An End to New Year’s Resolutions

I’ve never been one to make New Years resolutions. They’ve always seemed pointless to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for personal growth, goal setting and developing healthy habits, I just don’t believe making a list and attacking them all at once on January 1 is the best solution.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

— Chinese Proverb

I previously explained how I began my journey to lead a more intentional life, how I started letting go of my possessions, and taking a closer look at the things that truly bring me joy. This process took me more than 2-years of slowly grinding away at my personal beliefs to get to a point where I felt truly satisfied with my efforts.

How often do we get wrapped up in planning the perfect workout plan, diet, organizational system, or whatever your thing is. We get lost in preparation, and we never actually start. Or we spend so much time finding the perfect system that when it’s time to get started we realize we’ve set a completely unattainable goal. The key is to start with small, attainable goals, and work your way up.


Finding Accountability

Last September, my cell group ( a close group of men from my church ) decided to put together a “Challenge” for our group. The challenge focused on key areas in our life including spiritual, marriage, fitness and prayer. Tackling the same challenges with a group of guys who keep you accountable was an incredible feeling.

Realizing the benefits of accountability partners, I started to seek out mentors who could encourage me in other areas of my life. Over the past few weeks I’ve managed to find a few key mentors and already their support and words of wisdom have had a significant impact on my life. If you’re struggling with change, I would encourage you to reach out to someone you consider successful at change and ask them to keep you accountable.


Current Goals

Below is a list of things I’ve been adopting into my lifestyle over the past few months, in addition to a few new items that I plan on adding as well. Something new I’m trying this year is to divide my goals into categories in an effort to keep my life balanced. I find it’s so easy to get absorbed by health/fitness at the sacrifice of faith, family or personal growth.

( Goals I’ve already started are bolded )

Faith

  • Dedicate 20-minutes, at least 3-days per week, to doing meaningful devotions/prayer
  • Fast for 24-hours, one day per week ( Supper to supper )
  • Fast for 3-days, once per month ( Thursday supper to Sunday supper )

Family

  • Become fluent in French by December 31 ( a challenge against my wife )
  • Go on a date with my wife ( no kids ), once per week
  • Be present when spending time with my wife and daughter. Cell phone and laptop away, focus on sowing into our time together.

Health

  • Finish the Wim Hof Method 10-week course ( learn how to take and enjoy cold showers every morning )
  • Create healthy eating habits and make them a lifestyle ( see slow carb diet / keto diet)
  • Start calisthenics training ( be able to hold a planche for 10-seconds by the end of the year. Stretch goal is to be able to do 5 planche pushups )

Personal Growth

  • Practice mindfulness for 20-minutes, a minimum of 5-days per week
  • Get up 2-hours before my family, 7-days a week ( 5:00am )
  • 5-minute Journal every day, in the morning and before bed
  • Finish the last few categories of the #kondomari method

Tracking Progress

One of the most important things for me is being able to keep track of and measure my progress on each of these goals. I’ve tried a number of methods over the years including writing down progress in a notebook, loading the items as reoccurring events into my GTD system ( OmniFocus ), and a list of other apps. Nothing has really felt right until:

Way of Life

I’ve been using this app for just under a month, and it’s been one of the most encouraging, non-human, sources of accountability. Enter in each of the habits/goals you’re currently working on and make sure you have them checked off before the end of the day.

The simplicity of how it’s set up,checking “yes” or “no” to whether the task is completed, or “skip” if it’s not a task you’re trying to do every day, makes it so easy to use. They also offer a great interface to chart your progress and see exactly how well you’re doing, on a specific task or as a whole.

Calm

They have some awesome guided meditations to get you started, and a great 7-day starter course if you’ve never tried meditation before. Calm also offers a range of nature sounds which really help me clear my head.

Duolingo

The last app I must mention is DuoLingo. My wife and I have tried several different language apps and DuoLingo seems to get it right. It’s absolutely free and they’ve found a way to make learning a new language fun.


Don’t beat yourself up

Regardless of how small you start, how good your system is or how many accountability partners you lock in place, we’re all bound to hit a road block. You sleep in, get distracted, something unexpected happens or you just simply aren’t motivated and skip a day.

Don’t get discouraged. Don’t give up. Realize that tomorrow is a new day, and another opportunity to move towards your goals. Skipping one day is fine but it’s easy to use it as an excuse to skip again, and soon you’re completely off your path. If you find yourself in this situation, take a deep breath, realize what the purpose is of your goals, and make sure you get started again the next day.