A Fresh Start to a Better Life

“Greetings, gifts, and gluttony—tis the season…” my son quipped because of all the tempting food laying around. The Wilsons aren’t the only ones that enjoy holiday foods. Larry asked our small group what they liked about this time of the year. Here are some responses.

“The lights.”


“The music.”


“Being with friends and family.”


With each nibble we promise ourselves that come January 2nd we’ll do better.

New Years are a great time to start fresh. But without reflection and an aim we repeat old patterns and wonder why we don’t change. Someone said stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Have you taken time to consider where you’re headed this year?


Consider the areas of your life that matter most to you. For example: faith, family, finances, career, health, personal development, and special projects. Identify an aim for each area or one overarching aim. Last year I wanted to learn more about what it meant to trust God. That aim affected what I noticed when I read my Bible and how I responded to life. This year I want to learn more about what it means to enjoy God (Ps. 37:4).

If you need help identifying and setting goals click here for free resources. Pray for guidance. It’s important to turn your goals into reasonable steps. Those who don’t allow breathing room in budgets, schedules, or diets are doomed to fail. Create steps you can willingly sustain for the long run.

For health you might begin with something like this:

  • Eat a meatless meal twice a week.
  • Find healthy substitutes for unhealthy foods. Through the year I’ll share some easy ones I’ve discovered. For example:
    • Eat tortilla chips with salsa or guacamole instead of artery clogging cheese spreads.
    • Replace that processed or unhealthy snack with a piece of fresh fruit or a handful of fresh almonds or cashews.
    • When you crave a soda, try sparkling water with pineapple juice and a twist of lime.
  • Walk or cycle for 30 minutes five days a week.

Our taste buds adjust to our choices and begin to prefer healthier foods. If you’re already doing that, take it up a notch.Small consistent changes add up to make a big difference. Share on X

These changes won’t tax your budget or time. But the cumulative effect will benefit your overall life. Our health in one area affects the vitality of another. How much do you enjoy your friends, faith, or your work when you’re tired and run down? Or how well do you connect with your spouse when you are stressed out? That is why we must develop our whole selves—body, soul, and spirit.

Start where you are and build success in the various areas of your life. Make your steps doable and then do them.


Here is a recipe to kick off a healthy New Year.

Black-eyed Peas and Kale

1 Tbsp. peanut oil

3 large sweet onions, sliced

½ tsp. salt (Celtic Sea Salt, Himalayan Pink Salt, or Sea Salt)

3 cans of black-eyed peas, drained or 4 cups cooked drained.

2 bay leaves

2 C vegetable broth (I use organic vegetable bouillon)

1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp. raw agave

6 cups chopped clean kale

Pepper to taste

Over medium heat stir onions into warmed oil. Cover and cook until soft, about 5 min. Uncover, add salt, and sauté until onions are golden brown, approximately 20 minutes.

Set aside  half of the onions for garnish. To the remaining onions add everything except the kale. Bring to a simmer. Reduce to low and stir frequently until the liquid has reduced, about 15 minutes. Stir in chopped kale, cover and cook 5 minutes. Add pepper. Serve over brown rice or with whole grain bread. Garnish with reserved onions.


Here’s to a better life in 2014. Please pass on your successes, tips, and recipes.

Question: What’s one thing you plan to change this year? Click here to comment.

Happy New Year,

Debbie Wilson

Deborah W. Wilson

Linking with: #LivefreeThursday,

Photo by: bayasaa


More From This Category

3 Free Scripture Puzzles

3 Free Scripture Puzzles

Do you enjoy crossword Scripture puzzles? Mary Welsh, a new blog subscriber, introduced herself to me and told me about her hobby of creating word puzzles that relate to Scripture. She is graciously sharing a few of her puzzles with us. For those who want more puzzles...

read more
How to Discern God’s Will for My Life

How to Discern God’s Will for My Life

Journaling my thoughts to the Lord usually brought a sense of peace. But this day, peace eluded me. “Lord, I’ve prayed for wisdom, and I still have none. What do you want me to do? No option feels right.” Jesus said His sheep hear His voice and follow Him (John 10:...

read more



  1. sandi brown

    I want to study who I am in Christ to better become the new me in Christ and to fight off negative and self-defeating thought.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Sandi, that is a wonderful aim. The truth sets us free.

  2. Ann

    I totally agree!! Our physical health definitely impacts our life in all areas so making small changes over time works best! I love your tips and your recipe! When we were first married we lived in TN and a friend shared that on New Year’s day they always had black eyed peas and sausage for “good luck.” Well I have continue that tradition – I already have my black eyed peas and chicken sausage ready for tomorrow! I will definitely try your recipe. Wishing you a blessed and healthy new year!

  3. Debbie Wilson

    Ann, we grew up eating black eyed peas on New Years too. I’m not sure how that tradition began. I hope you enjoy this recipe.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Keita, thank you for correcting and finding the source of the quote! Happy New Year.

Refreshing Faith Blog

Pin It on Pinterest