2020 was an undeniably challenging year for a lot of people, and 2021 seemed to usher in a feeling of hope and a fresh start for many. Vaccines are being distributed, warmer weather is approaching, and there’s a chance we might have somewhat of a return to normalcy. However, 2021 has already brought its own set of trials and challenges including political tension, new COVID strains, and concern with vaccine distribution. Not to mention, most people have already fallen off their resolutions by now.
As we approach the third month of the year, it’s easy for the hope and optimism we felt early on to get snuffed out as we face the reality of what is before us. If you find the glitter of the new year fading and your hopes for 2021 along with it, practice the following to fuel your hope, maintain a fresh perspective, and reclaim your resolutions as the days continue to unfold.
1. Recognize every day is a fresh start.
Not to sound cliché, but every morning that you get up, you have another opportunity to try again. Whether you’ve sinned and need forgiveness or faltered on a resolution, it doesn’t necessarily mean failure. God doesn’t run out of grace, nor does He run out of mercy—they are new every morning. So why not take advantage of what God offers us every single day? It’s not too late to try again.
2. Know there is grace for your race.
Life has placed different demands on all of us, and most of us are wearing several different hats throughout the day. God knows exactly what we have on our plates and what we need to accomplish. He knows each and every challenge that will come our way. Each day He gives us daily grace, and when we rely on Him, He helps us to accomplish every task. We don’t have to count the year as a loss because we face challenges early on. God has already given us the Holy Spirit to help us through them.
3. Remember you can start right now.
New Year’s Day always seems like the perfect time to start a new goal, and it is! But you don’t need a special occasion to start something you want to accomplish. Any day is a great time to create a new resolution—or try an old one again. Sometimes you need a clean slate to kickstart a new goal, though, and a new month is the perfect opportunity. (Hello, March!) Not to mention, we get a fresh start at the beginning of every week. Every day is full of opportunities to try again and start something new.
4. Know where your hope comes from.
If you want to preserve the optimism and fresh outlook that naturally comes with a new year, you need an unchanging source of hope. We’ve been in a pandemic for nearly a year, and it can be tempting to base our hope on the vaccines or even government policies. But we have something much more reliable to put our hope in: God’s Word. There is still a lot of uncertainty concerning the months to come, and the best thing we can do is continue to pray and put our trust in God’s promises. He’s certain to not disappoint.
5. Give grace to others and yourself.
At the beginning of a new year, we tend to afford others extra grace and patience. We more readily brush off offenses and forgive more quickly simply because it is a new year. What if we took that same attitude with us throughout the year? How would our relationships improve, and how much growth would we see in our own lives? You could be a breath of fresh air throughout the year by extending grace to others and yourself during difficult moments.
6. Be intentional about optimism.
For some of us, optimism does not come naturally. I tend to see the bad before I see the good. It’s easier for me to be optimistic at the beginning of the year because I’m fresh. I’ve had time off from work, I’ve been getting enough sleep, and I’ve had ample time to read and meditate in the mornings. But what about when I’m knee-deep in the quarter, have a plethora of personal and professional obligations, and I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water? Those are the times where I must be intentional in my choices. We have to choose to maintain hope, choose to see the positive side, and choose to walk with joy and enthusiasm.
Despite what happens over the course of 2021, we can still live in joyous hope. March is fast approaching, and as we enter a new month, let’s do so with intentionality and a fresh perspective. Every day can be a fresh start for us if we choose to take it. This is a year when we need hope like no other. I pray you choose to preserve your optimism, your outlook, and your resolutions as we progress into 2021, knowing our hope isn’t rooted in anything temporary but in the everlasting promises of God.