2016 is coming to an end quickly. We are officially at that point where we mindlessly blurt out those New Year’s resolutions that rarely survive the second weekend.
What if I told you that there was actually one resolution we simply must have and follow through with? It’s all about managing your time, energy and life. Stay with me.
For gym owners, this truly must be the most wonderful time of the year. They seem to get flooded with new memberships that pay them for the next 12 months, but only cost them a few visits. What a deal.
Add to weight loss other classics like smoking, drinking, cat kicking, toad licking, forced hopscotch with random strangers, or whatever quirk you think it’s time to abandon… Here’s your chance.
I am making personal plans to better myself as well. Expect a full and sarcastic report somewhere around January 15th, so I can lie about my progress.
As for you guys and my thoughts on your potential resolutions… Unless you are currently living out your dreams and have conquered everything you ever desired to do, here’s a thought…
Take on a second job.
Not just anything, this one is specific. In fact, it’s so specific that I need to make sure you understand what your first job actually is. No point in adding a second job if you don’t really understand the first job.
Your first job is to manage this exact moment in time.
There are bills to pay, kids to feed, work to do, responsibilities to manage, priorities to sort out and life to live. Your first job is to manage this very moment of your life. This job is not really concerned with the future or the past, except for considering how this moment might affect the next one or how it can build on the last one.
Doing this job well means analyzing your progress and making appropriate changes to improve the current situation. Success in job one requires an honest evaluation of where you are and deciding if it is good enough. If not, the daily routine must adjust to improve it.
Not making enough money? Maybe bring your boss into the conversation and ask for an honest assessment of where you are, how you can improve, and what potential there is for raises or promotions. If you are already at the top, and still struggle, this meeting could solve a lot of problems and save a lot of time.
Not happy at home? Maybe you need to sit down with your wife and discuss where you are and what could be better. Maybe you two have gotten off track from your original plans or passion. Daily routines do that to us. If you two aren’t working together or getting along as well as you would like, bring in help.
I strongly suggest you get involved with the Marriage Forum and solve the problems before they have driven you completely apart.
Not happy with your health or physical condition? Do some research, maybe bring your doctor into the conversation, maybe even spend some time looking at the long term results of not making changes.
Think about how you are spending your days. Life is about thousands of small daily choices that ultimately add up to a finished product. Minute by minute, brick by brick, building your future.
Getting off course by one degree for a few days still leaves you with the goal visible. One degree off for twenty years will require considerable effort to correct. In my case, it took over four years to get back on track. Painful and difficult, but well worth the effort.
Basically, your first job is to clearly define what is most important to you. It means regularly refocusing yourself, your time and your routine.
So what would the second job be?
Well, if you don’t have the first job sorted out, the second one will only be a distraction and wasted effort. Without a firm understanding of job one, job two can wear you down and break you.
The second job is preparing for tomorrow.
This job is where we save money, learn to invest, maybe returning to school to prepare for a new career. For some, job two is about planning for retirement.
If you are admittedly in a dead end job, constantly broke, always stressed about work… Job one is to manage it and adjust as much as possible. Job two is to plan your escape.
I don’t mean searching for unlocked windows to climb out, or opportunities to take a leap of faith and just quit. I mean following through on job one, taking an honest assessment of your present, and making plans for a better future.
Your job one is not about personal fulfillment or finding your purpose. Job one is about having bread in the house and keeping the lights on.
If you feel personally fulfilled while accomplishing that, congratulations. If not, get over it. Managing job one for the benefit of your family, even without loving what you do, is extremely honorable. Don’t let anyone look down on you for taking responsibility and doing what has to be done.
I am going to let you in on a little secret, but don’t tell anyone…
Why does that matter? Because job one involved physical labor, sweat, filth, heat exhaustion, bloody knuckles and pulled muscles.
Every chapter in all the books I have published up until today, were typed with dirt under my nails and paint or grease on my clothes. For the first two years of my blogging adventure, job one was the priority. Job two was digging the escape tunnel to freedom.
Understanding the separation of those two jobs took considerable pressure off me.
The amazing thing about that revelation, is that two years of digging out turned job two into job one. It was no longer a matter of filling in my free time with the pursuit of passion. It had arrived.
Even now, since job two is the new job one, I have taken on a new second job. My new job two is about transitioning from where we are now to where we want to be. The new job is to make the tour bus and couples retreat/bed and breakfast a reality. We are planning the next steps in this adventure and fine-tuning the details.
Job two now consumes the early morning hours and evening free time. In preparation, I fill my time with learning website management and studying corporate structure.
Now, my questions and challenges for you are these…
— Can you define your job one and job two?
— Do you have a plan for working them out?
— Are you on the same page with your wife about it?
— Are you willing to stay the course and work your plan?
It’s a fact that living in poverty and struggling to survive make it almost impossible to make long-term plans. But, that’s exactly what we have to do if we ever want to see a future that is better than the present.
For the sake of your family, your marriage and your own sanity… choose to make the coming year the one where things turn around.
I will leave you with one more resource to help begin your journey. It’s from another blogger I respect immensely. James Clear’s article on outsmarting yourself and beating procrastination. The Akrasia Effect.
So, with all that fresh ammunition… Happy New Year.
M. Erik Matlock is a self-professed recovering knucklehead with more than 500 articles and four books in print. He shares his hard-earned wisdom at ErikMatlock.com,ProSoundWeb.com and through his books, which are available at Amazon.