As another year comes to a close it offers a perfect time for reflection and reassessment of your current plans. It is an annual checkpoint our society uses to turn the microscope inwards, from corporate budgets to personal health. We should probably be doing this a lot more often, maintaining and re-arranging a to-do list based on life’s changes. The best productivity gurus from the David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” guide to Covey’s seven habits suggest reprioritizing and reviewing weekly, and it likely is the best way to handle life’s objectives.
Yet, it takes discipline to be that consistent. It is not easy and it is not the norm. It is also not where I am, but an area I am working on. Like so many things it is a process of building a habit. While I believe most people probably naturally do this, we don’t write it down and we get distracted only to find ourselves out of time, out of energy, and out of budget. The year end offers a nice reassessment point, so give yourself a moment to look back.
For me, 2018 was a lot of seeing this prioritizing effort in action. As I suspected at the end of 2017, this was a year of big changes. A new position, an adjusted career path, a new house and major shifts in how I spent my time. The purchase of the house stretched my organizational abilities as well as provided an opportunity to learn something new. For me, it also represented a physical representation of a rebuild of my life. Something I may get into more in the future but it is enough to say that it was significant for me.
The year came with its share of ups and downs, for me these were standard struggles for life and for that I am grateful. I have been thrown curve balls and had to adjust. It required me to focus and grow. There are many areas I wish, looking back, that I had done better. Knowing that, seeing that allows me to learn. Yet, I cannot dwell on just that. I can also see where I did things well, where I enjoyed myself, and new dreams I now ponder.
Every day I would do at least one thing to “build” the house.
My biggest adjustment was the purchase of a new home, something that in 2017 I did not think was going to be possible. Yet, it was not an easy ride and at one point I almost threw in the towel. The new house it required a lot of work to make it a livable space for me and the boys. It quickly became the priority. Following the purchase in June I made one commitment to myself: Every day I would do at least one thing to “build” the house. Sometimes it involved hanging curtains, sometimes drywalling but I worked hard to always be doing something. Maintaining an ongoing list was extremely helpful. It was a list that only seemed to grow, but a list that has kept me focused. The truth was that after a couple months, the tasks became too big, other life events crept in but the mantra of “every day” kept me focused.
In the end, I closed out the year with a place I was happy to welcome my sister and her family to for a visit. A perfect way to cap off the year.
I have a lot of growth still to come, that is clear. And I am still working on my adjusted objectives for 2019, but for the moment I am not looking forward. I am taking a moment to gaze at the path I have travelled. I am proud of where I am and how I have grown … I have moved forward. That makes all the difference.
2018 Gratitude List
- I continue to be grateful for my boys. They are my struggle, they are my passion.
- Grateful for my family and friends who are always available to lend me a hand.
- Grateful to my brother-in-law who jumped in following the kitchen sink backup during Christmas dinner to help.
- Grateful to my team at the office for supporting and bearing the struggle as I work the ropes of my new role.
- To my neighbors who have welcomed our family into their little corner of this world with open arms.
- Grateful to have been able to afford a new vehicle at the end of 2017, it has been an enjoyable ride over the year.
- I always find it a blessing that I have food in the fridge and cool air blowing from the vents. Not everyone does, I know that.
- That my commute is not lost time as I have learned and been entertained by some excellent authors and podcasters throughout the year.
- That my struggles continue mold me as I grow.
- A personal life that seems to have re-kindled with someone that is accepted by my friends, family, and my boys. Not always perfect, but perfectly wonderful.
- QUICK EDITOR BONUS UPDATE: I appreciate the patience and care of those special people that have provided me editorial support and feedback over the year. You are wonderful, thank you!
What are you grateful for in 2018?