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Every new year, I reflect on the year gone by and use the time to recalibrate and prepare for the next 364.25 days – my own personal ‘pit stop.’ I love a proper, daily planner in book form and I highlight all the school holidays and write down all the important dates I already know, like my family’s and friends’ birthdays. It is something of a ritual, helping me to map it out and lay it all before the Lord, asking these questions with an open heart for whatever He wants from me: “What is going to make this year count for the Kingdom?” and, like Paul, “What would You have me do?” (Acts 9:6; KJV; paraphrased).

A few years ago, I learnt how to change the tyre of a Formula One racing car at the Silverstone Racing Circuit, as part of a team-building exercise at a business conference. If you’re an F1 enthusiast, you’ll know that a pitstop is essential for the cars to continue racing without a drop in performance. The change must be lightning quick, a far cry from the slow affair it once was back in the 1950’s where drivers could even grab a quick slurp of tea. The average time for refuelling and a tyre change has gone from 67 seconds to a mere 1.82 seconds by the Red Bull team for Max Verstappen. Isn’t that just amazing?!

With three of us on each wheel, we were coached in each step by a trained Silverstone staff member: remove each of the four wheel nuts with the impact wrench; remove the old wheel; place the new wheel on the car; replace the wheel nuts. Before we attempted our first timed effort, we decided who would do which task based on strength and ability. We did it in about 18 seconds – not bad, eh?! But we already knew that we could make some small adjustments to get it down even more. Our best time was about 12 seconds and this was after we were given a few opportunities to see where we could make improvements. Teamwork and clear communication was also vital to our success.

What we learnt as a team was a concept that has been successfully adopted and applied by the motor industry, that lots of small improvements made over time can make a big difference. No other sport has seen a more drastic revolution than Formula One, and in this blog, I wanted to share with you the impact that this experience has had on helping me strengthen my resolve each day and each new year. My hope is that it will help you to look at the resolutions you might be committing yourself to in 2023 that might not be realistic past day 4 because we try to take too big a leap forward and, despite our best efforts, fail.

When we are faced with any new challenge or even a problem to solve, we can actually choose to come at it with creativity and innovation, and see it as an opportunity. Common New Year’s Day resolutions focus on physical and emotional well-being: improved fitness or weight loss, quitting a bad habit, better time- management, doing something new – these are all great and I subscribe to these myself. However, I propose that a focus to develop, with intention this year, is your relationship with God. If you’re wanting to develop your prayer life or spend more time in His Word, what is one small, sustainable change you can make right now? So often, it’s the ‘follow-through’ that trips us up and we end up back where we started, only this time feeling like a failure. So, in actuality, the question is: ‘How do we improve our chances of successful follow-through?The key is perseverance and the key to perseverance is one small step at a time, day in and day out. Pure dedication on our part is not enough; we need the Holy Spirit’s enabling. Additionally, who can be on team with you? Let’s face it, we are less likely to throw in the towel to any new endeavour if we have a buddy or are part of a small group.

During the past couple of months, Women of Reverence hosted “The Armor of God” online bible study by Priscilla Shirer. I was delighted to be able to facilitate the sessions and, like so many of the women taking part, found the experience as well as the content to be transformative. We looked at the different pieces of armour and the power of prayer, and I was particularly challenged by the week on the helmet of salvation. The Lord highlighted Romans 12:2 (CSB) to me which says, “Be transformed by the renewing of (y)our mind.” We are to be changed from “glory to glory” as we see in 2 Corinthians 3:18 (CSB), so our renewal is a process. Isn’t this encouraging?

Pit stop improvements simply require:

1) Giving it a go – we are wired for love and not for fear, so be brave and just try. You will never know what you are capable of unless you do.

2) Reflection – what worked and what didn’t work? Maybe the Lord has been trying to teach you something and it seems like you can’t move onto the next step He has for you until you’ve applied what He has already told you to do.

3) Application - take the insight you’ve gained and make incremental adjustments.

4) A willing and humble heart – surrender to the working of the Holy Spirit.

I hope that you will feel encouraged to try one small improvement in your personal walk with Christ, and that perhaps the Lord might highlight something about your role at work, church or even in your family.

What is one small change you can implement that will make some improvement to your life and to the lives of those around you?

See you on the track!


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