I used to set New Years Resolutions each year.  As soon as December showed up I would start to reflect on the year and look for things in my life that I wanted to do differently.  The lines on my list of resolutions would often end with the words “more” or “less.”  The problem is, “more” or “less” resolutions are difficult to quantify.  It’s had to reflect on the past year and decide, “Did I read the Bible more?” or “Did I drink less soda?”  I have found that the only thing these types of resolutions are good for are stroking ones ego throughout the month of January.  (Hey look, I’ve posted a blog post every day this year!)  I do think that there is a place for “more” or “less” resolutions, but I don’t think that they are an end of themselves.   It seems to me that these types of resolutions have been good at bringing to light things that I want to change, yet don’t want to become disciplined in.  If I really wanted to read the Bible more, I could have created a chart to assist me in reading.  If I really wanted to drink less soda, I could have given myself a specific limit on how much soda I should drink per week.

The other resolutions I would set were black and white; there was no room for “more” or “less.”  One year I made the resolution to not eat meat.  Another year I resolved to not drink soda.  And believe it or not, one year I actually made the resolution to not exceed the posted speed limit!  This past year Lauren and I resolved to read through the whole Bible.  The first three examples were things that I needed to choose to do every day, and multiple times a day, too.  I had to decide to not eat bacon for breakfast, not drink soda when I ate pizza (this was before I was 21), and set the cruise control whenever I was driving.  These resolutions were always in front of me.  I wrote “DON’T SPEED” on a note card and taped it to my dashboard.  There were eating habits that I had to change because the restaurants that I was used to going to didn’t have any vegetarian meals.  I had to change my order a few times because old habits stuck hard.  I’m proud to say that in all four examples, I kept my resolutions.  It certainly wasn’t easy, and I often contemplated giving up, but I’m glad I stuck with them.  The biggest reason I’m happy about finishing them is not because of what I may or may not have accomplished, but because this means that I can create a discipline in my life when I really want to.

I didn’t spend the month of December planning out resolution for this year, but I have come up with a few this morning.  First, let’s get to the resolutions that I’m not setting.  These are the resolutions that I set nearly every year, that fall into the “more” or “less” category.

  • pray more
  • read the Bible more
  • write more (with pen and paper)
  • eat less junk food
  • spend less time watching TV
  • work out more

Here are a few resolutions that I’d like to keep through out the year:

  • slow down. setting this as resolution seem counter-intuitive seeing that it’s not quantitative, but my intent with this resolution is to find things that will force me to think about what I’m doing.  Instead of watching TV while surfing the net, I’ll do one or the other, not both at the same time.  I hope that many of my posts throughout this new year will be about ways that I’m am doing this.
  • read 12 new books this year, not including text books.  this isn’t a difficult task for me in general, but I want to be specific about it.  of the 12 books, only 5 will be in the theology/ Christianity genre.  3 books will be fiction, with at least 1 book being contemporary.  2 books will be misc. non-fiction. 1 book biography. and 1 book historical.
  • maintain a 3.5 GPA.  I can do this if I set it as a goal.
  • take a short trip every other month.  these trip could be as simple as a day wandering around Denver, or something that needs more planning like a trip to see Mount Rushmore (it’s only 6 hours away).  The reason for this resolution is to help Lauren and me not feel stuck in Fort Collins (or Colorado).  It’s great that our families are close by, but living in Colorado is not where we want to spend our lives.  We need small glimpses of hope that one day we’ll get out.
  • host 6 “slow food” evenings.  I would like to have a small group of people over to make food from scratch.  This past fall, we had some dear friends over to make ricotta cheese and then ravioli for dinner.  I would hope that through these gatherings that I can help calm some fears about cooking, talk about food cultures, discuss whether or not “slow food” is a realistic option, and eat some good food with people I care about.  Let me know if you are interested and we can plan a night.
  • become disciplined in using a planner/calendar/schedule.  I have technology to make this easy to do, I just need to start adding this into my somewhat normal morning routine.  I want to become disciplined for two reasons. 1.  This would make Lauren happy.  2. When school starts up at the end of the month I will have a lot going on and I want to stay on top of it all.

There’s my list.  I feel pretty good about it.  Do you set New Years Resolutions?  Do you keep them?