As we usher in 2015, it’s a good time to reflect on what we need to change about ourselves and see how we can enhance our relationships in the New Year.
People make “New Year resolutions,” but they don’t work. Despite good intentions, most people break their resolutions and fall back on bad habits. A healthy alternative to failed resolutions is a simple desire for change without the unhealthy stress of trying to make change happen.
If you want meaningful change, here are some principles – pillars – that work for anyone who will commit to them:
1) Put God First: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and all things will be added.”
Since I founded my nonprofit organization, BOND, 25 years ago, no matter what’s going on in my life, I do one thing consistently: I have quiet prayer time every morning and night.
The apostles wrote that Jesus would rise before dawn and go off to pray and meditate. If Christ needed that early morning quiet time to seek and connect with the Creator, shouldn’t we take prayer more seriously?
When we pray, material things are subject to us. There’s no need to ask for things because God already knows our needs. He said when we pray, go into our prayer closet and “be still and know him” – know that He is God – we are not.
This type of prayer keeps me from being overcome by the stresses of life. My recommendation: Just do it – every day!
2) Forgive: In my relationships and my work as a family counselor, speaker and talk-show host, I’ve come to realize that most people’s issues stem from unforgiveness.
If you want to know whether you are a forgiving person – see if you went through the holidays without being resentful toward family members. Did you deal with their flaws with patience or irritation?
“For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” – Matthew 6:14
If people would speak up when they see injustice, but resist the temptation to hate – the world would be a better place.
3) Your body is a temple: “Do you not realize that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you and whom you received from God?” – 1 Corinthians 6:19
A few years ago, after attending a class reunion in Eufaula, Alabama, the Eufaula Tribune ran a profile on me titled: “Hometown Boy Makes it Big.” When I saw my photo, I thought: “Hometown boy made it big alright!” The photo revealed I was overweight, and I knew I needed to make a change.
I committed to exercising, and I made moderate changes to my diet. As a result, I’ve lost weight and I have more energy.
Since the “body is the temple,” we should not defile it with excess. If people stayed within the order that God has designed, we wouldn’t have so many diseases. Our physical appearance is an outer expression of who we are on the inside.
4) Be an entrepreneur: For those who have aspirations of starting a business, it doesn’t take as much money as you think.
At first, you may not be able to start your business in the field that you want to. But if you start with what you know and what you have, you’ll find that one thing leads to another, and you’ll have the business you desire.
Before I started BOND, I ran a successful janitorial business. My friends would ask me, “Why are you doing janitorial work? Why don’t you do something else?” I didn’t pay attention to what they said. I was grateful to have my own company.
When you work for yourself, you discover things about yourself that you will never discover working for someone else. Whatever business you are in, have a good attitude and you will make the most of opportunities.
Always be honest with your customers. Most people believe that if they were to be honest, they’d lose business. Honesty is the least expected characteristic in a person or business today – yet, it’s one of the most important ingredients for long-term success.
5) Give back: Give and it shall be given to you. You cannot fail with this principle. Most people think they need to get all they can get and keep it. They don’t understand the law that what you put out comes back to you.
If you want to be successful, you should give to others. You must give without expecting anything in return; otherwise your giving is selfish. You must also give without notifying the world that you have given; otherwise you have already received your reward.
If you build on these pillars, you will develop a solid foundation, the kind that allows you to successfully overcome any challenges. I wish you a happy and prosperous New Year!
If you’d like to learn more about these principles, order a copy of Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson’s timeless booklet, “The Seven Guaranteed Steps to Spiritual, Family and Financial Success.“