Wondering About 2016

2016 New Year

In all the busyness of this time of year have you managed to set time aside to draft out a few New Year’s resolutions?

While many people don’t believe in making resolutions I reckon that any time that we can sit down and take stock of our lives and make plans for the time ahead is time well spent. If you haven’t yet, maybe you’ll get some time over the next couple of days.

As with every year I’m sure that many will set all the usual resolutions about losing weight, getting fitter, quitting smoking, reducing debt, increasing income and all the rest. There’s nothing wrong with examining those areas of our lives but I’m wondering how it would be if we shifted focus. Many of the goals we hear about at this time of year are about a better ‘me’.

[bctt tweet=”What would 2016 look like if our goals and resolutions went beyond creating a better ‘me’?”]

I wonder what 2016 would look like if we made resolutions and goals about improving relationships with those close to us. I have goals about fitness and better nutrition but how I treat others and practical steps towards growing relationships are far more important. That shouldn’t mean that those other goals don’t matter but it does come down to priorities.

I wonder how things would be if we made resolutions about helping those we may not even know but who need a hand up. What if we made 2016 the year that we would seek to more fully understand the deep needs of others and then partner with them in a way that would move us all a little closer to what we were designed to become? Do we really just want to focus on making life better for ourselves and those we know or can we extend that concern and care a little more widely?

How would 2016 shape up if we determined that family was more important than the demands of work and then structured our schedules accordingly? I wonder how 2016 would look if we took our fresh new diaries, whether they be electronic or the old pen and paper kind, and scheduled in chunks of family time before the hours filled up with work appointments.

What would it be like if we decided that 2016 was the year that we would look beyond the physical and material things of this world to discover deeper spiritual meaning? Our lives are so short and each year seems to go so much faster than the previous. There’s value in giving attention to the ‘here and now’ but not if we do that without keeping eternity in mind.

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 1 Timothy 4:7-8 ESV

Interesting that we’re told to train ourselves in godliness. Training ourselves suggests a directed effort on our part. If we’re going to direct attention to anything in our lives, doesn’t it simply make sense to direct it to things that are of value in every way, holding promise for the present life and also for the life to come?

I wonder.

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Kicking the Bucket List


Maybe I’m just not motivated enough but I really have no desire to go and climb Mount Everest, or any other mountain for that matter. I just don’t see the point. Heck, I’m not even going to climb a set of stairs if I really don’t need to do so.

I don’t have an issue with mountain climbers, or anyone else who sets huge, challenging goals, but it’s just not my thing.

The Bucket List

A lot of people have taken to the idea of writing a bucket list; a list of things they want to do before they die. There are some things I’d like to achieve before that day comes, whenever it may be, but I won’t be adding mountain climbing to my bucket list. I also won’t add things like living in a villa in the south of France, sailing solo around the world, jumping out of an airplane, or inventing something that will revolutionise the world.

All of those are fine goals but it seems to me that many people add unachievable goals to their bucket lists and then spend the rest of their lives chasing the next tick for that list. Bucket lists can be a great tool when used correctly but they can also be an excellent way of living a very unfulfilled life.

One of my concerns with some bucket lists is that they turn life into a ledger of extraordinary experiences which may or may not be achievable. Can life can only find its true meaning in the accomplishment of random items on a self prescribed list? We tick off each item once it’s done and then head off to find the next momentary thrill. It’s as if we need to take our focus off the everyday to seek some kind of greatness when in fact our true greatness is most often found in how we deal with our everyday lives. I wonder if we are diminishing the value of what we already have to seek after something we don’t really need.

Life Goals

Don’t get me wrong. I think there’s a place for goals in life but I see goals that seek the greater good as very different to a bucket list of experiences.

What are some of my goals in life? To marry a beautiful and intelligent woman who I deeply love. Tick. To have a couple of wonderful children who I absolutely adore. Tick. To have good friends that I can depend upon. Tick. To work in a job with purpose that I enjoy. Tick.

They might be ‘simple’ goals, but they’re real and will continue to provide a greater satisfaction than some of the wild bucket list items that many other people see as essential.

Enjoy the Extraordinary

I’m not suggesting we don’t embrace the extraordinary. I’ve had my fair share of extraordinary too. I’ve cycled across Australia five times, battled Indian traffic on a bicycle a number of times, escaped a foreign city in the grip of rioting, shared coffee with a family in desperate poverty in their Ethiopian home, met world leaders, cycled beside the Canadian Rockies and lots more, but none of that brings the satisfaction of a life well lived with people I love.

Sure there are other adventures I’d like to make a reality such as seeing the Tour de France live or travelling more extensively, but those desires will continue to take a back seat to the contentment that comes from doing the ordinary as well as I can. I refuse to let everyday life suffer, or blame it for holding me back, just so that I can tick items off a list.

A Life of Purpose

That doesn’t mean that I lack purpose. I’m not just floating with the breeze and letting life take me where it will. I work in a very purposeful job. I want to see children released from poverty in Jesus’ name. That’s what continues to drive me to do what I do.

As a person of faith I also want to know that my steps are guided by God. I believe that we were all created for a purpose. If that’s the case I need to be fulfilling that purpose rather than being sidetracked with things that will never satisfy. You see, following God’s purpose doesn’t diminish my satisfaction, it increases it. As John Piper says, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.” God wants us to be satisfied. It brings him glory.

Back to the Bucket

If you feel you really need a bucket list, you might want to add a few ordinary things to that list. You’ll find an excellent start at a very funny post written several years ago. It’s written by by Mike at Fevered Mutterings and it’s titled 50 Amazingly Achievable Things To Do Before You Die .

How about you? Are you finding fulfillment in the everyday? Are there still some goals you’d like to achieve? How important is a bucket list for you?

(This post is an expanded version of a previous post I wrote in 2010.)

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Half Time

We’re not there … but we’re well on the way.

We’re half way through the year and it’s a good time to look back before looking forward.

For those of us in Australia, we’ve just begun the new financial year so I guess it’s as good a time as any to reassess our lives and look at making changes where needed. No matter where you are, yesterday marked the first day of the second half of 2012.

Every day gives us an opportunity to start again but I think there can be something special about setting a new course on certain landmark days such us the start of a new year, the start of a new financial year or on a birthday.

What about you? Are you going to review the goals and resolutions you made at the start of the year? Are you prepared to put the broken resolutions behind you and start again? I just love the fact that what has happened in the past doesn’t have to decide the direction of our future.

When I look back over the first half of 2012 I see both triumphs and disappointments. I guess that’s what life is all about. It won’t always be smooth sailing but it’s how we deal with the tough times that helps us develop and grow into the people we will become, for better or for worse.

How is 2012 looking for you? What adjustments will you make to ensure that you achieve at least some of your goals by the end of the year?

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New Year’s Resolutions or a Wish List?

You might think you’re making New Year’s Resolutions but are you really just compiling a wish list?

Did you make a well intentioned list of resolutions at the start of 2010 which have failed to bear fruit? Could you take last year’s list and simply change the 2010 on the top of the list to 2011?

How do you make resolutions that work?

What’s the difference between New Year’s Resolutions and a wish list?

I’ve had an Amazon Wish List for quite some time. It’s a list of things I’d like, but simply listing those things doesn’t mean anything unless I, or someone else, decides to take action and buy something from the list. Wishing doesn’t make it happen.

If I say I’d like to make family time more of a priority this year, it’s a wish. If I book time in my diary and plan to give up activities that would otherwise get in the way of that happening, that’s a resolution.

If I say that I want to lose weight in 2011 that’s a wish. If I set out a sensible weight loss strategy with achievable short and long term goals though the year it’s a resolution.

If I say I’d like to read more over the next twelve months, that’s a wish. If I select some books, create a reading plan and then move other activities out of the way to give me the time to read, that’s a resolution.

Resolutions need a concrete action plan with achievable, measurable goals.

It can also be helpful to find someone who will keep you accountable to your goals. Maybe there’s someone with a similar goal or resolution who will work with you so that you can both achieve your plans. It might be someone who is already doing well in an area in which you’d like to improve. Ask them to help keep you moving towards your goal and to give you any advice you need to get there.

The other thing to keep in mind is that if we’re making lifestyle changes we’ll probably fail now and then. The aim is to keep going rather than just throwing in the towel the first time you trip up. Even if you don’t reach your goals at the set time, you’ll still be further down the track if you get up after a setback, dust yourself off, and start moving in the right direction again.

Sort your resolutions into categories.

If you are going to see 2011 as an opportunity for change you might like to break down your resolutions into various categories such as Health and Fitness, Spirituality, Family and Relationships, Finance, Career and other areas that touch your life.

Who do you want to be on the first of January 2012? What will you do during 2011 to make that a reality?

As 2010 draws to a close, are you going to make resolutions or a wish list for 2011?

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2011 – Towards Perfection

By this time next year I’ll be perfect. I’ll have achieved my perfect weight and be 100% fit. I will have attained a perfect work/family balance. All my thoughts and actions will flow from absolutely pure motives. I will have absolutely no faults. In short, I’ll be an all round great guy.

Why do I get the feeling you don’t believe me?

Do any of us really think we’re going to achieve perfection in the coming year? I guess not.

The strange thing is that some of us act as if that’s the goal and nothing less will satisfy. We create New Year’s Resolutions that tend to fall apart within weeks and then beat ourselves up, considering ourselves as failures. We set the bar way too high and then end up crushed that we didn’t go the distance.

Our failure to achieve the goals and resolutions we set results in us becoming discouraged, before walking down the same path the following year, or giving up on setting goals completely.

I wonder if there’s another way to look at our goals.

If I want some New Year’s Resolutions for 2011 I could always adopt last year’s. After all, most of them are still in brand new condition. They haven’t been used at all. But I’m not too discouraged.

I set myself a goal to read a whole lot more. I didn’t read as much as I would have liked but I did read more than I had the previous year.

Even if I stayed on my bike for the next couple of days I can’t reach my goal to cycle 12 000 kilometres in 2010 but I have passed last year’s total and won’t miss the mark by too much.

I’ve battled with being overweight most of my life and in 2010 I failed to drop the kilograms I wanted but I am ending the year fitter than I started it.

I could go on but I think you get the idea. I created some goals and then set about achieving them. I’ve fallen short in many of those goals but I’m not completely discouraged. I made progress in many areas that I wouldn’t have if I didn’t have those goals. That doesn’t mean that I go into a new year with no intention of reaching my goals. What it does mean is that I know I’m not perfect but I am moving forward.

Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars. – Les Brown

Will you be making some New Year’s Resolutions for 2011? Can you look back on 2010 and see progress in some areas of your life?

I hope that you’ll set yourself some goals that will stretch and grow you and that you’ll be able to celebrate the wins along the journey even if you don’t quite make it to the destination.

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