Keeping Goals

Well, it is now more than 2 months from the beginning of the year.  How are you doing on your New Year’s resolutions?

I had two resolutions.  They were my every year standard resolutions.  You know the ones.  You make them every year just to break them.

For the past several years, I haven’t even bothered with these resolutions.  I figured why even try.  I knew that I wouldn’t keep them.  I knew that they were just going to be forgotten about by about mid January.

Well, this year I made the same two goals I make every year, again.  I resolved to study the scriptures every day for 30 minutes and to write in my journal everyday.

I learned very early on that I would never complete such a stringent goal unless I built in a repentance clause.  The repentance clause is that I can make up day if I miss (or more likely, intentionally skip) a goal.  That means that if I don’t read for 30 minutes on Friday, I can read for an hour on another day, and I am good with my goal.

So far, I am on target.  Yep, it’s the beginning of March, and I am at 100% of my goal accomplished.  Now, let’s not talk about how many make up days I have had.  If I were writing this a week ago, I would have been moaning about how I hate making goals.  I love my repentance clause.

Recently, I found out about Joe’s Goals, and I have been tracking my progress there.  So, Now, I can put this really cool graphic on my blog.

Travis's Personal Score Badge

I am not sure exactly what it means, but it does track my goals.  To keep track of the days that I skip, I have built in a negative goal that minus 1 point for every day that I don’t read.  Just a little reminder to myself, that it isn’t something I want to make regular.

I have added a couple more goals to my list, now that I have found Joe’s Goals.  I am going to blog here 2 times a week, and I am going to blog at TeleValues 3 times a week.  That is 5 days a week of blogging.  Hopefully, I can maintain that pace, but we will have to see.

Solemn & Sagacious Sunday: Book of Mormon Challenge

Okay, for most LDS writers, this is going to be a bit too cliche, but I have been revving up to write this column for a long time.  I perhaps should even have the blase title of “What I learned from reading the Book of Mormon?”  I am reffering to the challenge by our Prophet Gordon B. Hinkley to read the Book of Mormon before the end of 2005.

So despite its potential for a reduntant bloggernacle theme, I find that this may be the best time to address something that I find to be a common, but often unspoken theme in the Book of Mormon.

When people discuss themes of the Book of Mormon, they will always center their discussion around things that are spiritual.  Common themes are often good vs. evil (a la the Nephites vs. the Lamanites) or pride vs. humility (a.k.a. the vicious cycle of wealth leads to pride which cause a fall which brings humility leading to repentance causing prosperity leading to wealth which caused pride, etc.).  And while these and themes are important themes in the Book of Mormon, there is another theme that is often set aside.

The theme of Liberty vs. Captivity can have it roots in spirituality.  And this theme is discussed in the sense that if you follow God’s will you will find liberty and if you don’t you will be held in captivity.  And this too is a good theme.

However, when I talk of Liberty vs. Captivity, I perhaps mean it in a more political sense.  And I do so with some hesitation.  For I know that politics and religion are like oil and water to some people.  They shouldn’t be mixed.  I also know many a liberal whose political ideologies are rooted in the same Book of Mormon that I am now discussing.  And I do have great respect for them, because I too at one point saw the world as they do.  My liberal ideas were rooted in the teaching of Mosiah Chapter 4 (specifically verses 16-26) and Doctrine and Covenants 51 (specifically verse 9-12).  And I still hold these principles to be true.  However, there is one element that keeps me from being a liberal.  Now where in the scriptures does it say that man should be forced to do these things.  Government care for the poor is compulsory charity, and it is wrong.  Freedom and Liberty is better.

But that is really a tangent to my discussion here.  I really wish to discuss more indepth what is often referred to as the “war chapters” of Alma.  These chapters start in roughly Chapter 43 and continue on through 3 Nephi Chapter 7. That’s roughly 43 chapters, or 107 pages. It would have to be that big of a chunk to really be a theme wouldn’t it?  While my focus may be upon these chapters, this theme can be found in 1st and 2nd Nephi and the Book of Ether, as well as in other areas of the book.

For those unfamiliar with the Book of Mormon the “War Chapters” is really just a chronicle of the battle between good and evil.  However, at one point good is also call the freemen and evil, which seldom goes by its real name, is called the kingmen.  The kingmen were a group of elitist rich people who thought it only fair that their station in society be granted it due status.  So, they sought to put.Amalickiah in as their King, hoping that he would grant them a high station in society after he was anointed such.

Captain Moroni (one of my personal heros) was the key figure in thwarting this cause, and he raised the Title of Liberty to rally the people behind him.  This Title of Liberty read: “In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children” (see Alma 46:12-13).  Moroni knew that his freedom was a gift from God, and that he should fight for it for his family, for is religion and for peace.

When we give up a little freedom to the elites hoping that it will do us and society good, we are only giving more power to the elites and removing our peace and liberty from our lives.  I know that liberty is a gift from God, especially granted to this country as long as we live in righteousness.  Liberty is worth fighting for, it is for our God, our religion and for our families.

Marathon Maniacal Monday: After the First Week

Just a quick note really. I don’t plan on posting about this weekly, but I thought I would share a very minor success.

This week went fairly well. I didn’t feel as bad as I have felt when running in the past. I attribute the lack of pain to my stretching before and after each run or walk.

Actually, I forgot to stretch today after my run, and I can really feel it. Hopefully, this will be enough of a reminder to avoid doing it again.

Anyway, the big success story this past week was that I ran straight (without stopping/walking) for 2 miles. I know that it isn’t even 1/10th of a marathon, but for me it’s a great hurdle. It took a lot of saying to myself “mind over matter” to get me through it, but I did it.

This week will be a repeat of last week, because they haven’t published the training program for 2006 at the Salt Lake City Marathon Web Site yet. But, I figure the real training isn’t supposed to start until about January. I am just getting a jump on things. Hopefully, this will help my very out of shape body get into some good shape, when the real training starts.

Marathon Maniacal Monday: I Have Started

Yes, It is another in the alliteration anthologies here at Gazelem.  First we started with everybodies favorite Faboulous Farding Friday, then we smoothed things about with Solemn and Sagacious Sunday (sorry there haven’t been any for a while).  And now we present Marathon Maniacal Monday.

Now, what in the world could that title suggeste.  Well, I set a goal about a year ago, that I would run in the Salt Lake City Marathon.  I wasn’t quite ready to start up the task last year, and so, I decided that I would spend the year getting ready.

As some of you already know, I have lost 15 pounds since Christmas last year.  I could have done better, but I have managed to maintain for the last few months, and I am happy with that.

So, today was the day that I started the training (physical training that is).  I don’t have a personal trainer, and I am not going to go to any gyms.  I am doing this on my own.  Which is the mostly likely way to fail, but I am here by deeming all my readers as my trainers.  Youare to keep tabs on me.  If I am not posting about this regularly, then some one please ask me about it.

My trainin program currently consists of last years training program provided by the Salt Lake Marathon.  They don’t have the 2006 Marathon training program up yet, but I am guessing that it is fairly similar.  So, today I ran for 30 minutes, and tomorrow, I will walk for 30 minutes.  I will alternate for the rest of the week, then on Saturday, I get to run for 3 miles.

The nice thing is that my 30 minute run was 2.5 miles according to my GPSr and according to the GMaps Pedometer.  So, a three mile run shouldn’t be that hard.  I just hope that the new training schedule comes out soon so that I can get the training done according to their plans.

Here’s to hoping that I finish this race, and thanks in advance to all of you for your support.