Resolve to Evolve
Whew, 2020 am I right?! (Insert played out joke here.)
Ok, time to forget bad jokes and move past all the muck that came with 2020. I mean, how can I sit here and bitch about 2020 any longer when Megan and I successfully brought a healthy baby boy into this world in 2020?
When most people chose to get mad, sad, angry or depressed (sometimes all at the same time), I chose joy. I chose to count my blessings and look at all the positive we had in our lives. I was joyful I kept my job and I was joyful I stayed healthy. And most importantly, I chose joy when learning Megan was pregnant in March.
I spent the entirety of the pandemic focused on a healthy baby and pregnancy while choosing joy. I was rewarded for my joyful choices with Clancy Douglass Meisner on November 19, 2020! Now as I enter a new year with a new baby, I continue to be intentional with my habits and my choices. Many of them have been adopted and adapted over the last 5+ years, but are crucial to keeping joy in my heart. I still firmly believe that goal setting is good. I could have let 2020 derail many of my goals, however choosing joy kept me focused. It is my intention to share a how-to plan and provide resources below for you to adapt a similar mindset.
As I have written before, I like to think in terms of “challenges,” not goals or resolutions. Every January most people tend to get beaten over the head with terms like “New Year’s Resolution” or “New Year, New Me,” and I’ve begun tune them out. To me, the term resolution is something temporary. People should strive to make permanent changes and not temporary resolutions. Also, why do most people tend to try and adopt new habits only in January each year?
All that said, I still feel it is important to set intentional and realistic challenges. When I say intentional and realistic, I mean we need to move past the thoughts of “I am going to lose 10 pounds this year” or “Saving money will be a priority,” and focus on small changes and daily habits that can lead you to amazing progress.
We need to change how we approach our goal setting and look at them as challenges. Begin to focus on Progress NOT Perfection and you’ll be amazed at how many challenges you can accomplish. Challenge yourself!
Resolve to Evolve
I touched on this mindset in early 2018, again in 2019, and again in 2020. I’m writing in 2021 to keep my streak going and to keep me accountable. I want to show you how I was able to achieve most of my challenges that I’ve made public, even amidst a pandemic.
I’m just as committed in 2021 to evolving and achieving my short-term goals as I was the past three years. It’s really easy; I promise you! The following resources will provide a foundation for your new challenges, regardless of the time of year.
My wife Megan and I are using the same method to become more mindful and intentional in our goal setting. We like to call it the “Resolve to Evolve” plan. Check out the link and click on the template to help you brainstorm, create and carry out your goals for the upcoming year.
The action plan only requires you to identify three steps leading upto the goal, along with a 6 month review. Your goals should be SMART. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. It’s that easy!
During the last three years, our challenges have focused on five categories: health, career, relationships, financial and spiritual/learning. We chose these categories because they are five focus areas that tie into our core values and beliefs.
The easiest way to live an intentional life, one that has true purpose, is to align your daily actions with your core values and beliefs.
By focusing on small changes and measurable progress, you are less inclined to get into a rut and think the goal is unattainable. This method can help you break the routine of setting unrealistic resolutions that you bail on by March and transform your life in ways you didn’t think were possible.
Goal setting should be a fun, thoughtful activity that encourages you to reflect on your best qualities and how to improve upon them each year. As I stated, in an effort to hold myself accountable I published the blog last year with my 2018 goals, 2019 goals and 2020 goals. So to keep myself accountable, here is the update to those 2020 goals along with what I have set for myself in 2021.
2020 Goal: Complete 100 workouts, run at least three 5Ks and maintain my current weight.
COMPLETE… Thanks to the Pandy, I worked out a ton at home to clear my head. I worked out well over 200 times and I indeed ran three 5Ks. I also am now weighing around 185 lbs.
2021 Goal: Complete 500 Peloton rides, run at least three 5Ks and maintain my current weight of 185 lbs.
Why? Make health and wellness a priority. Workouts need to be the norm and not the exception.
2020 Goal: Maintain professional certifications, continue speaking to classes and leverage my website to pursue paid speaking opportunities.
Mostly Complete…The Pandy again hampered paid speaking gigs, but I maintained my personal certifications and spoke to nearly 10 college classes.
2021 Goal: Maintain professional certifications, continue pro bono class speaking, try to earn at least one paid speaking gig and get promoted at Aflac.
Why? Public speaking better promotes myself as an educator, speaker and minimalist.
2020 Goal: One date night dinner per month with Megan, six “keep in touch” phone calls and hand-written notes.
COMPLETE… I was much more intentional about my phone calls and hand-written notes to try and remain connected during the Pandy.
2021 Goal: Continue “date nights” which may have a new look with Clancy in tow and outside restrictions and try to maintain the “keep in touch” calls or Zoom calls and hand-written notes.
Why? With our professional lives getting busier, it is important for us to be intentional about our “us” time. We like to spend those moments over good food and drinks.
2020 Goal: Begin a better long-term savings plan, while continuing to donate time and money responsibly.
COMPLETE… Megan and I donated to many organizations important to us including continuing as Dynamic Catholic Ambassadors. I tried to serve the St. Michael’s Knights of Columbus when I was able early in the year. We also were able to greatly save in 2020 and began a 529 account for Clancy when he was born.
2021 Goal: We want to keep in very close contact with our financial advisor to maximize our investing. We’ve also added planning a honeymoon to the 2021 plan. We can now afford it and it can serve as our 5-year anniversary.
Why? With financial freedom, it is important to me to donate to worthy causes and correlates to my 2019 One Word: Service
2020 Goal: Continue in the classroom of silence (prayer), while writing eight blogs and reading 12 books.
Mostly Complete… Work and teaching took up a lot of my bandwidth and I was only able to write two blogs. I also blame the Pandy on cramping my writing. However, thanks to the Pandy I read nearly 20 books (Love Your Life NOT Theirs, Lucky Enough, The Shark and the Goldfish, How Lead in a World of Distraction, 24/6, If These Walls Could Talk, I Hear You Paint Houses, Living With Intent, The Noticer, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Mary, Rediscovering Jesus, Rediscovering Catholicism, Everyday Grace, Where The Crawdads Sing, The Professional Speaker, I Heard God Laugh, How to Lead In A World of Distraction, Microcultures) and continued my daily prayers.
2021 Goal: Continue in the classroom of silence (prayer) and also journal each day. I want to try and write eight blogs and read 10 books.
Why? I like to write and it keeps my mind sharp and my blog fresh. It is also another way for me to market myself and showcase my knowledge and abilities.
Always make sure when writing down your challenges to set realistic deadlines, work in a 6-month review or check-in dates to track your progress and have a “why” behind each goal.
If you’re not aligning your why to these goals, you’ll lose focus on their importance and more than likely fail to meet them. Without these steps, your goals will lack direction. And without direction, you may end up at an unknown, and unwanted, destination. Work to be intentional and not accidental.
Also celebrate the transformative progress you make in 2021. The psychological encouragement that comes from knowing that we are actually making progress is incredibly powerful. So choose joy and celebrate your wins!
What challenges will you celebrate in 2021?