It’s that time again. The year is still fresh and new and exciting. The possibilities are endless and what we could make 2015 into. So we plot and we plan. We evaluate 2014 and try to figure out how to make ourselves, our marriages, our relationships, our year better in 2015. The most common way that we do that is through resolutions. That’s our first mistake.
Resolutions were made to be broken. At least that’s how it feels. Why are they so hard to keep? Why can’t I stop biting my finger nails, or go to to the gym more often or finally drink a whole gallon of milk in one hour? I think it’s because when it comes to resolutions we rely too much on ourselves and not enough on other people. If we stop resolving to do something but rather set a goal and make sure that goal has a purpose behind it I think we will see better results.
When we make resolutions what are we really saying? We are saying that we will use whatever resolve we have as individuals to accomplish X. The closest we come to community or teamwork when it comes to resolutions is telling other people that we have made a resolution. If resolutions are supposed to make us, and our lives better why are we so stubborn to do them on our own? Why shouldn’t we get as many people involved as possible? More over, where do we leave room to be led? Where do we leave room to not trust and rely on our own resolve but the resolve of God which is infinitely greater than my own? No wonder we try and try and fail and fail, what differences in our lives and our communities could we see if we trusted and leaned into the resolve of God rather than our own?
I am a verbal processor and usually when I am struggling with a big decision I have an idea I will talk it out with a handful of people that I value and trust. It can drive Sarah nuts because I can process my way to multiple different fake answers before arriving at the real one but it’s a process. I think the same should go for the goals we have for ourselves. Talk it out with people. Get input and advice. Let others in on how you are doing.
The other thing that holds us back when it comes to resolutions is the black and white way we look at them. I won’t even address the “I want to be thinner” resolutions. Those don’t work because it isn’t a tangible goal, just something arbitrary in your mind. Set a bench mark for yourself. What I’m talking about is this view that we either achieve our resolution or we fail at it. There is no in-between when it comes to them and I don’t understand why. They are so concrete and non-adjustable whereas goals are flexible and changeable.
Let’s say you set a goal that you want to hit the gym 6 times a month for the whole year. Some months you do it and some months you don’t. Let’s say at the end of the year you only went to the gym 50 times instead of the 72 you wanted to. If this was your resolution then you failed. But, if this was your goal, though you didn’t hit it you got damn close. You did something previously unattainable for you. You didn’t fail. You still made a life change, you still tried and made an effort. There’s room for growth and celebration there.
Instead of resolutions in 2015 set some goals. Let them be goals that involve other people. Let them be goals that are flexible and changeable. Don’t feel like you are bound to these things and they control or define you. Let these be things that you would enjoy and can be fun. The whole point of this exercise is to make 2015 a better year, it won’t be better if you aren’t having fun.
In light of the goal vs. resolution conversation as well as the idea of getting others involved, here are my goals for 2015.*
-Play video games with Dane 4 times this year. Dane is my younger brother who lives in Cleveland. One of our favorite activities growing up other than beating the hell out of each other was to play video games together. Because he lives in the Cleve I don’t see him very often. He is planning to come to visit at least 3 times this year. But the goal is four sessions of shooting zombies and stealing cars so that means I gotta go visit him. It’s something I should have done already but want to do this year.
-Date night with Sarah once a month. This one should be a no brainer. Especially with Sarah’s new job our schedules will be busy but I enjoy my wife’s company I like taking her out and I like going on dates with her. I like seeing her get dressed up and trying out new activities and restaurants and getting us out of the house. So at least once a month I’m planning a date night for me and my wife.
-Read 4 books. Not a huge number I know. That’s the other thing about goals, make them something attainable. If I said 10 I would be setting myself up for failure. And I wouldn’t really digest them as well as I could. So it’s 4. I hope I exceed this one. I hope I blow this one away. I have always said I want to be the kind of preacher that is able to quote and reference books and authors and stories. Story readers make for better story tellers. So 4 books this year. Luckily Sarah likes to read and we can do this one together. Any suggestions on what to read?
-Preach 3 times. I got to preach twice this past year. I always find it to be a blessing and honor any time I am asked to step in and preach. My reasoning for this one is two fold. First I have been told multiple times by multiple people the only way to get better at preaching is to do it as often as I can. At this point in my life I don’t turn down opportunities to speak or preach based on that advice I was given. The other reason is more selfish. I really love to do it. I love to study and see what God would open up and show me. I love being able to communicate the awesome power and authority of Scripture. I really feel I was made to do that which is also why I will do it any chance I can. So my goal is 3 times this year. That also puts on me the responsibility to do what I can to let people know that I am actively looking for chances. Something I try not to do often.
-120 Rounds of Yoga. I used to be a pretty athletic guy. I spent so many hours of my life swimming and exercising that it wasn’t hard to convert that into most other sports. As I’ve gotten older I’ve let myself stop working out, (can anyone relate?) and convinced myself it is ok. It’s funny, I can convince myself I’m still in shape and can still do things I used to even though I have done 0 to keep myself in shape, but then my body reminds me quickly what I have done. I like to be in shape. I am starting to border on that place of not liking what I see in the mirror and the only way it will change is if I make an effort. So DDP and his Yoga regimen will be my guide. 120 rounds, that’s at least twice a week with about 3 months worth of 3 times a week. At this point it’s January 8th and I’m at 0. Better get cracking.
-Write a book. This one is hard to write. Not many people read this blog but I’m still putting it out there for the internet to know. I want to write a book. Some people know I have been very slowly working on a book. In December of 2013 I wrote a loose outline for a book I think I want to write and I’ve written bits and pieces throughout the year. The goal is to have it done this year. My deadline is August. That forces me to sit and write. When I was in school, if I had a paper to write and I knew what I wanted to say and felt I could just muscle it out I would leave it till the last minute. That’s how I feel about this book. I don’t want to fall into that trap, thus the deadline of August. It’s scary to declare that I want to accomplish this. It makes it more real.
There we are my goals for 2015. Big year. Busy year? Productive year? Eventful year? The only way I’m gonna find out is by pursuing these goals. I don’t know if these goals will make my year better, but I do know it will be fun trying to accomplish them.
What are your goals for the year? Are they attainable? Are they specific? Do they involve other people? Leave a comment below.
*Goals, deadlines, and the list itself subject to change.*