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Are Your Plans for the Future Intentional or Incidental

“Work on Purpose, Play on Purpose, Rest on Purpose. Do not let yourself or anyone else waste your time.” – Izey Victoria Odiase

What do you have planned for next year? What are you thinking about in the closing months of this year? Many people make more detailed plans for New Year’s Eve than they do for the entire year ahead!

I’m spending the final week of this year reflecting on the past twelve months assessing my quarterly adjustments and updates, which indicate how next year will look.

Studies have shown in times of transition, people are more inclined to make changes; in fact, they’re motivated to begin planning. Who of us hasn’t made New Year’s resolutions? I made resolutions every year until I found a better way to have a better year. I learned that a commitment is more substantial than a resolution.

A resolution is a quality decision to do or not do something; a commitment is an act of (dedication) to a trust (cause). “Resolving” and “dedicating” are different. So, I have been making New Year’s Commitments for a long time and have made each year better than the previous one.

By investing more time planning and scheduling what I will be doing and when I’ll be doing it before the year begins, releases me to be all in and fully present every day. With plans for my year taken care of upfront, getting more accomplished with less effort is more likely, enjoyable, and empowering.

Your Future is Now

If you’re prioritizing now, you won’t find yourself agonizing later.” – JSP

Stephen R. Covey writes, “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” To accomplish anything of value requires planning around priorities, to live an accomplished lifestyle requires intentional consistency. Planning your year should look like another step in a race. Runners know the value of consistency in competing; every step is taken with the finish line in mind.

When compared to a lifetime, planning for a year is like a sprint in the park. Emil Zatopek aptly says, “If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon.” A life well planned is an exhilarating experience; like the marathon, you have to run it to appreciate it; weighing both challenges and triumphs with the finish line in mind.

By conducting year-end assessments, I gain a better understanding of the significance of my wins and losses; my evaluations enable me to prepare for next year with wisdom gained. Although nothing in planning is 100% fool proof, purposeful planning provides a higher probability of favorable outcomes.

The value you derive from learning where and why you win and lose will show you how to repeat the victories and not the losses. Like a runner, I view each victory (a step) and loss (a misstep) with the finish line in mind. Try taking what you learn and immediately apply it to your daily life; make those changes a priority; you have 365 opportunities to perfect them in the year ahead.

Ask Yourself Intentional Questions

John C Maxwell says, “An unintentional life accepts everything and does nothing. An intentional life embraces only the things that will add to the mission of significance.” I think the following questions are a good start to living more intentionally.

What shouldn’t you have done?

Where did you spend a good deal of time? Were those priorities? Are they aligned with your life purpose? Could they have been delegated? What changes are you making in the year ahead?

What should you have accomplished? Look over your calendar, were priorities neglected? Were your activities moving you closer to your one, five, or ten-year plans? What improvements will you make this year?

What activities resulted in the most personal growth? Can you make them regular activities for ongoing growth? What else can you add to your personal growth program? Who do you know that can benefit from those same activities?

Where could you be more intentional? Where did you make positive things happen? Where and to whom did you add the most value? Should you discard any unnecessary habits? What and who requires more of your attention moving forward?

Four Intentional ABC’s

Address people and necessary things now – don’t wait. Be proactive and decide on the what, why, where, when, and how. Clearly identify the intended outcomes for each (include relationships). Do what directs you toward intended outcomes aligned with your life purpose.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co.***

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