Hey team, welcome to 2024. Today is New Year’s, how awesome is that? Today is New Year’s. A new chapter being written in your life. And what are you going to make of it?
Many people get excited about New Year’s because they want to put the past behind them. I don’t know about you, but maybe you’ve had a pretty tough 2023. I know I’ve had a few. Last year was a little brutal in some ways. I had a lot of great gains and exciting things, but there was some tough stuff, wasn’t there?
So, we get excited about 2024, and we say, “Hey, I’m gonna make 2024 better.” We set New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you’ve done that. Maybe you’ve set some New Year’s resolutions, and I don’t know if you’ve set goals around those. I’ve talked about that over the years. When I’m talking about it, I just read a book by John Maxwell, many of you know he’s one of my heroes. He put a quote in the book by John Dryden, and I want to read it to you because it resonated with me and got me thinking in a different way.
John Dryden’s quote is, “We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.” We want and get excited about big change, right? Some of us, me included, would love to lose 30 or 35 pounds. You can do that, and I’ve done it before. You can set your mind on something and make it happen. But if you don’t make the small incremental changes in your habits of how you eat and how you exercise, then the end result typically is that you balloon back up. Look at me, I’ve ballooned back up because I didn’t change my habits.
That’s the thing; first, you change your habits, and then your habits changes you.
Now, if you only change it for a short period of time, you didn’t really change a habit; you just got focused on a goal and met your goal. If you start eating right and exercising right, that’s awesome. But if you don’t make small incremental changes and continue those long-term, losing 30 or 40 pounds, you’ll gain 50 back. That really resonated with what John Maxwell was writing about and what he quoted John Dryden about. It really resonated with me personally.
I talked about it with my family and my boys this morning as we sat down for devotionals and our first 15. We call it our first 15 where we spend a little bit of time in prayer, worship, and reading the Bible. We were talking, me and my boys and my wife, and I was talking kind of about some of this. I want to write better and do better in my life in 2024 but I need to make those small incremental changes over a long period of time. See, we always focus on these big leaps, these big, huge, monumental, exciting things. But if you look back on your life – and Karen and I were talking about this today and last night – the end result is those small little things. 365 days of change will make a lifetime of difference.
You change small little things in your life, and there have been little incremental things I’ve changed in my life. Those little things of doing a little bit better every day. You still slide back, you still make mistakes – and right, I still go to the fridge and maybe eat a little ice cream. But it’s small little changes over a long period of time that change your life forever.
I talk about this in reading, right? If you read 10 pages in a book every day, simple stuff. I talked to my son about this. He reads 100 pages about every 10 days. He reads a book because his books are only about a hundred pages long. It’s small incremental changes. I’m trying to set a habit in his life of reading every day. If he reads every day, he will grow in knowledge and experience. When he looks back on a year and has 25, 35, 40 books under his belt and all the knowledge therein, oh my God, he has just changed his life. But the way I look at it is, I just changed the world because I just put a legacy into my son of longevity, focus, and being a lifelong learner by just reading 10 pages a day.
That can be you too. As we’re marching into 2024, you have 365 pages in your notebook. Maybe you should go get a notebook. I thought about it myself, go get a notebook – 365 pages – and write every day a little bit of something. But what are you going to write about? Not just the things that you did, but write about the things that you want to focus on. Maybe make a list. I read recently that Benjamin Franklin wrote down and then focused on these things. John Maxwell talks about it too – focusing on certain things.
What is it you want to focus on?
We’ll talk about this maybe in future Wednesday workshops and Monday messages. But if you want to be valuable because nothing less will do, according to our core purpose, change your habits and let your habits then change your life. That’s really cool. Be valuable, nothing less will do. Welcome to 2024; it’s going to be an epic year. If we focus on our habits and let our habits then change our lives, you’ll look back on 2024 when you get to 27, 28, and say…
“2024 is the starting point. It’s when I made major changes in my life by incremental little habit changes – small little things.“
Maybe it’s setting an alarm and getting up and doing 10 or 15 minutes of calisthenics, maybe it’s doing a mile walk a day. Maybe it’s, I don’t know for you personally, it’s your habits. What do you want to change? What do you want to do differently? Maybe it’s turning off the TV at night. Focusing on something else, maybe it’s reading a book. Maybe you want to read 10 pages a day, and when you get to the end of 365 days, wow, there’s 12 to 15 books in that. Maybe you read smaller books. I did when I read my first 300 books at age 19.
Now I’m getting a little preachy; this is getting a little bit long message. There’s a lot of good stuff, oh, and leadership’s coming up in just a few days. Those of you in leadership, can’t wait to see you. God bless you guys; 2024 is going to be awesome. Let’s make some habit-changing things in our lives, small incremental changes. Little things over the long haul make big changes in our lives for the rest of our lives for the better. God bless you guys; I’ll see you next week.