2023 is coming to an end. Students, parents, and teachers alike are all anticipating 2024 and asking the same question: how can I start the new year well? We at Patrick Henry College wanted to provide you with a list of five ways to get a good start to 2024. Ready or not, here the new year comes… it’s time to prepare yourself.
1. Read a good book.
PHC students are assigned a plethora of books to read throughout their semester. So, it might seem like extra, unnecessary work to pick up a book during your time off. But this is the time to explore the literature that you love. Start with some C.S. Lewis, take on some Dostoevsky, or maybe even read some John Green. You have worked so hard over the year studying books and essays you have been assigned to read, but now is your time to discover what books you want to read—maybe you will discover that they are the same!
Keep your mind sharp. Keep yourself focused on the good, true, and beautiful. Reading good literature will help you.
2. Take daily walks.
In the same way that students need breaks from school to rest and recuperate from academic study, people also need regular breaks from the trials and difficulties of each day. A daily walk is an excellent way to take a break. “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it,” says Psalm 118:24.
Start your year off right by appreciating the great outdoors, breathing some fresh air, and taking time to think.
3. Stay hydrated.
“Hydrate or diedrate” goes the saying. The truth behind this joke will remain in 2024. Jesus Himself says in John, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.” Was Jesus talking about the Holy Spirit? Yes. Can we apply this advice to drinking water? Sure.
Do not wilt in 2024. Stay hydrated.
4. Come up with a theme for the year.
People often take on the challenge of creating New Year’s Resolutions for themselves. These resolutions are often specific (i.e. go to the gym every day, eat healthily, journal daily, etc.) but they are also often broken within the first week of the new year. One way to break the routine of constructing goals for yourself and then breaking them is to create a theme for 2024. Rather than creating arbitrary and unrealistic goals that you know you will not maintain, start by creating a theme to tailor your habits toward.
"Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that,'" James 4:13-15.
No matter what you plan for your year, what resolutions you make, or what walks you take, nothing can be accomplished apart from the goodness of God. 2023 might have been the best year of your life, leaving you full of hope, delight, and excitement for the year ahead. Or maybe 2023 did not go as you had planned, maybe leaving you confused, hurt, or unsure of what to do next. But, either way, Scripture reassures us. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
We can follow the advice given to us in the book of Matthew, and take time in our day to offer the Lord’s prayer:
“Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be Thy name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.”
Take heart. Take time to pray. Your God has overcome the world. May the Lord have mercy on us in the new year; may His will be done in 2024.
Patrick Henry College exists to glorify God by challenging the status quo in higher education, lifting high both faith and reason within a rigorous academic environment; thereby preserving for posterity the ideals behind the "noble experiment in ordered liberty" that is the foundation of America.