With New Year’s resolutions, I’m always shooting for the moon—I go for big, Batman-sized resolutions.
But this year things are going to be different.
Big, bold resolutions seems like a recipe for failure. A recent U.S. News & World Report study found 80% of all New Year’s resolutions fail by February. Don’t get me wrong, Batman gets big things done, but this year my strategies will be Robin-sized. My minimalist approach is an attempt to shrewdly outsmart all of my push-back sabotaging of new disciplines.
These are the five habits I’d like to adopt in the new year, and the Robin strategies to get them launched.
#1: Date My Wife
It’s always hard getting out of the house when you have little kids. Evenings or anytime on my day off have been impossible without a babysitter. But this year all our kids are in school until late afternoon. So Fridays are date days. That’s it! Block off lunch on Fridays. That time belongs to my wife and I.
I want to journal more consistently this year—I’ve failed in the past because journaling often feels overwhelming to me. The blank pages intimidate me. I have a friend who recommends shorter modes of journaling, and a specific type of journal, not just a booklet with big blank pages. This is the journal he uses, but you can find several online. Another great choice is the Jesus-Centered Journal—it’s tied to the special features that are embedded in the Jesus-Centered Bible, but you don’t have to own a JCB to use this Jesus-focused journaling tool.
When journaling feels like starting a novel over and over again, it’s de-motivating. I need to write short nuggets to remember where I’ve been and what I’m learning. That’s it! Just a couple of sentences or phrases to capture my day, it’s the Instagram of journaling—remembering my life on paper.
I had a friend ask me if I would pray one thing, for one person, for one month, at 1:11 p.m. every day. This was a very specific request and a pretty memorable way to pray. So every day in December I prayed for my friend’s request. This was a refreshing addition to my daily rhythm. So, in addition to my prayer life, I’ll be continuing this practice into 2019. That’s it! I just set a reminder on my watch for a specific time, for one person each month. I hit the 60-second timer on my watch, then pause and pray.
One of my greatest regrets in life is not reading more. I’ve tried creating and cultivating this habit in my life by purchasing books, transitioning to digital books (Kindle), reading for 30 minutes a day, and listening to audio books (Audible). I like owning books, I just don’t like taking time to read them. In 2019 I’m trying again, but this time I’m going to embrace the shortcut called blinkist.
For about $80 a year I have unlimited access to a growing number of titles that have been boiled down into 15-minute summaries. I can read these summaries, or I can have them read to me within the app. If this sounds interesting, you can jump in with a seven-day free trial. You can subscribe to blinkist right inside the app on your smartphone, but I suggest searching for a discount code. Their subscription is currently 30% off right from their website. That’s it! Summarized content delivered to my eyes and ears.
#5: Encouraging Others
Our church office has nice, embossed postcards, so I grabbed a stack to write notes to people. That’s it. I just need to do it. If I write one note a week, that’s 50 more notes than I wrote in 2018.
Maybe a few of these small sidekick ideas will turn into full-blown superhero habits. My hope in 2019? Start small, be consistent, watch it grow.