There’s nothing magic about adding a number to the year on the calendar. But a new year provides a wonderful opportunity to leave behind things that aren’t working.

You might call it “Zero Sum Life.” Start with zero. Don’t assume anything needs to remain in your life that isn’t in line with your values, your purpose, and your conscious decisions.

At least briefly review your physical lifestyle, money habits, thoughts and emotions, use of time, personal relationships, and spiritual practices. Ask a few important questions about each area, and it’s likely you will find things that you can do without in 2014.

Here are some things you might choose to leave behind in the new year:

  1. Negative people. Some relationships may have been necessary or beneficial at one time, but are no longer working. Not all friendships or business connections are forever.
  2. Automatic payments. Are you still using that gym membership? Reading that magazine? Enjoying that music subscription? Relishing that gourmet food item? You might be surprised how much money you could find in your monthly budget.
  3. Looking at life with fear or anxiety. Sure, sometimes bad things happen. But sometimes good things happen too! Fear and anxiety take up a huge amount of energy, and certainly don’t express trust in a good God.
  4. Unimportant physical “stuff.” A cluttered work or living area can often result in a cluttered mind and spirit. Could getting rid of some “stuff” bring you a fresh mental start as well?
  5. Neglect of your physical health. You don’t get healthier or younger by default. Where might you need to adjust your lifestyle in order to be at your best physically? Do you need to leave behind smoking, eating processed foods, or sitting on the couch a lot?
  6. A grudge. Nothing releases your soul to soar like letting go of a grudge. Forgiveness is primarily for YOU. Your resentment doesn’t hurt the other person anyway.
  7. Empty busyness. Not everything that can be done needs to be done. What is taking up your time? What items could you eliminate without decreasing your quality of life or your effectiveness as a person, and for God’s Kingdom?
  8. Having to be right. Oh, the freedom not to have to convince everyone, or anyone, of your opinion. Just be you, enjoy it, and be about your own business.
  9. Things that have outlived their purpose. Membership on a committee, reading that extra blog, following that TV show: some things were important then, but no longer add to your life. Cut them loose.
  10. Empty spiritual practices. The purpose of spiritual disciplines is to connect us to God, and support our spiritual growth. If a certain practice is not accomplishing either of those, perhaps it’s time to let it go.

Before adding NEW things to your to-do list with New Year’s resolutions, cut out those things that are unimportant. You will have more room in your budget, home, heart, schedule, and soul for the truly important things.

Your turn: What are you saying GOODBYE to at this New Year? What are you hoping to replace it with? I’d love to hear from you in comments below.

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