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5 keys to a great 2019

5 keys to a great 2019

by Malcolm Baxter

2019 is here and will present us with both, possibilities and challenges.

I know that for some, New Year is an exciting time while others can be intimidated by the unknown. For most, it is perhaps a mixture of both. 

I think I’ve learned over the years that it’s ultimately not helpful to have a ‘sit back and see’ attitude towards the New Year. 

The quality of my year is most significantly influenced by what I do and the attitude I have while doing it. 

A bit like making a good cake; it’s not going to happen without the right ingredients, mixed in the right way, to get the right result. The results will be more or less consistent, if you keep doing those things in the same way. 

I think this can also be true with the year ahead; there are some things that, if done consistently, they will help you have better day, and consequently (if I keep doing them) a better year!

So I thought it might be good to share five things, five simple things, that I do and keep doing and who knows they might help you? 

Maybe it’s not all for you, but there’s something here that might help!

1. Get Moving

Alright, alright I’m not having a dig at those couple of extra Christmas pounds. I’m just talking about our general health and well being, God designed our bodies to move.
I do a little bit of running and I have found that I can do this consistently. I fit my day around as far as possible.
Whatever you choose to do, the reality is we are better when are active. 
I absolutely understand running might not be for you, but find something that is more “you”  — which you would be able to do consistently. Maybe go for a walk, dance, play football? There are so many options these days. For the record, taking out a Gym membership is not the same as ACTUALLY going to the gym!
It has been said  that if you want to build a habit then it is better to establish that habit with a ‘prompt’ and a ‘reward.’ So for instance, when I go to bed I leave my running gear on the floor next to my bed. 
This means so the first thing I see when I get out of bed is my running gear and that is my ‘prompt’ — this is something that I’ve committed to do. 
And then the reward; I have a vitamin drink at the end of my workout and a nice hot shower which leaves me feeling great.
Basically, using these two things I have managed to establish a rhythm in my life, which keeps me moving. I have also enjoyed the health benefits of being active.

2. Journal 

Secondly, I journal. I’ve got a little notebook that I write in consistently. I don’t have to do it everyday — that is unnecessary pressure —but I journal regularly. 

Experts tell us that keeping a journal can contribute significantly to positive mental health, and I can certainly say that over the years it has really helped me. You can write about all the things you are grateful for, you can write out your prayers, you can write down things that inspire you, or just basically have a “brain dump” — download all the things that are bothering you. 

It really is about what works for you — it is after all, yours. Many would say it is better to physically write in a journal rather than type it into a phone or another device, but again, whatever works for you.

3. Fed by what I Read

It is a good thing to read. Someone once said: ’Today’s readers are tomorrows leaders’. 

I’ve always tried to consistently feed my mind with stuff that is going to help make life work. Obviously I’m going to recommend you read the Bible, but I want to say that this is also true of any book. Read to feed! 

This means you should read, but also meditate on a particular point or verse that will continue to feed your soul throughout the day or over a period of time. You can even re-read things in your journal. I believe if you do this consistently, it will help your internal world and feed your soul.

This kind of self-care will contribute significantly to your wellbeing and ultimately to you becoming a happier person.

4. Recreation over Rest

Recreation beats rest most of the time. Why do I say this? 

Well, we all need to rest properly and we need to sleep sufficient hours. Even the Bible highlights this in Psalm 127:2: ‘God grants sleep to those he loves’. However, rest is not just about sleep. 

Some believe the answer is a lie-in or an early night, when in truth we don’t just need to rest we need to have recreation.

Recreation is more than leisure it is an opportunity to re-create it’s not just about fulfilling an activity. It is something that feeds your soul, gives you life and energy. 

Maybe, it is doing something creative or listening to music or going for a walk. Almost certainly it is doing something other than watching a series on Netflix. Ok it might take a little effort for you to get up and do something, but when you do make the effort, you’re usually glad you did.

5. Plan

Make plans! Don’t just let life happen.
Have a look at your diary and plan for relationship building time, places you might want to visit, a restaurant you want to visit. Set time aside for recreation. 

This way we aren’t just being driven along by the demands of life. It’s been well said that ‘if you fail to plan then you plan to fail’. Many of us miss opportunities simply because we have failed to invest time in planning!  How many times have you said ‘Oh I would’ve loved to have gone there or I would’ve loved to have done that?’ 

Too often another year slips by and we still haven’t done those things that we would have loved to have done. 

So! “New Year, New You”… put it in the diary and stick to it as far as possible, because then you will look back and realise that you’ve accomplished more than you might otherwise have done.

So there it is…just a little something that might help someone have a happier, more fulfilled and productive year ahead.

Loads of love and a Happy New Year!


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