Every year, I make resolutions, hoping through sheer force of will to make myself better. I want to become a kinder, more thoughtful person, and yet I almost always fall short of my expectations. Turns out, willpower isn't enough. I need a higher power. Someone who knows me and loves me, to strengthen my resolve. I need God.

Have you stopped to consider what resolutions God wants you to make? He is, after all, the one who best knows your strengths and weaknesses. Maybe we're going about this resolution thing wrong. It's time to stop resolving to act better and start resolving to live closer to God. If we let Him, He has the power to change our lives from the inside out.

Letting God preside over our personal growth starts with knowing His will for our lives. That means we need to forge stronger connections with Him. If you're looking to get closer to God this year, here's how.

Back to basics

You can resolve most spiritual problems with two simple actions - praying and reading the word. These are often the first actions we teach our children as we read and pray as families. We're so good at modeling these powerful behaviors for our kids, but we're often terrible at following through with them in our personal lives. We let the busyness of life intrude on the two actions guaranteed to bring us closer to God.

Don't let another day go by without reading scripture. Even if it's only a verse a day, one verse has the power to impact everything you do. Fit in prayer, even if it's in the midst of screaming kids and burning dinner. God doesn't care where you are; He cares about how you are. The Eternal Father of your soul wants a daily update on your life, and He's waiting for you to come to Him. Make the time.

See God in everyone

God created you, the person in the next cubicle over, the checker at the market and everyone else you see throughout the day. Never forget He loves all of us equally. If you want to know God, get to know those precious spirits He created. You cannot have a close connection with God if you are at odds with your fellow men. Part of communing with God is seeing not just the good in everyone but the Godliness in everyone. We all have a spark of the divine in us. Look for it.

Be kinder to those around you, and you'll see God's hand in your life this year. Stop judging, gossiping and fault-finding, and start looking for the positive. God wants to bless your life, and He does that through the willing hands of others. Therefore, you have to let others bless your life. That's pretty hard if you're too busy bashing on everyone.

Surrender your will

The ultimate test in this life is surrendering our will to the will of God. It's so incredibly hard! We all want our lives to go a certain way, and sometimes that makes us unwilling to go down the paths God is pushing us toward. It all comes down to faith. Do you have faith that God has your best interests at heart?

Make this the year you put God's plan to the test. Embrace living the commandments, serve with a happy heart and tell God in prayer that you will go wherever you feel Him leading. See what happens. It will feel scary, but God will take you to places you never dreamed possible.

Set aside that list of resolutions, and ask for God's input. Are you willing to find out what He has in store for you this coming year? God's plans are often quite different from our own, but we can learn a lot from being led down unfamiliar paths. If you're willing to let God guide you, you will grow as a person all year long.

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