Trillia Newbell – The value of starting anew

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Monday, January 13th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Here’s WORLD commentator Trillia Newbell on the value of starting anew.

TRILLIA NEWBELL, COMMENTATOR: I have rarely ever done New Year’s resolutions. As a matter of fact, it would be safe to say I was a naysayer. I thought, Why bother if you are doomed to fail? 

A few years ago, I did decide to choose a word for the year. That’s something I heard people do. They choose a word that they hope to focus on—something that will mark their year.  

Now I can’t even remember what the word was—that’s how haphazardly I approached the process.

But over the past few years I’ve come to value the idea of starting afresh. I’ve been motivated to evaluate my work and life and consider how I can make adjustments. 

Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older. Or maybe I’m increasingly realizing that change is possible and fresh starts can be, well, refreshing.

But making a traditional list of resolutions has always seemed a bit daunting to me. With too many options to wade through, too many decisions to make in one year all at one time, I know I’ll give up before I even begin. 

That’s why I started looking for a different method. If I was going to join the crowd, I’d need to find a different approach!

This new approach came from reading something my friend and colleague Phillip Bethancourt shared on social media. He suggests focusing on these six categories: 1. Spiritual 2. Professional 3. Leadership 4. Technological 5. Marriage and 6. Family.

He advises reflection on each category. Then ask yourself: What’s one area I can focus on in each of these arenas? Easy. One goal, not a million. A few areas. I think that’s doable.

Maybe you’re thinking, that’s good for you but not for me. But remember, I wasn’t a fan either. 

Maybe you have been like me, hesitant to set goals or resolutions because you fear failure. Why bother? you tell yourself, I’m not going to complete my goals or keep my resolutions anyway. And perhaps that’s true.

But I’d like to also encourage you: Trying isn’t failing and failing doesn’t mean trying isn’t worthwhile.

Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father. Every task we complete is because of him. Anything we do that requires strength is only accomplished because our Lord has strengthened us for the task. That’s true whether we acknowledge it or not. And every “failure” is covered by grace. 

Should you start a task in January and realize come March that it’s been abandoned, you can pick up and start again or reevaluate and adjust your goals. And when it comes to growing in godliness, we will never arrive and we will always be adjusting. 

I’m starting the year knowing that I might not accomplish all that I hope for in 2020—and that’s okay. I’m confident that I will do all that God desires and designs for me to do this year. That I can know for certain. And the process of setting goals can be one way to help me see what God has done. 

For WORLD Radio, I’m Trillia Newbell.

(Photo/Creative Commons, Flickr)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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