Let’s Try That Again: Day 1 of Month 2.

[I wrote this entire post last night, only to delete it accidentally, because I was using a tablet instead of my laptop and I switched apps without thinking. So here’s my best approximation of last night’s post.]

One month ago, I wrote about how I was going to treat the first day of the month like a new year, and start working on a new habit of daily Bible reading. How did that work out?

It went pretty well…for about 2 weeks.

Sometime around my birthday celebration, it all kind of fell apart. I stopped reading the Word regularly. I stopped tracking my food intake (resulting in my gaining back the little bit of weight I had lost in the previous month). I stopped working on my 2016 reading list. I just let up for some reason. My normal schedule was disrupted by parties and travel and family activities, and rather than leaning into the daily habits I had been developing, I fell back into bad patterns.

So now, here we are, a month later, and I’m sorry to say that my adherence on last month’s goal was about 50%, if not a tad less. That’s just sad. So you know what that means… Happy New Year! I’m starting over. But not just starting over–I’m adding a new element. (I know, it’s crazy. Just roll with it.)

Last November, I participated in NaNoWriMo for a few weeks (hmm–starting to see a pattern) before realizing it wasn’t quite the right time for me. I got about 15,000 words of a novel written, with notes and random scraps of text to carry through the rest of the book and into the next two. Over the last year, the story has been pressing into my consciousness at various times, and I’ve been keeping a record of ideas and insights that have resulted. It’s a project I am determined to get back to, because I think it will be worth doing.

While I’m not going to go full-NaNo this year, I have decided to add something writing-related to Month 2 of this “new-year” approach.  For the month of November, in addition to continuing to increase my Bible intake, I will try to write 300 words a day of something. You will sometimes see the results of this on the blog (like this post!), and other times these words will only be for my own purposes–writing prompts to sharpen my skills, poetry for my wife, incremental work on my novel. 300 words a day–a modest amount. Nothing to go crazy over. But if I do that, at the end of November, I’ll have produced at least 9,000 more words of creative content, which will be a good thing for me, no matter what.

So, welcome to Month 2. I’m looking forward to keeping you up to date on my progress.

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Your Turn: Are you working on any new habits? Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo? How can I encourage you or help you in that?

 

Yeah, about those 2015 goals…

In a comment on Monday, Michael Coughlin asked me how I did with those 2015 goals I set last January. While I’m not sure anyone else would be interested in this, I decided I’d go ahead and report on those, briefly.

The short answer is: 2015 was a colossal failure from a goal-keeping perspective…but I’m okay with that. 

The only one I definitely accomplished was my goal to take at least four overnight trips with my wife. Turns out, I really like hanging out with her, so getting away on a regular basis is a really refreshing thing. (Crazy, I know.) And our relationship is growing stronger, which is such a blessing.

As for the others:

  • Reading through Bible / memorizing Scripture: Not even close. But I’ve begun again, and am now just seeking consistent daily Bible intake and prayer.
  • Weight loss: I actually gained 4 pounds over the course of 2015. But I’ve still maintained a total weight loss of more than 50 pounds since June of 2014. Something to build on.
  • Paying off debt: We made some progress but not nearly what I had hoped. However, that’s partly due to changes in household income, increases in cost of living with a move across town, and some unexpected large car repair bills. But God is faithful to provide for us, and He has given us everything we have needed. For that, we are most grateful.
  • Catching up with old friends: I have been able to spend time with a few old friends in recent months. I’m glad of that. But there are still a few I’d like to see.
  • Reading only books I own: HAHA, not even close. I do have a plan in place to dive deeper into my To-Be-Read shelf this year, however.
  • Consistent Writing Production: Nope. I probably hit about half of the total word count I was originally shooting for. However, I did take part in NaNoWriMo for the first time, and I really benefited from that experience.
  • Getting all A’s in Seminary: Missed it by that much. Got a high B in Systematic Theology 1, my only class in 2015. However, I really enjoyed that class and benefited from taking it, and one of my textbooks made it on my 2015 top 3 list.

I know why I failed to reach each of these goals–I stopped thinking about them. I didn’t keep them in front of me consistently. I put them away and moved on to other things, and time kept passing. I understand that, in order to be successful, I can’t lose sight of what I want most.

With all that said, it was a good year, and set up a lot of good things to come in 2016, so I’m actually really hopeful about what comes next.

Do I have goals for 2016? Yes, I do. They’re simpler than last year’s goals. You could argue that they are not totally specific, quantifiable, or measurable. But I think they could work for me.

My buddy Trevor chooses a “word” for each year as a guiding principle. I think my word for 2016 could be something like “rhythm.” I want to create consistent, steady rhythms in my life concerning the following areas:

  • I want to read the Bible every day in a meaningful way. No specific reading plan or hard deadlines–just read some portion of Scripture and take time to meditate on it.
  • I want to pray every day. I am using Dr. Don Whitney’s method of praying the Scriptures, taking a Psalm a day and using it as a guide to prayer.
  • I want to be active for 30 minutes every day, no matter what the activity is–just something to get my heart-rate up and work up some perspiration.
  • I want to choose an eating plan and stick to it all year. Still working out the details on this.
  • I want to keep writing–both on the blog and on the novel I started during NaNoWriMo (the first of a possible series).
  • I want to read a book a week, using Tim Challies’ 2016 Reading Challenge as a guide. The list forces me to be a little more diverse than normal, which is good.

That’s it. I want to begin building the habits of the man I want to be in the future. And you can bet that I’ll keep you posted of my progress along the way.

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Your Turn: Any new goals, resolutions, anti-resolutions, or buzzwords for 2016? Post them in the comments below!