Today I’m starting a new regular feature called What’s Good—A roundup of what I did, enjoyed, and recommend from the past month or so. Each will follow a similar format, and may change as I experiment with what’s most interesting to you.
You can expect:
- A 2020 goal update
- Books/podcasts/experiences I recommend
- Something I’m learning
Here you go.
After writing about simplifying my goals for 2020, a number of friends asked exactly what those goals are. There are a number of habits I’m implementing this year to achieve some big dreams, and they’re all centered on 4 major principles.
Focus > Distraction
Create > Consume
Deep > Wide
Extraordinary > Ordinary
Later on, I’ll write more about these principles.
For now, you get the general idea.
There are a number of habits and goals that align with each principle but, as promised earlier this month, I’m focusing on only three of them. Everything else is peripheral to these three benchmarks.
- Focus on a single spiritual discipline each month — Creating a dozen new habits at once is near impossible, so I’m choosing progressive habit-building instead. The idea here is to focus on one discipline each month that will deepen my relationship with God, then carry over the best habits into my daily life.
If you want to follow along, here’s the monthly list.
January — Meditation
February — Prayer
March — Fasting
April — Study
May — Simplicity
June — Solitude
July — Submission
August — Service
September — Confession
October — Worship
November — Guidance
December — Celebration
I highly recommend Celebration of Disciple by Richard Foster to learn more. His teachings are the guide for this experiment.
How it’s going: The first half of January was great. I spent 45-60 minutes each day in total silence with God, meditating on scripture, His Word, and His thoughts. It was a meaningful growth practice. The second half of the month was way harder with a near-constant travel schedule to balance. In the future, I’m figuring out how to be more disciplined when traveling.
- Publish 50,000 words — This is comparable to a 200 page book, a significant increase from the past. Starting conversations around transformative ideas is something I’m passionate about, and this goal will require writing almost every day to achieve it. This will be incredibly challenging, but also a ton of fun.
Current word count: 3,465
- Finish reading everything by Dallas Willard and CS Lewis — Reading 50 books last year was great, but now I’m going deep with these two guys. Willard and Lewis have been the most influential authors in my life. Their ideas just make sense. So I want to finish reading everything from them that I haven’t yet. Depending on how you count, I’ve read about 8 of their combined 35-40 books. 30ish books to go.
Willard/Lewis Books read in 2020: Zero. (Been finishing a few other books before jumping in here.)
Things I’m inspired by right now.
Book I just finished — Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela
Mandela’s story is something I knew little about, but reading his own words has been more than fascinating. He wrote much of the book in secret while imprisoned on Robben Island, and smuggled out the illegal manuscript to England. The book was published four years after he was freed from prison, the same year he was elected President of South Africa.
Leadership books written by authors with easy lives are one thing, but this is the authentic story of a man who endured decades of struggle and sacrifice. Dodging police, starting an armed resistance movement, imprisonment, family separation, and constant humiliation, all to fight against apartheid.
Most chapters left me dumbfounded and inspired.
All 630 pages are worth your time.
Podcast I’m listening to — Catlick by B.T. Harman
Serial killers, thieves and the KKK are at-large in early 20th Century Atlanta. B.T. Harman guides you through this little-known history of the “South’s grandest city” and offers an honest, shocking look at the racial injustices and struggles of the day. It’s especially interesting for fellow Atlanta-dwellers, who will recognize many of the major landmarks. Most of the ripper murders happened within a few miles of my house.
Places I visited:
Park City, Utah — AWESOME for both skiing and the Sundance Film Festival, which happened to be the same weekend.
New York City — duh. Particularly great was snagging a ticket to the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. I had high expectations, and the show outlived all of them.
What I’m learning
God doesn’t hold us back. WE hold us back. Too often we live our lives waiting on God to do something for us, but never recognize everything he’s already doing! Quit waiting and start being the person you were created to be.
That’s What’s Good for 2020 so far. Send me your best recommendations for what to enjoy in February, and any suggestions you have for this new feature. ✌️