Monday, January 1, 2018

How to Change 2018 from "Just Getting By" to Simply Amazing



2018 is only a few hours old, and we've already begun to spend the year. Sleep, food, exercise, family, work, friends, fun, and faith. We'll fill this year with so much, but what will we accomplish with the time we're given? 

Some of us will do amazing things. Others will barely get by. If we want to be in the amazing category, we need to be intentional about our choices and actions. 

With "amazing" in mind, this year, I'm taking a new approach to planning and I think it's going to be helpful. If something sounds useful, feel free to incorporate it. 

I prayerfully made a master to-do list that's pages long and includes every area in which I want to make progress. I asked God to direct my plans and show me what He wants to accomplish this year. His plans, of course, are much more important than mine. 

We know God wants us to love Him, love others, and be a clear witness for Him to the world around us. He's not a God of chaos, but of order, so we know He wants order in our lives, our finances, and our homes. Scripture says our bodies are the temple of God, so we know He wants us to care for them. 

With His will for order in mind, all the things I need to do around my home, including repairs to be done, cabinets to clean out, floors to refinish, and clothes to sort through and pass along are on my "home" list. You probably have a to-do list as long as mine. When I look at the entirety, it seems impossible. Sorted into one task a month, it's fairly easy.

I made similar lists for writing, ministry, finances, and personal care, then divided them into sets of monthly goals to achieve. I have a busy year planned, but everything I want to do can be done if I stick to the plan. I've written each month's goals in my planner so that I'm accountable, and so that I don't forget. 

I've failed at the usual goal of "lose twenty pounds" numerous times. This year, in order to take care of the temple of God (my body) I've changed the goal to "be intentional about health." Part of that intentionality includes what I eat and how much exercise I get. 

I want my blood pressure and cholesterol to be better at the end of 2018 than they are at the start, and I don't want more medicine. If that goal is to be achieved, I'll have to make enough lifestyle changes to accomplish it. 

For January, I've set "check blood pressure and weight daily and record" as one of my goals. Another is to get at least 10,500 steps daily for five days a week. (If you don't have a step-counter, your smart phone will count steps for you.) 

Since I also have a goal of less than 2,300 mg of sodium and less than 2000 calories per day, I plan to write down what I eat, every single bite. I know from experience that the simple act of recording my intake makes me less likely to "graze" mindlessly when I'm bored. 

For January, I've set goals of "manicure" and "have lunch with friends twice." After my fencing adventure, I have so many barbed wire scratches on my hands  that even a manicure will not be enough to repair the damage, but it's a start. 

Time with friends won't happen if I don't choose it. Neither will time with family, which is also on my list. 

Another area I've included in my monthly planning is "faith." One discipline I'd like to incorporate this year is Scripture memorization. I set a simple goal of one chapter a month. The first chapter of John has 51 verses, and I'm familiar with the passage. If I memorize three verses per day, I'll have room to spare in January. 

If a chapter a month seems too much, why not memorize one Scripture verse every week? It's a powerful way to change your life and deepen your faith. 

I'd like to expand my outreach in 2018, broaden my digital reach, improve my writing, complete new projects, and remove clutter in my home. It's all on my list. The plan's a good one, but the most important part of it is me. Will I do what I've planned or not? 

This year, we can accomplish more than we've ever done before IF we make a plan, get started, and stick with it. Who's with me? 

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 nasb
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In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link:The Fence Repair Adventure