much and enjoyed the content I was taking so much that I began sponsoring their service as an affiliate. Click here to explore course on Udemy that might interest you.
  • See people in person. It’s been two years of quarantining. Vaccinated people outnumber unvaccinated people roughly 2:1 in California. In many ways, our emotional, mental, and relational health have suffered far worse than our physical well-being. While we still have some social distancing protocols in many places, and new variants are seemingly always going to be a concern, we must return to increasingly consistent social contact. If you’re nervous, just start small, but please start somewhere. You need people, and frankly people need you. Even with all our social media, we are in enormous need of real social interactions. Get in a church this year (or back to church). Go back to your gym, form a book club, birthday parties, etc. Heck… get some friends and fly to Hawaii!
  • Exercise gratitude. I’ve worked on journaling more lately and intend to do this a lot more in 2022. My wife recently got a three year journal for me (which you can find on Amazon here). It’s good to review where I’ve come from, and how God’s answered my past prayers. The three year component, makes it so that each following year I can see where I was that day and it actively reminds me of how God has worked in my life since then.
  • Take the easy wins. There’s some low-hanging fruit you can grab. Take whatever counts as an easy win. Make your bed, put your running shoes on, lay your clothes out for the next day, set the coffee pot to begin when you when you want to get up, etc. Have I ever talked about how good it feels to mark anything off a to-do list (Ooooh, the dopamine!)?! We overestimate what we can do in a year and underestimate what we can do in a day. Big change is the result of consistent, little actions. So knock out your resume, update your LinkedIn profile, read one verse in the Bible appjust start with an easy win!
  • See how people are actually doing. I hope this next year doesn’t just become a year of us learning to pay attention to our well-being more, but also that of others. We’ve got to start looking up more, seeking eye contact, and asking each other how we’re really doing. Begin with your immediate circle, but let’s expand to start noticing strangers. When we all begin to see each other, we eventually begin to get seen more as well.
  • Be more generous. When Tiff and I started a family, one piece of advice we were told is that if we waiting until we were “ready” to have kids, we would never do it. The same is true with generosity. We have so many noble goals, like buying a home, starting a business, and actually taking that vacay… all of which are good and we should do. But I sincerely believe that God reward us when we give of ourselves. And if we wait until we’re ready, we’ll never do it. I pray that 2022 becomes a year of unprecedented generosity for all of us – both in regards to our time and treasure. It’s been too easy to hide from volunteering and excuse a lack of generosity these past couple years. But 2022 could stand to be marked by a new commitment to giving of ourselves in such a way that we actually find ourselves in the process.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments! What are some simple, reasonable goals you’ve been thinking of for 2022? Which of the goals that I mentioned are you going to take action on? What did I miss that you would add?

Blessings,
Pastor John