Goal Setting for Real Progress

New year, new you, right? We’ve all made New Year’s resolutions filled with lofty aspirations, only to find ourselves feeling defeated by February. You’re not alone. Setting goals that are too ambitious often leads to disappointment and discouragement, leaving us hesitant to even try again. Most of it is bull crap. If you’re nodding in understanding, then join the club.

The problem, often, lies in our approach to goal setting. We aim for the stars, only to land in mediocrity, or worse, give up altogether. It’s time to break the cycle of unrealistic expectations and set goals that are more realistic, sustainable, and lead to actual progress rather than disappointment.

Be Realistic

Remember Henry Ford’s words, “Fail to plan. Plan to fail.” Setting goals that are wildly out of reach is a recipe for discouragement. Instead, focus on incremental steps, small victories that build momentum and keep you motivated. Want to run a marathon? Start with a walk around the block. Aiming for a promotion? Focus on exceeding expectations in your current role. Remember, progress, not perfection, is the key.

Activity Based Goals vs. Outcome Based

Often, we get caught up in desired outcomes, “I want to lose 10 pounds,” or “I want a corner office.” But focusing solely on outcomes can leave us feeling directionless. Instead, shift your focus to activity-based goals. “I will walk 3 times a week,” or “I will take one online course relevant to my career goals.” Activity-based goals define the steps you’ll take, making the journey itself the focus, not just the distant finish line. This shift in perspective keeps you engaged and motivated, celebrating each step towards your ultimate goal.

Leave Room for the Unexpected

Life is a messy, unpredictable thing. Clogging your schedule with to-dos and commitments leaves no space for the unexpected, the spontaneous adventures, the moments of connection that make life truly meaningful. Schedule some buffer time, some white space in your calendar where the unexpected can unfold. Remember, sometimes the most valuable goals are the ones that emerge organically from the space we create for them. Meaningful conversations with loved ones and adapting to life’s curveballs are just as important as achieving your goals

Include Fun Goals

Let’s face it, all work and no play makes for a pretty dull year. Make sure your goal list isn’t solely composed of career aspirations and fitness routines. Include fun! Plan a weekend getaway with friends, learn a new hobby, join a book club. Prioritize activities that bring you joy and connect you with the people you love. Including these in your goals and plans will prevent burnout and keep you energized for the long haul.


Goal setting isn’t about reaching some impossible ideal. It’s about creating a roadmap for progress, a framework for intentional living. By setting realistic, activity-based goals, leaving room for the unexpected, and making sure to include some fun, you’ll be setting yourself up for a year of meaningful growth, not just empty promises. So, grab your notebook, ditch the pressure, and get excited about the journey of setting goals for real progress. Remember, the best goals are the ones that make you feel alive, not just exhausted. Happy goal setting!

Becoming Better Men… Key Topics

An incredibly complex, comprehensive, and challenging thing, no doubt, but I believe there are a few areas of discussion we stand to give better attention in order to help us become better men.

Better Understanding of the Masculine and Feminine Dynamic

It is a sensitive subject, I know. While there’s a lot of noise about who is or isn’t a man or woman anymore, there is what I believe to be a misunderstood tension between masculine and feminine at play. 

The fact that masculine tends to be associated with men, because men are generally the masculine gender, and feminine tends to be associated with women, because women are generally the feminine gender, is where the misunderstanding begins. 

While those generalizations are true and real, they are not absolute. We should all know there are exceptions to any generalization. 

I believe in order for us to have productive conversations about masculinity and femininity we must be capable of thinking about their respective traits as independent of gender while acknowledging and honoring that the generalizations about gender are true and real.

I want to go into more detail on this subject later because it is very complex.

Better Patriarchs

That’s a trigger word, I know. But that is not my intent. I believe the existence of patriarchs and matriarchs in our families is a separate subject from the controversial topic of ‘patriarchal society’. 

On one hand, I am under the impression that men have mishandled the role of patriarch in our families which has contributed to the perception, however real it may or may not be, that our society is ‘patriarchal’ and riddled with ‘toxic masculinity’. 

On the other hand, my impression of women’s response to mens’ failures does as much to perpetuate a destructive cycle as it does to advance matriarchy. 

It is mens’ fault, though. Again, speaking in general terms. The cycle started with men mishandling masculinity and patriarchy. We must accept that responsibility and change. Women must also acknowledge a cycle is occurring and choose to end it. 

The fall of man took place at the moment the original patriarch and matriarch did not choose and act in accordance with God’s design. 

This will be a very interesting topic to continue exploring. 

Better Influence In Our Communities

Triggering terms like ‘patriarchal society’ wouldn’t exist if we were better influences in our communities. Again, I’m speaking in general terms. 

Who holds us accountable, other than our wives? Who do we hold accountable? How well is it working? 

The reason ‘patriarchal society’ has become such a terrible thing is because men have done a terrible job holding people accountable to moral and ethical standards. 

It starts at home with the family and carries over into community. Again, it is men’s fault. This too will be an interesting topic to cover more moving forward. 

Better Followers of Jesus

I’m not one to shove faith down anyone’s throat, but I am not ashamed to discuss my faith in Christ and encourage others to do the same. 

It is my belief that if we truly approached all the topics I’ve outlined above with the heart of Jesus, the world would be a much better place. By ‘heart of Jesus’ I don’t mean the one dimensional soft version we tend to fixate on in church. I mean the one who also flipped tables and looked powerful people in the face and said “I am” knowing what would happen next. 

He is the only Alpha I know. Anyone else using that term is out of context. 

Moving Forward

The intent of this post is only to serve as an intro to these thoughts and positions. I want to continue learning and growing in these areas myself and share in the journey with anyone who seeks to be a better man. 

The Sound of Freedom Movie – My Thoughts

How did The Sound of Freedom stir up so much controversy? Why did certain groups of media, celebrities, influencers, elites, and all their sheep hate this movie so badly?  After seeing the movie that is still a mystery to me. 

Before seeing the movie, I watched the docu-series, Light in the Darkness, because I wanted to hear more of the backstory and understand some of the facts before going to see the movie’s portrayal of it. I know how wild movie creators can be with the dramatization of true stories. 

After watching the docu-series I couldn’t understand why there was so much backlash about the movie. The talking heads or headlines of the world were making out like the story is over-embellished, the main character has a hero-dad-god complex, and the movie is for “QAnon believers” (because we have to bring extremism into every discussion these days and label any opposing perspective as the extreme we are against).

My thoughts about the backlash before seeing the movie were, ok yeah it’s probably dramatized for a movie but so what that is the case with literally every true story movie that has ever been produced. Other than that, I couldn’t understand what would be so conspiratorial about the movie, especially after watching the docu-series which clearly lays out the dark reality with all the evidence needed to see there is a problem. 

So I went to the movie with a somewhat open mind to try and see what some people believe is so controversial. Throughout the movie, I was able to pick up on plenty of the dramatized details, but again it doesn’t matter. The overarching truth of the movie remains – there’s a sex slave trafficking industry in the world and it is a problem. This literally cannot be denied. 

Taking my consideration of others’ perspectives a little further, I asked myself the question, “Why would people be so upset about this despite the premise of it being real and true?” Here are the only answers I’ve come up with (and these are purely my thoughts and opinions): 

  • They actively participate in the problem. Maybe they don’t rape children, but consuming child pornography is no less evil. 
  • They know people who actively participate in the problem. Powerful and deceitful people tend to have amazing ways of getting others on their side. 
  • They somehow profit from the problem. This could be as direct as literally gaining from the trafficking transactions or being under the financial influence of those who do (think Epstein, Weinstein, those types).
  • They blindly believe what those who perpetuate the problem say and do to deceive people into believing there isn’t a problem. This removes a layer of positional or financial power. So many people will blindly believe whatever the talking heads say that the evil people of the world get away with literally anything. 
  • They have somehow been a victim of the problem and need help. There are a lot of twisted perspectives from people who have been victims of sexual abuse. It is terribly fascinating how deceived we become during and after being the victims of abuse. 

I’m sure I could expand on these thoughts or come up with more ideas to list, but ultimately it all points back to evil. The only reason I can think of for people to be so up in arms about this type of movie is evil. If a person can’t agree that the problem exists and on any scale, it should be dealt with, and this movie sheds light on that problem, then that is a person too consumed by evil. 

Evil exists. It is very deceptive. And whether a person believes it or not there is an author of that deception commonly referred to as the devil, satan, or the enemy (by us crazy far-right Christians). But again, some people just refuse to believe so they’re repulsed by even the mention of God (just like the devil himself). 

The movie is primarily about children, and understandably so given the details of the true story the movie is based on. But the problem exists for adults, primarily women, as well. It is atrocious. 

One of the powerful lines in the movie is “God’s children are not for sale”. To believers in God and the battle the enemy is waging for the hearts and souls of man, we all know that statement applies to a much broader audience than the young children in the movie. 

Young and old and every race, we are all God’s children, and we are not for sale. 

The Workers Are Few

“The harvest is plenty but the workers are few.” That’s what I thought of multiple times throughout a long and enduring day of laborious work volunteering for  Rebuild Upstate to build a wheelchair ramp for a person in need. 

Why is that what I thought about? I could go on and on. Lord, help me.  

There is so much need all around us, so much opportunity to ‘be the hands and feet of Jesus’. But it doesn’t always look like what our ‘Christian culture’ has become accustomed to. 

There are a million ways to make a million bucks and throw money at any number of causes with the expectation that anyone but ourselves will actually do the work. 

There are a million ‘reasons’ why we don’t have the time, skill sets, personality, or whatever other excuses we can muster up to stay comfortable and justify our ‘someone else should do it’ posture. 

I couldn’t be more proud of the family and friends who joined me in serving, hands-on, in a way that was difficult, unfamiliar, uncomfortable, laborious, and exhausting. They are the epitome of self-sacrifice, embracing the discomfort necessary to do unfamiliar things for the service of someone we didn’t even know just because there was a need. 

I saw people learn skills they didn’t have before to do a job that needed to be done. I saw people who could have been doing a million other things doing something that too few are willing to do. Why? Jesus. 

I’d be the first to proclaim “yes, we should be generous financially”. 

I’d be the first to proclaim “yes we should use our gifts and talents in any setting to ‘do ministry’”. 

I’d also be the first to say if you want to get another perspective of what Jesus was like, the son of God who lived the life of a carpenter and ultimately suffered for all our sins, then you need to get your hands dirty, suffer some pain, do things you’re not familiar with, and serve someone. 

Serve someone who you don’t even know, someone who can’t give you anything in return. Try doing it without even meeting them so they can’t even say thank you. Try doing it where no one will see and offer any type of appreciation or encouragement that strokes your ego. 

That is true selflessness. That is Jesus – the Jesus who was crucified on the cross for our sins. 

Re-Breaking the Blogging Ice

As of today, I’m officially starting back to blogging. 

Way back in 2004 or 2005, when I first started blogging, I was on the blogger platform. Then around 2007 or 2008, I got in a self-hosted WordPress site. That was like going high-tech back then. 

Blogs had a totally different feel back then. They were more personal opinions. They could be about anything on the writer’s mind. Having a brand or a niche wasn’t the point. It was what people with anything to say did before social media had really taken off. It was truly a web-log of thoughts or teachings. 

Now blogs are supposed to be super focused on specific topics and have strategic monetizing and all this other crap. It’s literally what I’ve done on and off in various capacities for various businesses over the years as a way of earning a living. It can be a lot of fun and at the same time, it can take a lot of the fun out of being online. 

I’ve allowed what everyone else has influenced blogging to become to take away the joy I used to experience from creating…the joy of having written out thoughts just for self-expression…regardless of whether or not it is read by anyone or is correctly done (as evidenced by this run on sentence) or ever makes a dime of revenue. 

So I’m picking up the modern-day ‘pen’ again (so to speak – it’s obviously a keyboard). Over the years, as I’ve neglected this, I’ve actually jotted down a ton of notes of things I’d like to ‘talk’ about. Writing will have to do (at least for now). Obviously, I like parentheses’ thoughts as well. 

If you happen to see this because you’re still subscribed to my blog through RSS, I apologize. Take that however you want. I either apologize for leaving you hanging or for whatever potentially unwanted email in which you might be receiving this. Honestly, I’ll be shocked if anything even still works on my site when I go to copy this from my notes app into WordPress. 

Obviously, I’m gonna have to do some work on the ole site if people actually start coming to it again. It’s so out of date. The picture of my family is probably about 8yrs old, I’ve only written a couple of times over those years, and a lot of my experiences in life have changed my views on some of what I used to write about. It’s called maturing. Most of us do that as we get older. I’ll never stop trying to improve. 

Anyway –  I just needed to get this post out as a way of breaking the ice – more for myself than anything else (I like hyphens too). 

This post will not be SEO’d. I will not post it on social media. In fact, I might not do either of those things much or ever with future posts. We’ll see. As I write these words I’m literally thinking it’s like I’m talking to myself but if anyone else happens to read it I’m happy to be talking to you as well. Either way, I’m ok with it. 

Ok – til the next post… living our adventure. 

Merry Christmas 2015!

Just want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Asbell Family Christmas 2015

Governomics Isn’t Working

When I was broke I did the same thing the government is doing – kept adding to the debt and consolidating loans and eventually I was unable to borrow more, then unable to pay, then almost lost everything.  We had to change our lifestyle drastically for quite some time to correct the problem. If we had done it sooner it would have been a lot less painful.  But at least we didn’t wait any longer than we did – that would have been disastrous.

If we think our economy has been tough the last several years we need to imagine how bad it’s gonna be when other countries are no longer willing to lend to us.  Imagine how bad it’s gonna be when we can’t pay all the bills we owe to those countries.  Now imagine how much worse it’s gonna be the longer we wait to stop borrowing and cut spending.

How many national parks will have to be closed?  How many furloughs will have to be mandated?  What programs will they finally decide to cut or manage more diligently?  What entitlement programs will they finally decide to steward more wisely?  How many jobs will be lost in that process?  How much higher are taxes going to go in that process?

I’m no economic genius but I don’t think it takes one to see our governomics ain’t working.  Our governomics budget hasn’t REALLY been balanced in decades.  Robbing from funded programs to “balance” the budget doesn’t work without adequately cutting or killing the robbed programs.  When my family has to rob from our vacation fund (social security for example) to pay for an emergency (war on terrorism for example) then we have to either delay vacation long enough to replenish those funds or we have to cancel the vacation indefinitely.  What we don’t do is try to fund everything using debt we hope to repay.   Hope doesn’t pay bills.

Our governomics hasn’t addressed the poor spending behavior that has gotten us into this position.  When my family has to decide between eating out every night or getting to have a nice vacation we have to choose which one is more important.

Unfortunately the approach our government has been taking just continues to produce the same results – it’s the ole insanity thing – “continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results.”  The band aids aren’t working.  It’s time to rip (not slow peel) the band aid off and take drastic measures stop the bleeding so our economy can begin to heal.  Governomics doesn’t work for individuals and it won’t work for our country.  It’s time to go further than the “change” politicians promise.  It’s time to TRANSFORM our country by getting rid of governomics and start using the peoplenomics that apply in the real world the majority of us live in.

Tipping Well At Restaurants

Here are a few reasons I love tipping well at restaurants:

  • It blesses someone who works hard and might really need that unexpected extra.
  • It blesses me at least with joy and maybe even reward from God.
  • It honors God when I feel his prompting to do it.
  • All that could lead to God doing a work in the recipient, me, or anyone who hears about it.

That’s why I love this video.  When I say I love tipping well I mean I’ll tip 20-25% on a regular basis and might go as crazy as 100-200% on occasion.  But the guys in this video give me something to aspire to, and I love how they weren’t shy about capturing the moments and having a great time with it.

Book Update – God Centered Finances

The book promotion is going well.  Lots of people are taking advantage of it while it’s free, and I really hope it helps them in their financial journey.  It reached #1 in both of it’s categories Tuesday and is steadily climbing in the overall rank.

number one in two categories

If it can get to the top 100 then a lot of people will find out about it and have the opportunity to be encouraged in their financial journey as well.  One way to help it out is to post some good reviews, so if you happen to have at least skimmed over it and can leave an honest and positive review that would be much appreciated.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to get it yet – click here.

It’s truly humbling to think God can use something like this to reach people.  Thank you for your support in getting it out to as many people as possible.

Merry Christmas 2012