We’re near to the finish line of 2020, with everyone ready to bid this chaotic year adieu. As we try to shake off a rough year, it’s time to look ahead and consider how to start 2021. While COVID-19 isn’t fully behind us, we can still take a few actions to make this new year better than the last.

Resolution No. 1: I will take 5 minutes to plan the day ahead

With a ton of helpful time management and productivity tips available, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. However, there's one tip that's made the biggest difference in my productivity. At the end of each day, take five minutes to think.

  • What did I accomplish today?
  • What do I need to complete tomorrow?
  • What’s coming up the rest of this week?

Repeat this process at the end of your week. This time, focus on the upcoming week with the same questions. Apply the same concept at the end of each month. This helps me plan ahead and unwind at the end of my workday. Even if I didn’t complete everything I wanted to that day, at least I’ve documented those tasks so I won’t forget them tomorrow.

Resolution No. 2: I will take care of my health

Yes, New Year’s resolutions are often health-related, but you don’t have to start preparing for a marathon or fitness competition. Your health is more than how many pushups you can do — it’s your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. To stay strong in ministry for the long haul, you must make time to take care of yourself.

  • Schedule workouts, devotional time, and rest on your calendar (what gets scheduled tends to be what gets done)
  • Listen to a sermon or podcast
  • Take a 15-minute walk before lunch
  • Have coffee with a good friend and talk through a challenging situation you’re facing

You won’t have much to offer others if you’re exhausted and drained. This may require you to talk with your boss about your schedule or responsibilities. It’s better to have that conversation now before you’re nearly burned out and you’re able to think straight to come up with a solution.

Resolution No. 3: I will invest in my volunteers

This may sound like more work, but this resolution can end up saving you time. Think about your current volunteers. Which ones are reliable, have a great attitude, do an excellent job no matter what you throw at them, and have leadership potential?

Invest in these potential leaders to disciple them and help them grow in leadership capacity. Then work with them to identify volunteers who might value more mentorship. This isn’t just about getting them to do more — it’s about helping volunteers grow spiritually and discover how they can best serve others.

  • Ask volunteers for their input and ideas
  • Take a few minutes at volunteer meetings to introduce a spiritual leadership principle and discuss it with the group
  • Make sure they know you appreciate their servant’s attitude
  • Find out what they do for a living; what unique skillset each person has and how they’d like to use those talents to serve their church family
  • Connect volunteers with roles that best fit their skills, personality, and spiritual maturity
  • Send hand-written thank you notes

These are fairly simple, uncomplicated resolutions (let’s face it, we all need simple after this last year). However, these steps can help you be more effective so you can better serve others. Plan ahead, take care of your health, and invest in volunteers. That trio can help you build upon or sustain momentum in the new year.