Day after day after day. They all seem to roll together, like endless, crashing waves upon the surface of our lives. How do we live with intention when we don’t take time to reflect on the past and prepare for the future? What went right? What was left undone? What am I trying to do with my life? How do I make it happen? Today, as we wrap up our series on Life’s Essential Ingredients, let’s put some steps in place to make life count for something each and every day, not just when inspiration strikes, as I have been so prone to do, leaving far too many lost or wasted days in my wake.
1. Make a list. I know, I know, lists are our best friends and our worst enemies, a necessary evil at best. However, without a list, all the to do’s just swirl about in our heads, taunting and tormenting us. Then, when we have a moment to spare, where are they? In order to keep track of your list when you write it down, I recommend designating a specific notebook, pad of paper, or planner, as opposed to those random scraps of paper we tend to jot our lists on (or is that just me?)
A couple of keys to a successful list are: 1. Don’t put too much on it, and 2. Transfer the unfinished items to tomorrow’s list. Determine 5-10 line item to do’s for each day, and tackle them, hardest to easiest (or most to least important). Any more than ten, and you will get overwhelmed- trust me. If you get all ten done, by all means, add a few more to finish off the day with. If you don’t finish all ten, just put them at the top of your list for tomorrow. Don’t forget to relish in the crossing off of items as you complete them- each item a victory in itself!
2. Set some long-term goals. Long-term can mean different things to different people, but focus on 1-month, 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year goals. Knowing what you want out of life in the big picture helps drive that To Do list in #1. Goals help establish priorities, like family, faith, finances, etc. Do you want to be debt-free in five years? Set some long and short range goals to get there. At the end of this post, I will have links to some great resources to help you accomplish this, but here is a great, free resource by Ruth Soukup of Living Well Spending Less to start setting those goals: http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/goalworkbook/.
Also, make sure you have SMART goals:
3. Pray. Ask God what He intends to do with your day. Give it to Him- give yourself to Him- to use for His glory. You won’t be disappointed. Talk about big picture living; try living in the will of the Creator of the universe each day. It’s pretty spectacular to see what He can do with a seemingly ordinary life.
4. Get going! You’ve prayed, set goals, made your To Do list. Now, go and do it! Live life with intention, with expectation, with joy. Make sure to review the previous nine days in the series for more ways to incorporate the essentials into each day.
Aimee’s Top 10 Life’s Essential Ingredients for Each Day:
- 1. Have a Time of Prayer, Bible Reading and Planning Time
- 2. Get to the Gym (preferably before 5:30 a.m.)
- 3. Guide the Children Through Their Schoolwork
- 4. Write Something, at Least 500 Words in Length
- 5. Plan and Prepare Healthy Meals
- 6. Establish Pick Up/Clean Up Times Throughout the Day
- 7. Read to My Girls for at Least 20 Minutes
- 8. Connect Meaningfully with One Person Outside My Family
- 9. Listen To, Laugh With, Love On My Children and Husband
- 10. Review My Day and Plan for the Next
What would you add to the list for your life? I’d love to hear what’s working for you and what you need to work on. We are all works in progress, not perfection. Have a great day!
(photo credit for featured image: http://www.gymguyzfranchise.com)