…or why I decided resolutions are dumb and goals are better

Photo by Jerry Kiesewetter on Unsplash

This year I’m trying something new. I am not going to make the normal new year’s resolutions. This is kind of a big deal for me. I am very much a resolutions kind of guy. Resolutions are inspiring to me, at least for a few hours or days (if I’m lucky).

I take it back, I’m going to make one resolution and then I’m setting goals. Very specific and clear goals.

I know, resolution and goal, these two things sound like a difference without a distinction. In my mind though, they are very different. Over the course of my life the resolution has become something that is not very specific but is very broad and open ended. Just the way I like it.

Goals on the other hand, in my mind, are specific and measurable. With goals I can ascertain whether or not I accomplished them. Did I reach or did I not reach them? If I did reach my goals, I can celebrate. If I’m not reaching my goals I can evaluate and try to change course to reach them.

The Resolution

This morning as I read the daily psalm in the lectionary, Psalm 34, it struck me that the opening stanza was my resolution for 2019.

I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad.
O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.

I resolve to bless the LORD at all times. This means that when there are trials, tribulations, joys, and celebrations, I will bless God. This idea of “blessing” God is to worship him, to trust him, to believe him in the midst of the every day life.

I also resolve to invite others into that blessing. To call those in my sphere of influence to magnify and exalt the name of God together. This will demand my engagement in community and relationship. There will be no room for “just me and Jesus.”

It may seem that I have two resolutions. But, really they are one in the same. The second is a development on the first. So, even though it appears to be two, I’m embracing it as only one.

This resolution is a mindset, an attitude toward living, a way of thinking about all that happens to me (and us) in the day to day of life. It is a challenge to embrace a perspective that demands faith, repentance, and community.

Other Resolutions Are Dumb

I suppose I better explain myself. As is typical for me, I make a bold statement here. I am sure you have 101 reasons to disagree with me, and you’re probably right. Yet, I have decided resolutions beyond the grand gesture that provides perspective are dumb.

They simply don’t work for me. Probably because I have in my mind a very different meaning for resolution and goal.

So, I’m setting some goals as I head into 2019. Goals that I can easily track, easily evaluate, and that have tangible results.

“Eat better.” That is what I now characterize as a “dumb resolution.”

“Exercise more.” This too is a “dumb resolution.”

Goal setting looks more like this:

  • Exercise a minimum of 3 days a week, including 10 miles of cardio training per week.
  • Track calories daily and limit intake to between 1500 and 1800.
  • Get established with a primary care doctor.
  • Publish a minimum of 3 blog posts per week.
  • Record 30 personal podcast episodes in 2019.

Those are my personal goals for this year. They will be challenging, but I think doable. They will stretch me, but I don’t think they will break me. They will demand me to use time well, to sleep, to read, and to use social media less. The best part? I’ve already scheduled a doctor appointment! If he’s not a tool, then one of my goals will be accomplished within the first week of 2019. #BOOM

I would love to know what you resolve this year and what your goals are. So, hit me up here with a response or connect with me on Twitter and let’s hold each other accountable.