Another new year is here. Time to ponder where we are and where we want to go in 2018. However 2017 was for you, let me encourage you with this: You can have a joy, impact and balance in the New Year. But, you are going to have to be proactive and you are going to have to get past the one barrier that shows up in almost all of my twelve-plus years of coaching here at the Halftime Institute: A lack of focus. In my experience, the most common reason for that lack of focus is lack of conviction about what’s really important in a person’s life.
If we have low clarity on our callings and personal values, all opportunities, obligations and activities appear equally alluring and critically important. That’s a surefire recipe for frenzied busyness… and a low grade feeling that you’re hustling on a treadmill to nowhere. I’ve been there. Busyness creates even more busyness, and you can’t go on like that. Being busy may feel like you are accomplishing something every day, but it’s a façade.
So, you have to say “No”. The best way to say “NO” is to have a short list of solid “Yesses.”
But beware: Sometimes the things we say yes to aren’t the equivalent of God’s “Yesses.” Remember, our life is not about our comfort and plans. It’s about passing God’s love along through our work, friendships, marriages, parenting, giving, etc. This approach leads to more joy than any self-serving pathway.
As Jesus said, “If you really want to live, die to your agenda and assume my agenda.” (Matt 16:25 paraphrase). His yoke, as counter-intuitive as it sometimes seems, turns out to be easier than the ones the world has told us to assume.
The other thing about focus has to do with effectiveness. When you tighten the focus of your affections, time, talent, money, and love, you get better results. Bottom line: you are more effective.
So, if you want to have more focus in 2018, here’s a little 5-step exercise that will help you make that happen:
- First, carve out 45 minutes for this exercise. I know. Forty five whole minutes!!! I hope I didn’t lose you here at step one, but I promise this will be worth it.
- For those of you who are still reading, imagine you’re on your deathbed and a friend from long ago who you haven’t seen in 60 years shows up and asks, “So tell me, how did your life turn out?” And you respond with, “It was perfect.” Then you went on to share about your marriage, your kids, your work, your greatest contribution to mankind, your health, your faith, your friendships, etc. Write no more than 2-3 sentences of how you would describe each of those elements of your “perfect” life.
- Next, which two elements of that ideal life are you farthest away from? In other words, where’s the biggest gap?
- Think of 2-4 daily habits and commitments that, if you really got up every day and did them consistently over time, would guarantee that you bridged those gaps by the time you die.
- Lastly, tell at least 2 other people about those commitments you’ve made and ask them to hold you accountable. (We’ve learned at the Halftime Institute that people grow best over time with others. Iron really does sharpen iron.)
Now, pray for strength and go make it happen!
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Proverbs 29:18. You now have a vision of how you want your life to turn out and 2-4 small daily steps to bridge the biggest gaps to get you there. If you want to dig deeper or if you’re having trouble getting traction on bridging the gaps, consider getting the help of a coach. Contact us on the form below, and we’d love to talk with you about how we can serve.