Congratulations, it’s another New Year! The question is: what are you going to do with it?
For example, should you focus your energy on simply living each day with purpose, or build a written life plan to help guide you forward? Do you concentrate on discerning God’s will, or work proactively to identify and follow your life calling?
The answer: Yes.
Because you can have a happy New Year, perhaps your best ever, by living more intentionally.
A Personal Journey to Living More Intentionally
Every blog article I write is personal, but this one more than most. That’s because this is not a theoretical discussion for me right now; this is real life!
I have been in the business world for over 37 years but am moving toward a major life change into full-time ministry. During this process, I have wrestled with a number of questions including:
- How do I balance being intentional with waiting to discern God’s direction?
- Has God already given me enough guidance, or should I keep seeking more?
- Do I trust the life plan I have been using to guide me or rethink my future?
Yes, I do have a written life plan, and I have spent a lot of time thinking about the future. Frankly, I would not be in position to consider this move into ministry if that were not the case.
Recently, my younger son gave me a couple of books as presents. He knows I am doing a lot of thinking about living more intentionally, and he thoughtfully picked ones I would enjoy.
I finished one of the books already because I couldn’t put it down.
It was Be You. Do Good. Having the Guts to Pursue What Makes You Come Alive by Jonathan David Golden. This is a great book for anyone trying to discern their calling, find purpose, or make a life change. And for anyone interested in living more intentionally.
The material teaches us to be who we are, use what we have, and pursue what makes us come alive. And that sometimes we need to make a life-changing decision and not look back, while other times move forward by growing little by little.
All great advice we can build into our life plan.
Every person’s journey toward their calling is different. It’s about you taking the next faithful step in the direction the One who’s calling you is leading. (Be You. Be Good. by Jonathan David Golden)
A Balanced Approach to Living More Intentionally
But, how does all this apply to you?
That depends. Many people spend more time planning their vacations than their lives. And they allow tasks that are urgent, rather than important, to dominate their calendar. Or, they want to live a life of purpose and meaning but aren’t sure if they are on track to do so.
Are you one of those people?
Relax. You don’t have to change your life today. But, you owe it to yourself and those you care about to do some thinking as you head into the New Year.
To help ensure you are moving in the right direction, you need a road map, and building a life plan can help you stay on track. Then, take it a day at a time and focus on progress, not perfection.
Here are some guidelines to help you achieve the right balance in your approach:
- Decide that living more intentionally is important – Life is a journey, and your role is to seek the right direction using God as your guide. Determine that you will look for your part in God’s Larger Story and identify a Vision for your life to inspire your efforts.
- Build an annual life plan – Take a few hours each year to build or update your Life Plan. Identify and prioritize the top Objectives you want to achieve for the year.
- Plan your calendar each week – Determine what Actions you will take and schedule time for them. Include the areas which are the most important, even if they are not urgent.
- Hold a daily quiet time – Use your Quiet Time to stay in touch with God, listen for his input, and meditate on how you can best follow his will that day.
- Live in the moment – Whenever you can, pause to appreciate and enjoy the journey. As you move on through the day, seek to make thoughtful choices and take the next right step.
For this approach to living more intentionally to make a difference in your life, one step is most important: the first! Are you willing to get started?
Life is a journey. Seek the right direction using God as your guide. Make wise choices and take the next right step. (STEPS Principles as taken from “The Meaning of the Journey”)
Question: Which of the steps above will most help you move toward living more intentionally?
Action: Find more resources on these topics in the article “How to Live Intentionally,” especially the sections on “Building a Life Plan” and “Living One Day at a Time.”