Like it or not, now that we’ve hit December, it’s officially time to start thinking about 2018. The earlier you start to prepare for the New Year, the better off—and more prepared—you’ll be. So let’s start getting our New Year’s mindset together today so we can kill it next year!
Here are three things to start thinking about before Christmas.
Your direction matters more than your dedication.
I once had a mentor who consistently cautioned me to value results over effort. His heart cry for me was rooted in him watching so many leaders and professionals work hard for years but never achieve the success they truly desired. His simple diagnosis of why they always failed was this: They were working way too hard on the wrong thing.
My band teacher always used to tell us to make sure we practiced the right scales for the saxophone. She didn’t want us perfecting the wrong thing. She knew that certain scales would unlock the entire instrument for us while others would unlock a certain aspect of the instrument. Even though the scales were similar in timing and effort they both produced drastically different results. I see this concept happening with Christians daily. They are working so hard at the wrong thing. Their effort is there, their results aren’t. Their dedication is phenomenal but their direction is abysmal.
So as you prepare for 2018, consider your direction.
Are you working hard at the wrong job? Are you serving faithfully in the wrong ministry? Are you studying rigorously under the wrong leader? Are you asking God to close doors on things He’s waiting for you to jump in? Are you ignoring what’s right in front of you?
Spend some time in the next few weeks praying on these questions and seeing where the Lord leads you.
Your perfection isn’t as important as your consistency.
I believe the two keys to success are humility and consistency. A mentor of mine always said that statistically, the one who ends up getting the job is the one who follows through over and over again. Most people automatically eliminate themselves by not showing up or not sending the email or not completing the application. Most people are just not consistent.
Why do most people quit their New Year’s resolutions? I would venture to say that it is not their disinterest or lack of enthusiasm. I believe it is their (our) tendency to not be consistent. Most people think it’s their lack of perfection that eventually discourages them and leads to quitting. But people very seldom lose passion. We all want to eat better, look better and accomplish more. That tends to never leave us. What tends to always leave us is focus which eventually leads to lack of consistency.
Don’t try to be perfect, shoot for consistent. Maybe you miss a workout session. Don’t give up on working out just because you broke your rhythm. Forgive yourself and start back again. The great thing about consistency is that it’s not about perfection or performance. It’s about just doing it again. I think that if we would make a pre-decision to just “do it again” when we veer off course, we’d get a lot done.
Your connections determine your destiny.
A pretty well-known quote says that you’re the sum total of your five closest friends. It’s true. Our friends help us or should help us to understand and submit to our proper direction in life. Our friends help us or should help us stay consistent when we veer off. Believe it or not God truly does use our friends to help properly position us in this life.
I can’t think of one life-changing opportunity that a friend wasn’t a part of helping to make happen. Even if it was as simple as helping me think outside of the box. Our friends and our circles are the greatest connections we have in our lives.
So, are you with the right people?
I believe God has specific friends for all of us who are uniquely tied to our destiny. Much like the apostles in the book of Acts, they were a set apart community in order to do a great work. Are you with your tribe? Are you connected to the right people? Have you been holding on to someone too long? Are you running away from friends you should be running toward? Are you afraid to change circles? If so, why?
It’s time for you to be undeniably in the right circle. Take some time to decide what types of people you really want to be around. Then take some intentional steps to make connections. Be intentional about your circle. Do you want to be around folks that are good at building their dreams? Then it’s time to join a Meetup for entrepreneurs. Do you want to be around folks that inspire creativity? Maybe it’s time to find a local jam session? Are you looking for partners in spiritual growth or wellness? Maybe join a small group at church or a yoga class. It’s your circle! It can be whatever you want!
As the New Year draws closer, remember that our direction matters more than our dedication, our perfection isn’t as important as our consistency and our connections determine our destinies.
Sam Collier is a national speaker, host and communicator. He is also the host of nationally syndicated radio-podcast A Greater Story w/ Sam Collier. He works heavily with North Point Ministries (Led by Andy Stanley) and Orange (Led by Reggie Joiner).