I love the fresh feeling of a new year. It is a blank canvas. A brand new start. But if you are not careful, you could lose the freshness in a hurry. How?
If you are like me, you come into the new year with fresh hopes and new dreams. I try to send a significant amount of time in late December reflecting and building goals and vision for the coming year.
Even if you don’t go through a process and write down goals, people are naturally bent to like fresh starts.
One of the main reasons I love the new year is because I feel like I can say good riddance to the past. Not all the past is bad. In fact some of the past is good — really good.
But a new year gives you the opportunity to part ways with the past that haunts you. The regrets that linger and hold you captive from moving forward.
How do you deal with these regrets?
You know the regrets I’m talking about… the fact that you weigh more than you did this time last year, your marriage is stuck in the mud of no affection, You didn’t get your dream job, you’ve lost the heart of your child, on and on the list could go.
It is easy to get stuck in a river of regret and let horrible feelings and bitterness wash over you. Don’t do it.
The steps to get out are simple, but not easy.
You will be tempted to read and agree in your thoughts, and because they are so simple you will skip over them and never actually do it.
Don’t be that guy.
If you have a regret that is nagging at you, do yourself a favor and follow these three steps.
1. Identify and Acknowledge the Problem.
If you have a weight hanging on your emotional shoulders, or a bitterness that keeps raising its head, there is probably a regret nearby. Spend 3-5 minutes reflecting to identify the regret. In my experience, I can usually pinpoint the regret immediately. Then, acknowledge it and write it down or say it out loud.
I regret letting go of a dream.
I regret not meeting the needs of my wife
I regret looking at porn to satisfy me.
I regret the drink I took.
I regret the relationship I have let become toxic.
I regret being angry at my kids.
Whatever your regret is, say it out loud. Acknowledge it. Give yourself some grace — Christ certainly does. Nobody is perfect.
2. Build a Plan to Fix It.
If I am honest, most of the regrets in my life did not need complex solutions. They needed to be acknowledged and small changes made. You usually know what needs to be done, you just need grace and grit to actually do it.
Don’t just think in your head how you should fix it. Write it down. I don’t know your regret. It could mean an entire life change to fix it, or a simple phone call and the words sorry. Whether large or small, easy or hard, build a plan and figure out a way to make it happen.
3. Record the Lessons You Learned.
You just went through a hard time. Don’t waste the lessons you can learn by your experience. Once you know your regret, get wiser and stronger, not more foolish and weaker. There is a lesson in your experience.
What could you have done to avoid it?
How could you have responded better?
What weaknesses and strengths have you found out about yourself?
Write down the lessons you learned.
Regrets happen because life is messy and imperfect.But don’t take them into a new year.
Don’t let your regrets get you down. Deal with them and keep going. God wants to use you and your experiences as you push into a new year.