I can't count on two hands how many times I have set out to read through the Bible from beginning to end, yet somewhere in the first few weeks, I got sidetracked. In fact, recently I heard a speaker ask the audience to raise their hand if they had ever tried to read through the Bible. Once the hands were up, he asked those who finished it to keep their hands up. Everyone put their hands down. Yep, been there, done that...about 17 times. But, that is changing this year.
A friend who owns a local fitness gym told me once that there are actually 2 predominant times when people set new goals. Once at New Year's and once at the beginning of the school year. He sees a big jump in gym attendance in that month of August as people set out to live differently. So, in light of this time of year, let me share why 2012 can be different. This year I am on track to read through the whole Bible in a year. I wasn't looking to do this to be more spiritual or to have some great accomplishment. I did it just simply to have a plan to be in God's Word. Without a plan, I am the type to flounder. Here is what I did, and I'd encourage you to do the same:
1. Set the goal
This sounds elementary, but it needs to be said that you want to give yourself a goal, with a time frame in which to complete the goal. Without the bookend of the finish line, you could flounder through the same goal for the rest of your life.
2. Make the goal public
I intentionally told this goal to my wife, my peers as well as the guys who I lead. Nothing like a little peer accountability to keep me going. And why do I do that? I set the goal without them. But, when I am tired, behind, busy, whatever...these are the people that remind me how I REALLY want to be spending my time.
3. Find a good supporting resource
Remember when you used to print off a sheet of paper with the reading schedule on it, put it in the back of your Bible, and then eventually forget it was there? I found this resource from an organization, Family Matters, where they email me each day. I see it on my phone in the morning, and then have my "assignment" for that day. A day or two might pass where I didn't plan my morning well, but EVERY morning I would get this reminder. That has been great for me.
4. Set periodic checkpoints
This has been the game changer for me. At the beginning of the year, I said at the first of each month, I had to be caught up in my reading. Now believe me, I read much of Exodus in one night. Then I got stuck in Psalms a little. But when the first of the month comes around, I have to be caught up. This is a simple point to make, but I can't emphasize enough the difference maker it has been for me. Don't let yourself get too far behind. Once you do, you begin to justify why you didn't really mean it when you set that goal.
So how about you? Have you ever tried reading through the Bible, or had another goal similar to it? If you were successful in that goal, was would you attribute the success to?
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About Kevin East
Kevin East is the Executive Director of Family Matters. He and his wife Stephanie have five unbelievable kids, two of which they most recently adopted. If Kevin isn't busy with work or family, you'll probably find him in the woods near his house with a power tool. He writes at his blog, "Following to Lead". Connect with him on Twitter at @kevinteast.
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