All that is left of Christmas are the happy memories of our family togetherness and a potential pot of soup. We’ll soon be taking down Christmas decorations and storing them for next year. We’ve begun to mark up a new calendar. It’s time to look seriously at the New Year ahead. Resolutions anyone?
How does it go? I resolve to eat less, to walk 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 losing ground over the course of the year.
Of course we could just coast like those who tell themselves; “What’s the
point of resolutions since I’ll break them anyway.”
Lest I coast through the year, I make up a list of goals—not really too different from resolutions. I write my new list on a three by five card and keep it 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.
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, getting to know my neighbours, 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. And the goal keeps me looking for a profitable non-fiction book to read.
Some aims are ill-defined early in the year, but become clarified as the year advances. My exercise goals have had to be curtailed due to problems related to arthritis but at least having a goal makes me try harder. Usually, I have far too many goals to ever achieve but I look at them philosophically; at least three or four may be achieved. That’s better than none.
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? I can check with Gal. 5:22,23 to see how the fruit of the Spirit; love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control are being reproduced in me. Romans 5:1-5 is another check-list. There are many more.
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