Goodbye 2018

Another lap around the sun has taken place and we find ourselves again staring at the fresh landscape of a new year.  Look at that!  Still in the package and everything!  I hope it is easier to open than 2018 was.  You just gotta hate that hard plastic shell…  Whoops. I digressed!

Over the last several years I have tried to take time over the dwindling days of the year to reflect a little bit and to cast a vision for myself for the coming year.  I don’t like “resolutions”, but I have tried to set goals, and some of them actually have been accomplished.  I’d like to think that a couple of them have even helped me be a better man, husband, and dad.  These reflective moments are good for us.  Hindsight is foundational for future endeavors.  I think I heard that from some semi-intelligent fella.

Hindsight is foundational for future endeavors. – Tom Tanner

I guess it is time to get to it.

2018 was a good year, but a challenging one as well.  Two kids in college full-time out of state, some vehicle issues that were more than just a little bit trying, some struggles on the professional front (admittedly partly of my own making), starting a new part-time job, and a more than a fair share of hectic schedule just to name a few.  As a result, I have been feeling pretty stretched and tired.  It is probably not that much different from the struggles you have faced.  We all have our own load to carry.

Over the last month or so, I have been really working on getting myself better organized.  I spend more time writing things down so I don’t forget them.  I find myself prioritizing my lists so I get the big things done all the time. I find myself scrutinizing the list to make sure that I am not only getting things done, but that I am getting the right things done in the right time frame.  I am doing a lot of writing!

I have developed my own little planner for the work week as well as a back-up planner for evenings and weekends.  They are not perfect, but they have been effective for me, and I think that I will need them even more as 2019 dawns on me tomorrow.

This is going to be another big year with a lot of challenges.  I have a daughter graduating from college, a son entering his senior year, and I am even going back to school to complete my degree!  We have a couple of trips planned, a vehicle issue on the horizon, and those are just the things I know about!  There could be a whole lot more by the time I sit down in 365 days to write the wrap-up for this year.

So, as is my custom, it is time to draw back the curtain to show the #wordoftheyear.  That word I will use as my reminder of where I need to keep my focus to keep moving in the direction I believe God is sending me.  So, without any further ado…

Schedule

Not exactly inspiring, is it?  Can’t say I felt a goosebump when I picked it.  Had some other options with a little more “panache” like “Determined”, “Purpose”, “Driven”, or even just taking a minimalist approach and going with “No!”  I could have chosen anything, but when it comes down to it, I really feel like this is vital for me in the coming year.  There is gong to be a lot on my plate, and I don’t mean food.

So, in my #Schedule, I will be adjusting the following items (and probably about 500 more I don’t know about yet) into my daily and weekly routines:

Time with God – I need this.  I managed over the past year to only miss one day of reading my Bible, but I would be lying if I said that I put a ton of effort into it.  Some days I was checking the box, but other days I was clinging to a life ring.  I want to make this year different by scheduling 10-15 minutes every day to reading a short passage and journaling what God is telling me.  Will I get a perfect year?  We will see!

Time with my wife – I need this.  God gave me an amazing woman that He knew I would need to be that perfect complement to my life.  We are individuals, but we are one.  I may have the job to lead our home, but I do it with her at my side.  We have faced some tough stuff together, and we are not done!  The kids are one step closer to taking their big steps, and I need to make sure I am giving her the quality time she deserves to keep us connected for our next chapter.

Time for friends – I need this.  The past year I have been more withdrawn, and I feel it.  I have pulled back from people, events, and other opportunities to engage with people.  I have done some of it because I have been busy and I know other people are busy too, so I don’t want to be a burden, but I do have to ask myself if that has at least sometimes been a clever excuse.  I need to reconnect with some of the guys in my life.

Time to learn – I need this.  I have been stepping back from reading a lot of fiction and have been trying to read books that actually helps me grow.  Don’t get me wrong. We have a need for entertainment too, and that is why we have Netflix!  Just kidding.  I am going to try to read at least one good book per month on personal development, leadership, spiritual growth, marriage, mentoring, etc.  Combining that with the materials for college, and you can see how I will need to have that scheduled appropriately to get it all in.

Time to work – I need this.  It is more than just paying the bills though.  I have a home that needs some repairs. I have the desire to go out to my woodshop and roll around in man-glitter.  I need to have things to do that make me feel like I have accomplished something.

Time to be still – I need this.  I know it sounds funny, but I will need to schedule time in to do nothing.  “Nothing” does not mean couch-surfing either.  Nothing means to just be still and let my mind dwell on God in prayer.  This needs to become a daily discipline for me.  It is more than just a devotional time.  This is probably the area I need to focus on most over the next year.

There are a lot of other things that will make the list on my schedule.  I pray that by the end of the year I will be able to look back and see where I had a good year because I took the time to schedule things.

What is your plan for 2019?  I’d love to hear it!  I hope your year will be one committed to #RelentlessGrowth.

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