On Sunday I came back home from church feeling inspired, anxious, ready to begin anew, excited and a wee bit scared. Why? Because my pastor gave this really motivational sermon on, well, a whole bunch of stuff. As my campus pastor said, you can get kind of tired after listening to pastor Mark because he has so much energy and drive and it’s hard to keep up. He is encouraging us to pray and start the new year with a plan.

So, with my mind reeling—where to start? I need to:

  • Start writing again—the book I started that will not be published but maybe read by three or four of my closest friends, my blog, a gratitude journal, a prayer journal…
  • Get exercising again so I can get physically fit and get in shape (this is particularly hard for me).
  • Be productive with my time (stop watching so much TV and do one and two above).
  • Get my charity web site and blog finished and published.
  • Create a life list of the things I want to do in the coming years and actually start doing them. To be fair I have been getting through that list slowly with my travels.

These are the big things—but you know all the little things we do everyday that get in the way—cleaning, fixing, blah, blah, blah. I hate those things.

So again, where to start? I decided not to get bogged down in the thinking of it too much and just do a couple of things to get it rolling. So I walked the Grendel dog and worked on designing a new web site for the charity I created. And in the hours since the sermon, I spoke to my niece who knew about the gratitude journal (turns out that’s an excellent tool to keep anxiety down and to keep your spiritual life heightened) and have seen a number of messages about writing, communicating, and getting things done.

One such message I learned today as I was writing copy for a client. A guy name Alex Sheen will be speaking at my client’s conference about the importance of keeping promises. The more I read about it, the more I wanted to cry and then join in on his vision. His non profit is called Because I Said I Would. He started it after his Dad died in 2012. I thought about my brother Greg and the charity I’m creating to honor him. Like Sheen, I want to honor what my loved one stood for. His organization is dedicated to bettering humanity through the power of a promise. He encourages positive change and acts of kindness and doesn’t just talk about it, he actually participates in fund raising and awareness campaigns and events for those who need help.

Sheen wrote 52 promises in 2013 and tackled one each week. Some of his fans have committed to huge promises. But Sheen says the promises don’t have to be big things. They can be things you need to get to and all together they represent things left undone. So it feels good to have them completed and off your plate. I like this idea.

Pastor Mark said one thing I really took to heart—it’s better to have 80% of a plan that’s 100% implemented right then  100% of a plan that’s only implemented 80% of the way. So, a few tweaks to get some of my plans to 80% and then we’re off!

I’ve started with one simple thing today. Writing this blog post. My next promise? Hmmm, I need to keep this, so I’m going to:

1. Finish my charity web site and publish it before the summer.
2. By the end of February, give away the proceeds from the past year from the charity fund I created  to at least three charities.
3. Write at least one blog post per month in this blog and one in the charity blog.
4. Complete a life list and post it.

Here are some things on my REALLY TRY to do list:
Spend 15 minutes a day on the physical, 15 on the spiritual, and 15 on the projects (charity, travel, etc.). And always keep an eye out to be there for those I love and listen to them with all my heart.I’ll still have time to catch Downton Abby and will be healthier and happier in 2014!

What promises are you going to make in 2014?