The start of a new year often marks the time for creating resolutions. This may involve a long list of getting in shape, quit smoking, losing weight, or stopping bad habits. Some people have items focused on making them a better person, like spending more time with family or learning to listen more. Maybe your list includes giving more time to charity or community service. In any case, the items on the list are designed to be a commitment to make us better.
Often these lists are onerous and unrealistic to keep for any long time. We tend to be weak in our human resolve at times. For those of us with the strongest determination, resolutions may last through the winter or even into spring. I think many of us have too many items on the list that prohibit us from ever being successful. Perhaps this involves a simpler goal of resolutions in order to be successful.
The start of this new year also marks a much quieter house for our Love household. Our two sons are now moved out and my wife and I only have our youngest daughter who is home with us. At times, the silence can be deafening compared to what we have been used to.
Beginning to empty out the nest makes one reflect on life. Before this time, you have kids with you each and every day. Evenings are spent with a houseful of kids and there is a lot of interaction with all the family members. You may also have a lot of planned activity that surrounds our kids. Now, you have to work with not seeing or visiting with your kids on a daily basis. We had all of our kids at home for Christmas and wonder if this will be the same case when the holidays roll around this year. So it makes that whenever you have time with them you want to make it count. It also reminds you of all the times that you were with your family physically, but were not fully engaged.
So what if we set a simpler goal for resolutions? My challenge is to you is to be intentional this year. What about your work? Have you ever had days or even weeks when you just showed up at work and were not fully engaged with your job. What things could we accomplish with our work if we gave a consistent focused effort, instead of just getting by? Imagine what goals could be reached by your business if all exhibited a razor sharp focus and effort.
For those in school or higher education (which covers all of my family except me) what difference can focused, intentional effort make in your learning? Could it be that your focus could make the difference in a positive way and something you pick up in class will make a difference in your life later on? I think we are all created to accomplish great things in our lives.
I don’t think we were designed to just float aimless through life. Intentional focus may make the difference between mediocracy and greatness. It does take effort. Time must be well thought out instead of not planned.
Even more so than just in our jobs and education, being intentional is more important with the people we have in our lives. In the end, the relationships you have will be more important than what your accomplishments or possessions are. What difference could we make if we used our energy to really get involved in the lives of every person in our homes instead of just living in the same house? What if we took time to really listen to our friends and get to know what makes them tick instead of keeping the conversation on the surface? What changes could we see with our co-workers, members, or customers by being intentional? What positive differences would we see in the lives of others?
Intentionality does require prioritizing. It may mean giving up time spent on the job to spend a little more time with your family. It also takes effort. It may be as simple as taking time to learn the name of the customer who always comes in at 9AM on Tuesday or turning off the football game to listen to your wife’s day.
I challenge you this year to be intentional. The investment will pay rich rewards in your accomplishments, but more importantly in your faith, your relationships, and your friendships. Life is much richer and greater by being intentional, than if we just float through it.