The first day of the year provides a unique opportunity. It’s like starting with a blank slate. What do you want to write on your slate this year? What habits do you want to develop, what changes do you want to make, what improvements do you want to implement?
In my last post, I did a “backwards glance” at the previous year. In this post, I am writing on “looking forward,” and it occurred to me how very differently I have to approach these two subjects. Looking back is safe; there’s no risk in saying, “Here’s what happened” whether it be good or bad. But looking forward requires faith.
We have no idea what 2013 holds for us. We don’t know but what crisis may be in our near future. But the one thing we do know, is regardless of what comes—whether it be good or bad—we need to be ready. We need to be strong on the inside. We need to have the internal mass to withstand crisis and the character (mass) to not be seduced and/or lulled into complacency by success or comfort (See Changing the End-point—Thinking VERY Long-Term).
That being said, I like to “look forward” by setting some goals that will contribute to the person I want to become. That doesn’t mean that all my goals/plans are what you might consider highly spiritual in nature. I have plans and hopes to improve and bring order into every area of my life. I want to create a better meal-time routine for me and my husband, one in which we sit and talk and eat a healthy meal together at home at least once a day. I want to get faster in my reading so I can read more and comprehend better. I want to organize all my photographs, scan them so that I will have digital copies to share with all my kids and so I can efficiently locate “the one” I am looking for. I want to get my office cleaned up and organized so that I will have a clean, neat, inspiring place to work. I want to run a couple of half-marathons this year and remain consistent in my running and working out the rest of the year, too. I would like to shave a few seconds off my average pace while I’m at it. I want to become a stronger leader to the women in my church community, exemplifying a woman that they can follow and provoking them to love and good works. I want to build deeper relationships with all my grandchildren.
So you can see I have plenty of plans and aspirations to keep me busy for a while! What do these aspirations have to do with “the person I want to become”? They all speak of order, consistency, relationship, discipline. If I continue to use my MITs as a compass to keep me on the right path, going the right direction, then those goals and aspirations that I listed are simply external reflections of what I am also building on the inside. And if what I am building on the outside is the same as what I am building on the inside, then I will be a balanced, whole person with no schism in me.
Results of Last Month’s 30-Day Challenge
My 30-day challenge last month was to write for at least 30 minutes a day first thing in the morning. I am pleased to report that I completed my goal 30 out of 31 days (which technically means I was 30 for 30 on my 30-Day Challenge ). Christmas festivities hijacked my writing time on one day, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
One of the biggest benefits I gleaned from this challenge was the continued reinforcement of the necessity to tackle those things that are important to me first thing in the morning. If I put it off till later in the day, it often does not get done. I wrote more about this in Three Productivity Strategies That Work.
The real thing that I was shooting for in setting this goal was to become more prolific in my writing. I want the words to just roll off my fingers when I sit down to write (that’s somewhat akin to “rolling off my tongue”). I don’t want it to feel so forced, so strained.
Did I succeed? Well, I made progress. I think it’s going to take more than a month before I am truly a prolific writer. However—and this is a big “however”—I did succeed in making the 30-minute writing routine a part of my daily rituals. It feels natural now. So even though I will not consider this my challenge this month, I will continue the 30-minute writing routine. I am certain that the more I do this, the more prolific I will become.
Someone once asked me if I was a runner. “Nah!” I dismissed with a laugh. “I just run a little bit for exercise.” My daughter, Misty, was with me when I made that statement. She looked at me in disbelief.
“Mom, how often do you run?”
“Oh, about three days a week.”
“How much do you have to run to be a runner?”
I guess I was thinking the questioner was asking me if I had aspirations to be in the Olympics. I didn’t consider myself “a real runner” because I had only been running for a few months and I ran awfully slow and, at that time, I had probably not yet run more than a mile or two. In my mind, I wasn’t a runner, I was an exerciser.
Misty’s question made me re-think my identity. It was true I was short on experience and speed, but I was long on commitment! At least three days a week, I donned my running shoes and faithfully pushed myself past my comfort zone. I conceded. I was a runner! Now I’m working towards the day when I can say, “I am a writer. A real writer.”
My New Challenge
And that brings me to my new 30-day challenge. I want to write an e-book (electronic book). I have purchased a course to guide me through the formatting process of a Kindle ebook, and I am almost through with it (the course, not the book). The next step is to start on the book. This is a BIG goal for me. I’m not sure I will be able to actually complete the book by the end of this month, but I can commit to working on the book (or the course) every day this month. I have made my commitment, and I give you permission to hold me accountable. Ask me how much I’ve written, how far along in the process am I, am I having problems? I welcome your “probing.” It will keep me on my toes. And maybe it will make words roll off my fingers, too.
I’ll tell you more about the book as I get closer to publishing it. In the meantime, please tell me what your plans are this year, this month. Do you make resolutions? Are they congruent with what you are building on the inside? Tell me about them in the comments!
Photo compliments of Me! That’s a statue of David Livingstone near Victoria Falls. Taken in Zambia, Africa, 2012.