I've never been into resolutions. Just never have. And I'm not a huge goal-setting person simply because, by the time I get done setting the goal to my OCD-like specifications, I've lost the motivation to actually start working toward said goal. I know myself well enough to know that I will expend most of my energy in the planning phases, leaving very little for the execution phase. I should go into business for myself as a personal planner.
Today in our small group at church, we discussed balancing life's demands. It started with a 'pop quiz': ranking our progress in the following areas:
Using Matthew 5 as the guide (the Beattitudes), we looked at each of those areas and the discussed the difference between the external and the internal motivations regarding righteousness. The second half of Matthew is Jesus telling his disciples how it is (external motivations) and how things *should* be (internal motivations). As the lesson lined out:
You have heard it said... but I say to you...
Letter of the Law Spirit of the Law
PD - the pastor leading the group - pointed out that the difference between legalism and grace is pursuit. WHY are you pursuing God? Is it to check the box and gain admittance to Heaven or is it to be in relationship with God? This got me to thinking...that relationship can be viewed as the relationship between two people that are dating or married: you pursue the other person because you want to spend time with them and deepen that relationship. You're a sponge and you can't soak up enough of that other person. That relationship is strengthened not by checking the box ("kiss ☑, cook meal ☑, ☑, ☑, ☑) but by pursuing a deepening relationship.
The goal isn't 'doing' things to get into Heaven. It isn't about your 'duty' or your 'performance'. You shouldn't be 'guilted' into action (guilt being different from conviction). We should not be so narrow-minded that we adhere strictly to the 'letter of the law' instead of applying the 'spirit of the law' to each situation. Our knowledge should be 'heart' knowledge and not just 'head' knowledge.
Anyway, that was the lesson. But, during the quiz, I realized that I'm doing ok on my delineating my objectives, adhereing to discipline, and maintaining accountability but I need to work on establishing my priorities and then applying them to my daily or weekly schedule. When I was teaching, the first part of our semester was spent learning about goals: what they are, what constitutes good goals, how to set them, different kinds of goals, etc. One acronym that worked well for my students was S.M.A.R.T.
S - goals should be SPECIFIC
M - goals should be MEASURABLE
A - goals should be ATTAINABLE
R - goals should be REALISTIC
T - goals should be TIME-SENSITIVE
In teaching health, there are 5 basic categories of goals:
Given that, my goals for the week are:
- exercise 3x this week
- remember to take my vitamins every day
- increase water intake: at least 1 tall glass with each meal/snack
- read for at least 1 hour each day
- write at least 3 letters/cards and MAIL THEM (this is where I fail)
- call 3 people this week (I HATE talking on the phone)
- complete 5 days of my reading plan (still working on reading through the Bible)
- write out prayers for one specific person each day for 5 days this week
- 15 minutes of prayer time each morning
I have a few other things that need to get done this week as well: setting aside some things to sell, fixing a few things around the house, make bread, schedule an appointment, hit the library, etc. We'll see where things stand on Friday. What goals do you have for this week? Anything? Are you good at goal-setting? Good at goal-accomplishing?