New Year's Checklist to Start Strong in 2019

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Happy New Year from Second Draft! Sometimes the start of a new year feels like stepping into the starting blocks of a race. There's excitement and adrenaline and anticipation, but there are also uncertainties and unknowns, things we can't plan for or control, pressure and expectations from ourselves and others about how we will handle all the things the new year will bring. How do we acknowledge that fear without letting it own us? How do we face a new year with confidence and faith?

There's this thing that runners do. They work on their start. When she was asked how she planned to top the three gold medals that she won at the 1988 Olympics, world-record holder Florence Griffith Joyner said, "I have to work on my start next year. That’s my goal, to have a better, explosive start.”  Runners set goals. They make plans and structure their training so that when race day comes, they can start strong, and begin as they mean to go on. When they start a race well, they can sustain their pace, build on it, and go the distance.

This year, we're taking a little inspiration from the runners in our life and setting some goals to help us start strong in 2019...

1. Worry less.

Like so many things, this one is so much easier said than done. To start 2019 strong, we're going to get better at noticing when worry is draining us of energy, of joy, and of peace, and steering us off course.  We're going to be intentional about putting that worry in God's hands, so we can keep running our best race. We believe what Corrie Ten Boom wrote, "worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength."

2. Drink more water.

There's not a lot to this one. It just makes sense.

3. Rest more.

Another thing that runners do is set their pace. If they run flat out at top speed right from the start, they'll burn out quick and lose their momentum. If they train hard without building in rest, they'll get fatigued and risk injury. In a busy life, our instinct is usually to take action – do more and work harder to combat worry or anxiety – when what's really needed is rest. In 2019, we want to push back against the fear that we're not doing enough or working hard enough, and instead look for moments to rest, refresh and refuel.

3. Strength training.

Something we're going to think more about as we begin 2019, is how we define what it means to be strong, and what strength looks like to us. There's a verse in the Bible from the book of Isaiah that says, "...in quietness and trust is your strength." Do we think of the need for rest and quiet as weakness? Do we worry that we are weak when we put our trust outside of ourselves or accept help and support from others?  What does it mean to live our strongest year ever?

This month on Second Draft, we're going to take a look at strength in its many forms, and have some of our favorite Seconds weigh in on the topic. We'd also love to hear from you. You can join the conversation with us this month in the comments. What does starting strong look like for you?

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