Well, I’m a little late to the New Year’s Resolution party, but better late than never (or maybe I’m just “fashionably late?”) Anyway, since I’m my own biggest critic and think often of all the things about me that need improvement, I figured I should jump on the resolution bandwagon. Although, everyone knows that New Year’s resolutions are pointless. Going into 2013, I’m still going to want to get in better shape, get more organized, be a better friend and family member, get less stressed, and quit smoking, so what’s the point really? (Did I throw anybody off there? I don’t actually smoke, but thought I’d throw that in there to see if anyone’s paying attention. Although, who knows, maybe I’ll pick it up in 2012 and then need to have it as a 2013 resolution? Highly unlikely.) Having said all that, I want to make some goals for myself for the new year, and since it’s 2012 and 12 is a positive Biblical number, I’m going to go with 12 goals for 2012. So here goes:
1) Wake up at 5am daily, at least five days a week. This one is just silly, right? What is WRONG with me? Well, I’m not getting anything done late at night, so why not give early in the morning a try? I can do all kinds of things at 5am that I can’t do any other time: Read quietly. Exercise. Pray. Walk the dogs around the neighborhood in my underwear. The possibilities for uninterrupted time are endless when no one else is awake.
2) Read through the entire New Testament one chapter at a time. (Considering that I just finished the “1-year Bible reading plan” I started two years ago, this might be a more manageable option for me.) Also, this goes along with something our church is doing, using Project 345 as a reading plan as part of BUMC’s “Step Up in 2012” initiative. (Read more about that HERE.)
3) Go on one date per month with my wife. Doesn’t have to be at night, can be a random lunch at Moe’s on a Tuesday. (We had a couple lunch dates like that this fall and they were awesome!)
4) Take every opportunity to build forts, wrestle, read about Amelia Bedelia and BooBoo the burping gosling, sing about life instead of talk, play “chicken monster” (a game Pax invented a while ago where I’m a hybrid between a chicken and a monster and I chase the boys around the house trying to eat them), and snuggle.
5) Create a monthly budget for our family and STICK TO IT! (Dave Ramsey’s budget forms are great for this, we just have to be disciplined enough to make time to do it and stick to it!)
6) Post 200 blog posts. For me, this will mostly be associated with what I’m reading in the New Testament. It’s not that I think I’ll write anything worth reading, but I know that when I take time to think and write, I usually have better things to say. It will sort of be my rough draft of thoughts. Plus, maybe it will be fun for people reading through the Project 345 plan with me to have a place to interact with different things they’re reading.
7) Ride 2/3 of the way across the country on my bike. Well, not literally or at one time, but put 2,000 miles on my bike in 2012. The good news is that thanks to my 20 mile New Year’s Day ride, I’m already 1% of the way there! (Way to go, Trav!)
7a) Ride a “century.” (That’s a 100 mile bike ride all at one time.) If I do that, plus the 20 mile ride I did on New Year’s Day, I’ll be like 6% of my way to my total goal!
8) Improve my communication.
8a) Empty my email inbox every day. (Since I’ve already failed at this every day this year, I’ll just say it hasn’t started yet. But the single thing that stresses me out more than anything else is email. My life will change drastically if I can do that one.) The problem is, I could easily spend half of every day on email alone, so I’ve got to figure that one out too.
8b) Return phone and text messages faster. Within 24 hours. Texts are difficult because I’m not really willing to live on my phone and respond instantly every time I get one, and I don’t think that’s going to change for me, but generally people want instant responses when they send texts. Sometimes I just need to unplug and that will have to be okay.
9) Graduate from Vanderbilt Divinity School with a Master of Divinity. If all goes according to plan, I will do this in May!
10) Become part of a small group. I need some close friends that I meet with regularly who encourage me, tell me when I’m being stupid, pray for me, and hold me accountable. And I need to be doing the same thing for other people on a consistent basis. I can’t keep talking to students about the importance of being in a small group if I’m not in one myself.
11) Improve my leadership. This will include focusing my energy and attention on less things and doing them better. This will include saying “no” to things. This will include allowing other people to have the spotlight and giving them full responsibility for things and getting out of the way, intervening only if they ask for help or in order to be a cheerleader. This will include taking ample time to strategically plan my schedule, my goals, and my time. I am such a victim to the “tyranny of the urgent.” I allow things to pop up and derail my energy and focus and attention all the time, and my work and leadership suffer because of it.
11a) Read 20 new books. Completely. I’m an avid book buyer and book starter, but I stink at finishing them. I want to read on a variety of topics, from theology to leadership to ministry to parenting.
11b) Be ready for Sunday by the end of Thursday. See “become a better leader” above. Also falls into the “take every opportunity to build forts” category. If I’m not prioritizing my time, I’m not prepared for Sunday. And if I’m not prepared for Sunday, I’m not taking every opportunity during the weekend to build forts.
12) According to my wife, number 12 should be “under no circumstances should I do number one.” So, if I fail at number one, I might as well not do any of them. Oh well. Maybe I’ll have better luck in 2013.