Like many other Americans, I always feel the need to make some sort of commitment to a “better me” when the last week of December rolls around. And I get it, I really do. Time is an excellent concept because it divides our life into measurable units. Here I am, again, one day left in 2012 and I can’t help but feel the familiar pressure that a new year brings. I could write myself a list, I could put it on the refrigerator and eventually cover it up with some new piece of artwork that Braylen brings home from school. I could skip the New Year’s resolution hype altogether, continue onward with the status quo. But, I won’t do either of those. This year, I’m approaching the resolution phenomenon with a better plan and a meaningful commitment to myself. A commitment to make this year, a year of refocus, my year of getting it together.
I cringe when someone asks, how I manage to do it all. I smile politely, but deep down I know, I’m just playing a really good part. I forget to send birthday cards, I overcommit and leave little room for the people who really matter, I feel like I’m always in a hurry. Always rushing myself, rarely planning ahead. Waiting until the last minute. Gathering up a ton of worry in my head about things to come, making to-do lists and leaving them undone. And for awhile I thought, everyone must feel this way.
But the truth is, I do this to myself. I overcommit and spread myself so thin that I’m unable to give any aspect of my life my full attention. There is a simple solution though, it comes with learning to commit to things that really matter. It comes with recognizing that I can’t say yes to something, if it means I’ll have to say no to the people who need me. Ultimately, it means my social calendar will be a little less crowded in the upcoming year.
In August, I sat through a three-day training on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, there is such a wealth of knowledge in that book. One of the most eye-opening concepts during that training was the “big rocks” visual. The seemingly simple concept, if you have a jar and fill it with sand and gravel (small, trivial things that we allow to steal our time) first, your big rocks (the most important areas of our life) won’t fit. But, if you take that same jar and fill it with big rocks first, the sand and gravel all find a space amongst the big rocks in the jar. Everything fits. If we put the important things first in our life, we will have time for everything else. It seems silly, but in life if we don’t schedule time for our most important things, they tend to be left out.
Here is a video, I found on YouTube that provides an excellent example. I promise it’s worth your time.
This year, I made a list of the “big rocks” in my life. Things I need to focus on each and every day. My goal for the new year is to set measurable monthly goals that coincide with these “big rocks.”
- Mental/Intellectual Growth
- Read my Jesus Calling devotional every morning.
- Eat dinner as a family each night we are home during the month.
- Send two pieces of snail mail to friends.
- Make sure everything is ready for the next day before I leave my classroom each afternoon.
- Drink at least 1 liter of water each day.
- Read one book this month.
- Revisit these goals in one months time.