Confession: I didn’t set a New Year’s resolution on January 1st of last year. I was busy getting Christmas packed away, my children back into a regular routine, and my house back to normal. Besides, each year I set resolutions and then didn’t look at them again until the end of the year. Because of this, I rarely accomplished any of my New Year’s resolutions. They were meaningless words on a piece of paper. I wanted to switch things up — to actually set an inspired resolution and stick with it until I’d accomplished my goal, but I wasn’t very confident that this year would be any different.
About midway through January, I had a breakthrough. You could call it a New Year’s miracle. In one light-bulb moment, I discovered a new way to set resolutions. When I put my epiphany to the test, I was able to accomplish something very meaningful that had been on my list for ages. Here is how I did it.
1. Build the List
“List, list, O, list!” –William Shakespeare, Hamlet
The first thing I did was start a list. For about a week or so, I added anything I could possibly imagine that I would like to do or accomplish that year. Then I did something I’d never done before when setting resolutions: I decided it was time to focus on just one thing.
But — how do you pick one thing when you have list of fifteen, and all of them are worthy goals?
Sure, there were the typical things that had been on my list for years: lose ten pounds, stop biting my nails, organize and declutter my house.
But there were also some things on my list that had lain as dormant dreams for many years: compose a piece of music, publish a book, further my education.
2. Say a Prayer, Receive an Answer, and Make a Decision
“First pray. Then decide. Then pray again.”
By the end of January, I felt my list was good enough. It was time for the next step. I figured if anyone knew what my one goal for 2017 should be, it was the most Supreme Being in the universe, so I meditated on my list, then I knelt down and prayed about it.
I read my list of possible goals to God and asked Him to help me pick a goal for the year — something that would bring value and purpose to my life.
Sometimes God answers me with thoughts and impressions to my mind — kind of like a “light-bulb moment.” This was one of those instances.
Other times I just feel peace — like God is guiding me to make a decision first and then ask Him. I have found it very useful to make a pro/con list, thoughtfully consider the best course of action, and then ask God if the decision is right. If it is right, I feel peace or assurance. If it is wrong, I feel confused or uncertain.
In the quiet of that morning prayer, I felt one thing on my list jump out at me: “Finish/publish my book.” It was almost as if God took a mental highlighter and drew my attention to that goal. It was all I could see or focus on.
To be completely honest, that goal filled me with fear because it was the one thing I knew the least about: writing and publishing. How I feared the unknown.
This goal scared me!
Sometimes when you get an answer to a prayer, you wish you could unlearn what God just taught you. Can’t it be something else? Something easy?
I had two choices: I could ignore the answer I received from God, or I could commit to do it with His help.
It was time for me to choose. What was I going to do about the inspiration I had just received? Ignore it or commit? I knew it would weigh on my mind if I tried to ignore it. I also knew that, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
3. Follow-up with Commitment and Action
“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
I took a leap of faith and decided I was going to finish writing my book and learn about publishing. I had faith that God would guide me and help me when I was afraid. I told God I would do it, but I needed His help.
At this point in my journey, I knew I was at the point where I needed a developmental editor — because I knew my book needed to be longer, and I didn’t know what else to write about.
As I began searching the internet for editors, I was completely overwhelmed. I even tried corresponding with a few, but couldn’t find the right one.
At that point, I turned back to God and said, “I am completely lost. I don’t know how to navigate this writing and publishing world and I don’t know where to look for good editors. I need you to open a door for me.”
Two days later I saw a post on Facebook by one of my favorite authors, Richard Paul Evans. He was presenting an author mentoring program and invited new authors to attend. Even though it was expensive, I decided to pray and see if this was the door God was pointing me toward.
When I prayed about the author training, I got a strong positive feeling that this was the right choice. Next on my list was discussing this with my husband. Bless my sweet and supportive husband — he simply said, “Do it.”
Thirty minutes later I had signed up for the Richard Paul Evans Premier Author Training.
I had committed.
4. Investing in Myself and My Goal
“The best investment you will ever make is in yourself.” –Warren Buffett
Attending that two-day author training with Richard Paul Evans was my first step in investing time (and money) in myself and my new goal. Attending steeled my resolve to act.
I felt a whole new world open before my eyes. I realized I was at such a beginning level when it came to writing and getting a book published, and I felt overwhelmed about where to start or even how to navigate my uphill climb. Richard Paul Evans’ training not only showed me the map for the trail to traverse the publishing mountain, but it gave me a network of friends and professionals to journey with.
I discovered other like-minded new friends as I began investing in myself and my dream. They became my support network. I was no longer alone as I scaled that writing and publishing mountain to reach the summit.
Was it worth the investment? Yes! A million times over — YES. Now I knew the path and I had a map to follow. I was so thankful to my new mentor Richard Paul Evans for opening my eyes and teaching me the tricks of the trade.
This was my answer to prayer. This was the door I was supposed to walk through. I no longer felt intimidated by the journey in front of me — only empowered to go forward and write my life’s work.
Using the connections I made at that author training, I met several people that helped me improve my manuscript and dig a little deeper into my feelings as I wrote. Investing in editors and professionals helped me progress further with my goal.
I also invested time in my goal.
- I got up early — before everyone else — and I wrote.
- I wrote during my kids’ piano and golf and violin lessons during the summer.
- I didn’t spend as much on my phone or on Facebook, because I was determined to succeed in this goal.
- I wrote on the weekends.
- I wrote while my family watched movies.
- I sacrificed some of my down time for the opportunity to cross the finish line of my big goal.
Was it hard? Yes, but it was also easy because I knew God wanted me to do this, and I had the help to make it happen.
5. Build Trust with God
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.” –Proverbs 3:5–6
Through this journey, I learned something about God and closed doors. I had submitted my manuscript to two different publishing companies in the past few years. Both ended in a rejection letter. I felt discouraged and put my book on the back-burner for a few months while I figured out what to do.
Those closed doors eventually led me to the right door I needed to go through — meeting Richard Paul Evans and being trained and mentored by him and his staff.
God knew about this door all along, but I just had to learn to trust that perhaps some doors were closed to me because they weren’t the right ones to walk through. Now I know and understand so much more.
Hindsight is always 20/20. Thank goodness God has foresight, and I had the courage to blindly keep walking until I could “see the light.”
Just because I was working on a project with God’s blessing doesn’t mean that everything has gone the way I planned. In fact, I would venture to say that partnering with God means I have had to be flexible and humble with how I envisioned my goal unfolding. I had to surrender my will to God’s will and hang on for the roller-coaster ride.
It has been exhilarating and worth it!
I am proud to report that I completed my goal for 2017!!! I submitted my new and improved manuscript to an agent I met through Richard Paul Evans. What an amazing feeling! I felt empowered and humbled by what God helped me accomplish this past year. I couldn’t have done it without Him.
I don’t doubt God will continue to guide me on my journey — after all, I am on this path with Him.
If it worked for me, it can work for you too!
Call to Action
Are you tired of making New Year’s resolutions you never keep? Download the FREE My Inspired Resolution Workbook and journey from fear to confidence with faith.