13 Ways to Start Fresh in '13

Disclaimer: I've had the flu for the past 6 days, but I'm determined to begin the new year on the right foot by posting. But if I write anything that doesn't make sense, chalk it up to both high and cabin fevers!

Happy 2013!

I was thoroughly blessed in 2012, but I'm a little more ready than usual to close that calendar and begin afresh in 2013. There are some daunting days ahead of me (like the day my son flies off to Seattle to take a new job mid summer), but there are also great challenges and promises on these clean, white pages. So I'm taking advantage of the newness of this year and starting fresh in some very practical ways. Perhaps you'll join me.

Right now is a great time to...

1. Start a fresh bulletin board. Last year I posted a new bulletin board in my office diagonal to where I sit and type most days. I immediately filled it with goals, meaningful photographs, daily to-do lists, and brochures from writing retreats I might take. It's time to clean that bulletin board off and start afresh. Do you motivate yourself with a bulletin board or similar tool?

2. Grocery shop with a new list. I often get in diet ruts, eating the same things for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, day after day, or at least week after week. But it's time to try some new foods. I'm checking out new ways to prepare and eat Greek yogurt, grapefruit, arugula, fish and couscous. I'm looking for a new breakfast idea or two as well.

3. Break in a new appointment calendar. I like one with both weekly and daily in-review sections. What about you? What are your qualifications for a good calendar? In fact, do you have one you'd recommend? Since I've been sick, I haven't purchased one yet and I'm still in the market.

4. Begin a new quiet time practice. I'm a creature of habit to the point that I like being consistent in my quiet time with God within a year's time, but I like to shake it up at the beginning of each January. Sometimes I set out to read through the Bible. Other times I choose a certain devotional guide to use. This year I'll be returning to Sarah Young's Jesus Calling and I'll be using my new leather bound edition. (I don't think it's real leather, but it's still very C.S. Lewis-y!)

I read through the Life Principles Daily Bible last year and absolutely loved it
5. Memorize 24 new Scripture verses. As I mentioned in my previous post, I'll be participating again this year in Living Proof Ministry's Siesta Scripture Memory Challenge. It's not too late to join me! This will undoubtedly be one of the greatest investments I make this year and I can't wait to get started!

6. Up your workout! I'll be upping my daily workouts first by improving my time on my almost-daily-5-mile walks. I got a new Garmin watch for Christmas that has inspired me to push a little harder. Later, when my recent bout of tennis elbow has healed sufficiently, I'll be adding new hand weight exercises. My muscles have become over-accustomed to the ones I've been doing for the past 3 4 5 who-knows-how-many-years!

My new Garmin watch. You can get one here.
7. Clean out your toaster. In my feverish stupor yesterday I decided I needed to do at least one useful thing. So, for who knows what reason, I cleaned out the crumb tray underneath my toaster. Then I cleaned out all the crumbs in the cabinet where my dirty toaster has been sitting between uses. You might want to do the same...or find some other rarely cleaned thing or place in your home and get with it. But just one...we don't want to over do the cleaning thing before the Spring!

8. Try a new nail polish. Or lipstick or hair color or scent or deodorant. But the new year is definitely a great time to try something new in the beauty department...or the hygiene department, if you will.

9. Tackle a new Bible study. We'll begin studying Stormie O'Martian's The Power of a Praying Woman next week at my church. I hope you have a study group to join as well. Studying with other women makes all the difference in my completion rate! But if you don't have a group with which to study and discuss, consider finding one. It's worth stepping out of your comfort zone for. :)

10. Begin a new relationship. Or invest more consistently in one you've allowed to wane. The chilly month of January is a great month to invite someone new to join you for coffee, share lunch, or check out a new movie. I'll be adding a few such friendly appointments to my new calendar...as soon as I get one!

11. Try a new spiritual discipline. Spiritual disciplines are not legalistic attempts to please God, but are tried, true, and biblically prescribed methods of drawing closer to God through commitment and practice. Do you have a daily prayer time? Do you meditate on Scripture? How do you feel about fasting? Do you worship God, not just corporately, but individually? I'm beginning the new year with a TV fast, but you might choose to incorporate a different spiritual discipline into your daily life so that you draw closer to the God who loves you.

12. Ask God for a new challenge. I'm asking God to grow me up exponentially this year. This past year I've grown so disgustingly weary of some of my own immature ways. I want to thrive as His disciple; not just get by. So I'm boldly shaking-in-my-boots nervously asking God to challenge me in new ways this year so that I have to flex some different spiritual muscles and grow up, for Pete's sake!

13. Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Instead of just looking back and naming the things for which we've been thankful during 2012, why not begin the new year by choosing to be grateful today...and every day...for whatever this day brings. You might start a thanksgiving journal or you may prefer to fill a jar with slips of gratitude-dripping papers like I'm going to do. The bottom line is to count your blessings, name them one by one, count your many blessings and see what God has done!...Every. Single. Day.

My Gratitude Jar...as soon as I get the Christmas balls out!
Have a blessed 2013!

Question: How are you starting 2013 off fresh and new? I'd love to know!

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