Yeah, about those 2015 goals…

In a comment on Monday, Michael Coughlin asked me how I did with those 2015 goals I set last January. While I’m not sure anyone else would be interested in this, I decided I’d go ahead and report on those, briefly.

The short answer is: 2015 was a colossal failure from a goal-keeping perspective…but I’m okay with that. 

The only one I definitely accomplished was my goal to take at least four overnight trips with my wife. Turns out, I really like hanging out with her, so getting away on a regular basis is a really refreshing thing. (Crazy, I know.) And our relationship is growing stronger, which is such a blessing.

As for the others:

  • Reading through Bible / memorizing Scripture: Not even close. But I’ve begun again, and am now just seeking consistent daily Bible intake and prayer.
  • Weight loss: I actually gained 4 pounds over the course of 2015. But I’ve still maintained a total weight loss of more than 50 pounds since June of 2014. Something to build on.
  • Paying off debt: We made some progress but not nearly what I had hoped. However, that’s partly due to changes in household income, increases in cost of living with a move across town, and some unexpected large car repair bills. But God is faithful to provide for us, and He has given us everything we have needed. For that, we are most grateful.
  • Catching up with old friends: I have been able to spend time with a few old friends in recent months. I’m glad of that. But there are still a few I’d like to see.
  • Reading only books I own: HAHA, not even close. I do have a plan in place to dive deeper into my To-Be-Read shelf this year, however.
  • Consistent Writing Production: Nope. I probably hit about half of the total word count I was originally shooting for. However, I did take part in NaNoWriMo for the first time, and I really benefited from that experience.
  • Getting all A’s in Seminary: Missed it by that much. Got a high B in Systematic Theology 1, my only class in 2015. However, I really enjoyed that class and benefited from taking it, and one of my textbooks made it on my 2015 top 3 list.

I know why I failed to reach each of these goals–I stopped thinking about them. I didn’t keep them in front of me consistently. I put them away and moved on to other things, and time kept passing. I understand that, in order to be successful, I can’t lose sight of what I want most.

With all that said, it was a good year, and set up a lot of good things to come in 2016, so I’m actually really hopeful about what comes next.

Do I have goals for 2016? Yes, I do. They’re simpler than last year’s goals. You could argue that they are not totally specific, quantifiable, or measurable. But I think they could work for me.

My buddy Trevor chooses a “word” for each year as a guiding principle. I think my word for 2016 could be something like “rhythm.” I want to create consistent, steady rhythms in my life concerning the following areas:

  • I want to read the Bible every day in a meaningful way. No specific reading plan or hard deadlines–just read some portion of Scripture and take time to meditate on it.
  • I want to pray every day. I am using Dr. Don Whitney’s method of praying the Scriptures, taking a Psalm a day and using it as a guide to prayer.
  • I want to be active for 30 minutes every day, no matter what the activity is–just something to get my heart-rate up and work up some perspiration.
  • I want to choose an eating plan and stick to it all year. Still working out the details on this.
  • I want to keep writing–both on the blog and on the novel I started during NaNoWriMo (the first of a possible series).
  • I want to read a book a week, using Tim Challies’ 2016 Reading Challenge as a guide. The list forces me to be a little more diverse than normal, which is good.

That’s it. I want to begin building the habits of the man I want to be in the future. And you can bet that I’ll keep you posted of my progress along the way.

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Your Turn: Any new goals, resolutions, anti-resolutions, or buzzwords for 2016? Post them in the comments below!

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My 2015 Goals: Two-Month Check-in.

One of the important elements of setting and achieving goals is to revisit them regularly. So, in the interest of personal accountability, I wanted to give you an update on the goals I set back in January.

(Here’s the short version: I have some work to do.)

  1. Read through the Bible; memorize Scripture and maintain it every week. This has been an area I’ve always struggled in. For some reason, consistent time in the Word has been a challenge to me. But I will say that my hunger for the Word is increasing, and my intake of the Word is growing a bit more regular. As for memorization… No, it really hasn’t happened. I haven’t made it a priority yet. But I know it’s something I need, so I will make it a more important part of my daily life moving forward.
  2. Lose 10 pounds a month.  Starting weight: 464. Current weight… 464. I haven’t lost a pound. It’s been up and down week to week, because I haven’t really committed to the eating plan we had established last fall. While I’m glad that I haven’t gained weight (a common thing for me after about 6 months of any eating plan), I haven’t lost. Too many little daily cheats, not enough consistent exercise. And one element of this I haven’t been paying attention to is the emotional/spiritual facet of this fight. That’s something I’m starting to focus on more now.
  3. Take 1 weekend/overnight trip with my wife every 3 months.  For Valentine’s weekend, H. and I went to a couples’ retreat put on by our church at La Toretta resort in Conroe. We had a lovely time, enjoyed some really good food (see #2 above), and just had a blast being together for a day and a half with no interruptions.
  4. Pay off $25K in debt. This has been hard. We both have been very diligent to stick to the budget and make tough choices, but we’ve also had to deal with some car repair issues and other unexpected costs. Plus, both of us are paying off student loans as well as cash-flowing school. Suffice it to say, this spring is going to be lean on the the whole paying-off-debt tip. However, our hope is that summer and fall will be better for making some headway with our debt.
  5. Have dinner with old friends. Haven’t yet, but I had a good phone call with an old acquaintance, and I’m planning on getting together with him next month. So, starting to work through this one.
  6. Read at least 2 books a month, and only books I currently own. With the one exception of Take the Stairs, I’ve taken care of this one…barely. 4 books down so far: Take the Stairs, The Art of Work, The Prodigal God, and Scripture Alone. Two of those were on my original list of 25, and the others were additions. However, as school has ramped up, I’ve gotten a bit behind in my reading. I’m still only about a third of the way through S. from  back in January, about 3 chapters into This Momentary Marriage for February, and I haven’t even touched The Storytelling God, another February selection (though I’m really looking forward to that one).
  7. Produce 2500 words a week (either blogging or offline). I want to start off by saying I’m proud of myself, because this stretch of blogging (going back into last year) has been the most consistently productive I’ve had since the days where I was posting 3 or 4 random posts per day (usually during work hours). But it hasn’t been enough to meet my goal, unfortunately. I haven’t been doing any creative offline writing, so my word-counts are all from the blog posts. (And I’m including quotations in this, so the numbers are technically a little lower.) January’s Word Count: 7880.  February’s Word Count: 11, 559. (Thank you, #SufficientFire.)  And I guess we can add another 850+ to that one with this post. A good couple months of writing, but I think I can step it up a little bit more.
  8. Get an A in my seminary class this spring. I’m taking Systematic Theology I, and we’ve only had one graded assignment so far: a quiz that I got an 88 on (missed 3 questions). So I guess right now, this one’s in flux; but I feel pretty confident I can pull through.

So what have I learned from all this?

My goals for the year were ambitious but not impossible. However, a combination of unforeseen events and a lack of good habit-building has kept me from hitting a few of these. I need to examine where the hang-ups are in my daily habits, and look for solutions at ground-level. This will require something I need to fight for: time. I have a lot going on these days, and honestly, sometimes I just don’t have the time or desire to work on my life instead of just in my life.

All that said, I’m not giving up on any of these. And I’ll keep you posted every 2 months or so with an update of where I am in the process.

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Your Turn: How are you doing with your 2015 goals? What adjustments have you made? Share in the comments below!

My 2015 Goals

I’m a little afraid to share these, because I know I’ll be accountable for them. But I want to put my money where my mouth is. So here we go:

  • Read through the Bible; memorize Scripture (and maintain it) every week.
  • Lose 10 pounds a month (120 pounds total); this means my goal weight on 1/1/16 is 344 lbs or less.
  • Take 4 weekend/overnight trips with my wife (1 per quarter, if possible).
  • Pay off $25,000 in debt this year. (This one’s gonna be tough.) That comes out to $2,084 a month.
  • Keep my promises to have dinner with people and catch up with old friends.
  • Read only* books I currently own; read at least 2 per month (even during school).
  • Produce 2500 words each week, either on this blog or offline, working on my own projects.
  • Get all A’s in seminary this year.

Whew. Quite a list. Especially when you factor in marriage, work, ministry, and school. But I really feel like I’m ready to stretch myself this year.  And I know I’m not going to hit them perfectly. Some weeks and months I won’t be able to hit these marks. But these will be the goals I’m shooting for and the benchmarks I want to surpass.

Your encouragements and prayers would be appreciated. I look forward to sharing this process with you.  So…LET’S DO THIS!

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Your Turn: Any new goals you want to set for the year? Share them below!

 

*The one exception is a book I got from the library on Saturday about procrastination and productivity. I think I need to read that one, even if I don’t own it.

It’s 2015. Bring on the hoverboards and the Cubs’ World Series title!

Today is New Year’s Day, and if you’re like me (and everyone else in the world), you probably have some things you want to do differently in 2015. 

I’ve really been motivated lately to make small changes in my life, to “upgrade” myself (in a non-Cyberman kind of way), and I’ve been listening to and reading a lot of smart people to get ideas for that.

Even if you’ve already blown your resolution, 15 hours in, you can start over. You can set new goals to make sustainable changes this year, so that when you get to New Years Eve and everyone’s wearing those ridiculous giant-year-number sunglasses (the kind that would make Elton John go, “Mm-mm, sweetie, just stop.”), you will be able to look back at the last 12 months and see the difference these changes made.

Or maybe you’re like me, and you really want to attack this year and take charge in different areas of your life. Like Jim, who I found out about through a mutual friend. Jim lost over 220 pounds (and is still going) in one calendar year.  One. Calendar. Year. That’s focus, passion, and determination right there, folks. Jim is a rockstar. I wanna be like Jim.

Whether you have small goals or big goals, the key is to make them meaningful so that you’ll follow through. For help with this, you need to check out these links:

As far as how to follow-through, well, I don’t have a magic bullet for that. I wish I did, because that’s the area I struggle with, too. But I’m going to do the next best thing: I’ll be posting my goals for 2015 on Monday. That’s right, I’m going public. And hopefully, over the next 12 months, I’ll keep you posted on my successes. If not, you can keep me accountable in the comments.

New year, gang. Fresh start. Let’s do this.

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Your Turn: Okay, time to spill–What are some of your goals/resolutions for 2015?