Over the last decade or so, I go through the same ritual every year. I am a 1K flyer on United Airlines. That means I fly at least 100,000 miles on United Airlines and its partners every year. With that status, I get a few perks, like not paying to check my first three pieces of luggage and getting the occasional upgrade. At times the airline personnel even treat me like a human being! It’s not much, but it makes me want to earn that status every year. So month-by-month, I watch my miles collect. By the end of January, the 10,000 miles plateau is reached. By March, I inch toward 30,000. Summer hits and my travel generally slows down a little, making me wonder if I’ll reach the goal. Then the Fall travel season arrives and I make that final push. I used to measure how busy I was by how early in the year I reached 100,000 miles. One year I reached the mark by the first week in May. My latest has been the end of November. I always feel like a marathon racer who spies the finish line when I am in the 90,000s and is finally approaching the goal. But then a terrible, awful thing happens. January 1 arrives. All of those hard earned status miles evaporate and my accounts revert back to ZERO. Only a day earlier my status miles sat at 100,000+. Now, a day later, I am back at zero and have another long, weary year in which to climb back to the top of the frequent flyer heap once more. If I am going to keep trudging back up the 1K mountain they had better start giving me peanuts or something!

I find that New Years bring all kinds of fresh beginnings. Regardless of what you did last year, January 1 brings an entirely fresh start. As of that date, you have not said one unkind word to anyone! (Unless you tried to stay up past midnight on New Year’s Eve and are cranky on New Year’s Day!). You have not been impatient with a family member or indulged in that troubling habit even once. It can be freeing to have certain accounts revert to zero. Unfortunately we also have many positive accounts in our lives that also return to zero. We have not read our Bible or spent time in prayer once this year! We have not shared our faith with anyone even once, this year. We have not read one informative book this year. Those positive accounts all stand at zero as well. So we launch in to a new year with renewed gusto and determination to achieve the positive goals we set for ourselves.

What I have found is that, if you want to fly 100,000 miles in a year (and that is a BIG “if!”), you can’t begin your journey in December! It isn’t physically possible! For significant goals, you have to begin working at it at the beginning of the year. Likewise, if you have set some significant goals for your life in 2012, you can’t wait until October to begin getting serious about them. You have to start now.

I have not been a huge goal setter, but I have sought to accomplish much each year. To do so, you have to jump out of the starting block in January with the finish line in sight. I hope that is what you have done this year. If not, it’s not too late to do so. Life is too precious and the world has too much need for God’s people to not live their lives with purpose and enthusiasm. My prayer for you is that in December 2012, you will look back over the year and marvel at all that God did in and through your life. I hope it is your best year of life to date. I pray that the positive “accounts” in your life reach record highs. But of course, that won’t happen by accident or luck. It will occur because you lived 2012 on purpose. May God bless you, as you live 2012 fully for Him.

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