My life feels like that song Fly like the Eagle. You know, time keeps on slipping and slipping into the future. (Seal is a prophet and Space Jam is one of the greatest movies ever made.) The brevity of this past year, though, has been redeemed by the memories and good stories that I’ve had the privilege of being apart of. At the beginning of the year, like in years past, I made the infamous list of “New Years Resolutions.” Every year has been the same pattern for me: write a list, discipline yourself for a few weeks, and then forget about the resolutions by February. It’s easy to see why these “resolutions” became a point of frustration—I never complete any of them.
This year, however, was different. I was inspired to try a new way of framing my goals. I am a daily subscriber to Donald Miller’s blog and was influenced greatly by his perspective on goals. Goals by themselves can be good, but they can also be lifeless and without purpose. He suggested writing our goals in the form of a narrative. Goals, then, aren’t simply tasks to check off a to-do list, but are integral to your personal development. Your goals can help you tell a good story with your life. I thought that was mind blowing.
I took Don’s advice and came up with three goals that fit into the narrative of my life; three things that would help me be a better person and pursue the dreams I have for myself.
My first goal was to start this blog. For the most part, I am hyper critical of anything I say or write. So I decided I needed to do something that would force me to write and allow my family, friends and foes to respond to my thoughts and also create some meaningful dialogue about life and faith. And I also really like finding pictures on the internet that go along with my topics.
Secondly, I wanted to be more spontaneous with my friends and with how I spent my time. There are many moments when my schedule gets so rigid and I live my life according to my calendar. I realized that this way of living is dumb. Real dumb. So, I’ve tried to incorporate more spontaneity into daily living—talking to the stranger at the Post Office, staying out late on a work night, taking more time for long conversations and trips to Starbucks—and have, honestly, been surprised by the results. I’m starting to realize that God works through us when we allow ourselves the time to be open to Him.
Run a Half-Marathon
My third goal was to run a half marathon. I used to run in high school (although my true passion in sports has always been swimming and basketball) and was never very good at it. I wasn’t fast, or part Kenyan, so I was just an average runner. I realized, however, that running was a sport that I could do no matter where I was. Furthermore, it would require some real discipline on my part to complete a half marathon. I wanted more discipline in my life and I figured the necessary physical training for a race of this proportion would be a great exercise in self-motivation and discipline. I was right. I’ve run more in the past three months than the past five years. Last Saturday, I ran across the finish line of my first half marathon. Covered in dirt and sweat, with weak knees and a throbbing left ankle, I stood victorious over the 13.1 miles. It was a great feeling to accomplish a goal, not simply for marking something off my to-do list, but realizing that the journey was where the true satisfaction came from.
In fact, all three of my goals were about the “process” more than the production. Disciplining myself to write my blog monthly; choosing to be a little cheesy at times to enable more spontaneity; and taking the time to train for a half marathon. The process was a good story that I wanted to share with the world. For the first time in my life I actually stuck with my New Year’s Resolutions. I am proud of this year and the person I am becoming. It does, however, beg the question: what’s next? The year 2011 is wide open. Is it time for me to pursue other dreams? Should I write the novel? Will this be the year that I try out for the Clippers? Can I finally muster up the courage to ask John Mayer if we can go on tour together? Time will tell I suppose.