O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith


Resolutions for 2010

posted by Jason Boyett

Some people think New Year’s resolutions are dumb, for several reasons. For instance, if it’s so important to make some kind of life change, why haven’t you done it already? Why wait to quit smoking in January instead of doing it, say, in October? And everyone knows that most resolutions are abandoned by February anyhow. Any regular health club member is familiar with the pattern: the place will be packed for the first couple weeks of the year…but stick it out, because all those people will stop coming in just a few weeks.

I hear you. If you don’t intend to hold to your resolutions — if you’ve been telling yourself to get in shape for 17 Januarys in a row and you’re still spending every evening on the couch eating ice cream — then it’s probably time to acknowledge that resolutions are not working for you.

But people are different. Me? I’m a goal-setter. I like to decide to do something and then, you know, do it. Crazy how that works.

I decided I wanted to be a published writer in 1994, and sold my first magazine article in 1995. I decided I wanted to write a novel in 1997 and had finished it by 1999. Actually getting a book published had been a life goal since my first college journalism classes in 1994, and somehow my determination and dogged pursuit of that milestone finally paid off in 2003 with Things You Should Know by Now.

Resolutions are, for me, just a formal kind of goal-setting. I like to sit down at the start of the year and decide what new things I’m going to try over the next 12 months. What can I do better? What can I aim for? I’ve found it’s best to set specific and attainable goals, too. “Get fit” is a dumb resolution because how will you know when you’ve met it? A better idea is a goal like “be able to run two miles without stopping/vomiting/dying.” Specificity is good.

(Vomiting is not good.)

I absolutely DON’T want to be the kind of guy who has been living the same life year-in and year-out, with nothing new — no changes, no personal growth, no new experiences. That’s boring and unhealthy and uninteresting.

So I make resolutions every year. I set goals. And then I pursue them. Here are my goals/resolutions for 2010:

1. Finish two books before September. I’m under contract to complete two new books by January of 2011. I hate to procrastinate, so my goal is to finish them by September. I’m not going to say much about them here because 1) they are different than anything else I’ve done, and for an entirely different audience. And: 2) they may end up being written under a pseudonym. Intrigued? Good.

2. Develop and fully outline a good plot for a novel. More and more I’m coming to the conclusion that I need to be writing fiction. Coming up with fictional concepts — big ideas — aren’t my weakness; plotting is. I won’t write a novel until the plot is solid, so that’s the first step. I intend to take that step this year.

3. Participate in three sprint triathlons, and improve on my times. Last year I competed in three races. The first was new, and the second and third were repeats. In both of those I improved by a pretty substantial margin. I’m thinking this year I can still improve, but probably not by quite as much. By the way, these will all be local: the Chick-Fil-A Sprint Tri in June, the Amarillo Town Club Tri in July, and the Tri to Make a Difference in September.

4. Participate in three new running events. I’m going to train for and run at least three longer-distance events this year: the Oklahoma City Memorial Half-Marathon (April 26), the Palo Duro Hot Dog 15k (July 10), and the 20k portion of the Palo Duro Canyon Trail Run (October 16).

5. Improve my posture. I’ve noticed lately that I’m a total sloucher — both at work in my office chair and while standing. No one’s yelling at me to “Stand up straight!” anymore, but I saw myself in the mirror the other day in my usual, most comfortable stance, and my back was all bent and my gut sticking out. I looked like an old man. A dorky old man. And if there’s anything that’s important to me, it’s not looking dorky or old. (My male-patterned baldness just laughed at me.) A further benefit of good posture is a healthier, stronger, and more injury-resistant lower back. So even though this isn’t a measurable goal — I’m thinking slouch 3 degrees less is kind of a stupid thing to put on paper — I’m going to focus on sitting and standing straight this year. If you see me, and I’m getting slouchy, you have my permission to correct me.

6. Read 12 books. A repeat from last year, but still a good goal, even though part of me sees that number and sniffs derisively at such a puny total. A measly dozen books?!? Back before I started writing so much I’d read at least a book a week — a pace I sustained for several years. Those were the days, kids.

7. Run a 6:15 mile. Another 2009 repeat. But I’ve just convinced myself to list this one every year until I do it.

8. Be intentional about speaking engagements. Also a repeat, but one I’m much more committed to. Here’s the thing: I love to speak to groups, and I’m fairly good at it. (At least, my mom thinks so!) But the Pocket Guide books don’t lend themselves real well to speaking engagements. No one’s planning a conference and thinking “We really need to bring in someone to speak, sarcastically, about the afterlife.” As fun as the books are to write and (hopefully) read, the Pocket Guides aren’t conference material. But my new book, O Me of Little Faith, is about doubt — something tons of young adults deal with (if silently) — and is the kind of speaking topic that might have better resonance with college students and churches, etc. Which is why I’m taking steps to secure an agent and start booking some dates. Which reminds me…if you have any connections to a university or a college ministry or a church group, and need someone to address the topic of doubt — how to deal with it, how to embrace it, and what it can mean for your faith — then shoot me an email.

—————

Those are my resolutions for 2010. What are yours?



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Matt @ The Church of No People

posted January 5, 2010 at 4:13 pm


I've got the fitness thing as a resolution again. Thankfully, although I am weak-willed, I am strong in the metabolism department, so no one thinks I need to get to the gym. I'd also like to clear out the list of books I'd like to read by finally reading them. Maybe this will be the year my studies finally end and I can get around to reading something useful.



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Jason Boyett

posted January 5, 2010 at 4:31 pm


Matt: Why stick to reading "something useful"? These days, I'm much more likely to read something fun. I spend too much time with practical stuff and need an escape.



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Janna

posted January 5, 2010 at 6:40 pm


1. Lose the baby weight (and yes, I have a specific plan).2. Walk/jog 500 miles this year.3. Do ten minutes of yoga every day.4. Say no to social activities that I really don't want to do but feel obligated to do.And I do back-to-school resolutions in September, even though no one in my family is in school. I just like to review and add/change goals and September seems like a good time to do it.I am crazy intrigued about your next two books!!!



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Ruth in the Desert

posted January 5, 2010 at 7:34 pm


I'm reading the Bible in 90 Days, and following the Flat Belly Diet.



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Ryan Paige

posted January 5, 2010 at 9:22 pm


I'm finally going to watch "The Three Amigos"



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Matt @ The Church of No People

posted January 5, 2010 at 9:36 pm


Oh yeah, by useful, I mean something that I desire to read. I like history and everything, but when you have to read it for a test, it kind of takes some of the fun out of it, and sucks up the time you'd have for other things. I tend to educate myself on fairly useless things to try to make a career out of them. I'm really craving a crossword puzzle though.



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Tess Mallory

posted January 6, 2010 at 12:14 am


A very inspiring post, Jason, and one that made me look at resolutions differently! Being someone who is not strong in the goal-setting department, it's interesting that this is the year I've decided to do exactly that! So your post came just at the right time! So here goes–1. Write every day for at least 2 hours. I used to do this easily, but now I've gotten out of the habit. 2. Limit–and I do mean–limit my time on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Email to an hour a day. Unless specifically doing a blog, or promoting a book. These fun online places are robbing me of my writing time–and I'm letting them do it! 3. Finish a book in three months. I've done it before, but only because I had to. This time I want to do it to prove to myself that I can. One book in three months = four books a year. Okay, maybe three cuz I need time off in between for the usual Life crises.(I'll have to write more than two hours a day to do this!) 4. Start the blog I've been pondering about starting. 5. Lose weight by walking three times a week and reducing my carb intake AND my portion size. 6. Watch less TV. (After LOST and Psyche have ended! ha!)7. Plan a special date with my husband at least once a month.8. Read at least five classics this year. (I'm so behind! Never read Pride and Prejudice!) 9. Let go of at least one regret.10. Have my nonfiction book idea outlined before the end of the year. Thanks Jason, for the kick in the pants!



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Ken

posted January 6, 2010 at 6:36 am


Great post to get things started this year. (by the way, I'm already lobbying for an official catch phrase for next year – "This one goes to 11" – feel free to start using it next January).Seriously, I'm excited because this is the first year I've really been intentional about goals for the coming year.I'm doing all I can to make the state of Delaware the leader in Social Media to attract more innovators, entrepreneurs, and artists – to provide unprecedented opportunities for everyone in the state, and to set an example for the rest of the world to follow.Yes, I started this a few weeks ago, but it was with the intention of really making it take off this year – http://delsocial.blogspot.com/That's it, that's the goal for 2010.



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Everett Bracken

posted January 6, 2010 at 9:29 am


Have you already picked out your books for the year? I have 5 waiting on me as soon as I finish Outliers. You can see them here if you are interested: http://www.satisfyinglifeblog.com//2010/01/01/10-new-years-resolutions-im-sure-to-keep/ Curious if you have an family/relationship goals or if you just didn't put them on your blog.



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Jason Boyett

posted January 6, 2010 at 9:54 am


@Everett: Since this is the blog for my books and writing and web presence as a public figure, I don't talk much about my family here…I prefer to keep that stuff (and those goals) private.I haven't picked out all my 12 books for the year (and I'll likely read more than that dozen), but I do have a few in mind already.



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co_heir

posted January 6, 2010 at 1:06 pm


My goal is to be able to compete in the 100 meter dash in our local senior (yes, I'm a senior) games this september.



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Kristian

posted January 6, 2010 at 8:02 pm


1. Read at least 50 books – so far I have done one. It's easier to find time for reading when you don't have to write :)But more importantly;2. Read at least one book, from cover to cover, that fundamentally goes against everything I believe in in life. For me – a lifelong apatheist or atheist – that'd be a religious perspective to life, universe and everything.



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Jason Boyett

posted January 6, 2010 at 8:13 pm


Kristian:What an excellent goal! I think all of us — Christian or nontheist — could definitely benefit from reading, seriously and with an open mind, material that challenges our beliefs and pulls us out of our comfort zones. Thanks for sharing. And if you need an idea about a book with a religious perspective…I can hook you up. In May. :)



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yzxlfsnct

posted June 18, 2013 at 3:17 am


voice ?? send ?? without ?? considerable ?? with



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