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How to Plan for 2018 & a New Year

not being a victim
Most people are not great planners. They prefer to have other people do the planning.  But when it comes to living the life that God wants you to live, it’s important to get out of the day-to-day patterns and think globally. God gives us downtime in our lives so that we will look back and l…
By Seth Barnes

Most people are not great planners. They prefer to have other people do the planning. 

But when it comes to living the life that God wants you to live, it’s important to get out of the day-to-day patterns and think globally. God gives us downtime in our lives so that we will look back and learn, then look forward and change the way we live.

God wants us to thrive. But often bad habits and toxic relationships pull us down. Scripture exhorts us to be “holy and whole” in body, soul and spirit. Our bodies need exercise, rest and good nutrition. Our souls (that is our will, mind, and emotions) need nurturing, and our spirits thrive when we go deep, when we connect with God and others.

So many people write about how to take stock and learn from life. Tim Ferris is one of my favorite productivity gurus. Here’s what he advocates (it helps if you journal. I’ll be going back through my journal). I would add, as you do this review, pray about what God may be saying to you about it and what he wants for you to learn.

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I am often asked about how I approach New Year’s resolutions. The truth is that I don’t make them anymore, even though I did for decades. Why the change?

First, I realized that without accountability to someone else, resolutions rarely get accomplished. 

Second, I have found “past year reviews” (PYR) are more informed, valuable, and actionable than blindly looking forward with resolutions. It looks like the following and only takes 30-60 minutes:

  1. Grab a notepad and create two columns: POSITIVE and NEGATIVE.
  2. Go through your calendar from the last year, looking at every week.
  3. For each week, jot down on the pad any people and activities that triggered peak positive or negative emotions for that month.
  4. Once you’ve gone through the past year, look at your notepad list and ask “What 20% of each column produced the most reliable or powerful peaks?”
  5. Based on the answers, take your “positive” leaders and schedule more of them in 2018. Get them on the calendar now! That’s step one. Step two is to take your “negative” leaders, put “NOT-TO-DO LIST” at the top, and put them somewhere you can see them each morning for the first few weeks of 2018. Don’t put them on your calendar out of obligation, guilt, FOMO, or other nonsense.

And just remember: it’s not enough to remove the negative. That simply creates a void. Get the positive things on the calendar ASAP, lest they get crowded out. As Peter Drucker said, “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” 

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What does your body need to thrive in 2018?

How about your spirit? How will you connect deeply with God and others?

And your soul – how will you nourish your mind and emotions? How will you connect your will to God’s will?

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