This time last year I was lamenting a failed 2016. The loss of personal heroes as well as a friend, the loss of my church position, combined with my own internal deficiencies, contributed to a rough year. 2017, I declared, would not be a fail. I’m happy to say it wasn’t. But there’s still work to do.
I set three goals for myself in 2017 and accomplished two of them.
The first, was to drop at least thirty pounds. A year later, thanks to a great support system through my Weight Watchers group, I’m thirty-two pounds lighter and counting.
The second goal I set was the completion of the 5K course in the San Antonio Rock-n-Roll Marathon. While I didn’t run that specific event, I did complete the 5K in the San Antonio Food BankTurkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day and I was pretty excited just to finish, considering at the beginning of this year I could barely run 60 seconds without having to stop for air.
My third goal didn’t come to pass. I had committed to writing a screenplay, which never made it past an idea in my head.
Fellow Texan Michael Lee Aday (aka “Meat Loaf”), said famously “two out of three ain’t bad.” I can roll with that sentiment. But while it ain’t bad, it’s still a “D” and I know I can do better.
More than anything, I wanted to improve on the previous year and I did. The target was to live with an intentionality like never before. Looking back on 2017, I’m amazed at how I crafted my days around the goals I’d set…well, aside from that screenplay thing.
What I realized was life doesn’t have to stay the same year after year. Each of us is created to change, to morph into the next better version of ourselves. For the first time in quite a while, I can look back and say 2017 was the year I became a better version of who I am. I’m not yet the best version, but I’m moving in the right direction.
Like most people, I just wasn’t sure how to start making the changes I needed so that life wouldn’t be an endless string of aimless days. I remember feeling incredibly defeated and had resigned to thinking that this was as good as it would get. But through the words of a friend, it finally struck me. Life isn’t meant to be that way..
Even though I was well aware of what it was like to feel stuck, I finally convinced myself that no one is meant for a stagnant life. Life is dynamic, ever-changing, moving forward. I decided I could either move with the natural current of life’s stream or get out and sit on the shore. I’m glad I jumped into the water.
For 2018, I’m once again setting three goals:
- Writing that screenplay moves to the top of the list
- Build a tight-knit community of people as my core tribe
- Run a 10K
If you’re looking to make 2018 an improvement over 2017, there are three things I would suggest.
First, look back on 2017. What did you hope would happen? Where were you successful? Where did you miss the mark? A great tool to this end is Donald Miller‘s “Start Life Over.”
Second, consider moving any goals that you missed to the top of your list for 2018. Most people accomplish three big things in a year’s time, so consider what’s most important to you.
Third, find a way to plan your days around those three goals. I use the Storyline Productivity Schedule, which you can download HERE. It’s a good way to stay on track and really easy to use.
I can’t guarantee you’ll accomplish everything. I didn’t. But what I will promise is that if you make a few small adjustments to how you approach each day of the year, you’ll stop experiencing life as an exercise in aimlessness and start living with greater purpose and accomplishment.
When I was a kid in school, I had a couple of friends that I viewed as my academic competition. We were always vying for those top three spots with our grades. It’s kind of silly looking back on it because we’re really only competing with ourselves.
I’m not trying to make my life better than anyone else’s. I’m only in competition with myself. 2016 may have been an “F” in my grade book and 2017 a “D.” But there was improvement and I’m committed to keeping that “up and to the right” dynamic for 2018.
Here’s to getting a “A” next December.