There’s no true difference between 11:59 pm tonight and 00:01 tomorrow morning. For some it will be a moment to make noise and party. For first responders and emergency room workers it will be a time to be ready for extra injuries and accidents. For others it will be a night to once again try and put the past behind them and “turn over a new leaf.”

What will the New Year mean to you? None of us knows for certain. Only God does. But the biggest determinant of what kind of year you will have is YOU.

If you want anything to be different this year, this is the time to say NO to things that might be hindering you. Holding you back. They might even be good things, but they’re not the best things. Whatever is keeping you from giving your best to those you care about and to the world, and from doing your very best to fulfill what God has given you to do – it all has to go.

Paul encourages us to “lay aside everything that hinders” (Hebrews 12:1). What will you lay aside at the beginning of this New Year?

Here are some good things to say NO to:

  1. Worrying about what other people think. Who cares anyway – really? Will it really matter next year, or on your deathbed, what “they” thought?
  2. Doing things half way. Somebody will notice, even if that somebody is only you and God. Give it all you’ve got, until it’s done and done right.
  3. Criticizing other people. Playing Junior Holy Spirit is not a nice job. God didn’t give you that job, and it doesn’t help other people anyway.
  4. Always taking the easy way out. Nothing worth doing has ever been easy. If it was, everybody would be doing it. If it’s really worth doing, it’s worth the extra effort.
  5. Saying YES all the time. God didn’t send you to do everything, always, for everyone. Learning to say NO when appropriate allows you to say YES to what’s most important.
  6. Being self-centered. Always thinking about ME is a terribly lonely place to be. Stretch yourself. Think about others more. You’ll be happier.
  7. Wasting time on television. TV can be a tremendous time waster if not kept in check. If you feel like you don’t have time to do what you want or need to, check your TV time.
  8. Being negative. Seeing only the dark side is an easy habit to get into. Reality is multi-colored. Notice the negative, and then choose to focus on the positive.
  9. Neglecting your health. You will never be younger, but you can be healthier. Caring for your physical health today will pay off more than you think in the future.
  10. Neglecting people closest to you. Your family and your closest friends are the only ones who will be there at the end. Fail here, and you’ve failed everywhere.
  11. Holding a grudge. Sure, they hurt you. Badly. But remaining angry is only hurting you. Do the hard work of forgiveness. You’ll never be sorry.
  12. More debt. More things won’t make you happy. Saying NO to the stuff may lead to a cleaner closet, garage, bank account, and net worth.
  13. Playing it safe. Anything worthwhile feels like a risk. Think through the risk, but then act. Pull the trigger. It just might work!
  14. Working too hard. If you tend to be a workaholic, remember that more hours probably won’t make you happier or more effective. Enjoy the rhythm of life. Learn to relish quiet.
  15. Trying to be someone else. You can’t be someone else even if you try. So why not just quit?! Live your own life, the life God has called YOU to.
  16. A destructive habit. A bad habit may come easily and be hard to break. Get some help if you need to. Take action to make this your year of freedom.
  17. An empty soul. You don’t have to remain empty. Choose the things that fill you up. And make sure God is at the top of the list.

Saying NO to these things will bring space for you to be able to say YES to God’s best things for you in the year to come.

“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

Your Turn: What will you say NO to at the beginning of this New Year? Leave a comment below. 

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