I bet you’re breathing a huge sigh of relief, today.

Even though a few stray needles & ornaments may linger, your Christmas tree is down.
Your Amazon returns are boxed up and mailed.
The last of the chocolate pie has been thrown out, so you can start a January diet.

After such a hectic season, it’s always good to settle down with a cup of coffee and do some thinking about the new year.

In a way, this new year is different than last year.

That’s because 2020 is more than just a new year, it’s the start of a new decade.

How do you want to live it?

Instead of making resolutions for the year (or the decade) that are bound to fail, why not make a few thoughtful decisions just for today?

I’m talking about small, intentional decisions that will guide you to choose less in some areas and more in others–not for an entire year, but just for today. Making daily “less and more” decisions will inspire you to make better choices overall, without being too rigid.

Below I’ve listed 7 daily, yet meaningful, decisions that will lead you to a great new year. Consider your response to each one. Write about what your “less and more” choices should look like (you can use the FREE booklet* I’ve provided below). Hang your list on a bulletin board as a reminder. Let these daily decisions guide you to live today, this month or even this year, better than ever.

7 Daily Decisions to Make 2020 Your Best Year Ever:

1. Demand less, give more.
While making demands is sometimes necessary, none of us wants to be a demanding person. Think over the last year: were you tough to satisfy? Did others have to plan around your schedule? Did you ask for more favors than you granted? What if “demand less, give more” became your goal for today? What might that look like?

Here’s what “demand less, give more” looks like for me right now:

    1. Being warm and welcoming to everyone, not just to my favorite people.
    2. Encouraging every person that I can today, even those who don’t encourage me.
    3. Trying to serve my family more than they serve me.
    4. Seeking to understand my husband more, instead of demanding to be understood.
    5. Extending more grace to other drivers in traffic. (I’ve not been very patient lately)

Your list may be different, but consider how you could give more and demand less today, or this week, or this month. Write down 3-5 specific ways.

2. Criticize less, create more.
Once my editor asked me to rearrange not one, but every chapter in my book. I wanted to pull my hair out. But now, I’m thankful because it made my book much better.

Sometimes, critique is needed, but being a critical person is very harmful both to others and to yourself. Here’s what I’ve learned: the one who critiques the most, creates the least. In fact, criticizing less frees you to create more. For example, are you a creative organizer? Then don’t fall into the easy trap of criticizing someone who’s disorganized. Instead, choose to go and help them today. Bring creativity to all that you do. Although creating is much harder, it will satisfy your soul much more than criticism will.

3. Fear less, hope more.
My husband has a fear of flying. But he refuses to let his fear prevent him from going places. Here’s how he deals with it: he prays and quotes Scripture while he’s getting on the plane, while he’s up in the air and after he lands. He stops fear by focusing on his hope. Here we are with my son Will last year, all smiles on takeoff.

Here’s how you can fear less in 2020: focus on your hope more.

Every Christian has such beautiful hope, for this life and the next. Meditate on the hope you have in Christ today. Write it out. Read verses that give you hope, often. This will help you choose to hope more and fear less.

Here’s a great hope-builder verse: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Cor. 2:9 NIV

4. Stress less, laugh more.
You may be burdened down right now with sorrow and responsibility. I get it. But just for a minute, try to put all that aside and laugh at something. Laugh a little bit on purpose, every day. The Bible says: A joyful heart is like a good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” (Prov. 17:22).

So to help you laugh a little today, here are a few funny things to lift your spirits:

This might describe some of us:

Laugh if you’re dealing with someone stubborn:

And there’s always the funny church sign to mix things up:

I know some of these are silly, but even if you’re smiling, it will make you feel lighter. Lessen your stress by intentionally choosing to laugh a little, every day.

5. Do less, accomplish more.
I hate it when I overcommit and underdeliver, but this happened last year. I tried to do too much and this caused me to neglect writing my first novel. Yep, I put it on the back burner for months. I don’t think overcommitting is God’s will for me—or for you. Attempting to do too much can cause you to accomplish even less. Today, choose to do a few things well. That’s the way to accomplish more.

Here’s what this means for me: I’m going to pull back on some things (like magazine writing and blogging) to accomplish more (writing my first novel). This is a scary step, but I know it’s necessary.

What activities pull you away from working toward your goals? Where are you wasting energy? Write out what you want to accomplish today, this month and this year. Then list the things you will have to give up doing, in order to achieve your goals (you can use the free booklet below*).

6. Complain less, appreciate more.
You can’t complain and be grateful at the same time. I know. I’ve tried it. Here’s why: complaining prevents gratitude. Sure, you may have some well-justified gripes right now, but is your focus there? Here’s a way to quickly change it: make a “top 10” list of the things you’re most grateful for today. Read over this list and edit it, often. (Use the free guide below*) Choosing to be grateful will help you complain less.

Here are a few key verses to help you:
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Col. 3:17 NIV
“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.” Ps. 9:1 ESV
“From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another.” Jn. 1:16 NLT

7. Focus on yourself less, focus on God more.
Focusing solely on yourself will make you absolutely miserable (been there and done that). That’s why the Bible tells us to “fix our eyes” on the Lord (Heb. 12:2) instead of on ourselves. But how?

I’d like to help you. My book Seeking a Familiar Face and Bible study, A 40-Day Guide for Seeking God, will lead you nearer to God, one encounter at a time. Click on the video below so I can tell you more about it in person:

A brand new year is a precious gift—one you will never get back—be careful and prayerful about how you decide to live it out.

Spend some time in thought and in prayer this week, asking God to help you make thoughtful decisions to make 2020 your best year, for He can do “immeasurably more than we ask or imagine” (Eph. 3:20).

Happy New Year!

*Make the most of 2020! This FREE booklet can help you make good daily decisions. Simply email me at hello@maypatterson.com and I’ll send it to you.