In what has become an annual birthday tradition, I like to start my “personal New Year” by reviewing my priorities. Are they the same as they were last year? Or does something need to change?
For several years now, this little exercise has helped me stay focused so various kinds of extraneous clutter – material, mental or spiritual – don’t crowd out what really matters in my life.
As always, I begin by identifying what is most important to me right now:
- Developing a better understanding of God, so I can fulfill God’s purpose for my life, discern what my values should be and live accordingly.
- Staying healthy for as long as possible and helping my husband do the same.
- Keeping in contact with family and friends and nurturing good relationships with them.
- Maintaining our home as a sanctuary for ourselves, our family and friends.
- Writing – articles, essays, blog entries and, yes, at least one book.
- Using a portion of my time, money and talent in a way that helps others and creates positive change in the world.
- Eliminating the backlog tasks and clutter that drain my energy and keep my life more chaotic than it needs to be.
- Achieving serenity by practicing mindfulness and finding at least one thing each day to be grateful for.
For the most part, my priorities for the coming year will remain the same as they were last year – my relationship with God; attention to self-care, family and friends, our home and my writing; service to others; elimination of needless stress and clutter; and serenity.
My efforts to stick to my priorities over the past year met with varying degrees of success. On the one hand, I allowed stress to derail my healthy eating plan too many times, with the result that I’m about 5 pounds heavier than I was at this time last year. On the other hand, this past year has seen three major achievements:
- Committing to a journey with my spiritual director, something I’d thought about doing for several years.
- Finally making a decision, just a few days ago, to walk away from an abusive volunteer work situation that has been poisoning my soul for way too long.
- Persuading my husband to embark on a healthy eating plan with me, beginning the day after my birthday. Let me tell you, this last one is a major, MAJOR accomplishment.
This means I will be starting my 64th year with a bit more time on my hands, which I can spend experimenting with recipes delicious enough to convince both my sweetie pie and myself that healthy eating can be fun rather than torture! Wish me luck …