Sticks or Stars?

“Goals are stars to steer by, not sticks to beat yourself with”

Attributed to  Barbara Smith

I am not a big fan of goals or resolutions generally. In particular I don’t really care for the goals that are often required to be set (and then promptly ignored) at the workplace. You know, the S.M.A.R.T. goals? yeah, those.

I do believe in trying to improve oneself, and when I heard the quote above, I thought, that’s how goals are supposed to be. It’s not something to set and ignore. It’s not something to fail at and then feel like a failure (I think Satan particularly loves and encourages this kind of approach). It’s also not necessarily something that should be followed no matter the cost.

A good goal should be something that motivates you to do or be better. Something that guides you.

So, for 2014, what are the things that I hope to come closer to achieving? What will guide me?

Here are a few of my goals. It’s a pretty standard list, really…

  1. I want to have more meaningful scripture study. Too often I read a few verses or paragraphs when I have a spare minute or two (typically on the toilet, of all places). That’s not feasting on the word. It’s better than nothing, and I expect I’ll continue to have plenty of days when that’s all I get, but I hope to have a greater focus on really studying scriptures, and finding a regular time that I always do scripture study. I get the most out of it when I have time to think and write a few notes about what I am studying.
  2. I want to do more to teach my children the gospel. Typically we come up with some lesson or other for Family Home Evening shortly after I get home. I hope to take a little more time to put something together. I also want to watch for teaching opportunities more closely. In particular, I want to help my children understand the Articles of Faith.
  3. I want to help my wife more with the daily chores and messes. I don’t think I do too badly here, but this is one area where I think husbands can (and should!) always improve. I can be more observant and see what needs to be done and jump in and do it. I should make dinner more often.
  4. I want to be more healthy. I really should be eating better than I am. I also want to keep up a good exercise routine that includes other things besides running (which is my preferred exercise). I have gotten to where I will do a good run a couple times per week in decent weather, and that’s good; but I think it’s time to add to that doing other exercises regularly, particularly to strengthen my back and knees (which running tends to wear down, at least for me).
  5. I want to be more politically active, particularly at the local level. I want to know what’s going on in my city and state, and do what I can to advance those measures and interests that I feel are important.
  6. I want to advance the projects I’ve started. I’m really good at starting new projects, and really lousy at following through and finishing them. If I could make sure that I’ve done something 2 or 3 times each week, I might actually finish something.

So that’s my list for 2014. I’m going to add a calendar item to review this list each month and help me to remember them and work on them, and adjust them if needed. But I don’t plan on beating myself up if I don’t do all of them.