I read somewhere that Christians shouldn't make New Year's resolutions. I don't remember who wrote it or what the reasoning was behind it because it was so outside the realm of the way I think that I couldn't process it. No less an authority than Jonathan Edwards made resolutions -- he ended up with seventy -- and whether or not they were "New Year's" resolutions is not exactly the point. The point is to consciously set goals and to assess (and reassess) where one is with regard to those goals. So if you want to set "birthday resolutions" or "Labor Day resolutions," it's all good. The important thing is to have intentions and goals and objectives and to remind yourself regularly of the things you say you mean to accomplish. You need to walk the talk. (I need to walk the talk.)
I need no one to persuade me that resolutions are valuable. I am a resolution maker from WAY back. I think if you never make a resolution there is something a little bit off about you. Surely you don't imagine that you've achieved a level of perfection that is so near the ultimate that you don't have anything in your life you'd like to change. And resolutions don't have to be about becoming a better person -- they can be about checking items off of a to-do list, too.
Anyway -- here are mine. I always think there should be more, but this is what I've come up with for now.
1. The Spiritual Stuff
- My prayer life is a perpetual resolution and I think it always will be. I want to pray better, more consistently, more fervently.
- Related (but different): in James 4 we're told that we don't have because we don't ask. In Ephesians 5 we're told to be "filled with the Spirit." In Luke 11 Jesus tells us to ask -- repeatedly. So here's what I want: I want more of God. I want to be willing to accept his gifts, to be open to them, and to use what he gives me to the bring him glory and honor. I want to understand in a visceral way that he is my exceeding great reward. I want to love him more, trust him more, think of him more.
- I want humility. This is my besetting sin: thinking more of myself than I ought to think and thinking more of myself than I do of others.
2. The Health Stuff
- Fire up the ol' low-fat, whole-foods, plant-based diet. It works for me when I let it.
- I need to head back to the gym at least three times a week; bonus points if I go four. My Fitbit died, but I'm going to ask for one for my birthday. That's not until July, but July will come.
- Get control of my sleep schedule. This is the resolution most likely to fail, I am afraid. I try and I try and I try and I fail and I fail and I fail. I love the nighttime. I'll be tired and draggy all afternoon and evening and around 10:00 I get a surge of energy. It's annoying and frustrating.
- Bring a salad to work (three times a week). Because I don't get to bed until 3:00 I sleep until 11:00. I get up to be at work by noon and I don't usually have time to eat breakfast (and I don't usually feel like it). I bring nothing to work...so around 3:00 I'm starving. And I eat junk. I need to be proactive about this -- a salad is the way to go.
3. The Mind Stuff
- Learn Latin. I got a book a couple of years ago. I just need to do it.
- Work on my own personal reading challenge (I posted it on Facebook; basically it involves finishing Proust, starting John Frame's A History of Western Philosophy and Theology, and reading the Book of Common Prayer).
4. The Rest of the Stuff
- Finish my online course in lettering (faux calligraphy). I signed up (and paid) for this course over a year ago and only did the first lesson.
- A few years ago I spent a ridiculous amount of money on a cordless Dyson vacuum (which I love -- as much as one can love a vacuum, anyway). It won't clean the whole house on one charge, but it's so light and quick that if I did a little every other day my house would stay clean with minimal effort. Stella seems to be in perpetual shed-mode, so this really needs to happen.
- Blog more. And here we are.
- Implement the recommendations in Tim Challies' Do More Better. This is a book, broadly, on time management/productivity. It was the first or second book that I read for my challenge in 2017 and I kind of brushed it off because I didn't feel like I needed it. I started working last summer, though, and even though I'm not sure why that made such a big difference in my life (as far as remembering where I need to be and what I need to do), it has. Challies' advice (helpfully given from a Christian perspective) centers around three technological tools: a time management tool (like Todoist, Wunderlist, etc.), a scheduling tool (like Google Calendar, Outlook, and others), and an information tool (like Evernote, OneNote, and so on).
- Set up my office. Painting, filing, furnishing -- it's a whole thing.
So that's it. Fourteen goals for 2018 (I should come up with four more...).