Imagine it’s this time next year. What would you like to be true of you then? You could drift along and hope that happens, but “If you aim at nothing you’ll hit it every time.” It’s wiser to aim at something specific. At the root of all this is your identity. So, who do you want to be? And since we’re never “done”, an even more important question; who do you want to become?

What we do flows out of our identity. I’m a writer, so I write. I’m a person who cares about my health, so I get out and jog daily. And I’m a friend of Jesus, so I spend time with my Friend each morning. That’s just a few of my identity realities.

As valid as goals for accomplishments may be, I encourage you to focus more on who you want to become. This isn’t who other people think you “should” be; it’s the person you long to be in your own soul. And you have a lot of choice in deciding who you will become.

At the end of 2024, perhaps you want to become a person who is resilient, hopeful, kind, courageous, flexible, healthy, financially wise, emotionally intelligent, or careful with your words. You might want to be a strong and loving spouse, a nurturing and wise parent, a friend who is caring but with healthy boundaries, or a thoughtful Bible student.

Most of all, I hope you become more like Jesus this year. So, put yourself in places to help that happen.

Here are three things to do that will move toward who you want to become this year.

Feed Your Soul Well

“You are what you eat.” That’s true physically; nutrition matters a lot! And it’s also true of your character. Based on the input you are giving your mind, are you likely to become who you want to be this year?

If your mental diet is largely social media, or cable news, or similar, you’ve got a good chance of becoming more anxious, arrogant, insular, angry or depressed, and certain that your view is the only “right” one. A diet heavy in godless entertainment, pornography, or the like will grow the darkest parts of your being.

So, based on who you want to become, what mental diet will be necessary? Include learning from God’s green earth; spend time outdoors. And it’s never been easier to find books, podcasts, videos, online resources, or other material that can help you become who you want to be.

Read biographies of people you would like to become more like. Listen or read uplifting material about healthy relationships, or emotional intelligence, or health and wellness, or financial smarts, or whatever area you wish to become better in.

And include studying what God has to say about the matter. Struggling with money? The Bible has a ton to say on the topic. Feeling anxious or sad? The Psalms is a great place to start. Troubled relationships? Read the gospels noting specifically how Jesus dealt with people.

What kind of mental nutrition will you take in this year?

Hang Out with Winners

It’s a law of human nature that you become like the people you hang out with. You develop the health habits, the wealth habits, the emotional habits, the relationship habits of those you spend time with.

So, consider the five people you’re around the most. What is their life trajectory? Would you like to end up where they’re going?

If not, it’s time to get some new friends.

That may not be quick or easy, but there are few places where investing your energy will pay bigger dividends. Find a marriage mentor couple, ask them questions, and watch how they do life. Join a runner’s club, a book club, an investing group, or a group volunteering for a cause. If you need to overcome an addiction, join a 12-step group or similar. In person is ideal, but today there are countless online options as well. Church is important; just consider if the church people you’re hanging out with are developing an increasingly healthy picture of God.

It’s hard to overestimate what a difference this will make in who you are becoming. Hanging around healthier people, you’ll pick up attitudes, ideas, and habits over time that will change the direction of where you’re headed.

Where can you find a few people who are moving in the same direction you want to go?

Be in the Presence of God

When Peter and John, uneducated fisherman, were hauled before the Sanhedrin shortly after Jesus returned to heaven, the authorities were astonished at their demeanor and boldness. How did that come about? “And they recognized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

You can’t help but be changed by spending time in the presence of God. This is not simply learning facts about God; that’s important, but that doesn’t change you very much. It’s in being with Him that you become different, that your character changes from the inside out.

Being with Jesus is not nearly as mysterious as some people imagine. This is not just a matter for introverts; it’s for extroverts too. Each person may find different practices more natural; the point is to keep putting yourself in God’s presence. That could look like:

If you’re not in the habit of spending time with God daily, here are a few more suggestions of how to start from where you are now, even if you only have a few minutes.

What do you need to do to put yourself in the presence of God?

Who do You Want to Become?

If you want to become a better person in some way this year, set yourself up for success. You can’t simply “become” by trying harder. But you can place yourself in places where your inner being can’t help but be changed in that direction.

Your Turn: Who do you want to become this year? Which of these steps do you most need to begin incorporating now? When will you start? Leave a comment below.

Want more? On the podcast this week I talk with Dr. Kathy Koch about developing character specifically in children. Listen or watch here.

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  • Drifting won’t lead you toward being the person you want to become this year. But here’s what will; taking in a good mental diet, hanging out with winners, and being in the presence of God.  Tweet that.

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