Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Planning 2016

On Monday I wrote about how what one does at the beginning of the year sets the tone for the entire year. A large part of setting the tone is planning for the year ahead. It helps me if I write things out that are a priority in my life and then I plan a time to get alone with my wife where we will discuss them and pray over them together in our joint planning. This year our planning will look a little different than it did last year because of working two very different jobs and preparing to see a new gospel work started.

Below is an example of a few of the broad categories that I will plan for as we start the new year:

1. Family - Andrea and I plan on taking some time in January to look at the year ahead and plan as to what our monthly life will look like as a family. We will pencil things on each others calendar as far as my traveling/ministry schedule, her ministry schedule, when we will vacation, etc. This allows for us to be on the same page and also be prepared as the year unfolds.

2. Ministry - I plan on taking some time in January to seek God and see where it is that I really feel like he is leading me to put my time and energy in 2016. A large part of this will revolve around my role as a regional director with the Table Network, but I still want to take time to hear from the Lord. I also plan on continuing my regular preaching schedule as opportunities come up.

3. Writing - 2015 proved to be a slower year for this blog in regards to my own writing availability and it may continue at that speed to start 2016. The audience and requests to do reviews and host giveaways continued to grow and stay steady though. Many have encouraged me to take my blog and writing to the next level and I am seriously considering it. I am considering releasing my first e-book at some point on what it looks like to live as an everyday missionary in the context where God has placed you. It will be highly advertised if it happens, but keep your eyes and ears open for when this takes place.

To help me plan I have started using a Moleskine-Weekly-Planner, which can be found at 50% from many retailers right now.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Setting the Tone for 2016

It's that time of year again where people make resolutions to start the new year, most will not be kept past the first week, which is one reason that I typically do not make resolutions at the beginning of the new year. Most people make resolutions with wishful thinking that the new year will be different from the previous year because this time they really "mean" it; but most people would be wrong and only realize that in December when they see they have failed, again. I bet the majority of people cannot even remember their new years resolutions by summer. 

There is nothing wrong with having resolutions at the beginning of the year, but we are foolish to think that anything will be different the first week of January from the last week of December based on writing down a list alone. Rather than having the resolutions that we cannot remember the first week of February, we should put in place a pattern of life that we desire or attain to live the next year. My suggestion is to make this pattern of life something that is within a reachable goal that you may already obtain partially, but want to obtain fully.
For example, I want to maintain the 30 pounds of weight I lost in 2015, but desiring it alone will not make it happen. I know how I lost the weight in the first place, and although I splurged during the holidays, I know how to keep it off.

How is it attainable? Through a purpose, goal, and action plan. The purpose in my case is to live a healthier lifestyle. My goal is to maintain the weight loss. And my plan of action is to continue  to eat healthier, limit my sugar and calorie intake, and exercise on a regular basis. Notice that my plan is attainable because it is realistic and reachable, not unrealistic such as becoming a vegan and exercising everyday for an hour.

What I have come to learn is that what you do at the beginning of the year sets the tone for the rest of the year. This holds true in all matters of life, spiritual included.

It's time to set the traditional resolutions at the beginning of the year down and instead remember that you are setting yourself up for the rest of the year. If you set yourself up realistically then you will likely have more success at whatever it is that you are trying to attain. Sure, it will be hard work whether you are trying to lose weight or read the entire Bible for the first time this year, but by setting up an attainable pattern now puts you ahead of the game. Another important component that most of us leave out is having someone to help us reach these goals. This could be a spouse, a friend, or a life coach. The point, have someone in your life that can give you encouragement and accountability to actually attain those goals within your lifestyle change. 

Here is an additional helpful resource from Scott Thomas on Four Principles for Setting Goals.