A perpetual family joke growing up was that our new year’s resolution was to have no resolutions. Since then I have come to find making resolutions for the new year to be very helpful. I also make Lenten and Advent resolutions. Whether or not I succeed in them is not the point. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. What I have learned, however, is that when I have an idea for personal growth, I am much more likely to succeed if:
1. I write it down on paper.
2. I set a deadline, or benchmarks.
3. I tell someone else my goal.
This new year I have decided upon five goals that I hope will make me a better person by this time next year.
1. I am going to start getting out of bed earlier. When I look at my list, this strikes me as the most difficult item. It is also the most critical one for achieving most of the other goals I have decided upon. Having more uninterrupted time early in the morning is something I very much need, but rarely work hard on.
2. I am going to read more. The books both on the physical and electronic shelves in my house continue to grow, and I seem to find less and less time to actually read them. Reading for anyone, but especially for a pastor, is important for spiritual and intellectual growth. Plus it can just be fun!
3. I am going to practice the banjo daily. One of the best ways I have found to relax this past year is the banjo. Learning to play any instrument is a challenge that requires practice. My strategy is to leave the banjo out where I can see it to remind me to pick it up as often as I am able. Even if it is just five minutes a day, I want to make sure my fingers continue to get a workout each day.
4. I am going to make more time for family and friends. Being an introvert, I can often be more than content to spend all day alone. However, I do value my family and friends and would like to spend more time with them. The only way that is going to happen is for me to remind myself to put aside time for them without neglecting my need for time alone to recharge the batteries.
5. I am going to spend more time with the parish staff and lay leaders. Last year we spent lots of energy on creating a new five year plan for the parish. While it isn’t that much different than the last one, I want to spend more energy to make sure we remain focused on using our plan to spread the Gospel. It is easy to become distracted with other things in a parish the size of ours, but I believe God has given us the gifts to be successful in our efforts.
So there you have it. My 2013 New Year’s resolutions. Do you have your own resolutions? If so, what are they and what is your strategy for achieving them?