Happy New Year! Each year millions of people set new year’s resolutions or goals, and usually by the second week, they have already failed at several of them. Developing the discipline of setting and achieving goals is difficult, but not unattainable.
Each year I set between seven and ten goals. Over the past several years, I have developed three habits that no longer make it to my goal list.
Today’s research indicates that it takes an average 66 days to develop a new habit. What happened to the 21 days or 30 days to a better me. Well, some goals need more time to take root in our lives.
It is possible to develop healthy habits, but it starts with adding them to your yearly goal list.
Here are three habits that no longer appear on my goal list.
Habit #1 – Read Thru the Bible In One Year
Growing up, I would read the parts of the bible while pursuing a certain study topic. However, I neglected the habit of reading through the whole Bible.
Three years ago that changed. I added the following goal to my yearly goal list:
Read thru the Bible in one year
It was difficult. Not missing a day for 365 days is tough, and honestly, I missed several days, but the beauty of the catch up is a beautiful thing.
I found a great tool on YouVersion to help me achieve this goal. They have several plans on their website and app to help you take small bites of the elephant to accomplish your goal.
I listen to the daily Bible reading on my way to work, and I find that sets me up for the day.
Using the app is easy – it does the heavy lifting. You listen or read, and it keeps track of your progress.
This app allowed me to develop the discipline and habit of reading the Bible thru in a one year. My mom and her friend have been reading through the Bible every year for the past 40+ years. Now that’s a discipline I want to embrace.
Habit #2 – Read “X” Books Per Year
I love reading and knowledge. I even have a book club where I share new reads (and even old favorites).
John Maxwell said,
Readers are leaders and leaders are readers.
I embraced this habit early in life. Both of my parents loved to read and encouraged my brother and me to read. After college, I got serious about expanding my knowledge through reading.
Each year, I choose a number of books I want to read and then start. I use a couple of tools to help me read/listen and track my progress towards my goal.
In the past few years, I have read…
- 2014 – 55 books
- 2015 – 78 books
- 2016 – 47 books
In 2017, I plan to read 50 books.
To help me track my progress, I use Goodreads (app). I set up a yearly book challenge and then add the books I am reading to my “currently reading” section. When I finish them, I check them off and give them a rating for the community to see.
Zig Ziglar challenged people to redeem their drive time. He coined the term “automobile university.” He had an administrative assistant who redeemed her drive time by listening to books. She said it was like getting a Master’s degree in the car.
Most people drive alone or take other forms of mass transit. Listening to a book is an excellent way to get your personal “degree.”
Since I travel quite a bit for work, I tend to listen to my books via Audible (app). I typically listen to books at 2x speed; this fits the cadence of my thought process, so I don't wander on one particular topic.
If the book has an extensive amount of research in it, I will usually a hard copy to accompany my listen. These two apps help me find new reads and stay on track of my progress.
If I don’t hit the target, no worries, it’s already a habit. I love the knowledge I get from the books.
Habit #3 – Charitable Giving Based on Percentage
Another habit I learned from my parents is charitable giving (notice a pattern). Each year, I give a percentage of my gross income to charities. In my case, most of it goes to my local church.
Andy Stanley shares that we should have a giving plan for our money. Each year, I sit down before the year begins and determine the percentage of my income I want to give to charities. For me that number is is a minimum of 10%.
Additionally, I try to determine the charities I will support but leave enough room to meet needs as they pop up.
In the past, I have supported:
- Agoura Bible Fellowship
- Pencils of Promise
- The National Multiple Sclerosis Society
- Missionaries (long & short term)
- American Association of Zookeepers
I use a couple of tools to help me track my charitable giving.
First, I use ItsDeductible by Intuit. I input the charity, gift amount and it stores the information for use with my taxes. It integrates with TurboTax to make adding charitable giving to my taxes a breeze.
One book that I read about every other year is The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. This book helps you develop and sustain strong financial habits.
There we have it – three goals that have become habits. Now it’s your turn.
Question: Which goal on your list (doesn’t have to be one from above) has become a habit? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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