What are your weekly priorities? Do you have them written down? How do you ensure that you reach your goals? Do you have a healthy routine for your life? Through the years, I have heard people talk about their “bucket list” or their New Year’s resolutions or their “one word” for the next year. Other people develop a personal mission statement or a personal development plan. All of these tools are excellent. The key is to actually take the time to think about your dreams and desires, and then to make a plan. Another important factor can be to have some accountability. Sharing the plan with another person is a great step towards actually accomplishing it.
For my M.A. class this summer, I had to write a personal Rule of Life. Very similar to the other ideas, this Rule requires a reflective time of self-evaluation, a list of action steps, and an accountability plan. I spent about a week thinking about it and just an hour or two writing it out… not a huge investment of time, but I already feel more focused and organized… with hope that I will do what I have included on my list.
1. I first took some time to think about how God has made me… my personality, my interests, my strengths and my weaknesses, and my particular stage of life. What do I care about and what do I need to keep me encouraged and healthy, and to help me grow and develop.
2. Then I thought about some of the basic areas of life – physical, intellectual, relational, and spiritual – and I chose one to three life rhythms or disciplines that I want to be a norm in my life. I chose a few things like time to think and exercise and develop new friends and community for our new home. Because I am not sleeping well at night these days, I added going to bed by a certain hour, hoping to achieve better rest. All in all, I chose ten items for my Rule. Nothing earth shattering or new or overly challenging… just healthy patterns.
3. I chose two people to ask me about different items on my list. Knowing that they will be encouraging me and/or joining me in some of my goals, motivates me.
One last step I copied from a website with lots of information about personal Rules. I collected photographs that remind me of each of the items on my list and created a visual reminder of my goals. It just takes a quick glance to help me focus my day and encourage me to make the best use of my time with good choices. You might notice that writing on this blog is one of those regular rhythms I want to continue, so I am already making progress!
How about you? What kind of plan or Rule might be helpful for you? Feel free to share any ideas or tips you have!
You can find more resources for a personal Rule of Life at:
Chittister, Joan (2013) Wisdom Distilled from the Daily: Living the Rule of St. Benedict Today.