New Year’s Resolutions, 2014 : A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

“The essential thing “in heaven and in earth” is that there should be long OBEDIENCE in the same direction, there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living; for instance, virtue, art, music, dancing, reason, spirituality– anything whatever that is transfiguring, refined, foolish, or divine.” Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

29% of people break their New Year’s resolutions by Jan 14th.

I have cunningly beaten those odds by not formulating them until Jan 14th!!

No new projects this year–phew!!–just working on my ongoing goals, but with alignment with God and his power, and hopefully more focus, discipline and wisdom. A long obedience in the same direction.

* * *

So I’m peeking at my 2013 goals and hopes, seeing what worked and what didn’t, and formulating my 2014 goals.


A) I am hoping to complete and publish my memoir, Mind Has Mountains, this year. Have organized it, and written some chapters.

B) Bible Blogging—I have blogged quite a bit on Genesis and Matthew, and would like to complete my reflections on these books, and publish them.

C) “Little Books: ”What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects–with their Christianity latent.” C. S. Lewis

I wrote a little meditation on the Beatitude “The Meek Inherit the Earth,” and an illustrated picture book, “Francesco: Artist of Florence,” last year. The latter is still being illustrated, but will hopefully be on Amazon within a month.

D) Blogging goals—Post 5-6 days a week, taking Sunday off. Do shorter posts (200-500 words) and do more guest posts for other bloggers.

Try to write evergreen posts which can still be read and enjoyed in a year or five years.

II Health and Weight. Diet and Exercise

I lost 5 pounds in 2012, and 10 in 2013.

I would like to lose 26 in 2014 (but won’t be crushed if I lose 11).

How? Steadily build up endurance, walking at least 10,000 steps every day, and 1-3 longer walks every week.

Am doing Yoga most days, because it induces a “change of state,” like prayer does. It helps me feel calm, clear-headed, mentally fresh, emotionally at peace, tension and conflict resolved with all that stretching, quietness and breathing. The mind and body, well, they are inextricable!!

Diet—I plan to avoid sugar and white flour as much as possible. Limit carbs; increase veggies.

I have been physically healthy this year, just one cold and cough, no flu or other illnesses, no doctor visits. That’s because I have changed my diet, having green smoothies 2-3 times a day, and lots of salad and veggies. I have eccentrically been having a spinach and romaine salad with feta and olives for breakfast along with my green smoothie, and intend to continue this!

Am slowly moving to eating more vegetables and beans and fewer carbs.

Am planning to watch out for emotional eating, and only eat when hungry. And ask, “Is this going to be a blessing to my body?”

A Stickk commitment helped—I handed over $5 to charity every week that I did not achieve my weight loss goal of .5 lb!! It kept me focused on how exactly I was doing, and to see beyond daily fluctuations. It made me 10 pounds thinner, and well–poorer too!

III Waking Early

 In “The Circle-Maker” Mark Batterson, wrote that early rising is the most important predictor of spiritual AND occupational success.

Last year’s goal was 5 a.m., and I reached 6 a.m.  I plan another gradual assault on 5 a.m.

IV Domestic Order

I read once that most gifted under-achievers live in domestic chaos. And I did for a while.

However, since 2008, we’ve had a cleaner once a week, which means we’ve picked everything up for the cleaner once a week. But I haven’t reached William Morris’s and my own domestic ideal of having “nothing in my house that I do not believe to be beautiful or know to be useful.” Or my ideal of having everything in its place.

What’s really helped me since August has been the 365 less things project of getting rid of one thing a day. (Well, okay, I get rid of 7 things the day the cleaner comes).

It’s helped because of the paradigm shift—What am I not using? What can I get rid of? I usually get rid of far more than 7 things. And anticipate having a house with nothing in it that’s neither beautiful nor useful within 1-3 years.

At the moment, I am finishing the decluttering in our bedroom, and working on my study and the library. We bought a romantic, old rambling house, bigger than we needed, which means we have more housework…

V Gardening

I wanted to resume gardening last year, and did so a bit, but then it got dark early, and I got absorbed in writing.

Maybe once I wake earlier, I will have time to do some work in the garden in these short January days.

VI Reading

I so want to recover the girl whose greatest delight was reading, but since I believe in small changes, I will be content if I read one book more than I did last year.

I have started switching off my computer an hour before bedtime to tidy our bedroom, do some yoga, and read myself to sleep, so have that reading slot, and read in the first thing in the morning slot, and a little bit before I write to get the rhythms of good writing into my blood.

The secret of forming a new habit is to find a slot for it, and I am working on that.

So I hope to continue working on these goals, more a long obedience in the same direction, than New Year’s resolutions.


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  1. Kathy says

    Your ambitions for 2014 are admirable and I hope you can find the discipline and perseverance to achieve your goals. I chose the word “PERSEVERE” for 2014 to apply to all my projects and goals. One goal is to lose weight through Made to Crave which starts this week. I’m still waiting for the book to arrive to follow the lesson. It will be difficult to adjust my eating habits to exclude the carbs and sugar but with God’s strength and the word “perservere” ringing in my ears, I hope to curb my impulsive eating and find balance and nutrition in this program.

    You specifics on each topic were enlightening to me and I need to be more specific as well in the areas I need to deal with. May this year be one of victory and accomplishment for you.

    • Anita Mathias says

      It just takes 3-4 days of craving to get the sugar out of your bloodstream, and then resisting sugar is much easier.
      I am thinking of having 1 sweet thing a week, just as long as it stays at 1.
      Honey is not as chemically addictive as sugar