As some of you (5?) loyal blog readers might have noticed, last year I created a “28 in 2008” list- 28 goals/markers/events/activities I wanted to get accomplished by the end of 2008.  Some of them were easier, others were a big stretch…and a lot of stuff I didn’t accomplish.  If you hit up the link, I did a recap of what I accomplished and what I didn’t, and what I learned through it all.

Basically, the main points that I learned was that I would never reach a goal if:

–  I lost sight of the purpose
–  I didn’t feel the goal was “truly” purposeful
–  I didn’t have any accountability to reach it

For many of the goals, I didn’t have a greater “purpose” in doing so ingrained in my mind throughout the year, which made it a lot easier to push it off.  For things that I felt for more necessary, I would put greater emphasis on it.  Recognizing this really helped me learn something big about setting goals:  Start with a great purpose to accomplish, then work your way backwwards to smaller goals/markers along the way.  Only when I look past the actual goal and see something greater will I be willing to push myself to go up to and beyond it.  Also, for most of the goals they were things that I was just keeping in my own head- though I posted it online, I didn’t set out to have others actively push me and keep me on track, which made it simple to let slip and not have to answer to anyone about it.

For 2009, I didn’t make a large list again, as it would be semi-purposeless (in my eyes) to do so again.  I did, however, set up 2 goals, and have booked up accountability for it to help me along the way.  They were both on last year’s list too, but now I have thought through actual purposes for it as well.

[GOAL #1] Read Through the Bible in 1 Year

Purpose:  I wanted to greater knowledge of God and a vision for His kingdom and where I fit into it all.  I want to have a foundation able to lead and teach others.  I need to set aside more time to hear HOW God has worked in the past to have a better understanding of ways He WILL work in my present.

At the beginning of the year, like many, a bunch of my twitter-friends wanted to make a commitment to read through the Bible this year.  And like other years, many start with a burst of energy and then fizzle out a couple weeks/months in.  We wanted to change that, so we set up an online accountability.  One friend created a Google Docs spreadsheet which outlined what passages to read in order to finish it in a year (or 3 months, as some are trying to do).  And then everyone who wanted to do it would sign in, add their name and then ‘check off’ when they finish reading a passage.  Having this in the view of everyone is a push enough to stay consistent, and we can call people out (in a loving way) if they fall behind too much.
In addition, so people aren’t just reading for the sake of reading, I set up a quick online forum that we affectionately called BibleTweet, where people would be able to post questions or insights so that people would be able to learn too!  It’s only been a month, but its been awesome!

[GOAL #2] Get Physically Fit

Purpose: In order for me to perform my work effectively and efficiently, my health needs to be there.  Moving forward towards marriage, I need to look good :), and more importantly after marriage and heading into family life, I want to be able to keep up with any little ones that might come into the world (whenever that might be).

A handful of my friends set up a “weight loss challenge”, where everyone put in some money in a winner-take-all battle.  It was a great idea, except there’s a few of us who don’t necessarily need to lose weight..we’re just out of shape.  So we decided to set up our own little competition: A 3-month fitness challenge.  With a small $25 entry, it’s a winner-take-all battle, where we are scoring off of decrease in body fat %, # of workouts per week, # of miles run, and increase in strength (based off of pound increase for the bench press, bicep curl, shoulder press, and bicep curl).  We wanted to have as much of a full body workout as possible, so this is what we came up with.  And we’re keeping our weekly workouts and vitals transparent (for those involved), which is just the accountability we need.  Plus, I don’t want to lose $25!  So wish me luck!  It’s been awhile since I’ve been really consistent with working out, but since starting this, I’ve got added motivation.  (And hopefully once I’m consistent for a good 3 months, it’ll finally come up to be a regular discipline in my life)

I wanted to challenge you guys to take some time and set up at least one goal to accomplish this year.  But before figuring out the goal, find out a purpose.  What do you want from life?  At the end of it all, where would you like to be?  What would you like to see?  What’s your driving force?  Once you figure that, what’s a realistic (but challenging) step along the way to reach by the end of the year?  When you figure that out, tell 2-3 people who will check up on you to make sure you reach and pass that goal with flying colors.  Make this year the greatest one yet!

Oh…and since a post is boring without a picture…ummm…hmmmm…here’s my a shot taken with my new toy quality piece of business equipment that will help me make your pictures that much more wonderful!

chicago illinois wedding photographers nate mathai

It’s the Canon 100mm 2.8 Macro lens!  If I had jewelry I’d show you just how much it’ll spice up the ring shots at your wedding, but since I don’t…you’ll have to settle for this beautiful AA Duracell battery…look at the detail! :)