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Not everyone likes making New Year’s Resolutions. What could be worse than setting yourself up for failure once a year? But resolutions can be helpful. We should expect some difficulty when establishing new habits and setting new goals. Success is learning to press on and push through in order to become a better version of ourselves.
Here are a few resolutions you might consider making in 2014.
1. Read a Proverb a day. There is no substitute for biblical wisdom. Learn a little every day from the wisest person (except for Jesus, of course) who ever lived.
2. Savor good food. So many people go on strict diets at the beginning of each year. While these can be helpful, it’s also important to learn to slow down and enjoy the food you do eat. Have a little chocolate and take your sweet time enjoying it.
3. Organize your internet consumption. I use Feedly.com to keep up with almost 50 of my favorite blogs and websites. I use it to keep up with my interests, but I also use it to be well-informed for my job. Feedly saves me hours every week.
4. Go on more walks. Find a few favorite places to walk and schedule regular time. Walking is a good way to clear your mind or listen to a good audiobook.
5. Aggressively attack debt. Most young people have some form of debt. The more aggressively and quicker you pay it down, the more money you’ll save yourself in the long run. You might also consider making a visual progress chart to boost your motivation.
6. Learn to use a Crock-Pot. The Crock-Pot is one of the greatest cooking tools known to man. Get in the habit of throwing a bunch of ingredients in before work and coming home to a delicious, home-cooked meal. The leftovers make for a great lunch the next day.
7. Listen to classical music every day. Classical music has long been known for its ability to improve IQ and boost creativity.
8. Make a habit of reviewing your finances. At least once a month (but probably more often), sit down and review your finances. Be honest about where you are and where you can improve.
9. Always thank God before you eat. Food is a good gift from God (no matter how much you paid for it). Make it a habit to thank God before eating.
10. Move vigorously every day. I’m stealing this one from Dr. Oz. He once said that the people who live the longest are the ones who do some type of vigorous activity every day. He might have been joking, but if not, it's certainly worth a try.
11. Network. Have lunch or coffee with someone who can sharpen you and vice versa.
12. Start a club. One of the best things I did in 2013 was start a reading club. I read more literary classics in the past year than I've read in the previous 10 years combined. I’m better for it. Start a club of your own, doing something you love with people you love.
13. Get more involved in your church. The fellowship of believers is one of the greatest earthly blessings we have in Christ. Go to church looking to get more involved and to enjoy deeper fellowship with your brothers and sisters in Christ.
14. Encourage at least five people on Facebook every day. Use social media to bless other people. Don’t flatter, but praise and encourage your Facebook friends with sincerity from the heart.
15. Organize your commute. I wrote a whole blog post on this one.
16. Write a Boundless blog post. Boundless has started publishing readers' writing. Put together your own post and submit it. Your wisdom and advice may be just what the Boundless community needs.
17. Cultivate some new friendships. The older (and busier) you get, the more you’ll have to work to make time to cultivate friendships. Make this a priority.
18. Pay yourself first. One of the greatest pieces of financial advice is to automatically save 10 percent of all you earn throughout your life. Invest this money and let it grow. Shoot me a thank you when you are a millionaire.
19. Plan a trip. Make a list of places you’d like to visit and then start planning your next trip. Even if you can’t afford it for a year or so, you’ll never go if you don’t make a plan. If you're looking for a place to go, come visit us next summer for the first-ever Boundless event.
20. Learn to make delicious food. I’m always on the lookout for cheap, healthy, delicious recipes. They do exist. Becoming a better cook can only add pleasure to your life (and the lives of your family and friends).
21. Floss. My dentist says this is important.
22. Get some Facebook pen pals. I have several Facebook friends who live in various corners of the world. I love seeing posts from places I’ve never been. It reminds me how big and small our world really is.
23. Be cleaner. The world has too many messy people. Your future spouse will thank you for learning to be clean.
24. Start a thankfulness journal. Regularly list (and date) all the things you are thankful for in a journal. Someday your grandchildren will enjoy reading them.
25. Read a novel. Scientists recently found reading novels make you sharper.
26. Stretch more. Add some relaxing times of stretching to your life. I personally like to stretch to the ambient music of Enya. Please don’t tell anyone.
27. Pick a deeper devotional. Last year, I suggested these deeper devotionals. A whole year later and I still recommend them. They are that good!
28. Spend time with old people. One of the greatest things you can do to sharpen yourself and grow in wisdom is spend time with wise people. God-fearing folks who have lived long in the land have a wisdom you can’t find anywhere else.
29. Recruit a mentor. Always be on the lookout for people that might be a mentor to you. Most people who achieve great things have great mentors guiding them. Surround yourself with great people.
30. Give one percent more to the poor. Most of us can afford to give a little more to the poor. Be strategic and give to an organization doing great things to serve those with the greatest needs.
31. Just say no to selfies. This phenomenon has run its course. Make the world a better place. Just say no.
32. Read at least 30 minutes every day to grow in your primary calling. Identify the best books in your particular field and read a little every day.
33. Use to-do lists. Most people get more done with to-do lists. Learn to enjoy checking things off.
34. Set a governor on your entertainment time. Self-impose limits to how many television shows, movies, video games, etc. you will enjoy in a given day. Your future spouse will thank you.
35. Always give thanks. Never ever receive something without giving thanks. Become the king or queen of the handwritten thank you note.
36. Join Amazon Prime. What could be better than free two-day shipping?
37. Organize your prayer life. Make a list of all the people you want to pray for in a given week or month and make your own personalized prayer calendar.
38. Drink more smoothies. Everyone knows the nutritional value of a well-made smoothie is unsurpassed.
39. Be punctual. I’ve read several blogs recently commending the importance of being on time. Whether we like to admit it or not, being perpetually late will eventually cost you. Being late communicates something else was more important.
40. Learn something new. If you could become the world’s foremost expert in any topic, what would you choose? Well, what are you waiting for? Start studying it on your own.
Resolutions can be great ways to calibrate your life. It’s wise to ease into them. No one could or should do all of these. Instead, pick a few and work at them. If you fail, keep going. Perseverance is not the absence of failure, but the ability to pick yourself up after failing and continuing on.
Feel free to suggest some resolutions of your own in the comments below.
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--I'm going to buy a bunch of those stick figure decals & randomly add family members to the windows of unattended vehicles.
--I think we can all get behind the suggestion to end the selfie phenomenon.
--Proverbs? I don't think that Jesus quoted the Proverbs at all. And they're not even in the Law and the Prophets (And Solomon might have been a wise guy but he wasn't a nice guy.). But Jesus did quote the Prophets and he did quote the Psalms. So if you want to be like Jesus then you should read from the Prophets every day. The thing is, they don't make a lot of sense unless you really understand Genesis through 2 Kings. Or you could do like the Christians of old and dedicate yourself to the Psalms. Read one of those a day. Some would read them all in the course of each day. Better yet, spend the year reading a chapter out of the Gospels each day. But the Proverbs? They won't make you more Christlike.
--Hmmm, no 36 - one of my aims is to not shop at Amazon at all if I can help it. Not because they're evil or anything, but a few things I've read/seen recently (such as this article: www.theguardian.com/.../week-amazon-insider-feature-treatment-employees-work) have made me think a bit more deeply about whether I really want to support the trend towards huge online companies that eat up the rest of the market and don't seem to treat their workers all that well or behave very responsibly in paying taxes etc... It's not going to be easy though because Amazon is super convenient and I probably do at least 75% of my shopping there at the moment!
I like a lot of these though. And lol at Dave in KC - that's brilliant. :P
--#37 "Organize your prayer life." I have spent the last two years developing a free app to organize my prayer life. and I am sharing it with everybody. appstore.com/prayerprompter
--I just discovered that the appstore.com link doesn't work any more. You can find Prayer Prompter app in the iTunes App Store at itunes.apple.com/.../id499057936
--Are we trying to end all selfies or just the ones where people make duck lips and pretend they look good? I hate the "selfie" phenomenon too but I can't get my husband to take photos so it's the only way I can get a photo of myself...especially with my son. I don't have photos with him otherwise. Though I would love to get rid of the term "selfie". I hate it. I much prefer "self portrait". Is it really that hard to say?
I definitely need to organize my Internet time more. I need to better organize my time in general.
--What if we mostly just end the nonstop selfie barrage? A new self picture every once in a long while isn't too bad, it's the constant picture change after picture change, especially with the duck lips, that gets out of control. Spamming people with photos of yourself is seldom in good taste.
In addition, or maybe just another way of saying what's been said, I would also suggest learn to communicate well in person instead of relying too much on social media. It saddens me how many people I see losing the ability to talk face to face or do any form of small talk because they only know how to talk online. As I sit here talking online, lol.
--"Floss more" was one of my resolutions. Apparently, it is the best thing you can do for your dental health.
"Get a job" is my other resolution. I'm graduating this year so hopefully...
--Jack, though Jesus didn't quote from Proverbs, the Apostles sure did. Apparently, they thought the Proverbs would help Christians become more like Christ. See Romans 12:20, Hebrews 12:5-6, James 4:6, and 1 Peter 4:18, 5:5. Have you forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons?
--@PKrol, Romans was written by an apostle, Paul, the rest weren't written by apostles. And quoting a proverb isn't the same as saying that reading them will make you more Christlike. (Consider that Jesus makes reference to Ecclesiastes 3 and Ecclesiastes views the world rather differently than Proverbs.) If you want to become more Christlike then you should spend time with the things that Jesus spent time with, Prophets and Psalms, or you should spend time with the things that he did and said, the Gospels.
Just stop and consider the Proverbs in the light of the Gospel. Proverbs are all about how to succeed in this world. The Gospel is all about working for the benefit of everybody but yourself.
There’s a lot of Scriptures that Jesus didn’t quote, or aren’t part of the official “law” or “prophecy” sections; that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t read them or they don’t benefit us. Reading the prophets is not going to do any more or less for someone’s sanctification than reading Proverbs. I’m not entirely sure what your point is, but it almost sounds like you’re elevating some parts of Scripture as more holy or beneficial than others.
--Lots of fun suggestions, appreciate how achievable some of these are :)
I'm returning to a resolution from last year and starting to read the Bible through again. I got a little derailed last year between moving and a new job (thankful for the 1st paragraph above!), but started fresh again last night. I'm trying a chronological plan this time, would love to hear what other people are doing.
--@AMahoney, Reading through the whole Bible this year, that's a wonderful idea. Someone once described the bible as a glorious tapestry hanging on the wall. Sometimes you want to get real close and examine the thread work and sometimes you want to step back and take in the whole thing. I think that we Christians should make a point of doing each from time to time.
That said, there are certain bare spots that are best not examined too closely.
--@Johnathan, Of course some parts of the Bible are more beneficial than others. If you were to spend the year studying and committing to memory all the "Begats" in the Bible then you're kind of missing the point. But the "Begats" are useful because they shed light on the other parts that are the point. So we shouldn't cut them out of the Bible like Thomas Jefferson would but on the other hand we shouldn't spend more time on them than we do on the things that they illuminate. And the Bible often presents two ways of looking at things. Nehemiah believed strongly in racial purity and had the returned exiles divorce and put away their foreign wives and children. The book of Ruth takes a different view and makes the point that David was the result of a mixed marriage and that foreigners can be loving and generous people. So don't read the books of Ezera and Nehemiah without reading Ruth. Likewise, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes have different and incompatible outlooks on life. So don't read Proverbs without also reading Ecclesiastes. Or better yet, since the outlook in Proverbs is also incompatible with Jesus' teaching, don't read Proverbs at all.
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