For starters, we would all do well to foster a deeper sense of appreciation in the new year. If we look at many of the most popular New Year's resolutions, the main reason we end up in need of reform is a general dissatisfaction with life. Why do people smoke, drink, spend excessive amounts of money, miss out on family, overeat, etc...? The reason is we simply are not satisfied, so we seek fulfillment in these things which ultimately leave us unhealthy, unhappy, and frustrated. Paul taught this principle when he wrote, "Now godliness with contentment is great gain...And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition" (1 Tim. 6:6-9). An attitude of gratitude will go a long way to curb our unhealthy appetites.
In order to foster gratitude this year, we must leave the past where it lies. This is difficult to do as we all have triumphs and disappointments in the past which leave lasting impressions on us. This does not mean the past holds no value for us as the Lord recorded much of the history of His covenant people to provide valuable lessons to future generations. As George Santayana rightly observed, "Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it." The apostle Paul told the Roman brethren, "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning..." (Rom. 15:4). Likewise he revisited the past failures of the Israelites who left Egypt as "...our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted" (1 Cor. 10:6). However, Paul was careful not to dwell in the past lest it should hinder the present (Phil. 3:12-14).
Once we leave the past where it lies, we must focus on living life one day at a time. Jesus emphasized the foolishness of living for tomorrow in His sermon on the mount. We are called upon to trust God to "Give us this day our daily bread" (Mt. 6:11), and "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things" (Mt. 6:34). The point throughout the passage is God will provide for us if we simply seek His ways every day. Truth be told, today is the only day any of us ever has lived or ever will live. Yesterday no longer exists and when tomorrow comes it will today. This is why Paul emphatically said, "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor. 6:2). Let us put nothing off until tomorrow for tomorrow never comes.
Finally, we must remember that in Christ all things are made new (2 Cor. 5:17). This understanding should help us fulfill the first three goals. If you are not yet a child of God, become one so you may be a new creation and enjoy the blessings of a clean slate. If you are a child of God, remember the blood of Jesus makes all things new every day if we walk in the light as He is in the light (1 Jn. 1:7). Let us all therefore resolve in this new year to make all things new each and every day. If we do so, we will make meaningful changes which will last, not only through this year, but through all the days of our lives.