Dear friends,
I have a question for you today: is there anything holding you back from stepping into your dreams for the new year? If we want to have a fulfilling year, we must be brave enough to confront the little issues that seem to hold us back every time we embark on a new dream, a new plan, or a new adventure.

Some us run into the same challenges over and over again – myself included! But past failures are no hindrance when we have a loving Heavenly Father who is ready to supply all our needs. Take a look at the checklist below – these could be your keys to a fulfilling year.

Five things that could ruin your new year – and why they don’t have to!
Lack of thankfulness
Thankfulness is a gateway into the Presence of God. If for no other reason than gaining access to His Presence, it is worth expressing thanks to Him. Thankfulness also enables us to overcome challenges and helps us to see our lives from Heaven’s perspective. This is extremely valuable if we want to achieve our goals this year!

I am so glad our Father has given us the Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth, including truths that spark thankfulness. If you need more strength and hope this year, it may be that the Holy Spirit wants to give you a thankfulness upgrade!

Lack of a strategy
I am sure you have some great ideas of what you would like to do this year. Maybe God has already spoken clearly about what He has in store. But how will you act on the direction you have received? Will you pair your good expectations with the necessary steps to fulfill the vision He has put in your heart?

All projects start with God! He is also an expert at bringing things to completion. It is extremely important to talk with Him as we plan our year and prepare to take action: He wants to talk to us not only about what will happen by the end of the year, but what He would like us to do in order to get there. He is also the great time manager and knows just how much we can handle in a day. Who better to plan with?

Lack of forgiveness
Your heart is a priceless treasure which the Bible urges you to guard diligently. When somebody causes you pain, neglecting to forgive that person can cause you more pain than they caused you in the first place! It is impossible to fully experience God’s blessings when we are holding someone else’s sins against them. Though forgiveness may feel difficult at first, it is worth it for the freedom and peace that God pours into our lives when we say “yes” to this foundational requirement.

It may surprise you to know that sometimes, the person we most need to forgive is God! This may be true for you if you experienced disappointment last year. We can unwittingly begin to feel that it was God who let us down. Forgiving Him means choosing to no longer hold things against Him, so that we can receive His help and rebuild our connection with Him.

Lack of connection
Some of us have been through times in life when we felt alone. Maybe you have gotten used to this feeling and no longer believe you need others in order to be successful. The reality is, learning to give and receive will enable us all to soar higher than we could alone. Think about it: even a menial or unpleasant job can be fun when we have the company of friends!

Not only do we need companionship: we need wisdom, and resources. The Bible warns us that without advisers, plans fail. We need to learn to be open and vulnerable with others, so we can receive what God has put in them for us, whether it be an encouraging word, a practical gift or a much-needed honest opinion. Sometimes, it feels scary or embarrassing to share our dreams and goals. However, it is worth the risk!

Lack of rest
Sometimes I do not realize how tired I am until I stop and rest for a moment. Have you had that experience? Modern society discourages us from rest. There is an unspoken law that says we must be working and productive 7 days a week in order to reach our goals. If we are not careful, we will consider it a waste to enjoy time with God, family and friends. Let’s not fall into that trap, lest we miss out on some of the most fulfilling moments in life.

Some of us have been robbed of rest not just during the day but also at night. Many people suffer from insomnia, while others have not incorporated a healthy amount of sleep into their lifestyle. If this is the case for you, be encouraged that your Heavenly Father plans for your nighttime hours to be a time of rest and refreshing for your body, soul and spirit. You may want to check out my message Shifting Nightmares to Dreams for more help in this area.

I hope that as you read through this, the Holy Spirit has highlighted some areas in which He wants to bring you transformation. He plans to prosper you this year, and to help you overcome every obstacle that could hold you back from your goals and desires. True fulfillment begins and ends in relationship with Him.

For more help in moving forward this year, you might want to take a look at Prep 7. This online workbook is designed to help you get a fresh understanding of God’s heart and His plans for you as well as practical steps for a successful year. It’s available until January 31st.

Remember that no matter your age, experience or IQ level, you have an important role to play in your family, your church, your community and your world! This January, will you take the time to get alone with God and find out what He has in store for the next 344 days? There is still time to get prepared, and make this a truly fulfilling year.

Abundant blessings,