Monday, January 25, 2016

Reflection: My 2016 Goals Part One

Every year, as the year winds to an end, I carve out time to take a look over the previous year and consider goals and plans for the year ahead. Over the years, as I've taken time to do this, I notice that my goals are not so much resolutions as they are an opportunity to go deeper on the things I value highly. The year end/beginning is a time for me to do a checkup on my life and recalibrate and refocus for the present and future. I don't necessarily try to come up with ten goals each year, but it seems like that has become the average for me. And what I have found is that the goals themselves may appear somewhat nebulous or abstract, but the pathway to achievement is always found in concrete steps.  As I share these goals, I hope you will take time to encourage me through the year, and, that you will take time to set your own goals and plans for 2016.

Cultivate my relationship with God. For me, it is as simple as this. Because my relationship with God is my anchor, my compass, and my lighthouse, this needs to take precedence over any other activity. That means that it needs to come first in my day, and that I need to daily start by connecting with God by taking time to listen, to pray, to read scriptures, and to cultivate spiritual disciplines. This goal helps me stay attended and aligned daily with my ultimate purpose, to be with Christ, become more like Christ, and to live more fully for Christ.

Pursue physical fitness and become physically stronger than I have ever been. I need to move. Barring injury, I plan to dedicate 30-60 minutes per day to movement of some type. If that means walking, I'll walk for at least 30 minutes. I am actually conspiring with a small group of friends to start doing some early morning/pre-dawn bootcamp style workouts in Morgantown. While a group of us have been talking about this for about a year, I need to give a shoutout to my good friend Stephen Beckwith and his friends at F3Nation for helping to give shape to this plan. This year, Jamie and I are already thinking through our training plan for Marine Corps Marathon and hopeful that Nuru International will be able to be a charity partner again.

Maintain a positive mindset. Again, this is a goal that is best worked out with a daily routine. That daily routine is simple. Aside from devotional activities and fitness, I have found that one of the most powerful contributors to a positive mental outlook, resilience, and tenacity is a sense of gratitude. Each morning, I commit myself to take a few moments to reflect on one or more things for which I am grateful. And when the events of the day seem like an onslaught of catastrophe, I am committing my mind to find the silver lining. I've noticed that it is just to easy for myself and for others to dwell on the negative. I don't want to ignore problems when they arise, but I do want to buffer myself against allowing a negative thought to spiral out of control and distort reality.

Write, read, and reflect. Every day, I will find time to write, read, and/or reflect. Every day is special and there really are no "ordinary moments" so I want to carve time to savor moments. I'm committed to blogging an average of at least once per week over the course of 2016. For inspiration, I am drawing on the encouragement I found last year from my friend and coworker at Nuru, Thomas Hong. I want to enjoy, savor, and learn from each day, and to do that, I need to be mindful and intentional about it.

Get outside. These days, it seems like more and more of our time is spent inside. Growing up, inside was probably among the last places you would find me and most of my friends while it was daylight. We were outside playing basketball, jumping rope, hiking, fishing, or pursuing the adventure of the day. This year, I want to spend at least 30 minutes per day outside. Of course there will be some days that won't afford this opportunity, but when possible, I want to go beyond the 30 minute goal. I want to soak in the sun and of course Jamie and I will be planning to plant a small garden again--planting and maintaining a garden on one's property is practically a guarantee to be outside. Just as much as it is important to get outside and enjoy creation, there's a valuable relationship with our food that most of us are losing because we've never grown it ourselves.

I'll share the rest of my top top goals in a future post, but in the meantime, I want to encourage you to consider (if you haven't already), what are your goals for 2016? Personally, I'm looking forward to a lot of growth this year! (And may none of us ever stop doing looking forward and growing!)

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