by Katie Julius

Ah, the beginning of yet another year. Where does the time go?

If your social media feed looks anything like mine, you’ve probably seen many of your friends and family sharing about their resolutions, goals, new habits, or “word for the year.” The start of a new calendar year is, traditionally, a very popular time to try new things or make changes in your life (including your homeschool). Our culture is focused on bettering ourselves. Have you seen the size of self-help sections in a bookstore or library?

However, maybe you’re like me this year; just not feeling it. That’s not to say I don’t have areas in my life where I can improve or that I could be making better or healthier lifestyle choices, because I certainly do. I’m not saying I don’t want to change. But I am also aware of the success rates of New Year’s resolutions. Has anyone else not made it past Exodus in your Read Through the Bible plan? I want to encourage those of you who may be feeling guilty either because you didn’t “get it together” enough to start January first, or second, or ninth or don’t feel that any major changes are something you can focus on at this time.

I want to be clear – those of you who feel called to take advantage of the momentum of change that a new year brings, please continue what you’re doing. I really do pray that you are successful at whatever you are implementing. Please keep reading! Much of this article can still apply to you.

If It Ain’t Broke

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” The same can be said for our lives. Don’t feel like you need to make changes in your life or that of your family’s if what you are doing is working for your family.

It’s kind of like curriculum, or your family’s schedule. You may be completely happy with the curriculum you are using in your school and the number of extracurricular activities you participate in. Don’t feel like you need to try something new just for the sake of trying something new or to see if it might work. Obviously, if you are struggling in an area, you want to address it and switch it up. But changing it just to change it could end up causing problems that weren’t there to begin with.

Forget the Joneses and FOMO

FOMO (or the fear of missing out) is the modern day “keeping up with the Joneses.” It is a huge motivator for why people do things in our culture. We are afraid of missing out on being part of something.

I experienced this just this week. For the last few years, a group of moms from our support group have participated in The 40-Day Sugar Fast. I was part of that group last year and was very blessed by the experience (and even had the added benefit of shedding a few pounds in the process). However, as I began to see others talking about doing it this year, I thought and prayed about it and ended up being at peace with the decision to not participate this year. However, I was mistakenly added to the group text. As the ladies shared their excitement and anticipation for the next 40 days, I briefly reconsidered my decision. I wanted to be a part of the journey. I didn’t want to miss out on being part of that group, many of whom are dear friends. As the day went on and I focused on other tasks I had, I started to forget about those texts. By the end of the day, I was, again, at peace with my decision. Just because “everyone” is doing it doesn’t mean you have to. 

Change Can Happen Anytime

For some, you may be coming off a very busy holiday season where you had company for an extended period of time. Maybe you caught a bug that slowly worked its way through your family over the course of the last month. Maybe you moved, had a baby, experienced loss, or had another major life event. Committing to making a major change right now would be too much. But maybe in a few months, it won’t be. Who says you can only make resolutions in January? If you are desiring change in your life, don’t be afraid to start whenever it works best for you and your family.

You Will Likely Fail (And That’s Okay)

I know that subtitle sounds very “Debbie Downer” of me. We’ve already (jokingly) mentioned that most New Year’s resolutions fail within a very short period of time. We also have to remember, we are humans. It’s in our DNA. We fall short all the time.

But that’s okay! God’s grace is sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12:9). None of what we try to do should be under our own power. It’s through the strength we receive through Christ that we can tackle any challenge we take on (Philippians 4:13), whether that’s continuing with the status quo in your life or implementing big changes

One of my favorite t-shirts from my yearbook advisor days read, “Can =/= Should.” It was referencing layout and design, but I have found myself using it as a reminder in so many different ways through the years. Just because we are able or capable of doing something doesn’t mean we should. We are all uniquely created individuals with different life circumstances, situations, and struggles. What is good for one person isn’t necessarily good for another. Embrace where you are – whether that means committing to new things or continuing with the same things. God loves you whether 2023 is “New Year, New You!” or “New Year, New You?”