Well, this is my first post of 2011. My blog has taken a backseat to some other things that are more important to me at the present time. Last time you heard from me, I offered some help for making and keeping new year’s resolutions. A recent survey found that most resolutions get broken in the first two weeks — and people rarely re-focus. Instead they give up. That’s why I wanted to wait a full three weeks before I offered a follow-up.
I have deemed 2011 the ‘Year of Intentionality’ for me. I’m going to be much more efficient in my use of time . . . much more focused on the things that matter most — like personal health and relationships . . . and much more disciplined in reviewing my progress at pre-determined intervals.
As I suggested in my last post, I limited myself to five specific resolutions:
1. I will improve my spiritual life by memorizing two Bible verses per month and spending at least 30 minutes per day in prayer and Bible study (above and beyond my preparation for teaching/leading in my ministry position), and read through the entire Bible this year.
PROGRESS TO DATE: I have identified 24 different Bible verses or passages to memorize — and have memorized four new verses to day, utilizing this neat online program to help me. I am using YouVersion to read through my Bible — and I’ve stayed on track. I’ve also seen an increase in the quality of my personal time with God, which has been most refreshing. Now don’t get me wrong. I’ve always tried to make sure and spend time with God; I’m just being more intentional about it this year.
2. I will lose 20 pounds by working out four times per week, cutting out soft drinks and high-fat (especially most fried) foods, drinking at least eight glasses of water per day, and eating nothing after 8:00 p.m.
PROGRESS TO DATE: I scheduled regular workouts for the entire year and have kept my commitment to healthy eating. As a result, I have lost nearly nine pounds since January 1 (which means I’m nearly half-way to my goal!).
3. I will increase the quality of our home/family life by having lunch with my kids at school one time per month and playing a game with the kids at least one evening per week.
PROGRESS TO DATE: I scheduled regular appointments with my kiddos. Unfortunately, our recent winter weather threw a kink in those plans, so I haven’t yet been able to have lunch with them at school. I have played games with them — and even won one or two of them!
4. I will pay more attention to my relationship with my wife. I outlined several action steps, which I won’t detail here.
PROGRESS TO DATE: 🙂
5. I will save money by eating more meals at home and putting aside additional money for savings and for mission/charity giving.
PROGRESS TO DATE: The meals at home have actually helped a lot with Goal #2. It’s amazing how much easier it is to control the type and amount of food just by removing some of the temptations (like restaurant menus — with photos).
I’m looking at these five things as ‘vital signs’ for me in this new year. These are the things that make or break the quality of my life. I really struggled with some health issues toward the end of last year. In spite of the fact that I’ve already experienced one kidney stone this year, I’m convinced that I’m going to see a pay-off in the long run. The choices we make today will impact the kind of body we’ll have 20 years down the road.
You know, life really is all about choices. I believe that good things happen when we make good choices one choice at a time. Now I will admit that some of those choices have been difficult ones . . . like buying the mixed box of doughnuts from Shipley today, smelling them in the car on my way to my team meeting, and watching the staff enjoy them before my very eyes. I enjoyed my bowl of whole-grain Cherios — and silently cussed the devil for putting two chocolate-filled doughnuts in that box. Those are my absolute FAVORITE! And they’ve NEVER put them in a mixed box for me before!
I’ll be honest with you. During the past year, my life became a bit unbalanced. I didn’t manage my time as well as I should have. I allowed the poor planning of other people to be my problem. And I at times treated perfect strangers better than my own family. I’m committed to making the choices necessary to become a more balanced and more effective individual, and I believe that commitment is worth keeping.
I know that you might not think resolutions are a worthwhile investment of your time and energy, but I’ve never found myself worse off for resolving to be better. It’s still early in the year . . . and thank God, we can have a fresh start any day of our choosing because His mercies are new each morning. Don’t let 2011 kick you around and beat you up. Take charge of your schedule. Set an example of love for your family. Learn to say ‘no’ to the things that aren’t essential or beneficial. I led a study at my last church called “Freedom from Busyness.” The author, Michael Zigarelli, reminded me that for every ‘yes’ Jesus gave to the many requests during his earthly ministry, there were inevitably more times when he said ‘no.’ I realize that saying ‘no’ is sometimes uncomfortable. Some people might not approve — and that’s just a risk I have to take. I’m learning the truth of the adage: “The people who matter don’t mind, and the people who mind don’t matter.”
Oh, how I wish I’d learned that a long time ago.
IT’S YOUR TURN!
How is your new year going? Have you made any positive changes in your life? What are your ‘vital signs’?