Journal entry 010512: It’s a new year

Ok, I’ll go ahead and admit it now, right out loud (or rather, write out loud); when my friend Daryl asked if I had a list of New Year’s Resolutions for 2012 and I admitted I’d been too distracted to make a list yet, I was embarrassed. Since I tend to make a big deal about New Year’s Resolutions and encourage people to make their own, it was unsettling to know I had let the practice slide. Of course, I had thoughts in my head, but not on paper, and until they end up on paper they don’t exist in the real world, and unless they exist in the real world nothing will happen and nothing will change. So once Daryl called me out, I went to work.

Some think of Resolutions like repentance – turning from your wicked ways and changing directions. Because there is an implied “I was living the wrong way” undercurrent, New Year’s Resolutions are often accompanied by guilt. That’s too bad. I don’t think of Resolutions as a judgment of last-year’s life; I see them as goals, enhancements, or recalculating my route from where I am today. A New Year’s Resolution gives me a direction to lean. (I don’t want to spend a whole year leaning the wrong way!)

A few of my goals have been on my list for so long they aren’t really resolutions, but minimal expectations … such as reading, writing, running, riding, loving, teaching, etc. I don’t usually include those on my annual list.


Here is my list for 2012:

Continue setting 30-day challenges each month. I hope to commit to real challenges that cost me something make me brave. (I’m sure if I have an entire year of ideas, but I’ll try.)

Run at least one marathon or ultra.

Take 10 men through the Journey Partner Group exercise.

Publish my next book.

Go backpacking: two solo trips, two group trips

Sell the Hobbs house and finalize that chapter.

Scan the boxes (and boxes and more boxes) of photos I’ve discovered while unpacking.

Print a photo album for my family. (Astute readers will know this has been on my list for the past couple of years. Sorry. I haven’t made even one album yet. I keep finding more photos to scan, and I hate completing a project when I suspect there might be more data points to include. However, I expect the photos I process from my parent’s house in Hobbs, which include several boxes from my grandmother, should be enough. I love the stories behind the photos, and I wish I could write a book for each one. God has richly blessed our family and these photos are valuable reminders.)

Run 700 miles. That’s only 60 per month, not a lot, but more than I’ve been doing. I haven’t put in many miles lately because of my sore arthritic knees, but really, that has become a lame excuse. It’s time to move on.

Ride 2400 miles on my bike. Again, not a lot, only 200 per month, but I need consistent time in the saddle in order to improve

Sell 1000 books.


I prefer to set goals that I have a decent chance to achieve, and resolutions that I can measure. However, I often set squishy goals as well. Sometimes it takes me a while, even a year or two, to understand the best way to make it happen. I know that sounds like an excuse, and maybe it is, but I like to think about things, and thinking takes time and research.

As I look back over my lists of New Year’s Resolutions from previous years I would say I’ve had a completion success rate of, maybe, 30%. If I were doing this for class credit 30% would be a failing grade. But what I also see as I look back over previous lists is how my unachieved goals and unrealized resolutions have moved me into projects and habits and character improvements that never would’ve happened otherwise, so even 30%, poor as it is, has made me a better man.

How about you? Do you have a list? Sharing Resolution and goals with each other is about more than accountability, it is about helping each other succeed. If you don’t have a list, consider making one. And send it to me. Maybe I know a secret or two to help you get your own 30%.


“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32

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