“Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”-Ephesians 5:14-16
2018 is finally here! Wait, what am I saying? It seems we barely blinked and 2017 disappeared! But, even still, it’s 2018. A new year with new opportunities, and there is certainly hope in the air, isn’t there?
If you’re like me, every new year you get excited about all the things you want to do to improve your spiritual and personal life. January 1st has this magical appeal that can’t really be explained.
So let’s talk about that.
For 2018 to be your best year yet, I believe you shouldn’t make “New Year’s Resolutions” as much as you should set goals that can be broken down into small achievable steps. For example, “Lose weight” is not a good goal because it’s not specific and really has no start or end. “Lose twenty pounds” is more specific, but even that is a large statement that should be broken down into smaller steps like, “Lose ‘X’ amount of pounds per week”. And even then, that should be broken down into achievable ways to make that happen.
As a Christian, I hope your goals are something that will enhance your Christian life and advance the kingdom of God. After all, that’s the whole reason we’re here, really (For what it’s worth, losing weight really can be glorifying to God if it’s enabling you to serve Him physically and increasing your longevity on this earth)!
So set your goals, make them achievable and specific, and then plan out how they’re going to happen. I strongly encourage you to watch this video below (Watching at 1.5 speed works well here) and do what she says about the performance review and holiday letter. I did the holiday letter for this year and it really helped me define clearly who I wanted to be by the end of 2018. It also helps to state things as if they’ve already happened and see just how much really can be accomplished in a year.
When she breaks down the amount of hours we have in a week, it becomes pretty clear that we do have time for what we want to do, don’t we?
So what are your goals for this year? Here are just a few of mine:
I want to read through my Spanish Bible this year, which at this point, I should’ve already done. But this year, I plan to do it.
I also want to read an average of one book a week. One thing I started doing at the end of 2017 was setting a timer and reading an hour a day. I didn’t always do this, but I want to make it more of a habit this year. I actually love to read, so the timer isn’t so much about forcing myself to read as it is to keep me from distractions as I set aside a specific time to read. I know that if I read at least an hour a day, I can generally finish a book within four or five days, depending on the size of the book.
This next thing falls under my “stop doing” list and isn’t really as much of a goal as it is a matter of discipline, but I want to stop looking at social media until I’ve completed everything I really want to do for the day (unless social media has something to do with a task, of course). For me, going through social media always starts with an innocent intention of five minutes that soon turns into a thirty minute scroll through everybody else’s mind dump. And half of those minds belong in a dump, really.
And even then, I really want to plan the time I get on social media (“From 7-7:30 tonight I can get on social media”, for example. And, actually, if you add that up, thirty minutes a day would be 3.5 hours a week, or 182 hours a year, or about 7.5 days a year!! And that’s just with a measly thirty minutes a day, when I know we spend far more than that on average!). If you’ve ever looked at people when they’re eating, a vast majority of them are on their phones. This year, I want to eat without looking at my phone and just observe and enjoy what’s going on around me. The other day I went to McDonald’s overlooking Plaza Maipú and decided I wasn’t going to look at my phone the whole time I was eating. Instead, I just sat there, ate, and watched people. It was actually relaxing, believe it or not!
I also want to stand in lines without browsing my phone and just observe, which is actually an exercise that trains your mind against instant gratification and increases concentration, by the way.
I think what bothers me about social media, aside from the wasted time and scientifically proven shortened attention spans it brings, is that I used to be an avid reader. You couldn’t get me away from a good book. Social media took that away from me to an extent when I exchanged well-thought-out books for brief snippets of people’s minds or lives. This year, I’m taking back what was stolen from me.
Anyway, these are just three of my goals and plans. I have others as well, but I imagine that if I put these into practice, by the end of this year, I’ll be very happy with the result.
So what are your plans for the New Year? What do you hope to have accomplished by 2019? I’d love to hear it!