Sunday, January 09, 2011

New Year's Resolutions: Nope! Yes to Steady Improvements on the Year

I no longer make New Year's Resolutions. Several years ago, I noticed that virtually no one keeps them. Sure, there are exceptions to this, but using something as arbitrary as the calendar reset to motivate me in keeping new goals doesn't well up any deep motivation in me. When New Years hits, if I'm not already motivated to do something, I understand and don't make a blind, wild promise that I will do it.

What I do use New Years for is an evaluation of my already existing goals. No, I don't believe this is an issue of semantics. I see refocusing on an existing goal as clearly different than shifting my entire mental posture to focus on a new goal.

Here is a brief summary of my refocus areas. This includes what I've already done with them as well as what I hope to do with them in the future. I've selected three areas of focus. By their vary nature, some of these will call on elements of my life that are necessary, but not topically related.

My first area of refocus is relationships.

The most important thing that I will do this year is get married. This will create the greatest relationship a man can have with another human.

On December 24, 2010, the love of my life agreed to marry me. Her love, her demeanor, and everything about her have served to encourage me and to make me a better man. We will unite our lives on June 11, 2011. This year must solidly cement our marriage, and I must conduct myself in a manner once married that increases my fiance's confidence in me and deepens our love. The fulcrum of our marriage must be our Christian faith and our relationship with the Lord.

In the interim between now and our wedding, I will continue my support of Sarah and try to make it more consistent. I will also try to make myself more available to her.

I also have relationships that I want to develop more with several family members and friends. My goal is to minister to them, and not to be a taker. I don't think that I'm a taker, but I want be conscious to give more than I receive.

Sarah and I have been attending First Evangelical Church of Memphis since August of 2010; I want to continue fostering relationships there.

My second area of refocus is my health.

2010 was a great year for me in this area. I lost 65 lbs (at one point I thought I had lost 70, but I gained 5 back during the holidays) and kicked my cholesterol in the butt. I did this by changing my diet and exercising. Towards the end of the year, my workouts faded. Work was very demanding, and while there was no way I could have worked out at the same pace from mid November through mid December, I did not pick up the torch where I left it. I will refocus on running and will resume light weight lifting with high reps.

I will also refocus on cooking properly. I will incorporate a greater variety of vegetables into my low carb diet and make certain that I properly regulate my carbohydrate and sugar intake.

If I am to continue to make strides in this area, discipline and planning must continue their ascension to a place of prominence. I will use the power of Microsoft Exchange to sync my Outlook and iPhone. I will continue to avoid overcommitment, and I will make sure that what I do commit to is done with great planning and care - excellence in execution is my goal this year. I will discipline myself in both waking up and sleeping as well. I'm considering several business ventures this year; all of the above will apply to these as well.

Discipline and planning are key to reducing stress, which in turn is key to good health. All of these areas tie in, even though they might appear to be unrelated.

The last area of refocus is personal finances. I've grown tremendously in my application of basic principles of conservative finances in the last four years. Note the part about application; my parents raised me right, but in my youth I lived foolishly (I left home the day of Graduation from high school and went on one big spree of fail for years!). This next year, I will continue foundation building. For me, so much of my time has been spent gutting the old foundation, which was built for a type of financial lifestyle that I now thoroughly reject! I'm fortunate that Sarah thinks the way that I do. We both want nothing more than to be good stewards of the money that we're blessed to earn and to enjoy financial security.

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