New Year is a time for resolutions and changes – a time to strive a little harder to be a little better. Whether you want to build a new you or to improve the existing you, you need to understand that achieving your goals starts with developing good habits. As Will Durant once wrote, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” Start your New Year right by developing these four good habits.
Prayer is a form of communication between humans and God. If you are working towards a great life, you need the guidance from above that comes through prayer. But, where do you begin? Establishing a habit of prayer begins with knowing the correct pattern of praying. Here are a few simple steps to help you:
- Call God By Name
- Say Thank You
- Share Your Feelings
- Ask For What You Need
- Close in the Name of Jesus Christ
Prayer is a personal thing between you and God. There is no specific standard for the content and length of your prayers. It’s enough to be sincere and honest with God. Your goal is to establish a deeper connection with Him and to receive guidance for your day-to-day interactions.
Don’t feel like praying? Remember that it is “the [good] Spirit which teacheth a man to pray, and the evil spirit [that] teacheth not a man to pray (2 Nephi 32:8).”
For more information about prayer, read “How Prayers Connect Us To Heavenly Father.”
Effective Scripture Study
Scriptures, or the words of God, are wells of wisdom. They are sources of eternal truths, gospel doctrines and principles, and good advice. More importantly, they tell us about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. If you want to know your purpose or live a worthy life, just turn to the scriptures, and you will never be disappointed. Don’t let your Book of Mormon gather dust or leave your Bible sit unused for “moth and rust to corrupt (Matthew 6:20).” Develop a habit of daily scripture study.
For some ways to have meaningful scripture study in your home, click here.
Healthy Diet and Exercise
It does not matter how driven, hardworking, or talented you are, if you are not healthy then it is pointless. You will not be able to enjoy your life to the fullest. This is why staying healthy should be a top priority. Having a healthy lifestyle, however, does not happen overnight. It is a habit established by making healthy choices every day.
Your body is a precious gift from Heavenly Father. In the scriptures, it is likened to a temple.
“16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are (1 Corinthians 3:16–17).”
We consider the temple the holiest place on Earth. If God thinks your body is like a temple, then you should take care of your body well. You can do so by eating foods that are good for you, such as fruits and vegetables, protein, whole grains, nuts and legumes. You also need to exercise so your body can become stronger. A healthy diet coupled with regular exercise is the best combination for preventing diseases. A healthy lifestyle often also results in a sharper mind and a more positive outlook on life.
Attitude of Optimism
Optimism is looking on the bright side of things. People who are optimistic see the glass as half full, not half empty. They focus on what they have, not on what they lack. It is not surprising then, that according to research3, optimists generally lead longer, happier, and more successful lives.
Jesus Christ is the ultimate optimist. The Bible account of the Savior feeding 5,000 people was a story of optimism (Matthew 14: 14-21). It was already evening when Jesus finished his sermon, and the multitude was hungry. The disciples suggested to Jesus that he send the people away, but Jesus had compassion on them and decided to feed them. However, when He commanded the disciples to give the people the food that they did have, they replied, “We have here but five loaves, and two fishes (Matthew 14:17).” They were wondering how so little food could possibly feed thousands of mouths.
Faced with that situation, I can’t blame them for focusing on what they lacked instead of what was there. Jesus, however, was different. He thanked His Father in Heaven for what He had given them, and it resulted in one of the greatest miracles the world has ever seen.
Can you imagine what good things – yes, even miracles – could happen to your life if you adopted an attitude of optimism?
David O. Mckay once said, “We sow our thoughts, and we reap our actions; we sow our actions, and we reap our habits; we sow our habits, and we reap our characters; we sow our characters, and we reap our destiny.”4 The New Year is the perfect time for you to sow good habits in order to reap a great destiny at the end of the year and for the rest of your life.