The last week of the year has become one of my favorite weeks of the year. It is a week to disengage from work and to relax and have fun with my family. I have also found it to be a good time to take stock of the past year and look ahead to the one coming up. While I’m not much of a “new years resolution person,” I do find this week a great time to think about where I’m at, whether or not I like where I’m at, and then come to some decisions about what I am going to do about it.
So, even though I’m on vacation, I wanted to share a few things I’ve been thinking/learning/working on this past week in the hopes that it’ll be helpful to you as you start the new year.
1) Take Responsibility: In 2003 I went from 252 pounds to 205. I have managed to keep it off for 6 years. While I thought I was doing great, my doctor still tells me I’m fat and that I need to get down to 180. So last summer I tried a new diet, rode my bike every day, and got under 200 pounds for the first time since my junior year of college. Then life got a bit crazy (crazier). Between the church moving into its own place, the normal stress of the start of a new fall semester in Ithaca, and other assorted craziness, I fell off the wagon. I stopped eating healthy. I stopped exercising. I worked more, ate more, and slept less. But this week I noticed a trend. Each time I would reach into the fridge or the cupboard for something I shouldn’t be eating, I’d have a sense that I should skip it, but I’d tell myself, “It’s okay, things are just really stressful.” “You’ve got a lot going on now…you can worry about getting back on track later.”
As I was thinking about this yesterday, while scrapping paint in our downstairs bathroom, I realized that I was allowing other people, and situations to determine my behavior. Not a good idea.
If I were to list out the top 10 years of my life…2009 would not make that list. However, I can’t allow people or situations to keep me from doing the things I need to be doing. And neither can you. (if you need a little encouragement, here’s an article by one of my favorite bloggers, Michael Hyatt on having control of your life.)
2) Learn to Rest: I woke up on Saturday morning & realized I had nothing I “had to do.” In fact, for the next 9 days there was nothing I had to do. I had no work…we weren’t travelling anywhere…nothing. I don’t remember the last time I could say that. And it felt really good!
Here’s the thing, the leaders of our church recently did a Strenghtfinders type assessment (SRG, run by one of the guys Benson Smith who used to do Strengthfinders @ Gallup) and one of my top themes is accomplishment. One of the characteristics of that theme is that getting to the end of a day where nothing was accomplished is stressful…
So how do those two things line up…nothing to do, yet a need to accomplish something. What I realized is that over the next 9 days, I would accomplish some things…but not because of some deadline, or some pressure hanging over my head, instead, I would accomplish them, because I wanted to.
Now to be honest, over this past week, I’ve done a lot of sleeping, a lot of playing Wii with the kids, and a lot of movies watching with the family. But at the same time, I’ve gotten some work done around the house…completed a bunch of errands, and had some serious time to think about life & where I’m going.
Getting Started: Just to wrap this up, I thought I’d include a couple of links that might help you think through some of the stuff in your life as you get ready to start the new year.
I want to encourage you to take an hour or two over the next 3-4 days and think about this past year, and think about the year ahead. It is an investment you’ll get a great return on.