A new year is so full of promise, isn’t it? A blank slate, a new calendar with pages ready to be filled with exciting projects, events, successes…
That first page symbolizes a mental cross-over into fresh, hopeful territory. What would you like your 2019 to look like? Travel, improved relationships, a new job, better health, retirement? We all tend to dream big at the start of a new year, and we focus on all of the actions we’ll take to move us toward those goals. But then we get lost in the functions and expectations of daily life and work, and those dreams and goals can get lost in the shuffle.
Have you thought, in reverse – from far into the future, about how you are spending each day of the year? Will each of those daily actions matter 10 or 20 years from now? How will they impact those you love or those who come after you? What does it all mean? Imagine your children or loved ones reading through your planner years from now. What would they discover – frenetic days filled with work, errands, appointments? Weeks and months devoted to obligations and mere survival with no space for self-love, connection, and giving back to others with a grander purpose?
The outset of a new year is the perfect time for realigning our priorities. How much better would it feel to plan your calendar with vision and purpose? How differently would your planner be read by someone years from now? Would you be satisfied with what they find, or would you have regrets about the message of your life?
If you are curious about how to create a legacy using your 2019 planner, here are some ideas to get you started…
Select a goal, or several goals, that you are passionate about and document them at the beginning of the year. Research shows that writing down goals significantly increases the chances of accomplishing them. Mindfully consider the legacy you want to create with each day you are blessed with and each gift you’ve been entrusted to use well. Volunteering, donating to a cause you care about, connecting more deeply with loved ones and friends, saving for a dream trip, starting a business venture, planning your retirement, memorable events with kids or grandkids… Dream big – this year is yours to design!
Break down large goals into smaller ones that can be accomplished monthly and weekly. Nebulous goals have little chance of being realized, and it’s important to be accountable to ourselves and not just to everyone else. Document your progress so that you don’t get distracted with the minutia of everyday life or give up too easily. If your goals are important enough to imagine, then they are important enough to see to fruition.
Keep mementos from important evens in your planner: ticket stubs, programs, messages of love from others, photos, documents that reflect your personal mission. These are an important part of your unique story. Dress them up by attaching them with pretty washi tape if you like. Add notes with your mental impressions. What brought you joy, brought you to tears, brought you closer to someone?
Use colored pens, calligraphy, or sketches and jot down thoughts when they strike you. Did you read an inspirational quote? Did someone say something that resonated with you? Did you learn a thought-provoking new word? Did you hear a song with lyrics that impacted you? What important lessons have you learned? Did you experience some type of personal growth? Record it. You can use your planner as a type of journal as well as an appointment book.
Keep a list of the books you read – this is so indicative of where you are in your life’s journey, and it creates an interesting historical record. Not only does it reflect the happenings in our world, but it mirrors how you hope to expand your learning or spend quality time in your mind.
Add your own personal touches. Make your planner something that you are proud to keep as a reminder to yourself of whom you are working to become, and as a potential message to someone in the future. There is a phenomenon that may happen if you look at your planner as something to pass on instead of something you discard at the end of the year. Won’t you more thoughtfully consider how to schedule your days if you believe that someone will read it, and possibly be impacted by it, in the future? What do you want your legacy to be? Live with intention…it might be more inspirational than you know.