It’s probably the combination of the end of summer, the beginning of a new academic year with its new routines, and the joy of the holidays to look forward to.
This is a great time to rekindle those goals and get back on track with some healthy habits and routines. Plus, it doesn’t feel as overwhelming as the beginning of the year when the whole year is ahead of you. With just one quarter left, this feels like a manageable sprint.
But I’ve noticed that just like new year’s resolutions, my last quarter spark can fizzle just as quickly if I don’t fan the flames. It doesn’t take long before routines get stale and shorter days make me feel like I’m climbing the walls. Before you know it, I’m ready to throw those goals to the wind and flee to a vacation spot (yes, staycations count too).
The good news is that over the years, I’ve gotten more and more intentional about finishing my year strong. Here are five things I do to keep focused on God’s plans and the goals I’ve committed to Him, even when I feel like giving up.
Prayer has a way of reconnecting me to the heart of God. It’s so refreshing to know that I can present my concerns and requests to Him at any time.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 NIV.
When I want to get re-inspired about my year, the best thing I can do is turn to God, and I’m reminded that He is in my corner. Knowing that God has good plans for me inspires me to keep moving forward.
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3 NIV
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
I admit, I love to keep things simple, no matter what it is, but why complicate things when you can make it easier for yourself? Keeping it simple at this time of year means I don’t try to change too many things at once. Instead, I start with just one goal or new routine and give that my attention. It might be a new workout, a new Bible study plan, or a renewed commitment to cut down on sugary snacks. Whatever it is, I resist the urge to do too many things at once.
Once you get some traction going with your one thing, you can add another one after you’ve made progress. You’ll be more likely to stick to your new (or renewed) habits if you stack them one at a time.
I don’t know if you have noticed, but the year has gone by pretty quickly. There are some weeks I look back and wonder where all the time went. If I’m not careful, all my weeks will roll into one without me even noticing, and just like that, the year will be over.
A big part of being intentional is being mindful about how I spend my time. I mind my minutes so that my moments matter. So, whether I’m at work, relaxing with friends, or enjoying time with my family, I want to be fully present. Managing my time well allows me to show up and be all in, not distracted or pulled in several different directions.
We all can benefit from having someone in our corner encouraging us along. Share your plans for finishing strong with a friend and ask them to check on you. This builds in the accountability you need to keep going, and you might even be able to return the favor. The next thing you know, you have an entire cheering squad. Hooray!
Let’s be real. Sometimes, it’s tiring to keep up with everything, no matter how well-intentioned we are. You might fall short and not make the changes you expected. Rather than get disappointed or beat yourself up, accept some grace. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep going. Remember, you committed those plans to God – He will see you through!
So, how about you? How do you keep your eyes on the prize this time of year? How do you finish strong?