All that is left of the Christmas turkey is the memory of our family dinner and a potential pot of turkey soup. We’re taking down Christmas decorations and storing them for next year. A new calendar decorates the wall. It’s time to look seriously at the New Year ahead. Resolutions anyone?
How does it go? I resolve to eat less, to exercise more, to be kinder, more generous, and to pray more. Resolutions are easy to make but easier to forget. And yet we need to do something. Without laying out a path for the New Year, we may end up in bypass meadow or the slough of despondency!
For this reason, at New Years, I make up a list of goals—not really too different from resolutions. I write the current year’s list on a three by five card and keep the new one, along with those from other years in the front pocket of my diary, cum appointment book. By keeping the cards from previous years, I can look back and see if I’ve made progress or regressed in any area over the last few years. As I look back to cards from other years, I find encouragement in seeing where objectives have been met. To keep me on my toes, I’ll need to refer back to this year’s card often during the year ahead.
Goals give me a sense of direction, defining for me areas where I want to improve. So I set goals in the areas of, for example, reading, Bible study, prayer, exercise, writing, networking, hospitality, ministry, etc.
Since my goals, although fairly general, are somewhat measurable, I can tell if I’m making progress. For example, my goal is to read one non-fiction book for every two or three books of fiction I read. Since I love entertaining stories, that’s a hard one, but I do keep a careful record of the books I read. Another objective is to walk at least 30 minutes a day, four days a week. Last year it was 40 minutes a day, five days out of seven. Since arthritis has been attacking my knees, I’ve had to cut back on that. Another aim is to see my new suspense novel, Riptide, published and three more of my books turned into ebooks. Still another goal is to turn our zillions of slides into digital images by the end of the year.
Some aims are ill-defined early in the year, but become clarified as the year advances. At this point, I’m not quite sure how many blogs I should write, nor how general or narrow their focus should be. Neither do I know quite what to do with the whole area of networking, since Facebook and Twitter can be addictive and wasteful of time. (Every writing pundit tells me I need to be active here!) I’m inclined to confine my presence on FB and Tw to early morning and late afternoon. I’ll have to see how that works and refine my goal as the year advances.
Of course, as a Christian, my main goal is to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. How do I measure that? But that’s for another blog.