Hello Reader! It’s that time again, the new year is now. What is your expectation for 2016?

I say it’s time for your best. Year. Yet. What do you say?

If there was any hesitation for you then I’m here to offer some hopeful clarity. Maybe last year, or the last couple, was not what you hoped for or even worked towards and now you have some doubt about there being any change for this year. I get that, really I do, I mean you don’t know how much I get that. Doubt is not our friend though because it clouds our vision and makes our identity feel fuzzy. With that understanding please hear me say it’s time for some fresh clarity.

With the celebration of New Years Eve, there is the tradition of a fresh start and hoped for change for the better. Well, for an actual different, better, or best year to happen we might need to make some adjustments to see clearly again.

This year the Hubs and I drove from DFW to ATX and back. That’s when it hit me. My glasses are not working for me anymore and it’s time for a vision check. I was driving at night and getting a headache until I took off my glasses. Don’t tell the DMV but driving without my current glasses was better. As we drove we discussed our vision and hopes for 2016. Each year as a family we set our sights on our annual goals. This past year was a challenging year for us with lots of change, not enough change in some areas we had hoped and planned for, and lots of growth in ministry and depth of character in Christ.

In reading through what God has said to us about his good, hopeful, purpose-filled plans for us, we see his provision for fresh starts just as our culture has done with New Years Eve. Paul, who wrote the book of Philippians, writes about what God shared for how to adjust our vision, see clearly, and keep a helpful focus. It’s so easy to let the experiences of last year define how we see things for this year. So how do we adjust our sights for what is to come instead of letting what has been define our outlook?  

It starts with pausing long enough to acknowledge what has been and clear away any cloudiness caused by doubt or disappointment.

  • What was last year like for you and those closest to you? What do you wish would have happened by now? Who do you wish you would have been by now? What did happen that you are grateful for?

Continue on with presenting your heartfelt hopes and plans for this next year.

  • What would you like to see differently this year? Who would you like to see yourself becoming this year? How do you see yourself accomplishing or creating momentum towards these hopes or plans? Where do you see God leading you?

Now bring clarity to the next steps.

  • Is it possible for you to become specific with the hope or plan and turn it into an actionable goal? Who is with you in this New Year? Who can you come alongside to help them in this year? What are you grateful for already? What is your first next step in each hope or goal?

Notice I asked, “Is it possible for you to become specific with the hope or plan and turn it into a goal”. Not everything we hope for or plan for will be an achievable and actionable goal. We like to think that if we can dream it, we can do it. But there are things that are our responsibility and things that are God’s. We have limits in our time, talents, energy and pace of life. So be realistically-optimistic with the clarity that comes from your identity in Christ.

As you take your next steps of clarity, consider these practical tools:

  • Michael Hyatt shares his tools at bestyearever.me. Watch his videos and take notes on achieving what matters for you.
  • Vanessa VanEdwards shares one tool called The Life Design Workbook at http://www.scienceofpeople.com/. It’s a 67 page pdf workbook designed to Send me a line and let me know how it’s going with these tips!
  • Call me and let’s set a time to visit. As a Christian counselor and coach I can come alongside you in clarifying vision and focus.

This year really can be the best yet. And you won’t be doing it alone. Take off the old way at looking at things and see your future through the lenses of hope. God is standing with you and for you to help you walk in the hopeful and good future he has for you.

Let’s do this together!



Liz Lawrence, MA, LPC-S is counselor, coach and creative who is passionate about people. She directs the Streams Counseling Center in Austin, Texas and co-leads the non-profit Renue.Me whose mission is to invest in the dreams of leaders in underprivileged communities around the world. Connect with her at www.lizlawrencelpc.com or www.renue.me


Photo credits:

  • Photo from pinterest and therawfoodworld.com
  • graphic by author on canva

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