Today is Monday, December 05, 2011. As of right now, we have exactly four full weeks left until the next year begins. In this post, I want to propose to you five things you can do right now to set yourself up for a successful 2012.
There is absolutely no reason for us to wait until the last week of December or the first week of January to start planning and preparing for 2012. This must be done today or as early as this week. You will realize the value of what you are about to do when you propel forward into the new year with a fresh mind and an attitude poised for success.
A lot of people wait until the new year to begin acting upon their resolutions. You might be saying to yourself right now:
- I want a deeper, fuller, more passionate life in Christ and with Christ next year.
- I want to give more time to intentional prayer next year
- I want to read through my entire bible next year
- I want to join a small group where I will grow spiritually not year
- I want to spend more time intentionally dating my wife next year
- I want to reconcile relationships with people in my life next year
- I want to be a wise steward of the resources God has graciously given me
- I want to start tithing regularly to my local church next year
- I want to start eating healthy and regularly exercising next year
- I want to align my priorities in a more streamlined manner next year.
- I want to subscribe to this blog but have not yet done so. Great news, you can do so right now by clicking here — please subscribe! I would really appreciate it! You will receive fresh content delivered to you daily! Thank you!
The above are all great things. But what would make you wait until next year to begin? There is absolutely no reason for us to put off until next year what we can start doing right now.
I firmly believe in and boldly challenge you to embrace the front-load principle. Begin doing right now what you are putting off to do only until next year. This type of time frame gives you a four week head start.
It has been a pure joy to go on this life journey with you this year. We have already talked about how you can maximize your productivity. We have already discussed the importance of gaining clarity in your life. We had a good conversation around how to thrive and survive in a challenging environment. We talked about what we need to do with failure and how to move away from failure. We distinguished what a distinctly gospel centered life looks like. We talked about how to improve every single relationship you have and revolutionize the way you interact with people.
Now, this is your time and your chance to prepare for the next year in a way that you never have before.
I have experienced every single one of the five items that I am about to list below. This is not just a theory I want to share with you. Some of these items taught me a huge lesson. Some of these things I miserably failed at. This is why I am so passionate about sharing these things with you. I am confident that if you apply this to your life, it will radically renovate and reinvigorate the way your 2012 will start off.
Here are five things you can do right now to set yourself up for a successful 2012, today:
1. Commit to read your bible everyday next year, starting today. I believe that whatever fills your mind, fuels your life. Fill your mind with the word of God. What does this look like practically and how can you accomplish this? One of my most popular posts on this blog has been specifically on this subject. Click here to see how this can be practically accomplished in your life. In addition, my friend Brandon Vaara has written an excellent three post series covering this vital topic. You can read it here.
I know many of you will want to start a bible reading plan at the beginning of the year. However, I want to modify this approach. Why not start the bible reading plan you wanted to accomplish next year, today!
Here is why:
Because during the year, there will be inevitable circumstances which will disallow you to be consistent. So, why not give yourself a one month buffer zone. By starting today, you can still commit to reading your bible consistently throughout 2012. To relieve yourself of the stress of having to read 30 chapters in one day to catch up, start this today. I did exactly this. I started my 2012 bible reading plan at the end of November. I am relieved to know I now have a buffer zone which will still allow me to accomplish this goal.
2. Create a set of realistic goals and resolutions for next year, today. It is crucially important to set realistic goals for yourself. Do not over-promise and under-deliver. Avoid over-extending yourself. This will breed frustration and usurp energy from you that might otherwise have been put to good use. It is much better to put on your resolutions list a few things and do them well rather than a sleuth of things and barely accomplish the first four.
This is the mistake that I made this year:
At the beginning of 2011, I wrote out my new year resolutions as I usually do. I included four main categories:
I then included over seven sub categories under each main category. This was a huge error on my part. It was exciting to look at this list at the beginning of the year. When I am looking at it right now in December, I realized that I neglected to narrow my focus.
At the beginning of 2011, two of my professional goals were to develop a theme and concept of my next book and to make one additional short film. Because I was simultaneously finishing seminary, working in the church, working and transitioning into a new job, I was not able to get to these two goals. I had big dreams at the beginning of the year but they fell flat.This taught me a lesson to plan and resolve accordingly and wisely.
I also want to share with you in particular two wins from my resolutions list:
Under my relational category, I resolved to have at the least one intentional date night with my wife every week. By God’s grace and efficient time management, both Vika and I were able to accomplish this.
I also set out to make sure that I finish seminary in May of 2011. By God’s grace as well, I was able to do this also.
The concept here is simple. Resolutions are great. Make sure they are realistic, narrow and focused. Less is more.
3. Commence new diet and exercise habits today. I already know that as soon as January one hits the iCal, gyms all across the country will be brimming with hopeful people who will end up dropping out before the first two weeks are over. In my personal opinion, gyms are the absolute biggest waste of money and time for a large majority of people who are members. I will tell you why I think this way in a moment.
If you want to cut out carbs and soda from your diet in 2012, why not start right now. I know, the chocolate croissant you had this morning at Starbucks with your morning latte was delicious. But here is the problem. It went straight to your waistline. Substitute the croissant with a handful of almonds. It is a small change but it will make a slim difference, literally. There is no reason to wait to start this habit next year. Start it right now.
If you want to cut out all the junk food, create 30 extra minutes in your schedule to prepare a healthy meal the night before. Instead of skipping breakfast, junking on lunch and having a huge dinner, divide your eating habit into six to eight small meals throughout the day.
If you really want to get in to shape, I would highly recommend p90x. By doing this program all the way through, I was able to get in the absolute best shape of my entire life. It was awesome. I really enjoyed it. I have had a gym membership before. Never did it yield any result regardless of the intensity of my work out. This program was killer. It took care of the temple and I loved it.
Instead of waiting to start eating right next year, start right now. Instead of waiting to get in shape next year, start p90x today. Or keep going to your local gym if that works for you. Either way, the point is not procrastination, but activation — and it starts today.
4. Cultivate a disciplined approach to your life style, today. I have written extensively about how we can boost our productivity. I just want to come at it for a moment from a different angle.
Many of us spend way too much time doing things that are absolutely unproductive. We all have a particular vice that extracts precious time from us. You can point to it right now in your mind. I will share quickly how I was able to become better disciplined at various projects:
- If I am writing a blog post, I will set up a count down timer. I know I have a certain amount of time to finish it. The clock is right in front of me. I pace myself to be done before the buzzer goes off. The timer keeps me on track. I wont be browsing for that perfect post picture for three hours. I could. But it would be superfluous.
- I create for myself on paper time blocks in which I allocate specific time for things that I am doing. I even allocate a time frame at which I will check my email. I have a bad habit of hitting the refresh button every couple of seconds. I then trained myself to stay focused on the task at hand. When I glance at the clock, I know I can check my email in 30 minutes.
Crafting solid sermons takes 50% studying the Word, 30% understanding people, & 20% not being distracted by the Internet.
This is so true. We are bombarded by a deluge of information every second we are awake. Here is the principle that I attempt to follow in relation to all things technological. Technology should be our servant and not our master. When these two items are flipped, discipline is on the periphery at best or absent all together at worst.
This point is all about being so intentional that discipline becomes not a haphazard occurrence but an everyday reality, starting today.
There is no need to wait until next year to resolve to do this. It starts today. We have only one more point left. Thank you for sticking with me.
5. Control social media instead of it controlling you. I love social media just as much as you do. I believe it is a great tool to connect with people and to influence the way people think. It can also be a great time waster. This is also true with any technology or gadget. Let technology and social media be your servant and not your master. Allow it to obey you and not the other way around. Within those same time blocks that I mentioned above, I include time to check my Facebook, respond to comments and read the blogs I subscribe to via my RSS reader. If I am working on a project, I intentionally close out every single social media tab that I can on my web browser. None of them are opened until the alloted time. I even turn off the sound ringer on my phone so as to create an atmosphere of minimum distraction and maximum productivity.
- We all want to have a more passionate and deeper relationship with Jesus in 2012.
- We all want to be maximally productive in 2012.
- We all want to reach new heights in our spiritual, relational, professional and physical areas of our life.
- The above five points is exactly how you can practically accomplish this!
- I pray that you will go along on this journey with me.
This does not start in four weeks. It begins now.
I am excited for what God has planned for you and me in 2012. I am confident that if our chief aim is rendering glory to God, it will be a year of exponential spiritual growth and incremental seasons of bearing fruit.
May you be saturated in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ for His glory.
Question: What steps have you taken to set yourself up for a successful 2012? What else would you add to the above list? Was this post beneficial in your preparation? Please share with the community in the comments below.