For many years, I have been writing down my yearly goals into my trusty filofax. Always at my side, my red leather journal has been as much a part of me as my smartphone and my lipstick. Many would argue that everything can-and therefore should-be entered into one's phone: contact information, email histories, word documents, and yes, one's calendar. But for some reason-perhaps because my learning modality is slanted heavily towards the visual-I am not able to work my calendar from my phone; I need to "see" it. One week at a time. In color. And for that reason, I have relied on my filofax for nearly twenty years to not only keep me organized per a calendar, but to help me record-and regularly review-my written goals across all categories.
Especially now, with everyone seemingly examining their lives in the context of not only a New Year but a New Decade, it is important to reflect on those areas which are deemed most worthy of introspection. Here is how I break it down. As importantly, these are the areas of my life in which I write down realistic, as well as lofty, personal goals: The Powerful Seven.
FAITH: Possessing a hunger for relationship with your Creator is an innate human desire. We will never find that for which we were created nor live completely on purpose until we satisfy this yearning. While we will never hold all of the answers, we can and should strive to ask the questions. You were put on this earth for a purpose. Do you know what yours is? Are you being receptive to spiritual forces so that you can become more of the person you were designed to be? Have you acknowledged faith in your life? Do you consider yourself to be a person of faith? If so, are you allowing your Creator to have a role in your life? How large a role? If you believe that you were put on earth to glorify God, what are doing to move closer to that end?
FAMILY: What kind of family do you want to create? Do you prioritize a strong family as one of your life's goals? If you are an adult viewing family as a child of older parents, are you working within that framework in the most responsible, respectful ways? If you are a parent to young children, do you strive to create happy childhoods for them? Happy childhoods do not happen by chance. They require from you a considerable amount of foresight, energy, and thoughtful planning. Each of those in your charge has unique gifts and talents which need to be brought forward for the benefit of others. What are you doing to nurture these?
FRIENDS: If you have three of them, consider yourself blessed. The average Gen Y'er has 1.7. The average Baby Boomer, between three and four. Do you enjoy making and nurturing close friendships? Or do you prefer building upon hundreds of acquaintances? Social media and the verification of hundreds of Facebook friends might imply that you are working overtime in order to nurture friendships, but are you? Or is this a substitute for the intimacy that only deep friendships can provide, and the commitment of time and energy required to develop them? What specific steps could you take to increase your commitment to friendship?
FINANCIAL: Do you believe that you are financially responsible? Are you meeting your obligations thoughtfully, thoroughly, wisely and cheerfully? Write down ways in which you might realistically tackle current financial challenges as well as provide for the long-term financial goals of your family. Do you need to become more financially literate? Should you increase your savings percentage? Should you be contributing more to investment accounts? Are you making a commitment to helping those less fortunate? Have you explored tithing as a way to further humanity?
FITNESS: Are you keeping yourself fit, strong, and vibrantly healthy? Are you at peak performance? At your ideal weight? Should you incorporate a weight training regimen into your daily work outs? Are you getting enough aerobic exercise? Do you get your heart rate up at least three days per week? Do you enjoy your exercise routine? Is it time to make a change?
FUN: What are your sources of felicity? Are you taking time out of each day to stop and appreciate life? To savor and enjoy it? Have you embraced daily "joie de vivre" breaks? It might be as simple as slowly sipping that first great coffee of the day, being thankful for it, and taking delight in all of its sensory outputs of aroma, heat and richness. Are weekly date nights written into your calendar? Do you enjoy lunches with your favorite friends? Indulge in parties and spontaneous get-togethers? Perhaps you need to take up painting. Or skiing. Or listening to music more frequently during your work day. Maybe you are contemplating a trip abroad as a way to deepen family relationships and create long-lasting memories.
FIND: Find that for which you were created. Figure out why God made you. Discern whether or not you are living on purpose. You cannot possibly figure this out during the hectic, frantic movements of everyday life. You can only get a sense of your destiny when you are willing to spend a good deal of time in meditation, in prayer, and in quiet alone time. Start journaling your thoughts as they come to you. Draw them into an art book. Over time, your life purpose should be made clearer. Once revealed, begin moving confidently in the direction that will allow others to most benefit from your unique gifts and talents. Explore new opportunities that will present themselves to you as you move more purposefully through life.
I strive to align myself daily with my values and goals, and to regularly review my written record of them. By so doing, it seems that I am able to walk down my path with more passion and purpose. That people enter my path and provide wisdom and aid when I need it the most. That I am more able to stay on track and to live more authentically. Regularly reviewing my written goals helps me to look at the big picture and discern whether or not things still make sense, and to have the courage and conviction to change what does not. Hopefully, you will desire for your own life the near-constant striving for a better existence, and will write into place a record which will put your journey in play.
About the Author
An author and artist--and financial advisor by day--Carolina Fernandez brings her creativity and design insights, along with experiences garnered through eight renovations, to her second book Country French Kitchens (Gibbs Smith, March 2008). Her writing has appeared in nearly two hundred published articles and stories, including her first book ROCKET MOM! Her weekly newsletter spins to readers across the globe. She has been quoted in dozens of magazines, columns, blogs and articles, and has appeared in radio and television programs across the country, including the FOX News program "Your World with Neil Cavuto." She lives in Connecticut with her husband and their four children.
Please visit: http://www.countryfrenchkitchens.com, where you can get kitchen and design news as well as sign up for "Gleaux," her free ezine. Learn how to incorporate the warmth, beauty, comfort, charm, and joie de vivre--the art of living--so many of us desire into our kitchens, our homes...and our lives!