Published on 1/13/2023

The Road Ahead: What Will You Do Differently This Year?
Winnis Chiang

Changing the way things are done can bring opportunities for great success. But reaction to change may be fearful and irrational, which can result in failures, a decrease in quality and a loss of productivity and production. When it comes to family, work, business and ministry, it can be tempting to give in to those anxieties by doing what's always been done. But some form of adjustment, such as freeing up time, money, and energy for new opportunities, is sometimes necessary in order to prepare for a better year.

Firstly, decide which are the most important adjustments to make. Ask yourself these questions:

1. What personal and business toleration interfered with your personal and work progress? Having to "tolerate" something or someone may mean you believe there is no choice, so you just bite your tongue and grind your teeth. Toleration is a good indication of having certain problems you need to face.

2. Were last year's goals reached? Why or why not? How will those obstacles be addressed? Setting new goals without having evaluated the previous year's goals can result in a cycle of substandard results.

3. What are some fiscally responsible goals, e.g. increasing income, collaborating with people, creating new products or services, improving marketing strategies, etc., that will also be fun? Remember, all work and no play make Jack a dull (and bored) boy, as the saying goes.

4. What expectations do you have for your relationships? For example, rekindling love with your spouse, getting along with your teenager, playing with your kid, enjoying and appreciating your family, and giving thanks to God for His love and faithfulness, etc. How will these goals bring joy to your life?

5. What self-care do you need to focus on for the health of your body, mind and spirit? For example, diet, exercise, spiritual disciplines, and other life issues. Are you focused on what really matters in your life?

Secondly, what do you need to change to have a better year? Here are some suggestions for your consideration:

1. Choose passion over profit. Connect to your bigger purpose in life, work, business and ministry; and then the rewards will flow effortlessly. Passionate people attract success.

2. Learning with an open mind. Technology changes fast. Staying on top of what's working now is only half the battle. Reading the Bible, praying, observing, and thinking are essential. Discovering what's up and coming and leveraging that knowledge is the key to an exceptional year. Are there something new that you could learn with your spouse, children, friends, colleagues or co-workers?

3. Count your blessings and celebrate success. Acknowledging and rewarding success with gratitude keeps everyone motivated. Mark those mini-milestones with celebration and recognition!

4. Add, don't subtract. In business, when repeat clients stop buying your products or services, something needs to change. Instead of cutting prices, add value instead--bundle existing services/products, add bonuses or create new offerings. At home, when your family members are not talking to each other, something is wrong. Instead of pretending that all is well (e.g. "we never argue"), learn to listen attentively and talk assertively to engage them with respect and care.

Finally, beware of blind spots

1. Every driver has blind spots. That's what rear-view mirrors are for. Blind spots in the family, church, work and business environment can be harder to identify. In a factory, how does a person avert disaster in a work environment without the benefit of mirrors? How can you find out your blind spots?

2. Ask around. Getting honest feedback from family and church members, clients, customers and service providers can be as uncomfortable as it is invaluable. Do it anyway.

3. Coffee time. Chat up a friend, family member, co-worker or colleague and encourage them to share their observations about what you are doing well and what needs improvement. Sometimes what needs to change is missed because it is so "obvious."

4. Seek professional help. Getting an objective outsiders opinion can help you see what is going well or not.

Moving into the New Year doesn't have to be a scary proposition. Having a clear sense of what's ahead can circumvent failure and create a successful year. Anxious of changing? Afraid of taking risks? Try your best and leave the outcome to God.

At the beginning of last year, I missed my family dearly. But due to the pandemic and our work schedule, it seemed impossible to visit loved ones whom I had not seen for several years. All I could do was to pray. Unexpectedly, God led step by step and allowed me to retire and move before year end. How grateful we are to be reunited with our son and his family! My husband and I can continue to study the Bible online with our brothers and sisters, and we can also watch our grandchildren grow up in close proximity. Everything is by grace. In the process, we cling to the word of God:

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)

Of course, not everyone has to change for the sake of change. But you can still take some time to evaluate the past and look forward to the future, may the Lord show you His will, His way, and His timing in this new year!

Happy New Year!!!

Attention Please:
I am now a retired California marriage and family therapist who no longer provides therapy services. Lord willing, I shall continue to write articles and lead workshops; and you are still welcome to visit for additional resources. May the Lord bless you and your family! 

Winnis Chiang

Winnis Chiang, founder of Parenting ABC and a retired LMFT, is passionate about helping Mandarin- and Cantonese-speaking parents to get along with, enjoy, and positively influence their American-born children.