September 2004 Newsletter
Deciding, choosing and planning
Creating a saner, simpler life
Welcome to Encouraging
Words monthly newsletter. You have subscribed because
you want encouragement to create a saner, simpler life. Please
pass it along to friends who could use this tips.
I hope you enjoyed your summer! We had lots of camping, hiking
and going to the beach. Now is the time to bring our focus back
to getting things done. I made myself a new schedule for the fall
so I don't fall into the work-at-home trap of realizing at dinner
I didn't get anything finished.
I ran across some great resources on serving and self-care. You
can find them in my blogger:
Have you gotten your fr*ee list of 52 tiny changes yet? E-mail:
email@example.com with 52 changes in the subject
"Life is a sum of all your choices" ~Albert Camus
choosing and planning
“I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made
up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away
~ Rosa Parks
Part of the reason many of us are so stressed and overwhelmed
lately, is because we haven't made the choices, decisions and
plans. We have so much we want to do, but don't take the time
to choose what is best for us.
We have an illusion that we can have the perfect body, work 40
or 50 hours, spend lots of time with friends and family, write
a book in the evening, keep a spotless home, have a constantly
passionate marriage, volunteer at church and school, keep up with
all the TV shows and books, and feel perfectly centered at all
I hate to break it to you, but you can't do everything you want
and certainly not at the same time.
So how do we decide what to do?
Why are you here?
Find a basis for your life. What are you good at? What do you
love to do? What makes you happy?
This kind of introspection takes awhile. Journal regularly,
asking these kinds of questions. Once you get to know yourself
and your strengths, you will better be able to decide what is
right for you and your family.
If you don't think you have time for journaling, you can think
about these questions while you are driving or in the shower.
Or you can think of one as you drift off to sleep and quick write
on it when you wake up.
Here are some questions to start you off:
1. When I picture a perfect day, what am I doing?
2. Who do I love to be with?
3. What am I committed to?
4. Do I sense a bigger purpose for my life?
5. What do I dread doing?
6. What do I most enjoy?
7. What comes easily to me?
8. What will I regret if I never end up doing it?
9. Who needs me the most?
10. What gets me the most frazzled?
11. What are my most important priorities?
12. What do I place too much importance on, when in reality it's
not a big deal?
13. What do I do, that I only do because of what 'they' might
14. What kind of issues, activities, needs, opportunities, and
ideas really motivate you and seem to give you energy?
15. Am I using the gifts and talents given to me?
Once you have taken time for introspection you are on your way
to deciding who you want to be and what you want to do.
Decide what the most important 4-8 things/activities/people/projects
are to you in your life at this time? Priorities will change,
so reasess every few months. Take a peek at your calendar or planner.
Are most of your activities related to your top priorities? If
not, we are on to choosing...
I know I have so many ideas of things I want to do and places
I want to go and people I want to be with. And I also know, if
I did it all I would be a worn-out wreck. I have to keep reminding
myself, that I am only putting something off for the moment. And
the activity may come into my life at a later time.
Choose the best, not just the first thing, or what looks good,
or because you were asked. This is your life we are talking about.
You need to be pulling the strings, not the rest of the world.
I may be making a little less money and a ton less security right
now than I did when I worked full-time outside the home and we
didn't go on a long vacation this year, but I was able to stop
work in the middle of the day and go to the beach with my kids.
I can leave when I am needed for the most part. I work less hours
and am able to volunteer more for my church.
One of my friends put her writing on hold while she goes to school
for her master's degree. Her son just got married so school and
full-time work seemed possible to her. She has also decided her
house doesn't need to be perfect at this point in her life.
Another friend works full-time, but limits her volunteering,
hired a housekeeper so she would have more time with her kids,
and watches almost no TV so she has time for personal renewal
What are you willing to sacrifice or quit doing to get the life
Now that you have decided what is important and chosen what
you are willing to do and what you want to give up at the moment,
now it's time to plan.
Everyone plans differently. Personally, I plan a different way
every few weeks. I get bored with a traditional to do list. How
you plan isn't as important as actually making a plan. So many
people, race around trying to keep everything in their head, wasting
more energy than they have. Others have a to do list, but one
that is filled with routine to do's, not goals and priorities.
Planning weekly, helps give you a bigger picture. You don't have
to do every priority every day. But, at least once a week. I have
work focus days, where I attempt to work uninterrupted and get
lots done. I have family days where I love to be interrupted and
I follow my spontaneous hubby. I have get it done days, where
the priority is just to finish all those little projects and fix
things and work on paperwork. I try to meet a friend for lunch
on Thursdays. I like to pick a focus every morning that eases
the decision making process. And it is different just about every
day. That helps me balance things out a bit.
So what are your most important priorities this week? What days
are you going to work on/play with them?
1. Work on some introspective journaling or thinking
2. Decide on the 4-8 most important priorities of
your life right now
3. Take a look at last
month's list of "Projects and things to let go of that
no longer enhance my life." If you never filled it out, this
would be a great week to do that. What can you let go of?
4. Plan this week or next week according to your
choices, decisions and priorities
This is a process I go through with most of my clients.
Looking in from the outside I can see things that aren't as obvious
to my hurried, overwhelmed client. Talking about what is important
and what we only think is important brings clarity. And we can
brainstorm solutions for getting time for what is important. Then
I bring accountability as my clients pare down their life and
make tough decisions. If this process is of interest to you, sign
up for a free exploratory session at: http://www.encouragingcoach.com/coaching-free-session.htm
to see if we work well together and to come up with an action
plan for your life.
Journal writing exercises
Your Way to a Life You Love: Personal Time Management from the
Self-Care Tips for September:
Turn up the music and sing loud!
Express your anger respectfully
What are 20 things you prefer?
"Four steps to achievement:
Plan purposefully. Prepare prayerfully. Proceed positively. Pursue
persistently. " ~William Ward
Relationship Ideas for September:
Take your parents or kids to music in the park
Have a casual Tuesday night dinner for a few friends
Connect two people you think could be good for each
Send a congratulatory note
"If you don't design your own
life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And
guess what they have planned for you? Not much." ~Jim Rohn
I encourage you this month to decide, choose and plan.
The Encouraging Coach
A Note About My Recommendations: I provide links in this newsletter
to products and services I am offering or I have personally
found valuable. I have an affiliate agreement with some of the
products I like. If you are ever disappointed with one of these
recommendations, please let them and me know. If they don't
make it right, I will.
Copyright (c) 2004 Beth Dargis, Zeeland, Michigan. All rights
reserved. Feel free to use these articles on your website and
newsletters as long as the footer is included. Permission is
granted to reproduce, copy or distribute this e-letter so long
as this copyright notice and full information attributing Beth
Dargis is attached.
To subscribe send a blank email to:
To unsubscribe send a blank email to: