A New Year, A New Beginning
Twenty sixteen is drawing to a close. That closing is an opportunity for us to look back, see what happened during the year, and to decide how we want to go forward from here.
Some will blow off the opportunity. Some will look back at their career, but not at their life. Some will look at their life, but not look at it in context of the lives of others in their immediate families. For example, one year, I spent six months of that year caring for my mother. She was in and out of the hospital a lot and couldn’t be left alone. That altered my vision and course for the year, but it was necessary and a privilege to be there for her. She’d always been there for me. As a result of her illness, many of the things I had hoped to accomplish had to slide to the following year’s calendar. It worked out. Some goals were reached, some weren’t, but I consider that a year well-planned.
Life doesn’t begin and end with our schedules. Or with our plans. Actually, more often than not, we start with a daily Plan A that morphs continuously. Sometimes, by the end of the day, so many unexpected things happen that my Plan A has morphed over and over and ends up being Plan ZZ. Those surprise events are the reason a priority list is vital.
If you create a daily plan, you’re more focused. What you hope to accomplish is before your eyes and you tend to structure other things around the plan or to incorporate into the plan a little time for those pop-up, surprise items. If you prioritize your plan—put the most important things first and do them first—then the odds of getting them done are better. If you don’t get everything done, you’ve accomplished the most important things that topped your list, and that keeps you more balanced. Read that: you spend a lot less time living in “crisis” mode. We all need less time in crisis and more time balanced.
Long ago, we learned the value of having a plan, and we have little trouble grasping the concept of putting that which is most important at the top of the list, in priority. We also know the value of balance and the havoc that comes to us and those who rely on us mentally, emotionally and physically of functioning in crisis-mode. It’s so much harder to do anything when we aren’t calm, clear-minded and focused.
One of the best lessons learned in life is seated in self-discipline. Not for its own sake but for the value it adds to the quality of life—ours and those we interact with closely. If we plan, we get more of what we want. If we prioritize, we get more done while balanced and that equates to more peace. It’s that simple.
And that complex. Of course, we won’t always have well-planned days. Some days our plans will fall apart before breakfast. But better to see such a day on occasion rather than those days be our norm. Of course, we won’t be able to anticipate everything that comes up. But we will better deal with those things because we are prepared on those things we did anticipate. And of course, havoc will visit. But a visit is far less destabilizing, frustrating, irritating than a steady diet of havoc.
Those are some of the real benefits of taking the time to plan, but perhaps the biggest benefit is that at the end of the year when we look back, we see that we’ve gotten more of what we said we wanted. We know more of what we did that worked and what didn’t work, and we can adjust accordingly. We also spot easily those things that just don’t serve us well and we have no doubts about dropping them from our lives, opening doors and windows to new things that might serve us better.
If we don’t access our lives as we’re living them, the odds are that we’ll come to a point where we realize we have little of what we most want. Or worse. We’ll have everything we never wanted. That brings regret, recriminations. Sorrow and disappointment. Depression. Who needs any of that? What benefit is in any of it?
Agreed, figuring out what you don’t want is equally important to finding out what you do, but we don’t typically start out knowing a lot of either—at least, most of us don’t. We figure it out as we go. If we access often, really think about our lives, the odds are so much better that we’ll gain more of what we want and cull more of what we don’t in shorter spans of time. Assessing often gives us the chance to be quick-studies rather than to leave it to mid-life crises to get us to stop and think about what we’re doing and to decide if it’s what we want to be doing.
Twenty Seventeen is nearly here. And with it comes a fantastic opportunity for us to look back, take the lessons that offer enrichment, then look ahead, wiser for our experiences. We can make 2017 a great year, a good year, or a lousy year. We choose. And we choose by our willingness to seize the opportunity offered to evaluate who we are, what we want. Where we are, where we want to be. And to decide what we’re willing to do for ourselves to become what we want and get where we want to be.
Make no mistake. This time, now, is our opportunity to invest in ourselves by living intentionally and deliberately. It’s a new year, and with it comes our chance for a new beginning. The question is, will we seize it?
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© 2016, Vicki Hinze. Vicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Star. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: www.vickihinze.com. Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact. KNOW IT FIRST! Subscribe to Vicki’s Monthly Newsletter!