Most people make New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve participated, but have never been completely comfortable with it. The ritual has never felt meaningful enough to me. The resolutions were usually decent enough goals, but that was about it; they were just unconnected, one-and-done goals.
My friend Chris Brogan came up with a better idea. Chris is a successful blogger, personal development coach, entrepreneur, and author (among other things). For almost ten years, he’s been replacing the traditional resolutions with his three words for the year.
I’ve been following along with Chris since 2006, but this was the first year I decided to come up with 3 words of my own. If you want, you can check out the philosophy behind the idea of choosing three words and find out Chris’ Three Words for 2015.
Without further adieu, I present to you my three words for 2015:
A little bit about the decision process
One of the things I have done for the past 15 years is officiate High School basketball. I also spent six of those years officiating NCAA basketball at the Division-III and Division-II levels. I love officiating. The training and experience that I have accumulated in officiating has helped me tremendously in business and life.
One of the core fundamentals of basketball officiating is seeing an entire play. The action occurs very fast and an official’s reaction has to be equally as fast. Developing a habit of quick, decisive reactions can lead to the bad habit of anticipating calls.
In order to counteract the natural tendency to anticipate calls (sometimes the wrong call), officials are trained to watch a play “start, develop and finish.” Only after an official has seen the entire play are they supposed to make the appropriate call. Missing one of those phases of the play often leads to incorrect calls.
I was thinking about this fundamental of officiating because I happen to be the rules interpreter and trainer for my officials’ association. As I thought about it, it occurred to me that it might also be a great way to achieve the goals I have in mind for 2015. I made one small modification to the mantra, and I adopted Commit-Develop-Finish as my three words for 2015.
A little bit about each. . .
I have a number of things that I want to achieve this year and beyond. Some of those things are more important than others. Each of them requires different actions at different times, but each of them requires the same thing– commitment.
Commitment means that some actions will need to happen now, and some will have to wait.
Commitment means that I’ll have to say “no” more often.
Commitment means that I’m going to have to stop doing some things in order to dedicate myself to doing more important things.
One of my favorite examples of commitment comes from the Old Testament and the story of the prophet Elijah selecting his successor, Elisha.
Upon his selection, Elisha tells Elijah he must go and say goodbye to his parents before fulfilling his call to take on the role of prophet of Israel. Scripture then records in a single verse a serious act of commitment. . .
So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant. (1 Kings 19:21)
Elisha didn’t just commit to his calling by talking himself into it. His commitment wasn’t just “getting used to the idea.” No, it was much more than that.
Elisha killed his oxen and burned his plow. His commitment was so great to his newfound vocation that he completely destroyed any possibility of returning to his old way of life. He destroyed his only means of living to demonstrate his commitment to his new way of living. Elisha wasn’t merely past the point of no return, he obliterated any possibility of return. That’s commitment.
In honor of Elisha, 2015 is going to be my year of killing cows and burning plows.
After committing to those things that require it, I’ve got to be willing to nurture and see them through. I’ve got to be willing to develop them. That will mean any number of ups and downs, plenty of small successes and failures, but always development.
Development will require perseverance, patience, and plenty of work.
A great example of development also comes from the Old Testament. It is the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem at the direction of Nehemiah. The rebuilding of the wall was a major project, once which no one thought would succeed. Nehemiah knew better.
After 52 days, and through many trials, the seemingly impossible task was completed. When the work was completed, Nehemiah recorded the significance of the event. . .
When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized this work had been done with the help of our God. (Neh 6:16)
The reason why I need to work on development is because the end result is for the glory of God. It’s my work for His purpose.
The logical conclusion of committing to something, then developing it, is completion. I’m not necessarily interested in completion, though. I’m more interested in finishing.
For me, to finish means to see things all the way through. Not merely to complete things to check them off a list, but to finish them intentionally and well.
Finishing means doing that which the apostle Paul describes with the words, “press on.” When I read these words, I think about an enthusiasm and consistent striving toward both the immediate and ultimate goals. . .
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (Phil. 3:12-14)
Yes, I want to get things done, but I also want to do more than that; I want to finish them. That means I must press on, with my eyes on the prize.
What about you?
Now you know the three words that are going to drive and direct my year. I want to know about you.
What words are you going to choose?
What words have you chosen?
What is driving you in 2015?