When I was a young pastor, I had an earnest desire to see everyone grow in Jesus. I thought that if everyone would allow Jesus to work His love and power in their lives, they would be a better person and live a better life.
After working with hundreds of people in the last 25 years, I realise now that not everyone wants to grow. Growth involves change. And change is uncomfortable and even painful. One thing became evident to me through the years. Some people do not grow. Time, experiences and even education do not make us better.
Becoming a better person is a choice that we must make.
Many people want a better life. Yet they lack awareness that the better life is a result of being a better person.
Here we are at the beginning of a new year! A common wish we all share is that this would be a great year. While we can’t predict how this year will unfold, we can right at the onset, decide to grow as a person. A better us will give us a greater chance for a better year!
So here are 3 things you can do to be a better person in this new year.
1. Create Positive Relationships
We start with relationships because relationships are really the best measurement of who we are. Career, status and physical look cannot reveal whether we are a good human or not.
But if we are a blessing to people or if we are a pain, it shows up in our relationships either way. Nothing is as transforming as relationships and if we challenge ourselves to create positive relationships, we will become a better us.
As a start, let go off past hurt. If people have unintentionally hurt us, forgive them just as God forgives us. Choose to be a blessing to them in the new year.
However, there might be people who we find impossible to cultivate positive relationships. They might be insecure, envious or just cruel people who intentionally hurt us, and will continue to do so if we allow them. In the new year, let us not give foothold in our lives to people who will take advantage of us and mistaken our kindness as weakness.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not what we have but who we have that make us better people. I am truly grateful for my family, friends and church. My relationships with them have been instrumental in my growth.
Who do you have in your life that make you a better person?
Are you surrounded by people who challenge you to be a better version of yourself? They are truly the keys to a better you.
2. Cultivate Productive Habits
There are productive habits that make us and unproductive habits that break us. We will not have a greater year without cultivating productive habits.
Productive habits empower us to be a better us and live a higher quality of life. They are simple daily-stuff such as time management, punctuality, good manners, sufficient rest, proper work ethics, competence and spirituality.
What are the habits that if you would do consistently would make you more successful?
Choose one to begin cultivating and add more as the year progresses. If you are unclear about what you need to cultivate, ask your family or friends. Believe me, they know!
It is impossible to be a better us without changing our habits. Same habits will mean the same us in the new year!
3. Choose Personal Happiness
Have you noticed that you are a better person when you are happy? You treat people better and you produce better work.
On the other hand, your soul is crushed when you are unhappy and life becomes a burden. You become judgemental and easily offended when you do not like yourself or your life.
To be a better you, choose happiness.
Yes, happiness is a choice. Choose faith and hope in tiring circumstances. Choose patience and trust when good things are slow in coming. Choose to believe what God says about you so that you are not dragged down by people’s malicious opinions.
Find happiness in the simple things — a walk in the park, conversations with friends, your favourite music. Most of all, remember happiness is found in giving and serving because that is truly our greatest purpose in life.
It takes 66 days to form a new habit. Creating positive relationships, cultivating productive habits or choosing personal happiness might be difficult at the start. But there are 365 days in the new year to keep trying! Say to yourself every day, “I am becoming a better human.”
A better you is well worth it. Remember, your Heavenly Father has called you to live a life worthy of Him and His great love for you.