Along with the shouts of “Happy New Year” come the obligatory questions, “What is your New Year’s resolution?”

I’ve never been a huge fan of resolutions (read more here: Ask Dr. B: Goals for the New Year or New Year’s Aspirations or It’s a New Year: Forgetting What is Past, Racing Toward the Prize. And yet, like a fresh fallen snow that covers everything in a blanket of clean white, I appreciate the natural “re-start” that a new year offers. A time of reflection, of contemplation, of goal setting.

In past years, I’ve structured goals around doing more, achieving greater things, or being better in some area. My goals in the past have always seemed to pit me against someone else’s perception of “the best.”

This past year has taught me some things, however, that I don’t want to lose hold of, and I want to continue to give credence to as I look forward to all God has for me in the next year.

In the early part of 2016, I was intensely focused on the launch of my new book, Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression.” It was my “baby,” and something I wanted to pour my heart into so that others could find His help, His hope, and His healing through the words God had given me to pen. My focus was on doing all I could to make it be all it could be as a valuable resource for others struggling in their own personal pit of despair.

Yet on the same day my book released, our lives came to a crashing stop. When we received the news that day that my husband’s biopsy was in fact cancer, all of a sudden book sales and interviews didn’t matter anymore. While I still longed for the book to help as many as it could, my focus shifted to supporting my husband and family through doctor’s appointments, surgeries, and chemotherapy treatments that consumed the rest of the year.

In sitting with him through chemotherapy treatments, and praying for him as he slept afterward, it reminded me of what I truly value in life and what I want to return my focus to in the coming year.

3 New Years Goals for Getting Back to What Really Matters

  1. When you face the very real possibility of losing someone important to you, it serves as a reminder that relationship with God and others is what’s most important. We never know when is the last time we will see someone, and yet when they are gone, we would do anything to have just a little more time with them. As I look into the next year, my desire is to be more intentionally present in the lives of those I love and who matter most to me. 
  2. When you go through difficult times, and it seems voices and advice are clamoring for your attention on every side, you come to realize what a distraction it can be, and a deterrent to peace. Through this year, I’ve learned the value of slowing down in order to be still and know that He is God, and He is in control. Just that assurance lends peace to the chaos. This next year, my desire is to prioritize time to be still and listen to the One who holds my future in His hands. 
  3. Over this past year, it’s become very apparent to me through the trials my family has faced, that while we don’t get to choose the difficulties we go through, we always have a choice in how to respond. In the world today, there is so much negativity at every turn. A negative attitude never fosters a positive expectation and robs us of joy in the circumstance. Yet no matter what we face, God always gives us something we can be thankful for. My desire in the next year is to practice more gratitude and less grumbling, and to remember that despite what I might be going through, He is positively good. Read more at: Thanksgiving: The Not So Little Things

In all these areas, I come back to the admonition in Matthew 6:33 “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”

What goals or resolutions are you making for the New Year? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

Because of Him, #HopePrevails!

(If you have a question you’d like Dr. B to answer, contact her here now. Your name and identity will be kept confidential.)


A short brief about Hope Prevails.

Hope Prevails
Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through Depression
Dr. Michelle Bengtson

Speaking from personal and professional experience, a neuropsychologist unpacks what depression is, shows how it affects us spiritually, and offers hope for living the abundant life.

Neuropsychologist Offers Hope to Those Struggling with Depression
-By 2020, depression will be our greatest epidemic worldwide

  • An estimated 350 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression
  • Helpful features include personal stories, biblical truths, prayers, and music recommendations

Hope Prevails Book cover vertical 536

In Hope Prevails, Dr. Bengtson writes with deep compassion and empathy, blending her extensive training and faith, to offer readers a hope that is grounded in God’s love and grace. She helps readers understand what depression is, how it affects them spiritually, and what, by God’s grace, it cannot do. The result is a treatment plan that addresses the whole person—not just chemical imbalances in the brain.

For those who struggle with depression and those that want to help them, Hope Prevails offers real hope for the future.

Hope Prevails is available now wherever books are sold. To find out more, see:

When you go through difficult times, voices and advice clamor for your attention on every side. Difficult times reminded me of what I truly value in life. What I want to return my focus to in the coming year. My three New Year's goals for getting back to what really matters.