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Category: Rants and Reflections

7 Simple Hacks to Achieve Goals Effectively and Efficiently

I thank God for the New Year. It’s a great reminder of the circle of life. The previous year might have been great for you. Or not. But the new year brings fresh hope that things could be better if we make the most out of it.

We should all review the past year to learn from our experiences and celebrate our wins. But we should also plan for the new year that is here now. On the first few days of this year, I sat down to identify my goals. This has really become my habit at the start of the year since 2010.

During a meeting with my team, I just reflected on the renewed sense of commitment and energy. It will probably not last for very long. But by making some changes to my schedule and my lifestyle, I could probably make the most out of the excitement of the new year. I might even make this the year I achieved all the goals I’ve identified!

Here are 7 Simple Hacks that I am implementing to help me achieve my goals effectively and efficiently.

The Over-Committed Person’s Guide to Streamlining Commitments & Simplifying Life

She turned from me and wiped her eyes as the train sped away from the platform of Bambang LRT Station. Tears fell from her eyes, I’m sure of it. And my chest constricted. I looked up the ceiling of the station, trying hard to prevent tears from falling.

It must have been my wife’s monthly appointment with her OB-GYN. It’s the fourth month of the baby in her tummy.

And I could not be with her…

At the start of 2013, right before my son was born, I took a long, hard look at my pursuits and my priorities. I made the decision to streamline my commitments, simplify my life, and drop the ‘good commitments’ that prevent me from pursuing great ones.

I thought it would take me a few weeks to do it. But I was wrong. It took me more than 2 years to really do it. From time to time, I also had an over-commitment relapse. But thankfully, I have a wife who reminds me of what truly matters in my life.

Pasay Rotonda: At the Crossroads

Whether you find yourself inside a mall somewhere in Monumento, malapit sa bantayog ni Andres Bonifacio, or sa dulo ng EDSA Extension, at the end of the day, you’ll need to go home. But after going to a mall to buy something o tumambay lang, did you have that feeling that you wasted a few hours of your life? And that those hours should have been spent doing something better?

At some point in your journey, mapapaisip ka if you’re in the right road, or kung tama ba yung destination na pinili mo. Being in the crossroads could catch up with you in different stages of life. Minsan tinatawag itong “quarterlife crisis” para sa mga young adults in their twenties.

On Living with the Questions

I would like to beg you, dear sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

– Rainer Maria Rilke, 1903, from Letters to a Young Poet

How to Plan for the Year Ahead (or Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work)

New Years are good. They remind us that the Earth has completed another circuit around the sun. That whatever happened to us in the past year, a new calendar is about to start: 1 year, 12 months, 365 days, to live, laugh, work, and move closer to the life we want.

How do you plan for the coming year? Do you follow what most people do and come up with New Year’s Resolutions?

If you follow what most people do, then you will get the results that most people get.

New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work!

My 2015 in Review

Every December since 2013, I have resolved to look back at my year, look at my victories and successes as well as my mistakes and failures. The goal is to celebrate the former, and learn from the latter.

I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions–I’ve tried them in the past and it didn’t work for me. I usually forget and neglect those resolutions by the end of February after the initial excitement of the New Year. That’s why, instead of Resolutions, I am focusing on goals broken down into manageable tasks for every quarter and every month. The year-end evaluation is part of this planning and goal-setting process.

On the whole, 2015 had been a year of transition for me and my family. I’ve had some big wins. A couple of cracks that I would have wanted to do differently. But since this is a year of transitions, I don’t feel too bad about those cracks. Here, then, is my 2015 in review.

1st Quarter 2015

By mid-January, I learned that I was the top candidate for a US-based position in our organization, Young People’s Ministries. Cha, Coco, and I started the process of applying for our US R1 Visa. We were in equal parts nervous and excited. Cha and I never really planned to move out of the Philippines to work elsewhere, but we felt that this is where God was calling us, so with much prayers, we proceeded.

How to Do a Personal Evaluation at the End of the Year

A lot of people get excited towards the end of the year. Christmas is coming. And for lots of kids, that means presents from family and friends. Families get together for reunion. Of course, students get a break from school. Even workers get to take some vacation for the holidays.

image credit: Dan Foy via Flickr
image credit: Dan Foy via Flickr

At the same time, the end of the year is a great time to look back at the year that was. It’s the perfect time to ask:

  • How did I live my life this year?
  • What are the high points and low points of my life this year?

These questions may remind you of your strict High School English teacher who gave you writing assignments related to your New Year’s Resolutions.

You probably used up all sorts of adjectives and traits that would make you appear like an angel from heaven.

Reflections from the YPM Asian Young Leaders Summit 2015

Discipleship is really about following Jesus. While there are hundreds, if not thousands of books about leadership. As Christians, however, leadership is not just being in front of people, it is about being a servant, and most of all, being a follower.

Encountering young leaders who want to make a difference in the world is probably one of the greatest joys of my work. I’ve seen this in Ndola, Zambia last April, and this November, I saw it again in the Philippines.

While on the bus to the venue, we already experienced the warmth of Christian fellowship. Such fun!

bus

About 28 young leaders from the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia came together for five days of learning, fellowship, and dreaming.

Yes, dreaming!

Bishop Rudy Juan opened with his keynote about the connection of discipleship and leadership. Particularly, he said that as Christian young leaders, we needed to be mindful of three things:

  1. The VISION of the United Methodist Church: To make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
  2. Giving VOICE to young people in the church: Speak up in a loving manner.
  3. Listen & Learn from the experiences of elders in the church, then add our own experiences to that.

Speaking of giving voice to young people, we also had a session on Young People’s Voices in the United Methodist Church, led by my good friend, Earlie Pasion-Bautista. It wasn’t a simple session by any means. It was done remotely via Skype! This is really my first time in a church event with a remote presenter. It worked out well, too!

earlie

Strangers, Foreigners, Offering Bread and Fish

Last August, my wife, son, and I moved to Nashville, Tennessee in the United States. We came from the Philippines, halfway around the world–from the land of delicious and sweet dried mangoes, of beautiful beaches, and hospitable people.

movingboxesIt’s hot, and the traffic is really bad, and although more than 20 typhoons pass by every year, it is still home. It is where I grew up and learn how to interact with my world.

Both of my parents are pastors in the United Methodist Church. That probably explains why they gave me the name Mighty. Since they are both pastors, I have lots and lots of memories of moving from one place to another: from the seminary in Cavite, which is about 40 kilometers away from Manila, we traveled for 9-10 hours at night to move to the Northern part of the Luzon island; packing boxes, helping my parents put books, clothes, and other things into containers. After several moves, I have several boxes that I just did not open: we just moved them from one place to another.

In all of those moving, church members helped us pack our things, they even went with us to the new church and parsonage. Some members gave us parting gifts and foods. And when we arrived at the new church and parsonage, the members were eager to welcome us, helping us unload and arrange our new home, and they all made us feel part of their community.

We probably moved to around 15-20 houses in the past 4 decades. So I know what it is like to not have our own house. I was 29 when my father brought and built our own family house. I no longer lived with them, but at least, I have place to store all those unopened boxes. I suppose that in the Philippines and in a lot of places around the world, having your own house is a big sign of stability.