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My word for 2017 is…

Well, how about this? I never thought I’d have a website of my own.

I’ve dabbled in blogging before, to little acclaim, but this blog will be more focused in nature. And, I hope that having this site will force me to write on a more frequent basis. I enjoy writing, but I often feel the need for “inspiration” in order to write things for myself.

We’re still early in the year, so I wanted to focus my attention toward goal-setting. That’s a big deal this time of year, with resolutions being the buzzword and people placing concerted effort into changing their lives in some way or another, significant or not.

Each year for the past several years, I’ve tried to be more intentional about goal-setting. I sit down and try to really think hard about the things I want to accomplish over the next 12 months. Lately I’ve been categorizing them – health, finances, personal, etc. I’ve found that this helps me to be even more focused.

I’ve found that writing my goals down helps hold me accountable to myself. I posted them in my room on a bulletin board, and I see them every day. That helps me to keep focused. Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell anyone that I always accomplish the goals I write down. Last year I failed in a lot of them. I didn’t run as much as I wanted, write as much as I wanted, or make as much money as I wanted. But that doesn’t mean the year was a failure, or that I should feel bad.

Here are some things that were on my list for 2016 that I did accomplish.

  • Got engaged to the woman I love.
  • Published my first novel, Marauder, and made it available to anyone who wants to read it.
  • Received my college diploma and walked across the stage in front of my family and friends.
  • Read the Bible entirely.

Not a bad year, all in all.

Goals need to be specific, but I also think they need to be challenging. That’s why for 2017, I increased my goals, even on ones that I didn’t accomplish in 2016. I want to push myself further, because even if I come up short, I still might find that I’m ahead of the pace for the previous year. That’s why instead of 300 miles, I want to run 500 in 2017. Instead of reading 25 books, I want to read 40 this year. Instead of writing 15 short stories, I want to write 30.

There’s a chance I fall short of my big goals for this year. That doesn’t bother me. It motivates me, and it gives me some encouragement. If I only run 340 miles this year, does that mean the year was a waste? I suppose some of the more critical people may think so, but how can I? That’s more than I ran last year. If I only finish 18 short stories, am I a huge failure as a writer? No way! That’s 18 more than I have right now.

Goals are important, but sometimes I feel that we as a society get too caught up in the end result and miss the fact that, even when you come up short, you’re still accomplishing something. I’m a big sports fan, and I see that a lot in the way we talk about sports. The Warriors last year (who I don’t like, at all) won 73 games, but they lost the NBA Finals. They failed to achieve their ultimate goal. People want to act like the whole year was a waste, a failure, a letdown, and I’m sure that many of the players feel that way. But shouldn’t they be proud they did something no one else ever did? Only one team wins the championship each year. Does that mean everyone else just sucks?

I hope not, because if that’s the case, then I suck too. I fail at a lot of my goals. But I’m more interested in the striving toward the goal than I am in the number I write down. A number is a number; I can cross it out and write another without any consequence. It’s the striving toward a goal that makes me a better writer, a more accomplished runner, or whatever it is I want to do.

So in 2017, that’s kind of my theme. Striving.

If you read many of my personal posts, it won’t take you long, I hope, to realize that my relationship with God is an important and defining quality of mine. There’s a verse from Philippians that I think speaks toward this striving.

Phil. 3:14 (ASV) – I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

That whole chapter speaks to this sense of striving in the Christian life, and I think it applies to other areas of our lives too. I don’t intend to get preachy, but this word has been on my mind lately. Whatever happens this year, I want to strive to be the best version of me that I can be. That’s why this year is all about striving.

What’s your one word you’re using to map out your 2017?

Published inPersonal