One of my goals at the beginning of the year was to work my way up to a fifty mile bike ride and another was to read through the Bible on my phone. My wife and I made the second resolution together and we kept in sync through out the year. It was a lot of fun staying on the same page…I mean…screen with her, even when I was out of town we would communicate about that days digital reading assignment. And it provided plenty of rich opportunities to talk about God’s Word together.
This summer I clawed my way to the end of a brutal 53 miler. I know a ton of people that would view that as a warmup but for me it was a big deal. There were a few points in the ride where I felt like I wasn’t going to make it, but I survived! (and then I rushed to find a cheeseburger.) The hard thing about accomplishing that goal was that my training was interrupted by an accident where I broke a facial bone and sprained my wrist (FYI trying to answer your phone while riding a bike is a bad idea.) I couldn’t ride for two weeks and figured the season was over. At that point my longest ride was 36 miles. Fortunately my doctor gave me the ok to ride with enough rideable days left in the summer to make it to the 1/2 century milestone. It felt great.
Reading through the Bible on our phones was a lot less dramatic. There were no trips to the ER and we were able to chip away at it no matter what the weather was like outside. This past week my wife and I finished the book of Malachi. We started in the New Testament, we had challenged Skull Church to read through the 27 NT books in 90 days, and then began the Old Testament. Speaking of Skull Church and the end of the Old Testament, this week I will be beginning a brand new series that focuses on a person that Malachi prophecies about at the end of his book.
I was thinking about it and realized that I haven’t always been so successful in rocking my resolutions. There have been many years where I didn’t accomplish the goals that I made at the beginning of the year. There have even been times where I didn’t remember what my resolutions were by the end of the year. I think what made the difference this time was two very simple things.
First of all, I was specific. A lot of times we make vague and general goals like, “I just wanna be healthier” which is nice, but how will you ever know if you get there? What does healthier mean? That’s a slippery slope. But when you say “I want to run a marathon this year” or “be able to do 200 pushups,” that’s pass or fail dude. Either you do it or you don’t. Don’t say, “I want to go to the gym more” instead say, “I want to go to the gym 2x a week.” Make it concrete. Instead of saying, “I am going to be a better spouse,” make a goal like, “We will take a weekly date night a minimum of 3x a month” or, “we will spend 20 minutes a day without distraction, just talking.” That is a goal that you can know whether you have kept.
Secondly, I involved accountability. My wife was not only aware but a part of my reading, and I had a whole crew of dudes that I went out riding with. They pushed me farther than I would have gone on my own. Ecclesiastes 4:10 says, If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Plus, riding with others is so much better, funner, and safer than riding alone.
So what needs to change in your life? You don’t have to wait until years end to set some goals. And whether it’s spiritual, physical, or relational, be specific and involve someone else who will keep up on your progress or share in it with you.