Friday, January 6, 2017

Just Say No To Resolutions

When I was in school, my teachers would almost always check the box on my report card that said, "Makes wise use of time." These many years later, it still makes me crazy to waste time.

Over the past couple of weeks I did some goal setting for 2017. I want to look back and see some accomplishments so I know I made wise use of my time. I am intentional about living a life of purpose - to tell a meaningful story with my life.

In January 2016 a few goals I had written were:
  • Clean cupboards, closets, clothes, bookshelves, and give things away to Goodwill.

  • Have coffee dates with long-lost friends.

  • Lose Weight

  • Finish an online course I had started, then put aside.

  • Publish my health journal book.

I listed specific goals for each area - exactly which cupboards and closets I wanted to clean, which friends I needed to reconnect with, how much weight I was going to lose (and specifically how I was going to do it), when I would finish the course, and set a deadline for publishing my book.

Results? My closets, cupboards, drawers and bookshelves have been pared down by around 60% (and I still look for things to get rid of), I reconnected with 5 long-lost friends, I lost 28.4 pounds and discovered which foods I need to avoid, I finished the course and published my book!

I heard a stat that only 8% of new year resolutions make it to the end of January. That means by the time you read this, if you've made resolutions you're already struggling.

Pastor MarkPettus (Church of the Highlands, Alabama) said, "Resolutions depend on me to fix a problem I caused," and that's not a good idea. He said we need more than willpower, we need a Higher Power - Jesus!

Our resolutions are meaningless if we don't depend on Jesus to change us. I also believe we need to pray and be intentional about the changes we're going to make.

"Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth." Isaiah 43:19 [NASB]

For the past couple of years I've read James Clear's Annual Review on his blog. He looks back over his year and discusses the good, the bad, failures, improvements and where he can use those lessons going into the new year. I love his overview-style and it has helped me consider my year and where I'm going.

I also recently read a great article from Chris Guillebeau, "How to Conduct Your Own Annual Review." He's more specific in his review style using a step-by-step process, listing distinct areas, what the summary theme is for each, which 3 or 4 specific action steps it will require, and checking in with yourself each quarter to see how you're doing.

Even though we're already into January, I encourage you to take some time to look over your past year. This may not be a quick process; it may even take a few days, but that's ok so you can put a good plan together. What are your wins? What are your losses? What did you learn from them? Where do you want to go in 2017? What will it take to get there?

Even if you don't meet all your goals (I didn't in 2016), at least you've got something to aim for. You'll have a story of accomplishment to tell on December 31, 2017. You'll be excited and proud of living a story of purpose.

"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." Mary Kay Ash

A few of my goals for 2017 are to be consistent in daily time with God, walk at least 5000 steps per day, connect with 4 or 5 long-lost friends (the ones I didn't make it to last year), read 6-10 books, attend the Tribe Writers Conference in September.

Check out James Clear and Chris Guillebeau and let me know if you create a plan for 2017. Just say no to resolutions and yes to goals!

Happy New Year, Sweet Friends! Thank you for being on this journey with me.

And let's check in with each other on January 1 so we can see how well we did!