Yes, it’s that time of year again. What are your goals for 2011? Hit the gym a bit more often (some estimates have 50 percent of new gym memberships being purchased in January)? Eat better? Sleep more? Work less? Regardless of the goal, it’s simply good to have goals at a very basic level.
(Editorial aside: Can you believe that 37 percent of respondents in one survey listed as one of their New Year’s resolutions to be more prompt in responding to business emails and calls? I’m hoping that they’re talking about normal business hours because the last thing we need in today’s hyper-connected world is the felt need to be even more connected. This is a lesson I’m still trying to learn but the fact remains that we all need some disconnected time with family and friends each and every day.)
Goals help us stay focused (at least through February, right?). They prove that we at least have a desire to improve ourselves, even if we fail more often than we succeed. The attempt is really what matters, however, because eventually things do work and you do move forward.
I think that each person should have a resolution that fits into each of the following categories:
I like having a plan (I make New Year’s resolutions, after all) and the plan provided as part of The One Year Bible fits my schedule nicely. Combining a daily reading from the Old and New Testament along with Psalm and Proverbs is a great way to spend time each day in God’s word. You may not gain any Earth-shattering insights in to complex theological issues (or, you might), but bathing your mind in His wisdom daily is always a great idea.
On November 1, 2010 I started a new job with HCA that included–for the first time in five years–a daily commute to an office. While I absolutely love the camaraderie that can develop in an office setting, working from home has a lot of advantages. One of the first that comes to mind was that the time I now spend in the car was, most days, spent with my family.
When I worked from home my typical weekday schedule went something like this:
- 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM – Work in my office (I worked through lunch most days)
- 5:00 PM to 7:30 PM – Spend time with my family (eating dinner, wrestling with my boys, etc.)
- 7:30 PM to 10:00 PM – Spend time with Mandy while multitasking (meaning, I was in the living room working on my laptop)
Now, however, I leave my house about 6:45 AM and get home about 6:00 PM due to a commute (about 15 miles one-way) so I’ve lost about an hour a day of family time. While this may not seem like a lot of time, it is to me and I am resolving to make it up somewhere else during the week.
In early 2010 Mandy and I committed to attending Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University being offered at Harpeth Hills where we go to church. While I was a bit skeptical when I walked in to that first session (we didn’t have any credit card debt so how could he help us?), I walked out hardly being able to wait to plan with Mandy for what we were going to do during the remainder of the year.
What we did was nothing short of amazing and God-led. In about 10 months we paid off approximately $30,000 in debt that included student loans, a car loan, and a home equity loan. We were able to take the final payment to the bank on December 31st and entered 2011 debt free except for our primary mortgage.
So what’s my resolution for 2011? To be honest, I’m not completely sure yet. My guess is that we’ll agree on making extra payments on the mortgage, or investing my income from being an adjunct at Lipscomb in home improvements, or putting all of that money in a savings account for when we need to buy her a new car. Whatever the goals ends up being, I certainly know we’re better off in January 2011 than we were in January 2010.
Back in 2009 I ran my first half marathon and immediately afterwards I said I would never do it again. Why did I change my mind in 2011? Because I am looking forward to having the 2011 Country Music Marathon & Half Marathon motivate my exercise regime (at least for the first few months of the year). Plus, exercise of almost any kind simply does a body good.
Alongside of running in my second half marathon, I’m also resolving to record what I eat on a daily basis in an online food journal (I use the one offered by the Livestrong web site and its corresponding iPhone app). I’ve been blessed not to have much of a weight issue but most of us could stand to lose a few pounds and I’m not exception.
As part of my new opportunity with HCA I am being asked to study for and obtain the Project Management Professional certification offered by the Project Management Institute. While I don’t plan on being a project manager for the rest of my career, professional certifications make a lot of sense in today’s hyper-competitive job market.
I’m also planning on studying for an obtaining the Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems offered by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society if I can get my manager to agree to pay for my annual membership dues.
So, what are your New Year’s resolutions (or do you even make them)? Do you think I’m crazy to try for so much?