A new year is a great chance for a fresh start. It’s an opportunity to try new things and set new rhythms. The little ideas that follow won’t be found on a list of “Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions” but they are simple, practical and could pay big dividends in the year ahead:

1) Walking Meetings

Walking together can increase openness, add more energy and return you to the office feeling fresher with a few calories burned. (Disclaimer: For those of you in northern climates, this idea will sound more appealing in spring).

Here’s a link to a great Ted Talk on Walking Meetings (click here)

2) Add Old Books To Your Reading List

What’s on your reading list for 2018? Did any books over 100 years old make your list? Anything over 500 years? It’s easy to be consumed by the latest bestsellers and miss the amazing treasure chest of deep enduring wisdom written over the course of history. Add some old books to your reading list for 2018.

3) Pray for Your People

Start a simple daily rhythm of prayer by creating a one-page monthly calendar chart (five columns for the weekdays and four rows for each week in a month). On each weekday list the names of 2-4 direct reports, mentees, peers, co-workers, etc. Then use the chart to focus your prayers day-by-day. Your faithfulness over time will add up!

4) Get Thankful

Developing a habit of gratitude changes your outlook and helps defeat feelings of entitlement. It’s also biblical! Take five minutes daily to identify three things for which you can be thankful. Replay the day and pay attention to small and big blessings. Write them down. Thank God. Review your growing list regularly.

5) Book Your Vacation Now

The research is clear and overwhelming on the multiple positive benefits of taking annual vacations. Too many people don’t take vacations or leave planning to the last minute. Get your vacation dates set and approved six months or more in advance. Vacations don’t need to be luxurious, but they do need to be taken.

6) Recruit a Prayer Team

Is anyone regularly and intentionally praying for you? Start small and ask two or three people to pray for you weekly. Then take 10 minutes to craft a brief e-update on the 10th of each month (the rhythm of 10 minutes on the 10th will help you remember to do it). Include three things:

  1. What’s new/how you are doing;
  2. Praise for what God has done; &
  3. Two to five prayer requests.

Send special e-updates when urgent needs arise and be sure to actively express your appreciation every quarter to your prayer team!

7) Learn Something New

Invest an hour a week learning something new. New learning will refresh you, get your mind working in different ways, connect you to new people and help you more fully engage your everyday responsibilities.

8) Be 10% More Friendly

Arrow Leadership Program trainer Dr. Dave Overholt encourages leaders to be 10% more friendly with the people you meet in everyday interactions. Being 10% more friendly means taking an extra moment with the store clerk, cab driver, or fellow traveler. It means being present to them as Jesus would. It starts with paying attention, asking a question and listening. This simple practice can open up opportunities to naturally encourage, pray and have deeper faith conversations.

9) Get To The Doctor

Christian leaders are often so focused helping others that they neglect self-care. When was the last time you had a check-up for your body, eyes or teeth? Booking an appointment this year is good stewardship and could help avert future problems.

10) Book A Leadership Tune-Up

If you owned a Ferrari, it wouldn’t make any sense to drive it with worn spark plugs. For peak performance you would keep the engine tuned. Leaders need tune-ups too. That’s why we have launched a Leadership Tune-Up resource to help Christian leaders to stay sharp, fresh and focused. It’s a 90-minute one-to-one coaching experience that results in a growth plan to guide your development over the next year. You can learn more and register here.

May one of these little ideas pay big dividends for you in 2018!

Cheering you on in life and leadership,

Dr. Steve A Brown

President, Arrow Leadership