How To Be Confident Of Your Choices In 2017

A Simple Way To Use Focus And Create A Remarkable Year

How to be confident of your choices in 2017

Do you ever find it hard to have focus? 

I do. Focus isn’t always the easiest quality to master. 

Earlier this year, I had to move my home office downstairs because I had back surgery and there simply wasn’t any way I could go up and down the stairs at the time.

So my wife helped me to move all (or nearly all) my books downstairs where I could have access to them. Books have always brought me comfort. Reading is a stress-relieving activity for me. Needless to say, I was so happy that I could have my favorite books within reach.

As I’ve progressed, getting up the stairs became routine again. Within a couple of months, it was no longer an issue, so I really wanted to move my office back upstairs, which I eventually did. The only bad thing was all my books were still downstairs.

[clickToTweet tweet=”What you do flows out of who you are. #focus #faith #2017resolutions ” quote=”What you do flows out of who you are. ” theme=”style2″]

Well today, I finished getting them all back upstairs and organized. Secretly, I have huge perfectionist tendencies, which make me unfocused if I’m not careful, so it took me quite a while to get my books the way I wanted them to be.

I sorted through my favorite authors and placed everything on the shelf so that I could quickly see exactly what I wanted to see with only a glance.

OK…I said all that in order to ask you this:

Did you have the clarity and focus this year to quickly see what you needed to see in life with only a glance? Or was it extremely hard to make decisions because nothing ever seemed clear and you weren’t sure what to do? 

Being unclear about life is hard, and that’s the way I used to live.  

Every. Single. Year. 

Is there something to be said for taking life as it comes? Sure there is, but you still need some sort of framework to make things a little simpler. You don’t want to struggle over every single choice. There needs to be a clear road marker for your life each year.

Several years ago I stumbled onto a simple way to create massive amounts of focus in my life. Since then, I’ve heard many people talking about doing the same thing I do. It helps so much.

Having focus is simple when you do this one thing: Have a direction and be clear about it. 

Clear direction sets you up to get where you want to be or where you think you’re supposed to be. It’s like having a sign on the road to tell you if you’re going the right way.

Now, that all sounds good, but if you’re like me, you’ve also stumbled over the fact that it is not easy to have a clear direction. We try to set a direction for our life through things like goals, visions, plans, or even the dreaded new year’s resolution. None of it seems to work because you eventually hit a decision point…someplace that requires a choice, and you’re not sure which choice is right.

Here’s the reason: We usually try to build focus in our life by defining what we want to do.

But that approach will only get you so far before it starts to crumble.

Here’s why: You can’t define your life by what you do. 

Life is deeper than what we do. Life is about who we are. So if you want to create massive focus and the ability to make better choices, you need to define your life by who you want to be.

Deep down on the inside, who is it that you want to be?

[clickToTweet tweet=”Life is deeper than what we do. Life is about who we are. #focus #faith #2017 #newyear” quote=”Life is deeper than what we do. Life is about who we are.” theme=”style2″]

Here’s where we miss it: What you do flows out of who you are. 

Focus (and life) doesn’t work real well when you turn the equation around. You’ve probably seen the terrible crash and burn that happens when people try to do things…and then do more things…and do things again, all in the hope that their “doing” will make them into the person they desire to be.

The way to create real focus in your life is by working hard on your character so that who you are produces what you want to do.

Here’s the best way I’ve found to easily work on who I am and become more confident in my choices, it’s a simple way to use focus, and it will create a remarkable year if you use it.

Choose. Your. Words.

Let me explain…

At the end of each year, I choose around three words that will define who I hope to become over the course of the next year. They may be verbs that tell me what actions I want to take, or the words I choose could simply be descriptive of the type of person I want to be.

To be clear, I pray about the words that I designate as my words of the year. They aren’t random words that I haphazardly choose. These are the one, two, or three words that I will use as a filter for every choice and every decision throughout the coming year, so they have to be spot on with what I feel God wants to create in my heart. 

Also, it makes maintaining focus so much easier when you feel as though God has directed your steps in the direction you’re pursuing. If you are going to use this method, don’t skip spending the time with God that you need to spend so that He can guide you and speak to you.

With all that being said, let me give you an example of what I’m talking about by telling you my three words for 2017.

My words are kindness, humility, and believe.

It’s not that I’ve never possessed these qualities or used them before, I just have a goal to increase in these areas in 2017. I want these words to describe who I am…because I know if these words are who I am, they will produce what I ultimately want to do.

With every new choice that presents itself next year I will ask myself: 

  • Does this make me a kind person?
  • Would deciding this express humility?
  • Will acting or speaking in this manner cause me to believe more deeply in God and in who He’s forming me to be?

This year I want people to be able to describe me as a kind person who displays kind actions. It’s an area in which I need work. I want to remain humble in heart and mind because it will produce thankfulness in my heart that overflows in my life. God rejects the proud but lifts up the humble. I certainly don’t want to be the sort of person that God pushes back from. Most of all, I want to be a person of deep belief. Deep faith. Scripture says that even the smallest faith can move a mountain, and if you’re like me there are probably some mountains in your life that need to be moved.

So my prayer in 2017 will be, “God help me to be kind, humble, and to believe.”

I will filter my choices and actions with these words. They will become the direction I want my life to go, so when presented with a new path or opportunity, it is easy to see if I should pursue it or not. Will it make me kind, humble, or increase my power to believe? If so, it is probably good for me, if it doesn’t, I need to stay away from it.

But what about you? 

Do you know who you want to be next year? Do you have a clear thought about who you’re becoming? If not, now is the time to pray about it. What you do always flows out of who you are, so in 2017 resolve to work on who you are.

OK…I really hope you’ll get the picture of what I’m talking about and put this into practice for yourself because it makes focus so much easier. My three words for 2016 have guided me all year long, and as I look back, I clearly see the hand of God in the words I chose. I can’t wait for 2017 because I already know where I’m going.

Here’s what to do:

  • Spend time meditating and praying about who you are on the inside.

  • Ask God to reveal who He wants you to become.

  • Listen. Write down what you hear.

  • Choose one to three words that will guide who you want to become in 2017.

  • Find a place to display your words where they stay at the forefront of your mind.

  • Tell someone the words you’ve chosen to guide you and why.

I sincerely hope you have the best possible year in 2017, and I firmly believe you can. If you feel like you can’t do it alone, you don’t have to. Sign up below and I’ll help you stay motivated throughout the year.

Now would you do me a favor? Share this post with the share buttons and help a friend have a better next year too!


Larry Shankle is a pastor, author, and blogger. He helps people get clarity and direction in their calling, purpose, dreams, and leadership.

Larry and his wife (Amanda) live in the Arkansas river valley with their two boys (Braxton and Dawson). He has spent almost two decades in active local church ministry serving in multiple leadership roles. Larry has spent the last six and a half years serving as Lead Pastor of GrandviewChurch in Natural Dam, AR.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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3 thoughts on “How To Be Confident Of Your Choices In 2017

  1. Interesting read Larry. You have obviously done some self examination. When we can face and admit the truth about ourselves it makes a huge difference about who we are or become.
    I have never made New Year’s resolutions. It is more of a fad to me, but I start off thinking of what I would like to achieve and figure out the steps I could or need to take.
    Focus! Yes it is a word often used and I agree it is not always possible to stay focused. The important thing I believe to first recognize that fact and work on developing the discipline to remain focused.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. I really appreciate you not only as my pastor, but great leader in our wonderful community.
    With Tammy’s illness sometimes very difficult for us to handle, your blog gives us strength.
    I Never doubt my faith in God when I have a leader like you to guide and pray for me.
    Thank you so very much for your strength.