Looking back. Looking forward.

The transition to a new year brings the opportunity for me to reflect back a bit on the past 12 months of my life.

Looking Back

Last year was permeated with several achievements, few of which I can take credit for. Among these are:

Looking back over the year, I also tend to see which of my vices have flared up, and where I am failing in my duties and responsibilities.  I’m using this information to help plan my goals for the next year.

Looking Forward

I’ve always enjoyed setting goals with the coming of each year. I’ve done this consistently since 2007, and the reason I keep doing it is because I’ve seen them have an impact on my life. In setting goals for 2012, I’ve decided to focus on three main points:

  1. Smile more
  2. Daily scripture study
  3. Be selfless

I want to emphasize something with these goals: I’m focusing these goals on who I am, not what I do. Why? Because I want to make goals that matter, and I believe that what really matters is who you are… not what you do. Let me explain.

When I left Africa in 2008, my mission president urged me to make a mission statement that defined who I was and what principles I wanted to guide my life. I spent weeks on it. I felt like I was taking a lifetime of personal experiences, bitter trials, and lessons learned from myself and others and condensing them down into half a page of text. It was incredibly difficult. When it was done however, it said nothing about what I intended to do in life (with one notable exception, being, to marry and have a family). It doesn’t mention a specific career. It doesn’t mention where I was going to live, what I was going to drive, or what hobbies I was going to pursue.

Those things don’t matter. I don’t care if I end up as a musician, a pilot, or a fisherman, and neither should anyone else. What should matter is who I have become. Do I care about other people, or myself? Do I run from my fears, or do I challenge them? What sort of influence do I have on others who spend time with me? Personality traits like cheerfulness, open-mindedness, spirituality, determination, and love aren’t static. They diminish and grow as we ignore them or focus on developing them. That why I’ve selected these three things for my goals.

Of course, having a successful career, enjoyable hobbies, and a place to live are a big part of my life. This year I’ll see several milestones in my academic and professional development, including:

  • Graduating from Brigham Young University with a BS in Mechanical Engineering, and a minor in Business Management
  • Graduating debt free (This is a miracle… you should have seen the look on my face when I first saw the price of married housing in Provo)
  • Pursuing a post education career path
  • Moving somewhere (if we’re still around here in July they’ll kick us out of campus housing)
  • Welcoming baby #2

Of course I’ll be continuing to update this site so you can all stay posted on the big changes as they come. In the mean time, I wish you a healthy and prosperous 2012.