Looking back at last year’s resolutions, I would say I did a fair job of realizing them. If you’re curious, here’s what they were:
I say all this as a setup for for my list, which as it stands, is just a bunch of abstractions:
Be more thankful Pray more Spend less $$ on books
- Sharpen up my Greek and Hebrew
Read differently Spend less time online (or spend wiser time online)
- Write more original content (and possibly a book)
- Start a family (or more accurately, get some affairs in order to start trying)
Lead Ali better at home
- Be more relational
- Disciple more
Get in musical shape and learn more songs Get in physical shape and lose some weight
The strike-throughs are ones that I think I made significant progress in over the course of the year. In the vague, undefinable way they are stated, it is much easier to check them off. Had I said “lose 10lbs,” I couldn’t check that off, but I remained in better shape over the fall, didn’t get sick, and stuck with getting to the gym to exercise regularly, something I had failed to do the previous 2 falls.
The areas I failed were sharpening my Greek/Hebrew, writing original content (as in posts like this vs. book reviews), being more relational, and discipling more. The starting a family thing is something Ali and I changed our mind on, mainly because I applied to start Ph.D work this fall. I’d rather wait and give more details on that if I get accepted, but she was offered a job that she would love to do, and so rather than quitting work to start having kids, we’re going to see if I can get through Ph.D work first. We might decide to start having kids before then, but that depends on whether a couple of other teaching gigs I’m applying for come through.
Going back then to resolutions, Ali and I had both put several better life habits in motion through the fall, and both agreed this past year was our best year yet. Because of that, we didn’t see the need to make any radical resolutions. Regardless of what you think about the whole New Years resolution business, I think it is good to take stock and examine your life on a regular basis and make any necessary adjustments. The beginning of a new year is a great time to do that, but isn’t the only time. Your motivation behind the resolutions can be off, but abuse doesn’t cancel or negate proper use.
That being said, Ali and I really just made one resolution for the New Year, and really mainly for the first 90 days:
- Get up every week day at 4 am.
This of course is no easy feat. It means getting in bed around 8:30 Sun-Thu nights. But, after the first week, the payoff was worth it. By getting up at 4 and going straight to the gym, we both were able to exercise more, and I was able to get quite a bit of work done every morning before 8am. It also allows Ali and I to pray together before she goes to work, which is something we had wanted to do be doing but hadn’t because of her work schedule (she is usually at work at either 6am or 5am). Now, by getting up earlier, we are settling into being on the same rhythm, exercising together, and praying together to start the day.
We already had alarms going off at 5, but for Ali that meant snoozing for a bit and then rushing to get out the door on time without time to make breakfast. For me, it meant snoozing for a while and then maybe falling back asleep. Now, we get up exercise, eat a healthy breakfast, pray, and then start our day by 5:30. We set our phones over on a table in our bed room so we have to actually get out of bed to turn them off and then once we’re up we immediately turn on all the lights and start changing clothes. Before our bodies can protest, we’re in the car making the less than 5 minute drive to the gym, and before 4:15 we’re already working out.
We found during the first week it set our days in motion better, and by Friday night we weren’t totally exhausted. Also, we are both using Saturday as a Sabbath, so there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. It probably also helps that we are sticking to a stricter diet and so eating at home more than out, but our overall energy level is up, which of course leads to more energy for building other habits.
Getting up at 4am might not work for everyone, but I imagine for most people, you probably could get up a little earlier on the weekdays and start your day better than you currently are. Even if you don’t feel like you’re a morning person, you can change to become one if you really want to. I didn’t always get up early. I became a morning person gradually over the course of working at Lowe’s and Starbucks, as getting up early by compulsion gradually turned into getting up early by choice. Maybe try getting up an hour earlier than you normally do (and maybe going to bed earlier too) and see how that goes for a few weeks. The trick is to set an alarm and actually get up when it goes off instead of snoozing. You’ll find you end up having more time to more important things, something you could harness to develop other goals in your life. I’m hoping to utilize my extra morning time to work on projects that would leak into the late afternoon so that that late afternoon time might be used for things like discipling more in the coming months. As that develops, I’ll be sure and keep you posted.