Guard Your January!

Happy New Year! Welcome to the first blog of 2024, a pep blog. The equivalent pep talk is available on Youtube here. Now, this is the the bottomline of this debut communication: Guard your January. Guard your January!

I noticed this many years ago, maybe 15 years ago, that as January go so does the rest of the year. And so although a lot of people take quite a while to get out of the yuletide mood and year-end festivities I realized over a decade ago that by the second day of the new year I needed to grab a hold of myself and start thinking about the rest of the year, prayerfully planning etc.

So for instance at The HuD Group, a holistic emerging leadership development organization I co-founded 20 years ago and now has has work in about 25 countries on all continents, one thing we do and mobilize others to join us in is that from the 2nd to the 22nd of January every year we have a focused time of fasting and praying. We call it P3 or PPP because it’s a time of Prayer, Purpose and Planning.

Now, even if you’re not a person of faith you probably still agree, at least, that you are not just a piece of matter. You are here by the intentional creation of an intelligent Designer who has you here on purpose to fulfill His mission for your life. And so, think about your God-given purposes in January. Why are you here on Earth? Why has God given you another year? (Not everybody made it into 2024, don’t forget).

If you need some guardrails, you’re here to reflect your Creator in your being and your doing and so think about your purpose in 2024 in terms of

Character (will you be a godly or God-like leader? In what ways?)

Community (who are you going to intentionally hang out with this year, from family and friends to fellowships?)

Celebration (what’s going to be the central joy of your life, ultimately how are yougoing to bring delight to your Creator a.k.a. worship)

Contribution (as one “born to rule through service given” how are you going to lead differently in 2024?)

Commission (you have an obligation to form godly, effecual leaders too; and better still when you can do it from the inside out with the redemptive power of God that comes from believing in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross).

As you think about these God-given and practical purposes, prayerfully consider each and plan your year accordingly. Don’t just be engaged in activities and running around in January–especially from program to program–because as January goes so does the rest of the year. Personally, I hardly take speaking appointments in January and I rarely travel in January because I realized many years ago that is a time to be focused, to be prayerfully intentional about the rest of the year. Last year I violated that, taking on what I thoutht was an ‘unmissiable’ speaking engagement in Kenya. Let’s just say I paid for it dearly.

May you grow in this practice of putting first things first, and in such a profound way that leads to more success this year and even more significance. Remember: guard your January! That’s my pep talk and blog, my first pep talk and blog, for you in 2024.

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