I rarely ever do New Year’s resolutions. As a matter of fact, it would be safe to say I’ve likely never done a traditional list of resolutions. A few years ago, I did decide to choose a word for the year. Now I can’t even remember what the word was—that’s how haphazardly I approached the process.

This year, however, feels a bit different. I’m motivated in a way I’ve never been before. Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older (40 this year!). Or maybe I’d simply like to try a different approach. And I know I was influenced by reading Cal Newport’s book, Deep Work, which opened my eyes to how much time I waste.

Whatever the reason, I’m excited to start this year off with a plan and some goals. Maybe this is your year to start too.

Starting Small

Making a traditional list of resolutions has always seemed a bit daunting to me, with too many options to wade through, too many decisions to make in one year and in one sitting. So this year, on the recommendation of my friend and colleague Phillip Bethancourt, I’m approaching my plans differently and I’d say far less dauntingly. His suggestion is to set one goal for the year in each of the following areas: spiritual, professional, technological, marriage, and family. Easy. One goal, not a million. A few areas. That, I think, is doable.

So this year I’ve set some goals, which I plan to share with you in upcoming posts. My goals are small, but I think they will significantly affect the way I use my time, energy, and focus for the year.

Speaking of focus, that is my word for the year. This year I’d like to be laser focused on what the Lord has called me to specifically in the areas mentioned above. I start this year with great anticipation to see what the Lord might do and how he will certainly challenge and change me. And I’m approaching it all knowing that I already have the greatest gift—Jesus.

Failure Is an Option

At the end of the first paragraph I invited you to join me in starting the year with a plan and some goals. Are you ready? Or is something holding you back? Maybe you have been like me, hesitant to set goals or resolutions because you fear failure. Why bother? you tell yourself, I’m not going to complete my goals or keep my resolutions anyway. And perhaps that’s true.

But I’d like to also encourage you that trying isn’t failing and that failing doesn’t mean trying isn’t worthwhile.

Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father. Every task we complete is because of him. Anything we do that requires strength is only accomplished because our Lord has strengthened us for the task. That’s true whether we acknowledge it or not. And every failure is covered by grace. Should you start a task in January and realize come March that it’s been abandoned, you can pick up and start again or reevaluate and adjust your goals.

I’m starting the year knowing that I might not accomplish all that I hope for in 2018—and that’s okay. I’m confident that I will do all that God desires and designs for me to do this year. That I can know for certain. And the process of setting goals and making a plan can only help me do that.

So, here we go. Happy New Year!

I’d love to hear from you in the comments section. Do you do resolutions? Why or why not? Either way, what are your hopes, dreams, and plans for this year?

(Remember, next week we’ll begin reading through Spiritual HealthCheck by Carl Laferton. Make sure to grab your copy. )

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