Looking Forward to 2019
After really considering the value of the things that I did throughout 2018, I took it a step further and evaluated the costs and benefits (both tangible and intangible) from each thing to determine whether or not to continue them during 2019.
During this article, I will continue to build on Tuesday’s piece and go more in-depth about what I am going to continue and what I am going to cut out for 2019.
I finished 80 audiobooks and 38 print books for the 2018 calendar year. The daily discipline of reading 20 pages nightly will stay. That has been a good way to close my days and a nice way to be sure to learn and use my mind before sleeping. Typically, I have been led to ponder things before sleeping, enabling my subconscious to go to work for me while I sleep. As for the audiobooks, 80 was a lot. I think that was a bit much as a lot of the material got repetitive.
My 2019 goal is 84 books, 7 per month. This will become closer to a 50/50 split for print books and audiobooks I think. I will also narrow in more on the topics and subjects of my books to be certain I am learning what I want to. My secondary focus is reading things from different angles. If I read a secular finance book, I will then want to read a Christian finance book also to gain perspective and understanding about why I believe what I do and what others believe.
Next, centering myself and starting my day through a gratitude list, personal journal, goals journal, and prayer journal have all been very impactful. They have been intentional things, for one, and mindful things, for two. The best part of these 4 things is a deeper level reflection than I would have otherwise.
By putting it into writing, I commit to what I write down. It is fairly easy for someone to have a thought about a personal goal or something they are grateful for, but by putting it in writing, we are tied to what we write. This, for me, has pushed me to be more consistent and consistency is going to be a major focus as I look to graduate and either continue my MBA or go pursue my professional goals immediately after undergrad.
The gratitude list continually started my day positively. For all of us, there are always things we can be grateful for. We always have things that are blessings. I know that my overall quality of life has been improved even through just this simple discipline.
Following that, the prayer journal. Making it more intentional to have quiet time with God was something that I have been undervaluing. Now, I know how important it is for not only me but God, and those around me too. There was a good quote that I had heard someone say recently in relation to talking to God and building a relationship with Him. The gentleman was going to a prayer retreat for 3 days. Here were his comments afterward:
“Beforehand I was thinking, ‘I wonder what I am going to talk to God about for 3 days.’ But, I realize now that I was asking the wrong thing, I should have said, ‘I wonder what God is going to talk to me about for 3 days.’”
The goals journal follows that and for me, that has been a deeper dive into my true desires. What do I want to accomplish in the next 6 months to 5 years? And now, this year, I am going to read my goals out loud each morning and each night along with writing them. Beyond that, I will add a weekly review and evaluate the things that I did to push myself towards the accomplishment of these goals. By making it a weekly review, I can focus on the small things that I do that might not seem important but truly are, when they are compounded.
Personal journaling is essential for me also. I have been doing this for about 18 months now. But, where this has benefitted me the most is self-awareness. I understand more now than I did a year ago, how I respond to things and how different things have different levels of importance to me. For one thing, if someone gets upset with me, I really just take it in stride and have learned to understand that I did not intentionally upset them so I should first of all, clear that up and understand why they’re upset. But secondly, I did not upset them, they let what I did upset them. The main thing I have learned about myself is the way that I show certain emotions, whether compassion, grace, or kindness in this situation or happiness in another.
As I said in the first piece this week, all these things were easy to do and also easy not to do. What matters to me, is that I do them, fully. Now that I am going to read my goals out loud each morning and night, I don’t want to whisper them, I want to proclaim them. While continuing my personal journal, I don’t want to put simply a day’s summary, but I want to add my thoughts and responses to things that have happened.
Those are the things from 2018, but, there are three more things I want to improve on further in 2019.
The first is finances. I want to build a larger emergency fund. I will modify my spending plan to adjust a strong addition each month for this and will keep this front of mind. What I will do is think deeper about each purchase and understand its true value. If I spend $15 to get my groceries delivered, what are the benefits? Time. Convenience. Comfort. Ease. But, what are the costs? $15. Could get fruit that isn’t riper than I like. That is the way I’ll be thinking about my finances and will keep the goal of increasing my savings front of mind throughout the way.
Secondly, I will increase my consistency within the gym. I have been going more consistently than ever before since May of 2018. However, I want to be better. There are sometimes weeks where I don’t make it at all. This past week would be one of those weeks. I am going to get to the gym 4 days weekly to start off with. I know that I can make it there for at least 30 minutes 4 days weekly. This will just take a little bit of scheduling as well as a more strict bedtime for me.
Third, writing on Medium. I realized that with all the books I have read and all the learning that I have done recently, I want to share it. Well, it is very difficult to share with everyone. But, there is one thing that I could do. I could write articles. I don’t mind writing, I don’t love it, but, I like it and do enjoy it most times. I started writing the first one the end of November. I decided I would just test it out. Then in December, I increased to two pieces a week and now for 2019, I want to write 3 pieces weekly, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. This is one of the other reasons that I cut back my book goal for 2019. I want to focus that energy more on writing and sharing what I’m reading.
Altogether, I have a lot to look forward to and a lot to work for in 2019. I know that everyone else does also. There are always things to look forward to and always opportunities to take advantage of in this life. All of the things that I have listed above are easy to do and easy not to do. That is what separates the good from the great. I strive to be great, I’m just not there yet.
“One of the most important keys to success is having the discipline to do what you know you should do, even when you don’t feel like doing it.”