So, we’re two weeks clear of New Year’s.
“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.” Proverbs 4:25 (ESV)
Let’s take stock.
By now, our resolutions are either hanging on by a thread, have firmly implanted themselves into our daily routines or have been replaced by other, more realistic and hopeful actions.
Many of us, myself included, have been focused on dreams, goals, plans and self-improvement for 2014. I’m all for that – with the help of God – as we strive to get on a path that will lead us to a better relationship with Him and those we love.
Part of that readjustment needs to come with tangible action as well. While rhetorical questions and self-examination have their place as we learn more about ourselves, as men we also need to be people of action and consequence.
We need to do something. So here’s a chance to hit the refresh button on 2014 and take some definitive actions to help our journeys – a quick Top 5 actions to improve our focus in 2014.
Define your year in three words: This is a great exercise I first picked up from marketing guru Chris Brogan, who posts his three words every year. By looking at what you want to accomplish, how you want to live and what is really important to you in the year ahead, you can find a great deal of clarity. The act of writing and brainstorming these words as you whittle away the possibilities to the essence of what 2014 is all about helps to burn them into your brain.
Take some time to create your three words for the year and it will be an excellent compass point in which to direct the rest of your steps for what you do in the months ahead.
What are your three words?
Read one book a month: Take a look at the graphic below, it’s a stunner.
42 percent of college grads NEVER read another book after graduation? Reading through the Scripture is a great idea and one we talked about at the beginning of the year. I recommend mixing it up on the reading front. Leary Gates and I talked about the benefits of just that. Details will be in a forthcoming podcast.
What book do you want to read in 2014?
Schedule your date nights: As Erik Fisher and I talked about in the first Whole Donkey podcast, your calendar reveals your priorities. If you take control of it at the beginning of the year, you can be the master of your own time for the remainder of 2014. One of the first recurring items to put on our calendars are date nights with the wife.
Before you jump right in Romero, it might be best to talk to her about which nights and frequency works best. My pastor, Herbert Cooper, recommends a regular monthly date night, along with some date weekends and possibly a whole week alone together sprinkled throughout the year. See if that fits into your availability, finances and childcare responsibilities, because if you make that commitment, it will surely grow your relationship.
Join a small group: If you don’t do anything else in 2014, seek and find a group of like-minded Christian men you can surround yourself with for accountability and shared wisdom.
My group meets tonight and is THE place for me to give the whole truth about what’s going on in my life and get honest (sometimes brutally honest) feedback about how I need to be acting and where I need to work on my connections with God, my wife and others.
Where do you find these groups? Start at church. If you have special recovery needs, look for a Celebrate Recovery group in your town. Still flummoxed? Email us on this blog. We’re willing to talk any time.
Breathe and slow down: Finally, a return to the where we are. It’s the 15th of January. Already! Time flies by. We need to stop what we’re doing and appreciate the first gift God gave man. Life. Breath. The Earth.
Slowing down is OK, even for just a bit to appreciate that we’re here and we’re trying. We woke up this morning and, God willing, will again tomorrow. He gives us grace, He gives us life and He gives us chances to capture each day and make it the best we can.
Take some time to thank Him for that.