I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s Resolutions, as they too-often set us up for failure and disappointment. We arrive at December 31 having not been performing certain activities or maintaining certain habits, and then put pressure on ourselves to suddenly flip a switch on January 1—start a new behavior and maintain it faithfully for the next 365 days. And when we don’t—inevitably failing at keeping our resolution—we beat ourselves up over our lack of discipline.
But I do believe in setting goals for the coming year. I think it is helpful to decide on a few things, personally and professionally, that we want to consciously strive for in the year to come. Doing so helps us to not aimlessly float through the next 12 months, just keeping the status quo and trying to survive.
So, here are some personal and professional goals I’m setting for this coming year. Some of them have a starting date of January 1, but most are things I’m hoping to accomplish by the end of 2020.
- Wake up at 6:30am everyday
- I stay up too late and sleep in too much. I've never been a morning person but always had a desire to be so, especially because on the rare occasion I do get up early, it is peaceful and serene and a wonderful way to start the day. So, this is the year...finally!
- Read scripture daily (devotionally, and not just for sermon prep)
- Read 3 novels
- I don't read much fiction, but always enjoy it when I do.
- Explore and further understand the Enneagram
- I continue to hear wonderful things from trusted friends and colleagues about the power of the Ennegram in being a way to understand yourself and others, but I've never dove in to understanding this helpful tool. I've taken the test and sort of have a number in my mind about what I might be, but I'd like to do a little more research and see if this resource isn't really helpful as a person and pastor.
- Read 12 non-fiction books
- I read quite a bit, but always wish I read more. And I even have a new reading recliner in my living room, so no excuses!
- Be more intentionally pastoral
- This was among my goals last year too, but I am still committed to being more intentionally pastoral in my life and work. I let all sorts of excuses, including my relatively young age, keep me from boldly speaking prophetic, encouraging, and wise words over people and I want to get better at embracing my role of pastor.
- Connect with local pastors
- I still don't know enough of my my local pastor colleagues, and certainly don't have a strong enough support group of people in my vocational network.
- Start an alternative worship gathering
- This goal doesn't involve changing how we currently worship on Sunday mornings (although it could down the line), but I'm experiencing a desire and sensing a need for some sort of alternative worship offering at our church (and for our community). I don't know exactly what this will look like or when we would meet, but there are a number of us beginning to talk and dream about this project. I'm thinking it would be more experiential, communal, and practical, and that we would begin this experiment next Fall.
- Help our church faithfully navigate the chaos of an election year
- This one is tricky. I'm definitely not interested in telling people who to vote for or promoting partisan politics of any kind. And as the pastor of a politically diverse church, I want to properly shepherd all of my flock. But I also know that this next year is going to get very heated, politically, and I will feel a strong temptation to never say anything controversial. So, I'm trying to figure out the most faithful and helpful way for me to engage politics. I want to be a pastor who promotes good, healthy, helpful conversation about things that matter. I want to be a pastor who reminds his church that neither party has a stranglehold on faithfulness and that the kingdom of God is almost always in contradiction to the kingdoms of the world. I want to be a pastor who is willing to talk about issues that are too often seen as 'political' -- things like creation care, poverty, peace/violence/war, and God's love for all people.
Now, what about you? What new behaviors, habits, or activities are you being invited into this year? What goals do you have? What would you like to accomplish or change by the end of 2020? Let’s make this another year of being open and pliable to the ways in which we can be transformed as healthy, holistic people and as more faithful disciples of Jesus.