Editor’s Note: Joel Renner is the CEO of RENNER Ministries. Alongside his father, Joel has actively participated for many years in nearly every facet of the daily operations of the ministry. Joel resides in Moscow, Russia, with his wife and two sons.

Starting 2023 Right

The new year has begun! Happy New Year!!!

There is something about the new year that is so exciting. It is a celebration that most people find important. Personally, it is my favorite holiday — probably because it is one of the only holidays that the whole world celebrates, so we are all united that day around one common event. I also like New Year’s Day because it is a time spent with family, a time of anticipation, and then a time of celebration.


But for me, starting the next year right begins before the new year. Every year I take time before the year is over to think about what I have done and what I want to do in the coming year, and I write it down. Some people would call this a New Year’s resolution, but I like what the philosopher Seneca said:

“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.”

So setting your compass before you start sailing is important. I suggest you sit down in October and write out the desires of your heart for the new year then come back to this document in November and December and work on it some more and pray about it. As you come back to it, get more and more realistic about your aspirations so when January 1 comes around you will know what you want to do for the year. I recommend having family goals, spiritual goals, financial goals, social goals, physical goals, intellectual goals, and career goals. I have found that one goal per category is needed to cover all the areas of my life — maybe you have one or two more categories that would be helpful to you.

Maybe you don’t like to write out your goals for the year. Well, we are all a little different, but I believe we all have goals, and it is proven that if you write out your goals you are more likely to achieve them. So I urge you to give it a go. I am confident that you would likely encourage your friends or children to write out what they want to achieve, so why don’t you follow that advice too.

The last thing I will suggest to start the new year right is to forgive. It is always the right time to forgive, but I especially want to encourage you to get that courage or humility before the new year starts and forgive anyone you need to forgive. That one act of forgiveness for sure will change the year for you.

God bless,

Joel Renner