Exactly one year ago today I posted my three New Year’s resolutions for 2013. A lot of people make resolutions, few keep them throughout the year, and even fewer, I think, reflect on them upon the dawn of the next new year. I thought I would take a look back at them and grade myself on how I did.
I quote my resolutions below, but they have been edited for time and space. You can read the entire post here.
The first resolution:
1. Grow religiously. …Going to church regularly was one of mine from last year as well, and I kept it, on and off, throughout the year. The last couple of years I’ve been trying to grow spiritually. My background is Catholicism and I enjoy the rituals that go along with it. In just the last couple of years, I’ve gone from an agnostic to a believer. My goal this year is to continue going to church on a regular basis and get involved in one… Another goal related to this is that I want to familiarize myself with the Bible on my own terms, rather than in the short readings read in church. I’d like to grow more as a religious individual and as a Christian this year, and there’s no better place to start.
Throughout this year, I’ve gone to mass regularly and officially joined my church down the street. According to my Goodreads.com page, I read no fewer than four religious books pertaining, in particular, to Catholicism, and enjoyed most of them and learned a lot. I’ve also read the Bible on a regular basis–not every single day, but I would often read a chapter from the Bible before I would do my regular reading for the night. As I’ve read and studied, I’ve also begun to pray more, everyday. What are the effects of my increased religiosity? Nothing but positive. I find myself at peace with myself, the world, and God. I reflect more often on the kind of person I am, and what I can be better at, namely, in the ways I treat others, especially my wife and close family. I’m a happier person than I was one year ago, and I feel that that has a lot to do with my religious life, and the increased sense I have of a higher power. Grade: A
The second resolution:
2. Grow as a leader. This is my most important goal this year. For me, part of achieving this goal involves seeking regular input from my bosses on how I’m doing as a leader, reading (at least) five good leadership books, and reflecting, which I’m sure you’ll see on this blog.
This last year at my job has been trying. 2013 started off as a transitioning year in leadership where I work. Then, in the fall, we lost a close co-worker to suicide, a guy I had known and worked with for over eight years. Challenges have been abundant. In the last year, I have grown more confident in myself and my skills, learned from my mistakes, and regularly sought input from my bosses and coworkers on how I could have handled situations better. I feel that my staff respects me more now than they did a year ago, as does my boss. My boss even told me that, during a discussion with some of our staff members, he told them that I was “working [my] ass off.” Last December, I dreaded going to work most days. This past year, I’ve begun to thrive. I have a long way to go, but I’ve also come a long way toward being a confident leader.
My biggest failure related to this resolution? Looking back at Goodreads, I didn’t read a single leadership book. My goal was five and I didn’t read one. Truth be told, the five leadership books goal completely slipped my mind. I have a few on my “to-read” shelf, but never got around to them. I’ve considered getting one from my library, but thought differently. It may sound like a lame excuse, but reading leadership books reminds me of work, obviously, and when I come home to read for pleasure, I want to put my mind on something other than my job. That said, I’ve read several books about leaders (Churchill, Lincoln, The Kennedys, pilots in World War II) but I don’t count those books as the same thing. Grade: B
The third resolution:
3. Drink less and go to bed earlier. I don’t drink hard liquor hardly at all, except for the occasionally glass of scotch at a wedding, but I enjoy good beer, and probably too much of it. The fact is, I’m much more productive at work and on the weekends when I wasn’t up late the night before watching a Cubs game or imbibing one beer too many. This has actually been a goal of mine for quite a while, especially this past year. I’ve been pretty good at getting to bed early during the week, but there’s room for me to improve.
In the last year, did I drink every night? No. Did I have a beer or two most nights? Yes. For me, is that too much? Yes. But was it less than the year before? Definitely. Compared to the last few years, I’ve cut back on my drinking. I still love good beer, but I drink too much of it. Rarely do I have more than two in a night, unless it’s the weekend. Still, I need to continue to cut back. I have a lot of room for growth related to this goal.
One success I had regarding this goal was that I made it a habit to go to bed earlier most nights, even on the weekend. In previous years, I had regularly gone to bed well after ten on a work night, and near midnight on the weekends. My wife, who goes to bed quite early because she wakes up early to work out, was often in bed for hours before me on the weekends. Now we frequently go to bed together on Friday and Saturday nights, often around nine o’clock–late for her and early for me. Being better rested makes me happier and more productive on the weekends and throughout the work week. Grade: C+
I’m not sure if I’ll make resolutions this coming year. Aside from continuing these, and maybe exercising again, I can’t think of anything new I’d like to change. That said, if I think of any, they’re sure to be posted here.