By Guest Blogger A. Keith Tilley

When it comes to the calendar, January is to us what spring is to nature. It’s a time to start something new; a time to re-invent ourselves; a time to set new goals, make new plans, and generally do things that will improve our quality of life.

An associate sent me a press release recently for a new book that came out last summer, entitled The Love Dare for Parents. It’s written by Alex and Stephen Kendrick, brothers, pastors, and authors of other successful books, such as The Love Dare and The Resolution for Men.  In their first book The Love Dare, the premise of which originated from the movie Fireproof, they focus on a “40-day challenge to apply biblical principles in order to strengthen marriage relationships.” In their new book, The Love Dare for Parents, they once again use the 40-day challenge, this time in order for parents to “better communicate God’s unconditional love to their kids in 40 different ways for 40 days.”

Although it’s not my intention here to promote the books (even though you may find them to be very entertaining and helpful), it did get me to thinking about the concept of challenging ourselves in order to improve various aspects of our lives. Obviously the principal is sound and has been successful for many. I figured, “Why couldn’t we take a similar approach except on a broader scale?” For instance, instead of a 40-day challenge, why not a 12-month challenge? Rather than outline specific things to do on a daily basis, we might lay out a plan to implement a new action each month for an entire year.

When you think about it, resolutions almost always fade into oblivion and are long forgotten, oftentimes before they even really begin. Yet, taking the concept of the Kendrick brothers and applying it to the New Year just may be something we can get excited about. For example, we can all assess our individual lives and determine what area we would like to improve upon. As indicated in the books, relationships are certainly a good place to start. In whatever personal relationship you have that you wish to improve on, whether it’s in your marriage, with your children, your connections with friends and companions, or even with your own parents, this approach is a good way to get enthusiastic about making a change in 2018. It’s really not that hard to accomplish. For instance, in your marriage you might choose something you would like to do each month, such as an action you take at home to spark new life into the relationship (e.g., more complements, more delegating of responsibilities and helping out your partner, or encouraging them and surprising them in ways they would never anticipate). You might finally incorporate the popular “date night” idea, after saying you would so many times before, and never did. I’m digressing a bit here.

If you choose to strengthen the bond with your children using this approach, you might plan a different or regular family activity for each month, or incorporate something new into the usual mundane weekly routines, that sparks a new perspective on mom and dad.

Regardless of what area you choose to focus on, it doesn’t matter what actions you take. It’s more important to simply plan those actions and activities out, and incorporate those “new, fun, entertaining and positive” measures in a way that makes each month of the year something to look forward to.

It may take a little effort and planning initially, yet I think we can all agree it does sound a tad more inspiring and motivating than losing weight and dieting (not that good health isn’t important). As a matter of fact, with the right amount of preparation, creativity and imagination, it could be just the thing you need to inject more pleasure and enthusiasm into your life.


Thanks to Forsyth Family magazine for sharing this article which originally ran on their blog