We are a couple weeks in to 2014! Did you make any resolutions for this New Year?

It’s estimated that about 6 in 10 Americans make New Year’s resolutions, which most commonly involve: diet and exercise, reforming personal finances, or breaking bad habits. It is also estimated that approximately 92% of all resolutions made never see the following year, and 88% are null and void before the month of March.

If you’re like me, you defy statistical odds – by resolving not to make any New Year’s resolutions!

But while I don’t make resolutions, I’m always up for a challenge.

Here’s how Jer and I will continue to challenge each other in 2014. We would also like to extend our challenge to you:

1. Live all year intentionally:

Everyone has an innate desire to make life count for something. It is basic to our humanity and the development of our identity. Intentional living is being mindful of how your life impacts others so that you will make a difference. We all intersect the lives of others, daily. Living intentionally means that I see those day-by-day encounters and an opportunity to impact 0ther people in some positive way. This doesn’t mean that we have to put on plastic personas and attempt to live problem free. It just means that we deal with life’s struggles in community, allowing others to learn and give input, as we do the same for them. Living intentionally means that we become mindful of the legacy that we leave.

As 2014 gets rolling, what legacy are you leaving in the lives of those around you? If it’s good, you can make it even more powerful. If it’s bad, you have the ability to change it!

2. Find and become an armor bearer:

Jer and I have been pouring through a series of posts on “armor bearing,” the kind of committed, reciprocal, reliable, life-shaping friendships we all want and need. You can get a fuller view on this concept by re-reading those. But in a nutshell, an armor bearer is a friend, confidant, and mentor who brings out the best in you. Armor bearers protect their friends by challenging them to live into their God-instilled character and realize their God-given potential. Armor bearers make the lives of their friends richer and fuller. Armor bearers help their friends through struggles; champion their concerns; and stand along side through difficulties and back-to back through life battles.

As we begin 2014, as yourself, are you an effective armor bearer? Do you have armor bearers in your life? It’s never too late to cultivate armor bearing friendships.

3. Strengthen your relationships:

This challenge seems to be somewhat trite because we are bombarded with so much relational psychobabble from the likes of Dr. Phil to tabloid relationship surveys. All of that aside, I believe that relationships flourish when we put others first. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Church in Philippi issued this same challenge by telling his audience to think of others as more important than themselves. This isn’t some ego-deflating, self-abasing exercise. Instead, we should think highly of ourselves – and then elevate others even above that! Paul reminds us that this is not a task but rather an attitude. If we think highly of others, our relationships flourish.

In 2014, take the challenge to recalibrate your attitude in a way that others are more highly valued.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude as Christ Jesus.

– Apostle Paul, (Phil. 2:3-5)

4. Live into your character:

Character is who you are. We live in a world that is constantly telling us that what we do determines who we are. This is a shallow, twisted lie. If you allow the roles you play or the accolades you acquire to define you, at the end of your life you will have a short-lived legacy. But if you let who you are (your character) define what you do, then you will leave a lasting legacy for generations. Maybe you haven’t thought of this before. Well, now’s your chance – its never to late to begin your legacy.

Who you are is defined by single words; I am _____. (Insert one word: compassionate, wise, good, faithful, thoughtful, etc.). If you insert two words you will most likely define yourself by a role you play or something you do.

In 2014, resist the temptation to define yourself by what you do and determine to live into who you are.

5. Pay it forward:

Become a mentor! Most people don’t mentor because they feel that they have nothing to offer. Mentoring isn’t just about teaching. A mentor brings richness to a mentee’s life. Mentors have life experiences, perspectives, and care that a protégé draws from. In 2014, if you want to encapsulate and meet all of the challenges I mentioned in this blog post, then become a mentor.

Don’t over complicate it. Just find some young person who you can pour into, commit to have coffee once a week, and talk about the normal things of life. You’ll be surprised how easy mentoring can be!

Remember that mentor leadership is all about serving. Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:25).”

? Tony Dungy, The Mentor Leader: Secrets to Building People and Teams That Win Consistently

Blessings in the New Year from all of us here at NexTwelve.com!

Leave a Comment: Will you accept the NexTwelve.com challenge for your 2014?

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