This year I am saying no to New Year's Resolutions

One of the best practices I have picked up over the past few years is adding pod casts to my regular intellectual intake.  I have been listening to stories, learning about business, encouraged by sermons, and lending some support to my fellow youth ministry podcasters.  And of all the podcasts I have been listening to, I have the most stimulating, encouraging, refining, and butt kicking by non other than my someday boss, Andy Stanley.  

Over the last few months he has been unpacking a book that has been shaping for him and his organization, The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg.  And like a good disciple, when my mentor says read, I read.  (too much?)  And read I did.  Over Christmas break I devoured this book, and even more so, really tried to figure out how to put what I have learned into practice.  

So for 2015, I am going to practice the power of habit.  Instead of having a list of goals for the upcoming year, I am, instead, going to choose two keystone habits and trust the process to mold and shape me this upcoming year.  A keystone habit is a habit in which all sorts of other habits can build upon.  So instead of trying to change 4 or 5 things, I am going to put all my effort and energy into changing one habit, that I hope will set off a chain reaction into the rest of my life.  

2 Keystone Habits for 2015

Personal Keystone Habit:  Wake up in the 5:00's.  5:00 is really early.  It is early for me, and early for everyone who isn't a Marine.  I  have been circling around this habit for the past 5 or 6 years.  But now that my kids are older, I really have no excuse.  When I wake up in the 5:00's:

  • I get some solid time with Jesus that is uninterrupted.  
  • As an introvert, I get all the "me" time before the house wakes up, so I am prepared to be present and love my kids.  
  • Starting my day with a plan means that I also allows for a greater chance of success in my eating and exercise plan.  
  • Working a plan builds my confidence and esteem for accomplishing the goals I have set out to do that day.  
  • I can clean out my email box and read the news all before I roll into work.
  • I will then show up to work ready to rock
  • By 9:00 at night, I am ready to call it quits, so instead of being restless at night, I will fall right asleep to do it all over again.  

Professional Keystone Habit:  Actually practice my sermons and presentations out loud 3 times before I present.  It is embarrassing to admit, but for some reason I have never been able to practice what I preach.  Haha.  As a true GenXer, I so value authenticity, that it just felt wrong to practice a joke, an inflection, or even an emotion before I presented.  I would rather study and prepare a whole host of ideas and thoughts, then grab them as needed when I preached.  But no more, this year I am going to invest an extra two hours of my prep time and stand in an empty room and practice what I preach.  

  • I will have to be more prepared, and prepared longer ahead of time.
  • This will allow me to actually internalize what I am saying and how I am going to say it.  
  • I will be more comfortable on stage. 
  • I will be able to tell ahead of time if an argument or logic train is off base or weak.
  • I will be less tied to my notes.
  • I will actually be a better preacher and presenter.  

The start of a brand new year means an opportunity for some fresh starts.  I love fresh starts, and I love dreaming up big plans for the upcoming year.  But this year, I am not setting goals, rather I am reflecting on the typer of person and type of communicator I want to be, and will simply put my energy in getting after one habit in which the rest of the house can be built.  

May you get after all the big dreams and plans that God has put on your heart.  And may you too, figure out what is a keystone habit that will allow you to focus your energy that will have a maximum payoff!  

Happy New Year!!