Nine Questions to Ask Yourself to Prepare for 2018

Walking through these questions helped me to think about what needs to change, what I need to refocus on, and what I need to plan.

What I started doing a couple of years ago was to abandon the idea of New Year’s resolutions and instead start thinking about what I wanted to focus on for the next year in early December. Then I started implementing changes that would make progress on my goals before the new year begins. What this allowed me to do was to get out of the habit of thinking the new year would magically change me into a new person.

 

Most people say they hate Mondays, but I’ll be honest, I love them. Mondays give me an opportunity to start the new week with a blank slate. If last week went poorly, I have the chance to start over and refocus. This is also the reason I love the first day of the month. So, as you can imagine, like most people, I love the turn of the page that signifies a new year. It’s a chance to step back, take stock, look at things I want to change, and refocus on what matters the most.

Unfortunately, we often stumble out of the blocks on our “New Year’s resolutions,” don’t we.  The problem is that we get started on New Year’s Day. You may have stayed up too late and therefore slept late on the first day of the year. I live in Alabama, so our New Year’s Day is devoted not to work, but to college football. Most of us have goals related to weight loss and there is no worse way to get started than snacking while watching football all day.

What I started doing a couple of years ago was to abandon the idea of New Year’s resolutions and instead start thinking about what I wanted to focus on for the next year in early December. Then I started implementing changes that would make progress on my goals before the new year begins. What this allowed me to do was to get out of the habit of thinking the new year would magically change me into a new person.

To help me think about what I need to focus on in 2018, I sat down last week and I wrote a list of questions I needed to think through. Walking through these questions helped me to think about what needs to change, what I need to refocus on, and what I need to plan. (I picked up a few of these questions from others, though I cannot remember where, and others came from personal experience.)

Here are 9 questions I am asking myself heading into 2018.

What are My Roles?

Before I can start planning my year or thinking about what I need to work on, I need to clarify what my roles and callings are. My roles lead to my goals. For any person who follows Jesus, our first role is Christian. If you are married, your next role is husband or wife. I have four kids, so next, I need to think about my role as a father. Only after these big rocks do we start thinking about our vocations and other outside responsibilities.

What Two Changes Will Make the Biggest Difference?

I enjoy asking myself this question because it helps me clarify the main things I need to work on for the foreseeable future. When you think about what things would help you the most, picture your life as a series of dominos. What are those few things in your life, that if you were able to change them, it would affect multiple areas of your life?

I think the two that come up the most for people looking at these kinds of dominos are weight and debt. We tend towards self-indulgence, and our bank accounts and waistlines show it. Losing excess weight helps us to feel better, have more energy, save money on doctor visits and prescriptions, and fit into more affordable clothing. Dropping debt frees up more money for saving and giving. We can better take advantage of opportunities that come our way. Plus, carrying less debt relieves stress while helping us rest better at night. These are just two examples of things you can focus on that will create a ripple effect of change in your life.

What Two Things Do I Need to Stop Doing?

I cannot remember how many different books, podcasts, and blog posts contain some form of the advice, “your not-to-do list is as important as your to-do list.” (I most recently ran across it in Tim Ferriss’s Tribe of Mentors.) What is taking up too much time in your life or causing too much stress? If at all possible, cut it out.

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