Today is the last day of my 35th year,* and still one of the early days of the fresh, new year…And thoughts of fresh starts are on my mind.
I love fresh starts. Monday is my favourite day of the week. I look forward to the first of every month. The new year (January) and the new school year (September) are the most exciting pages in my calendar. The idea of forgetting the past and moving ahead with new plans, new hopes, new dreams, and new goals is truly beautiful.
Each fresh start is an opportunity to re-write the future.
The problem is that I keep re-starting the same things over and over. Since my last baby was born six years ago, I have re-started my weight-loss efforts more times than I can count. I’m not sure how many more times I can tell my kids, “As of today, there will be no more yelling in this house,” before they stop believing me. Maybe they already have. So many things in my life I’d like to change, improve, succeed at… Over and over again. I have such good intentions for change!
The road to hell is paved with good intentions, right?
I feel like the year 2014, my 36th year* on this earth, is the year that I finally quit making resolutions…that I stop creating long lists of all my good intentions…and instead I set goals. Tangible, measurable goals.
I’ve been reading goals like this on my son’s IPPs (Individualized Progress Plan) for years:
Short Term Objective – Braeden will know basic addition and subtraction facts to 10 by memory with 80% accuracy by June 2013.
Strategies – teacher assigned materials, manipulatives, repeated practice, mad minutes, community outings
Evaluation – student work, teacher assessments
Review Dates – quarterly report cards
Goals like this make sense. So much more sense than, “I’m gonna lose weight and get healthy this year!” (Direct quote from Tyler Rowan, annually.) Goals like they use in special education give specifics, use timelines, are not comprehensive or all-encompassing but take one task at a time, and list indicators of success and review times.
Goals take intention and put it to action.
By the end of January (timeline), Tyler will prayerfully set at least one (not comprehensive) tangible and measurable (success indicators) goal in each the following five areas (specific):**
Family – marriage, kids, extended family, other important relationships/friendships
Finance – budget, debt, giving, saving, career
Faith – personal walk with God
Fitness – not just physical, but overall well-being
Fruitfulness – impacting the world, both locally and globally
So, it looks like I’ve got 11 days of praying and writing notes, and then it’s time to put some action behind my intentions!
Do you set specific, measurable goals? Or are you more of a general resolution-maker?
* I realize that my math is kinda off. Clearly, my first year was the year before I turned 1. Which would technically mean I’m going into my 37th year. But I didn’t want anyone confused. I am turning 36 tomorrow.
** These five areas for goal-setting were presented in a sermon Pat and I attended on the first Sunday of the year at Celebration Church in Edmonton.