A Fresh Start for 2014

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.

Previous NYR posts:
2013 – Truly Live
2012 – Listen & Go
2011 – It’s Not About Me
2010 – Consecration
2009 – Too Comfortable
2008 – Out of Control



  1. 1
    Kelly Stoski says:

    I love and hate this post. At the same time :)
    You are so right. I need real tangible measurable goals. But I never make them. On purpose. Because it’s easier when I fail the big someday goals. It hurts when I fail the small tangible ones. Sigh. I think my first goal should be to make some. To force myself to.

  2. 2

    Happy Birthday!!
    I chose three specific things I wanted to change. One has already fallen apart. One is at 50% success rate. One seems to be going quite well. So I’ll ride with this a bit then increase my efforts in the other areas.

  3. 3
    Mark Allman says:

    Happy Birthday!!!

    I think the only way to achieve a goal is to plan it. To break it down in parts and schedule working on the parts. To start is often the hardest thing to do so sometimes my goal is just to start one of the parts.

    I also like 30 day challenges where you pick one thing and commit to only doing it for 30 days. You can accomplish a lot using this technique.


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    A Fresh Start for 2014 | E. Tyler Rowan

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