Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Look on My Past Year and the Year Ahead

I love the last day of the year because it's such a great time to reflect and plan for the year ahead.

Personally I'm looking at 6 main areas of personal wellness:
  • Interpersonal/Social (which for me includes the Spiritual side of things), 
  • Emotional, 
  • Physical, 
  • Vocational, 
  • Financial, and 
  • Intellectual Health. 
 Some of you may recognize these categories from a graphic called the Wholeness Wheel.

Some time ago I defined what "health" looks like for me in each of these areas and just the other day I ranked them from the area where I think I'm doing best right now to the area where I could use the most improvement.

I also formulated a plan for each of the areas moving forward into 2017. More important (and ultimately helpful!) than any goal is a plan for how to move toward that goal on a daily or at least weekly basis. Otherwise it's just a wish-list.

It should be noted that not a single one of these goals, even if somehow achieved perfectly, will make me a "better" person in God's sight or even in yours. You should know, if you don't already, that I still have a sinful nature just like everybody else. I was born that way and will die that way. My ultimate hope and trust is in God's redeeming love, not my own sense of accomplishment or aspiration.

Still, out of thanksgiving for God's redeeming love and to simply exercise the particular opportunities placed before me, setting goals and working toward them brings its own sense of joy and purpose.

For example, last year at this time, focusing on the area of intellectual health, I decided that I wanted to read between 50 and 60 books in 2016. As of today the total stands at 54. Fifty-Five if you count a book I finished in 2016 but started in 2015. That book was titled: "How to Unclutter your Life in One Week." For some reason it took me a month to read it...but I learned a new way to fold shirts!

Anyhow, every one of those 55 books has helped me to grow in some way. And from now on I've decided that 50 books a year is a healthy habit to keep. Basically a book a week. Several different subjects. Audio books count too.

The reading plan included a spreadsheet where I write down any book recommendations I pick up from trusted sources. That way when it's time to order more books (or borrow them from the library), I have a reading list handy.

Looking ahead, this morning was my first annual "measurement" day. There are a couple areas that I'd like to improve upon physically in the year ahead. A little less here, a little more there. The only way to truly know if I've made any progress by this time next year is to know where things are at right now. It all goes in a private word-processing document that I can pull up next year on this date.

I encourage you to embrace the year ahead with some healthy goals in the important areas of your life. Write them down now. Make a plan. Enjoy the opportunities God gives you!