"Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify."
Henry David Thoreau
As we slide into the brand New Year of 2019, this is a good day to LOOK BACK, LOOK AROUND, and LOOK FORWARD. Get out your journal and write it all down. Writing down goals is surprisingly powerful, and when you look back on your written goals you will be amazed out how much you wrote has come to pass. Write it down and don't hold back.
LOOK BACK: What have you accomplished? What are you proud of? What are you happy about? And most importantly, what are you grateful for? This can be anything in the realms of personal, professional, spiritual, physical, financial, or relational. Don't hold back, write it all down and luxuriate in the small and big accomplishments. It's really helpful, especially if you are in a season of regret or self pity. You've done more than you think you have. Whatever you are sad or regretful about, ask God to use if for good in your and other people's lives. Maybe 2018 was not everything you hoped it would be, but if you didn't quit, you won.
LOOK AROUND: Take a personal inventory. What do you hold in your hand? What is your skill set? Where does your money come from and where is it going? How are you using your time every day?
Has it occurred to you that maybe you have taken on too much? Every time you say "yes" to something you are saying "no" to your family and friends. That's not to discourage you from getting involved, but you have to treat your time like the precious and finite commodity that it is. Strip your day down to the essential, and by the way, fun and play are essential.
- ESSENTIAL: Reading good books, family and friend time, journaling and prayer, sleep, working out
- NOT ESSENTIAL: Social media, watching tv, surfing the net, wasting time on regret and envy
LOOK FORWARD: What would you like to accomplish in 2019? Making big, poorly defined resolutions without a clear plan for follow through is pointless; that's how fitness studios make their money, with memberships purchased in January and abandoned by March.
A year is made up of days, so when you're planning your year, ask yourself two questions:
- What do I hope to accomplish this year?
- How do I want to spend my days?
Then pare your daily schedule down to the essentials of what will make you a better person and move you towards the future you envision. Decide on small, specific actions for the significant areas in your life and put them on your calendar NOW. This is what I put on my 2019 calendar, with alerts for each activity:
- 6:30 AM Daily - Bible, journal and prayer time
- 7:30 AM Daily - 8 minute workout
- (WORK AT JOB 9-5)
- 6:30 PM Daily - walk
- 7:30 PM Monday - Bible study
- 7:30 PM Tuesday - write blog post
- 7:30 PM Wednesday - CreateLive class (online)
- Second Thursday of every month - write newsletter
- 8:45 AM Sunday - church
Those are the "big rocks" and everything else will need to fit around them. Nothing huge, just small daily, weekly and monthly commitments. Of such is a year made.
- Simplify, simplify. Don't waste your time on the nonessential.
- Don't waste time on regret - learn from the past and move on.
- Never give up. If you don't quit, you win.
"But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13