February Taught Me My Need for a Plan

February Lessons

What I Learned in February

I’m joining Emily P. Freeman at www.chattingatthesky who hosts a monthly link up where bloggers share what they’ve learned during the month.  

For almost fifty years I’ve drifted along, and life has been good.  Sure, we’ve had some serious bumps along the way, but that happens to everyone. My caregiver journeys seems to be over for now. This year, I’m focusing on the word constrain as I ask God to constrain me (the word also means ‘compel’).  Of course, when God answers prayers, it shouldn’t surprise me.

When God answers #prayers, it shouldn't surprise me. Click To Tweet

My motto (unspoken) of “Don’t plan big because then you won’t be disappointed” is catching up to me.  For the past several months I’ve had a compelling urge to think more deeply about what I’ve accomplished in life and to act with intention to accomplish more. Maybe the fact that the other side of the hill looms on the horizon has something to do with it, too.

  1.  Little Planning: In December I purchased a planner–just a simple $7.00 one from Wal Mart, and a set of four pretty pens.  I knew that in order to accomlish more, I needed to write down goals. Last year I wasted $30 on a really nice, big planner that had questions and places to answer them interspersed throughout, along with hour-by-hour appointment lines.  I used it for two weeks. I chose a pen color for each of the four areas in my life that I wanted to set goals for: Exercise, Household (I decided it was time to clean the bathrooms more often than once a month ;), Work and Writing.  At the beginning of the month, I map out specific goals for each area on the overview calendar, and then each week I review them and add them to the daily calendar.  Making a plan for an entire month wears me out. Crossing things off a list makes me excited, so this works for me. I’ve kept up on the goals and tasks for the day, and given myself grace and a few extra days when I didn’t.
  2. Emotional Planning:  I didn’t realize I needed to go through some serious emotional planning.  No, I don’t mean that one can plan her emotions–I mean that I read a book that helped me realize I haven’t spent a lot of time getting to really know my emotions.  By planning quiet time with a guide book (Peace for a Lifetime by Lisa Murray), my Bible, journal and prayer, I’ve learned more about myself in the past month than I have in the past 48 1/2 years.  Lisa calls this ‘self-nurture.’
  3. Planning a LIFE statement: After reading Peace for a Lifetime, God neatly arranged the next book I needed.  Holley Gerth’s You’re Already Amazing LifeGrowth Guide helped me understand that I needed to craft a statement based on my strengths, talents and communication style.  She calls this a LIFE Statement (which stands for Love Is Faith Expressed).February Planning
  4. Planning from the end:  Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy’s book provides the final part of my planning.  Living Forward actually challenges the reader to think about the end of life and write a eulogy for him or herself. I’ll be setting some time aside in March for a retreat to write my Life Plan (and write my eulogy).

The question remains:  Has all of this planning helped me in any way?  Yes.  My house looks a lot nicer (and I love to have a tidy house, I just don’t like to spend time cleaning ;)). I’ve kept to my exercise goals during the two hardest months for me to exercise.  I’ve written more and worked on projects that I’ve put off for far too long. I’ve been a more organized teacher.  Once I align my Life Plan and my LIFE statement, I think planning on my calendar will become easier. I think that if I had known this stuff back during my caregiving seasons, I would have been happier and able to accomplish more because I would have understood that God gives me ‘seasons for a reason’ (~Holley Gerth).

What have you learned in February?