How are you doing so far into this new year? This year so long-awaited, so intensely anticipated. Have you stuck to your resolutions for one week? Allow me to add one more item for your consideration as we move forward. Both a challenge and an encouragement to live a “joy-filled life.”

In his best-selling book, “The 4:8 Principle,” author Tommy Newberry asks, “Do you want a future that is better than your present?” A few of you may answer “no” to that question, being perfectly content with your present state. However, most of us would answer a resounding, perhaps even frantic “yes!” Whether you are desperate for a change in your financial situation, praying for improved health, desiring to grow spiritually, looking to increase your education, or trying to be more loving and present with your family; most people hope to continue improving as the years go by.

So, how do you get there; how do you both challenge and encourage yourself to ensure your future is better than your present? Make a life plan? A good idea. Make annual resolutions? If that works for you. How about starting even smaller on a daily, hourly, moment-by-moment scale? Begin with your thoughts.

Newberry explains, “Every thought sends electrical and chemical signals throughout your brain, ultimately affecting each cell in your body.” Consider that for a moment! Are you flooding your mind and entire body with negative, self-degrading, resentful, angry thoughts? Or are you infusing your cells with true, kind, just, and graceful thinking? Newberry challenges no thoughts are neutral. You will experience more of whatever you dwell on, and the average person thinks approximately 50,000 thoughts per day.

Based on the concept from Philippians 4:8, “whatever is true, noble, just, pure…. think on these things,” Newberry is not offering a recipe for wishful thinking or making your wildest dreams come true. This is a real wake-up call to sincerely evaluate your thought life and positively impact your future. Billy Graham has said, “The happiness for which our souls ache is one undisturbed by success or failure, one which will root deeply inside us and give inward relaxation, peace, and contentment, no matter what the surface problems may be.”

Newberry shares you become what you think about most, and most people never challenge their own thinking. So compete with your previous self, “with each seed of thought, your self-concept shifts toward your highest potential or away from it.”

If you want to learn more, check out Tommy Newberry’s book, “The 4:8 Principle, The Secret to a Joy-Filled Life.”

Carissa Marine enjoys reading for personal growth, and sharing to encourage others. She serves as CEO of the Champion for Children Foundation of Highlands County providing awareness and support to prevent child abuse and increase the overall well-being of our community’s kids.