After finishing up our church’s small group study of Radical by David Platt, we decided to commit to The Radical Experiment. It’s a year-long commitment to five specific challenges:
- To pray for the entire world
- To read through the entire Word
- To commit our lives to multiplying community
- To sacrifice our money for a specific purpose
- To give our time in another context
We started working on several of the challenges immediately. For the prayer goal, we’re beginning with Operation World’s 60 day prayer experience. It’s an app that provides the history, statistics and prayer needs of a different people group each day. After the 60 days, we’ll find another resource to help us continue our prayer efforts. We decided on a chronological reading plan for the Bible challenge and have begun our reading. We’re also planning a mission trip with Casas por Cristo for March and we’re raising funds for that.
While doing the Bible reading plan and prayer experience, I’ve thought how these are usually the tasks I start at the beginning of a New Year. I’m finding it refreshing to start some New Year’s resolutions before the New Year actually begins. Here are four benefits I see to starting early:
- Starting now is proactive instead of reactive. Being proactive means looking ahead and planning for challenges instead of just reacting to them after they hit. We all know New Year’s Resolutions are difficult to keep. Starting early provides opportunity to work out the kinks and make adjustments to be more realistic with our goals.
- Starting now fosters a mindset that deals effectively with setbacks. Since I’m taking action prior to the official start date, if I miss a day here or there it doesn’t feel like defeat. And if I miss a day in 2015 it won’t undermine the whole process because I’ll have made deposits into the “resolution account” to balance out the negative days.
- Starting now is motivating because it doesn’t begin with the concept of failure. New Year’s resolutions often feel like attempts to reboot or refocus on something I’ve failed at previously. In 2015, my goal will be to continue something good I’ve already started instead of trying to muster up the enthusiasm to begin something I’ve been putting off for far too long.
- Starting now is creating momentum, which should lead to a more successful approach to the resolutions. When the New Year starts, I’ll already have established the good habits I’m working towards. I will enter the 2015 feeling like I’m ahead of the game. I like the idea that I’ll start the New Year off with some accomplishments already made towards my goals.
This approach to my Bible reading and prayer goals has been so positive and motivating that I’m starting on a few more resolutions now instead of waiting. One such goal is related to this blog. To date, I’ve been blogging inconsistently, whenever the mood strikes and/or I make time for it. I’m now planning a posting schedule for 2015. I’m particularly excited to work on turning my “Encourager’s Devotional Series” into a blog feature. This was something I used to send out to email subscribers and Bible study groups. I’ve been told many times, for MANY years, I should create an internet version. Looks like it’s time to get to it. Stay tuned for that and an overall schedule – and remember, I hope to be posting it BEFORE the New Year begins. 🙂
What challenges or goals have you been putting off until the New Year? What resolutions to you begrudgingly put on your list every year only to have forgotten about them in a few months? How might starting now change your success rate?