I’ve been hearing that phrase a lot lately. I even jotted it in my journal sometime last year because it sounded like a good thing to try—sounded like a good New Year slogan.
But I forgot about it because, turns out, January wasn’t the best month. A heavy year like 2016 doesn’t just slough off at midnight on December 31. If you’re not careful, you drag it into the next year like a dead body shackled to your soul.
The Northern Kentucky weather didn’t help things. In this month, we’ve seen only a handful of sunny days. The days that aren’t raining and snowing are heavy and overcast. The ground is the consistency of a Wendy’s Frosty, and my boots make sucking noises in the mud when I walk Dudley outside. Laura and I have been sick on and off with colds.
I haven’t been able to shake the deep-down sadness
Overall, I wasn’t able to shake the deep-down sadness, for one reason or another. I could hardly get through a week without crying.
Earlier this week, I broke down once again to Laura, replaying my gloom and insecurity and fears—all I’m not, all I want to be, all I’m afraid I never will be. She answered by jotting something on a piece of paper.
“Here, fill this out.” At the top, she had written, “My goals” and at the bottom, “Steps for achievement.”
This was easy. I’d already made the list—in fact, I’d made more than one in my journal. Lose weight. Write more. Get better at hand lettering. Spend more time outside. Make more friends. Volunteer somewhere to give back. But I was overwhelmed by the expectations for myself. When I finished scribbling my list (overflowing onto the back page), Laura put another piece of paper in front of me—a hand-made spreadsheet breaking down the hours in each day of the week.
I’m unintentionally living intentionally.
We dumped our pile of goals, desires, and hours onto the table like puzzle pieces and sorted them onto the spread sheet: work, exercise, church, writing, reading, lettering, adventures, service. We fitted them together to form a life that will mean more than one of these days living, than I want to living, than if only living. A life with more purpose, more structure, more productivity, more focus—hey, maybe more intention.
I didn’t mean to do it—but I guess you could say I’m unintentionally living intentionally.
I encourage you to do the same thing with me. Here are some good ways to get started:
1. Make a list of what you want to change or goals you want to reach.
2. Figure out a plan of how to achieve that change and those goals.
3. Schedule that plan into your life.
4. Make it happen.
5. Good grief, find a good friend like Laura who will take on the year with you.
Hey, I already went to bed later than scheduled. I skipped the first day of my workout. I ate more sugar yesterday than I should have. I didn’t write on Friday. Part of starting something new is realizing that you’re going to fail, that you’ll have to make adjustments for life.
You know, 2016 is so last year. But for all we’ll fail and all we’ll succeed, 2017 is a new start.
Let’s make it count.
I’d love to know what your goals are for 2017—or even just for tomorrow. Let me know in the comments.