Generally, I’m not one to craft a bunch of New Year’s Resolutions. Not necessarily because I am bad at following through, but rather due to my propensity to try and “fix” something when I see that it needs fixing. Nevertheless, over the past couple of weeks I have found myself reflecting on the need to use the New Year as an opportunity to revitalize some practices in my life. Below are five goals I have set for the coming year.
First, read more in the Greek New Testament. I’m inspired here partly because I need to get back into my Greek more regularly and partly because Jennifer Guo shames me into finding more time to read through the GNT. As a doctoral student, I’m constantly trying to learn and utilize new languages (I have totally new Hebrew, French, and Armenian resources on my desk, in addition to the German and Syriac I’m working on), and sometimes that comes at the expense of continued work on existing languages, like my Greek and Latin. Since I’m taking three NT-related doctoral seminars this semester, hopefully this practice will sharpen my skills in those classes as well.
Second, be more intentional with periods of rest. This was a practice that was cultivated during my time at Summit Semester in 2009 and again during a ministry internship in 2012. The basic principle is this: take regularly scheduled time to rest and commune with God. While I used to be pretty decent at carving time out of my schedule for this, in recent years I’ve fallen prey to focusing on my ‘to do list’ and schedule at the expense of saying “no” to busyness. This year I hope to get back into making these periods of restfulness a part of my life.
Third, exercise more. My failure to regularly exercise is part-and-parcel of my busyness. I’m too busy to sleep enough, to rest enough, or to get the type of physical exercise that I need. A good place to start will be walking through our neighborhood some more, but I also hope to find the time to get back to running again. Once I finish more of the basement, I might also break out the old P90X videos as well.
Fourth, more faithfully stick to the “For the Love of God” two-year reading plan that our church is working through. As a multi-site church, we are committed to reading through the Bible (OT once, NT and Psalms twice) over a two year period. I’ve been pretty decent at staying on track, but really tailed-off at the end of this year. If you’re not reading the Bible regularly, I encourage you to check out some of the suggested reading plans linked here.
Finally, finish doctoral coursework. In one sense, this should be the “easiest” goal to follow through on, since my life right now is oriented toward and arranged around my doctoral studies. In other sense, this semester—like the others before it—is going to be a long, tough grind. My schedule for this term has been filling up for quite some time, with language exams, conference presentation, departmental duties, and comprehensive exams all lined up to consume whatever time and sanity I have left after regular classes and research assistance. Don’t get me wrong, I love taking classes. But I am ready to move to the next stage of my doctoral studies.
There they are: my goals for 2016. I think they’re attainable and will be beneficial, if for no other reason that I will need to be even more conscious of time management and how I order my life. What goals are you setting for 2016? Why are you setting those goals?