With 2009 almost here, you may be among the many making resolutions for the new year. In that spirit, let me share some ideas I have found useful in helping me develop and maintain an ultra-productive, fully balanced life.
Here are what I consider the “slices” of my life, in order of importance:
5. Personal and social
6. “Bookspeak” – my special word for speaking, writing, and education
I keep this list of life areas in my mind – and visible – constantly. And in making your own list, I encourage you to do the same. List and check your values in each area before moving on to list the ten most important actions for each day, and before you write anything in your daily planner.
Why am I so meticulous about this? And why does the sequence matter? For one simple reason: because I want my moral values–not the artificial urgencies of the outside world–to rule my life and govern my goals and plans.
I spend at least an hour a day in the realm of spiritual matters. Seven days a week, usually from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. I have an hour of prayer, meditation, and scripture reading. This is the most important hour of the day for me. Make sure you begin your day setting your moral compass – with your most important values and priorities always coming first.
As important as family is, I believe fitness ranks ahead of it. If you don’t put your health first, you may not be around to serve and enjoy your family. My family knows and understands why this is such a high priority for me and that, in actuality, it puts them first. My goal is to do 20-plus miles of power-walking or running a week. I generally make or exceed it, spread over six days. Each day I also perform a 10-minute breathing exercise, along with my walk or run. This gets all the poisons out of my system when done properly.
My wife, Sally, and I have participated in more than 300 races all over the country. I have done a marathon and she has completed a triathlon. I believe this has kept us from heart disease and diabetes, so far — and both diseases are prevalent in both our families.
The number one factor in weight control and longevity is calorie control. I’ve been running or walking almost daily for the past 35 years, averaging 1,200 miles per year. Be sure you are faithful to diet and nutrition principles. Strive to stay within five pounds of your ideal weight at all times.
Ask yourself this question: if I knew I was in danger of dropping dead a year from now, what would I do now to keep that from happening? Whatever your answer, take action today. Don’t put it off anymore. Do it now, and make sure you have fun doing it!
Passing on my faith, my values, and a spiritually influenced sense of humor to my family is my first family priority. Not a day goes by that I don’t give Sally a good half dozen hugs, and tell her things like, “I love you…you’re smart…you’re terrific…I’m proud of you.” I love to express the same kind of feelings to my children and grandchildren, every chance I get.
Celebrating everything we can and creating good memories set a good example for family members and friends. Sally and I spend at least 12 weeks a year with family or traveling in and out of the country. Make sure you program for vacation and family time at the beginning of the year, and then stick with it – don’t waver!
We are planning to pay cash for our new home. What a joy to be debt-free! This is definitely a big-dream goal. It’s a “pull,” not a “push,” meaning you challenge yourself to pull more from your resources rather than push away something else that is worthwhile to make room for the goal. There is a difference!