3 Ways to Make This Year Simple

Whether we call it goal setting, planning, vision casting or just plain dreaming, the beginning of a new year always finds us 

thinking about things we want.

There are a lot of things I want for my business in this year.

I want to bring a Christian perspective to the hyperbolic online marketing advice that hits our inbox.  You know … the kind filled with words like skyrocket, EXPLODE!!! and mindblowing.

I want to help lots of you find clarity, focus and confidence in your online ministry through the Build A Better Year resources.

I want to create a community of bloggers, writers, ministry leaders and business owners who bring their faith message to the world intentionally through the weekly Plan & Pray sessions..

And I want all of us to do new things that expand our reach to proclaim the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ.

But what do I NEED in this year?  Other than, of course, the favor and presence of God alongside me, I need one thing.

I need simplicity.

It’s all gotten too complicated for me.  That became crystal clear once when I took the week off of work.

See, I’ve always assumed things seem complicated because I don’t have enough time. I thought if I didn’t have to go to work, I could get everything done, plus take on more.  But even with a whole week off, most of it to myself, I still had a long list of un-done things.

So the problem is not too little time.  It’s too many things.  Or things that take too long.

As I went looking for a scripture to inspire me towards simplicity, something interesting came to light.

The Greek word translated as “simplicity” in this verse:

For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience, that we behaved in the world with simplicity and godly sincerity, not by earthly wisdom but by the grace of God, and supremely so toward you. 2 Cor. 1:12 (ESV)

is also translated as “liberality” in this verse:

Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all. 2 Cor. 9:13 (NASB)

If simplicity means “less” and liberality means “more”, how can that be?  The answer lies in this verse, where the same word is translated “sincerity.”

Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Colossians 3:22 (NIV)

For me, simplicity means living with sincerity of heart … with integrity.  It means giving liberally of my gifts, but not complicating things by trying to be something I am not.   In this next year, we can embrace simplicity in three ways.

Focus on our passions

With the “content is king” pressure to post consistently, engage on social media and live-stream our thoughts, we are often grasping at meaningful things to say.  Quantity overshadows quality and we end up saying things we don’t really care about, or spending hours on research so we sound credible.

This year, I’ll focus on what I know and what I’m passionate about … helping creative people create processes and systems to be more productive.  Showing you how to break down your big idea into manageable pieces.  Gathering intentional, purposeful Jesus-girls with a life-giving message to encourage and support each other.  I hope you’ll be part of this community.

Put our money where it works

As I looked back over my business, I found that I spent a lot of money on courses, resources and tools that I never used, or that just gave me more to do.  I’m guessing the same happened to you.

In some twisted mental gymnastics, we think spending money on something will motivate us to make time to use it. But in reality, it only adds to the stress and feeling of inadequacy as it sits there mocking our inability to create time where it doesn’t exist.

I’ve cancelled subscriptions to software and courses and removed myself from the Facebook groups associated with them.  But I’ve doubled down on the ones that will be truly helpful to me … the money I was wasting on a monthly subscription to Photoshop (I’ll never climb that learning curve) is now be spent on Canva, which I  use multiple times every week.

Boss our time around

I’m tired of time ruling me.  My decisions are made more based on what I have time for and what I don’t, than on what I’m passionate about and what God has called me to do. I want to tell my time what to do instead of it telling me.

We often spend our time doing the things people … “experts” … tell us we must do.  We aren’t doing it with sincerity of heart and we suspect it is not giving us the results we expect.  We need to be more analytical to understand what is working and what is not.  It’s not about letting numbers drive our behavior, but about listening to what the numbers tell us about our audience and ourselves, and then investing our time where it really matters.

If we are doing what really matters, we’ll be more effective, satisfied and impactful. Sounds simple, right?


Still need help clarifying your focus areas and plans for this year? Try the Build A Better Year Workshop ... a self-guided experience to create a plan for your most important priorities. It's not just a workshop. It's a planning system that will keep you focused on what really matters. Learn More


What things are weighing you down …. areas you need to simplify?  Share them in the comments and let’s encourage each other to take these simple steps!

34 thoughts on “3 Ways to Make This Year Simple”

  1. This. All of this. ❤️ My personal word for the year is INVEST and my verse is Luke 16:10, “One who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much.” I’m still wrestling with My Messy Desk’s verse of the year on the worksheets from your workshop. But honestly I am leaning toward the same as my personal….

  2. Christa, this is confirmation from the Lord. My word for 2017 is “Discipline.” I don’t have a full time job nor do I have little ones running around to keep me busy. In this season of life all I seem to have is time. So why didn’t I accomplish more? Because I didn’t use my time wisely. Most days I felt like I was trying to catch up. This year I am going to make a schedule and try to stick to it.

  3. These words are for my journal: “simplicity means living with sincerity of heart … with integrity. It means giving liberally of my gifts, but not complicating things by trying to be something I am not. ” Ahhhh…. yes. I need simplicity, too. We are great at taking good things and making them too complicated, aren’t we? You are wise to take these steps. And I love this idea of “bossing your time around”. I’m definitely going to keep that phrase in mind. Thanks for sharing your gifts here. And Happy New Year!

  4. Hi Christa! I love your goal of simplicity … truly, all the options that fly at us can be overwhelming and leave us with a startling lack of creativity and energy.

    I have no One Word, no goals or resolutions, but instead focusing on what saved my life last year and how it’s paving the way for 2017.

    I’m grateful …

    Blessings to ya’.

  5. Hi Christa! Visiting from By His Grace Bloggers. My word for 2017 is Act. I didn’t know you host a linkup, is that a regular thing? If so, I would love to be a participant in the future. Let me know!

    • Welcome, Sarah! No, the linkup is not a regular thing. I’ve done just a few “pop-up” linkups around specific topics. But I’m glad you found this one!

  6. Love this Christa, love it! It really resonated with me. My word is “Listen” because so often I am focused on productivity and my task list, that I don’t listen to others, myself or the Holy Spirit!

  7. Your blog has been a great resource for me! I haven’t really given much thought to a one word theme for the new year. I definitely don’t make any resolutions. If I had to come up with a one word theme I would say that it would be Intentional.

  8. This post is something I needed to read so badly. Every single section spoke to me. I haven’t chosen a word for the year, just three Prayers I need to remember every day. But if I were to choose a word I think it would be patience. Patience in my marriage, in my children, and in my blogging. Patience to know God has everything in His hands and things will happen in due time. Visiting from #GraceandTruth!

  9. Love your ideas on how to determine where to focus my time and energy this year, especially as it relates to blogging. It does seem that there’s always so much I want to do, and so little time. You’ve encouraged me to focus on what I’m passionate about, and to make the way I spend my time reflective of my priorities.

  10. I always enjoy and benefit from what I find here on your website, Christa. Keep up the good work. Your three principles are helpful here. I especially like number 1, “Focus on Your Passions.” So important. I tend to run in a jillion directions instead!

  11. Hello, Christa. I appreciated all you had to say here. Thank you for your encouragement! I especially liked when you said, “simplicity means living with sincerity of heart…not trying to be something I am not.” Thank you for this post.
    I’m visiting from #GraceandTruth.

  12. Can this post be printed on a t shirt or coffee mug? My head hurts from nodding along with every single word! I’m up to my eyeballs in self-doubt, feeling “behind” and unsure about my next steps.

    • Awww .. Rebecca, it will all be okay. You know that self-doubt is not from God. You have an important message, so share it freely and with your whole heart!

  13. My word is “en-courage”. I want to have the courage to believe God when things look bleak and others are in frantic disbelief. And then, like Caleb, to encourage those in disbelief to do the same.

  14. I can relate to this place so well! I’m trying to grasp the notion of listening to the experts, but not in place of listening to God. That has to be my true north. Always.

    And unsubscribing, cancelling, and leaving groups may feel weird, but it is so freeing. It’s like clutter in our creative mind. When we clear it away it makes us see the things that are really important.

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful reminder today!

  15. Right there with ya, sister. Gonna “boss around my time” in 2017. Love this. 🙂 I pray the Lord shows favor on this worthy endeavor. I’ll be sure to share with friends. Thank you for sharing at #ChasingCommunity today. New Year Blessings — ((hug))

  16. This!

    “we think spending money on something will motivate us to make time to use it. But in reality, it only adds to the stress and feeling of inadequacy as it sits there mocking our inability to create time where it doesn’t exist.”

    Guilty! There’s just too much noise in the online world, social media world and in my head! All telling me that I need XYZ. No, no I don’t. I need to listen to God’s still voice. Thank you for re-posting this!


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