Archives for posts with tag: goals

Happy New Year 2018 Everyone

At the beginning of a new year many people make New Year’s resolutions. It is an attempt to express one’s intention to “to change an undesired trait or behavior, to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life” (Wikipedia). I am not one of those people.

One study found 46% of participants who made common New Year’s resolutions (e.g. weight loss, exercise programs, quitting smoking) were likely to succeed, over ten times as much as those who decided to make life changes at other times of the year.

new year's resolutions : Stock Photo

Darin P. St. George, a personal trainer who works under the pseudonym Trainer X at Gold’s Gym in Natick, Mass., suggests that New Year’s resolutions are as fleeting as the rose petals littering the streets of Pasadena after the Rose Bowl parade has gone by.

Jason Elias, PhD, a staff  psychologist at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass. says it’s OK to make New Year’s resolutions, but only if you see them not as unbreakable promises to yourself, but as positive statements about possibilities.

“What New Year’s resolutions tend to be is a statement of your motivation of your intentions — like a bit of cheerleading for yourself.” He tells WebMD. “But the problem with that is that sometimes people set their goals too high, such as ‘getting my life back on track,’ and those things are way too big to keep track of, to know whether or not you’re even making progress on them.”

Since I do not engage in the tradition of making New Year’s Resolutions I cannot offer any personal experiences of success or failure at accomplishing them. I will not pass on any suggestions of their value but in the early stages of 2018 I want to share some advice given by one of the world’s greatest leaders.

Words That Ring Through Time: From Moses and Pericles to Obama - Fifty-one of the Most Important Speeches in History and How They Changed Our World (Hardback)

In his book Words That Ring Throughout Time, Terry Golway includes the words of  Moses, the great Liberator of the Jewish people 3000 years ago. After leading the Israelites for over 40 years, they are about to cross into the Promised Land. But Moses is faced with the reality that he will not enter with them. As he prepares for his death he addresses the people.

Moses Talks to His People

The Book of Deuteronomy contains Moses memories of the long and treacherous journey from exile in Egypt. As he prepares to turn over the leadership role to Joshua, “Moses issued a stern warning, leavened by encouragement and the promise of rewards for keeping faith in God” (Golway).

Hello January

 

With the first month of 2018 almost half gone, I offer the words of Moses as guidance for the future.

Listen obediently to God and keep the commandments and regulations written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

I set before you today life and what’s good versus death and what’s wrong. And I command you today: Love God, your God. Walk in his ways. Keep his commandments, regulations, and rules so that you will live, really live, live exuberantly, blessed by God, your God, in the land you are about to enter and possess.

But I warn you: If you have a change of heart, refuse to listen obediently, and willfully go off to serve and worship other gods, you will most certainly die. You won’t last long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

I call heaven and earth as my witnesses against you right now: I have set life and death, blessing and curse before you. Now choose life—so that you and your descendants will live by loving the Lord your God, by obeying his voice, and by clinging to him. That’s how you will survive and live long on the fertile land the Lord swore to give to your ancestors: to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.*

Jamie Jenkins

*Deuteronomy 30:10, 15-20 adapted from The Message, The Common English Bible, and The New International Version

There is a classic fable about a man who approaches three men working in a quarry. Each was asked what he was doing. The first man said, “What does it look like I’m doing? I’m breaking rocks.” The second man responded that he was building a wall. The third man said, “I’m building a cathedral.”

All these statements are true but all quite different. The first man did not look beyond the task and the sweat of the moment. He had a job to do and he was simply doing what he was supposed to until time to go home. Hour by hour, day by day it was the same. Breaking rocks.

The second man saw things a little differently. Breaking rocks was a way for him to support his family. This was his personal objective and he took it seriously. It was important to him for their survival but he had no goal beyond making a good living.

The third man said he was building a cathedral. That is a different perspective. Just like the other two men he was making a living breaking big rocks into little ones but he has a loftier vision that merely doing a job and making a living.

The different answers are an indication that their lives are also different. Terrence Moore suggests that “Their words measure the distance between the thoughtless and the thoughtful, between the pedestrian and the sublime.” He says further that their story is “a steady march from breaking rocks to building cathedrals, a story of transformation, a story…of self-transcendence.”

With startling clarity, this story illustrates that purpose has the power to transform not only our attitude about the work that we do, but the quality of our work as well

In his book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink says that most methods of motivation are ineffective. He proposes that the most effective motivation must include purpose.

Image result for images of Rick WarrenRick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, reminds us that the search for purpose in life has been elusive for many because they are looking at the wrong starting point- themselves. He says, “It all starts with God… Life is about letting God use you for his purposes, not you using him for your own purpose.  One’s identity and purpose is discovered through a relationship with God and realizing that the purpose for your life fits into a much larger cosmic purpose designed for eternity.”

 

The Westminster Shorter Catechism addresses the purpose for which we were created in question number one:  “What is the chief end of man? Answer: Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”

Jamie Jenkins

When I did an internet search for “retirement advice” almost everything related to finances. While that is a very important part of planning for retiring, it is not all and I am certainly not the one to give guidance in that area. Having enough money for a comfortable living and a little to provide for satisfying hobbies/interests is essential to your physical and emotional well-being during your retirement years.

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Many people are diligent in financial planning for retirement and are to be commended for it. I was not one of them. Fortunately my employer made significant contributions to my pension and encouraged me to participate fully in that effort. After a lot of years I finally invested more for my future.

I am goal oriented and recognize the wisdom in planning and preparation. But when it came to considering the end of my working career, I just never gave it much (any) thought. I never thought it would happen. I have worked all my life and I found fulfillment in what I was getting paid to do. Then somewhere in the 40th year of my professional career things changed.

My change in thinking began one day when a colleague of mine expressed concern when she said, “I don’t hear you whistling anymore.” I am a whistler but I am not aware of it until someone asks, “What was that song you were whistling?” My wife tells me it is my subconscious way of expressing my emotions. Maybe.

I thought about why I had stopped whistling, I wondered if it was a way that my deep inner self was trying to tell me I needed to make a change. I was not unhappy, burned out, or angry. But maybe it was time for a change. During the next several months I pondered and prayed about it and it became clear to me that it was time for me- not to quit- but to do something else. I made that decision and transitioned into a new phase of life.

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When asked what I wanted to do after I retired my answer was consistently, “I don’t have a clue.” I just knew it was time. I have always believed that if you are doing what you should be doing today, you will be where you should be when God has something else for you to do. That is not a cop-out to justify poor or no planning. Rather it is a mindset that governs your life and work. I am convinced that everyone has a “calling” and fulfillment and contentment comes as one faithfully follows that path. It does not begin or end with retirement.

In making the decision to retire and think about this new era, I came across some suggestions that made sense to me. There are four questions in preparation for your new reality and they can equally apply to any stage of life:

  • Where do you want to go?
  • What do you want to give?
  • What do you want to learn?
  • What do you want to do?

Go, Give, Learn, Serve.

Go- There is a great big wonderful world to explore. Many beautiful places, near and far, to visit. Give- There are many places and situations where you can use your talent and experience to serve others. Learn- We are never too old to learn and there is much that will enrich our lives. Do- Individuals have different hobbies and interests that may not be fully explored or developed during the years of our “making a living.”

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I have been in retired status for a little over three years now and it has been wonderful. There have been more than ample opportunities to consider. I am taking advantage of the ability to make more choices and am attempting to remain useful and productive without much of the stress that surrounded my life for 41 years.

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I am grateful for the years of following God’s call upon my life and serving God’s people. I am glad those years are not over.

Jamie Jenkins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Year a Good Start

Today is the last day of the year. Tomorrow we turn the calendar over to January 1, 2016. As we approach a new year many people resolve to do certain things in the coming year to improve the quality of their lives and the lives of others.

New Year 4

I do not make New Year’s Resolutions. Make no mistake, I understand that there are many things that warrant change in my daily actions and attitudes. Nevertheless, I don’t go through the exercise of listing them intentionally upon the advent of a new year.

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It has been said if you aim at nothing, you will probably hit it. I agree that identifiable, measurable, and achievable goals are good. I do periodically assess my lifestyle and attempt to make adjustments. However, rather than make specific resolutions at the beginning of the calendar year, needed changes may be recognized and addressed at any time.

New Year Better Man

For example, a few years ago I realized that  I needed to make some changes as I got older and my lifestyle became more sedentary. I am relatively healthy and active but I have slowed down. My metabolism, which has been my best friend all my life, has slowed down also. Thus, I do not have a weight problem but I am developing a waist problem.

Although I am fairly active, I am not a physical fitness fanatic (that is putting it mildly). I knew that I would not follow through long term on any drastic changes. So, I started with small but significant changes to my diet. Because I have a real weakness for anything sweet, and especially ice cream. I decided that I would eat sweets only on weekends. I also started eating a light but somewhat healthy breakfast, something that I had not done consistently since I was a kid, and I determined to reduce my intake of soft drinks and mid-day snacks. Small but significant changes.

New Year Endless Possibilities

The beginning of a new year provides impetus for us to think about changes that we need to make. It prompts us to reevaluate the practices of our daily life. Somewhere I read an article on the fundamentals of journalism but I cannot remember any of the content and I cannot recall where I saw it. However, I do remember three principles that I believe apply equally to all of life: Honesty, Integrity, Accountability.

I will address each of these in subsequent writings but for now I leave them for your consideration. Whether you are making New Years Resolutions or simply thinking about how you order your life, these three principles provide a framework for some serious self examination and goal setting.

New Year 1

Happy New Year!

 

Jamie Jenkins

When he was 12 years old one of my children told me and his mother that he was passionate about playing the violin. My wife replied, “If you were passionate, we would not have to make you practice.”

Just to like something and even to get some satisfaction from it does not equate into passion. But when an activity, person, or thing elicits intense emotions or strong feelings from you, it may be appropriate to say you feel passionate for it.

Discipline 4

Felling passionate can be a good thing but passion alone will not lead to the desired results. Discipline is the bridge between desire and fulfillment. Discipline- an activity, exercise, or regimen- is necessary to move from goals to accomplishment. Desire and discipline go hand in hand.

Gary Ryan Blair said, “Discipline is based on pride, on meticulous attention to details, and on mutual respect and confidence. Discipline must be a habit so ingrained that it is stronger than the excitement of the goal or the fear of failure.”

Dr. Sherwood Elliot Wirt was a long time associate of Billy Graham and the founding editor of the evangelist’s Decision Magazine. Before his death in 2001 at the age of 97, he wrote more than 40 books and had a tremendous impact on the lives and careers of multitudes of writers.

Dr. Wirt was a guest lecturer in one of my college English classes. That was many years ago but I still remember his reply to a question of one of my classmates. The student asked, “Where do you begin to become a writer? ” His reply was, “Get a piece of paper and a pen (I told you it was a long time ago) and start writing.”

One element of Dr. Wirt’s response was that you have to do more that want to do something. You actually have to do it. That takes a certain amount of discipline and if you want to succeed at any task you have to work at it.

Kushandwizdom - Inspiring picture quotes | via Tumblr

Near the end of his life Jesus had a conversation with his closest friends. He cautioned them that being his disciple would be difficult and could be costly. When excuses were given for not following him at the moment, he replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back” was ready to follow him. In other words, there is a price to pay for anything that is important. Discipline and sacrifice are required.

This year is the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music movie. Julie Andrews, one of the stars of the movie, said in a recent interview, “Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me, it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly.”

Zig Ziglar Discipline quotes | Inspiration Boost | Inspiration Boost

One study a couple of years ago by Wilhelm Hoffman, found that well disciplined people are happier than those without. M. Scott Peck agreed when he said, “Discipline is wisdom and vice versa.”

Lord help us to discipline ourselves so we can complete the tasks and achieve the goals that are good for us and for all humanity.

Jamie Jenkins