25 Proverbs for the New Year

I love proverbs, those pithy little sayings filled with advice about how to live life well. Why do I like them? They’re short. They’re wise. And their advice often comes wrapped in a concrete image. Today I’d like to share some proverbs with you. Some of them are ancient. Others are modern. Some have a known author. Most are anonymous. As you read these proverbs, see if any of them make you stop and say, “Hmmm,” or “How true!” or “I don’t know. That hasn’t been my experience!”

  1. The heart carries the feet. (Hebrew)
  2. If you think you’re too small to make a difference, you haven’t been in bed with a mosquito. (Anita Roddick)
  3. Your fears are bad counselors.

    Don't count sheep; talk to the Shepherd...

    Don’t count sheep; talk to the Shepherd…

  4. If you can’t sleep, don’t count sheep; talk to the Shepherd.
  5. A pessimist is someone who complains about the noise when opportunity knocks.
  6. Never mind trying to remember the names of the 7 dwarfs or the 8 reindeer. Just remember the 10 commandments.
  7. The harder I work, the luckier I get.
  8. Some people march to a different drummer—and others polka.
  9. More diets begin in dress shops than in doctors’ offices.
  10. You do not know your true character until you have run out of gas, purchased something on the installment plan, or raised an adolescent. (Marcelen Cox)
  11. No one needs more love than someone who doesn’t deserve it.
  12. He who plants trees loves others besides himself.
  13. Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried. (G, K. Chesterton)
  14. Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey.
  15. Bad news goes about in clogs; good news in stocking feet. (Welsh proverb)

    He who plant trees, loves others beside himself.

    He who plants trees, loves others beside himself.

  16. The past is a guidepost, not a hitching post.
  17. A well-adjusted person is one who can play bridge or golf as if they were games.
  18. Before you marry, keep two eyes open; after you marry, shut one. (Jamaican proverb)
  19. He who cannot dance puts the blame on the floor. (Hindi proverb)
  20. A thing not worth doing isn’t worth doing well.
  21. Nothing seems expensive on credit. (Czech proverb)
  22. Praise loudly, blame softly. (Russian proverb)
  23. Many a shabby colt makes a fine horse. (Irish proverb)
  24. A lie travels around the world while the truth is still putting on her shoes. (French proverb)
  25. Be not simply good; be good for something.

As Christians we guide our living not merely by wise proverbs, but, more importantly, by the wise and challenging words of Jesus who walks with us every day of every year. As we end 2015 and venture into 2016, let us pray the words of this beautiful song, “How Great Is Our God” by Chris Tomlin—who reminds us that “time is in his hands.” Happy New Year!

Do any of the proverbs above stand out for you? If so, why?

Do you have a favorite proverb you’d like to share with us?

Do you know any proverb that describes or summarizes this past year for you? Is there any proverb that you’d like to remember during this coming year?

No Comments

  1. Doris on December 28, 2015 at 4:50 am

    My favorites: #2, 4, and 17.
    Not quite a proverb but a saying that floated around the Internet a couple years ago: “We are a bit like crayons: some are sharp, some pretty, some dull, some have weird names, all are different colors, but we all have to live in the same box.”
    Wishing you a blessed new year. Keep on blogging.

  2. Kathleen on December 28, 2015 at 5:14 am

    I like the Welsh proverb. So true.


  3. Kathy on December 28, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Thanks again and Happy New Year!
    I love reading all of these.

    Here’s a favorite of mine:
    Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. – J.M. Barrie

  4. Patricia on December 28, 2015 at 9:25 am

    I love your blog. Thank you for taking the time to write it each week. This blog starts my week on a positive note. Wishing you a blessed New Year.
    God bless.

  5. JoAnn Welch on December 28, 2015 at 9:52 am

    Love these proverbs!!!

  6. Suzanne Sayer on December 28, 2015 at 10:07 am

    I like 8-9-10.

    Wishing you a happy, blessed new year!

  7. Mary on December 28, 2015 at 10:11 am

    New Year Blessings and a big ‘THANK YOU’ for your beautiful messages! I look forward to receiving them each week. You’re certainly a day-brightener! God be with you always…

  8. Mary Schneider on December 28, 2015 at 10:51 am

    I too love Proverbs. The one with the picture of the sheep must have been taken in the West….mountains in the background! If I take time to reflect on a proverb, I always find wisdom in them, some of them are humorous wisdom.

  9. carol on December 28, 2015 at 11:21 am

    My mom’s favorite proverb was one I believe here mom coined. When someone was talking about another she always said, “I have enough dirt to sweep on my own front stoop.”

  10. Skip Meadows on December 28, 2015 at 11:28 am

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Sister Melannie! I love all of them! The special one for me today I sent to my son and new daughter-in-love who were married last week. It was the one about closing one eye after you get married! With love, Skip Meadows

  11. Patty on December 28, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Blessings to you, Sister.

  12. Gus on December 28, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Sister, Your blog is my meditation every time I receive them. I share them with my family. My sister is a SSJ from Erie PA and has a ministry in Louisville KY. I share with her on occasion. I went to a Catholic Grade and HS taught by the Sisters of Saint Joseph. The best education anyone could wish for. Most of my mentors have gone for their rewards but I think of them often and can remember every Sister who taught me and I am 77 yrs young. Their impression was so great on all of us who traveled from the first grade to the 12th together. We will celebrate our 60th HS Anniversary in 2016.

  13. Karen on December 28, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    My dad always used to say “You can’t push on a rope” … the older I get the more I appreciate the wisdom of this one.
    Wishing you and all the good Sisters of Notre Dame a blessed Christmas and New Year.

  14. Annette on December 28, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    Number 4 is the best!

  15. Joanne Bennardo on December 28, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    Dear Sister Melannie,
    Here are a few of my favorite quotes, which may or may not be considered proverbs:
    See everything–Overlook a great deal–Correct a little. Pope John XXIII
    The more I dwell on what is wrong, the further I feel from the Creator of all beauty. Terri Mifek
    Complaining and criticizing spread angry clouds that hide hope and kill joy. Kathryn Hermes, FSP
    Do I hear only the notes of my life, instead of the melody? Thomas Merton
    The world for which you have been so carefully prepared is being taken away from you by the grace of God. Walter Brueggeman

    May our good and gracious God bless you as the Jubilee Year of Mercy continues. Joanne

  16. Josita on December 28, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    Dear Melannie,
    I enjoyed the proverbs especially the first. My feet move the quickest
    ( with a little help from a car) when I go to meet my loved ones!
    Please pray for us…we are ending our Provincial Chapter, and will vote tomorrow for our provincial council. Our provincial was appointed last month.
    Have a peaceful , happy and healthy New Year.
    Thanks for your informative and uplifting blogs!
    Blessings, Josita

  17. KB on December 29, 2015 at 1:40 am

    I liked numbers 1,3,4,11,16,20 best but all were great selections. Thanks for your inspirational thoughts.

  18. debi on December 29, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    every one is a blessing and especially the one “he who plants trees loves others besides himself”

  19. Michelle on December 29, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Dear Sr. Melannie:

    My favorite is #12. We live very rurally and bought our property because of the trees. Over the years with growth in the area and the drought in early 2000’s, the land has changed drastically with the loss of so many beautiful trees. My husband and I have planted many trees on our property and have been rewarded with beauty, flowers and shade. We love nature and we love people. Happy New Year and may your 2016 be blessed abundantly. Michelle

  20. Cathy Baier on December 30, 2015 at 10:35 am

    I like #’s 1 &11. Here’s one I heard recently: Every problem either makes you bitter or better.
    Blessed New Year to all!

  21. Jack Howe on December 31, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    I look forward to checking in regularly. I have had a shortcut icon on PC for months but now using it.

    I thirst for these spiritual drinks.

  22. Joan Campagna on January 1, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    #7 The harder I work, the luckier I get.

    So many people buy lotto tix, hoping to “get lucky” one day. I think if they would work hard, save their $ for a rainy day, they would see how lucky they really are!

  23. Rose on January 5, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    Hi Melannie,

    I hit a wrong button and the survey disappeared before I finished! I think I was on the question of how I learned about your blog. So sorry!

    As for the proverbs–I was reminded of teaching Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac–had more fun with those aphorisms with the students. A perennial favorite: “fish and visitors stink in three days”! I know, not the most inspirational thought for the day!

    Thanks again for your blog!

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