By: Maralee McKee, Manners Mentor
On Day One of the Most Fulfilling Year Challenge, we laid our foundation by choosing the positive emotion we wanted to set the mood for this year. And we learned why that was a more successful way to have a fulfilling year than making one or more resolutions.
On Day Two we set the cornerstone for our year in place by recognizing the negative thing that might try to negate our positive emotion. We did this by deciding what our Cornerstone Issue was and how to keep it from derailing us by answering the Cornerstone Year Question.
Now that the foundation for our Most Fulfilling Year Challenge is strong, today it’s time to install what I call the Pillars of Purpose™ into our year. These will bring stability to our days by helping us choose and keep focused on what matters most to us. (Download today’s worksheet here to use as you go through this post.)
Most Fulfilling Year Challenge — Pillars of Purpose
The Pillars of Purpose are the areas of your life that you will choose as the most important for you to succeed in to be able to feel you’re fulfilling your plans, purposes, and priorities over this year’s 365 days.
It takes at least four pillars to hold a building up, so you’ll want to have a minimum of four. However, you can have as many as you want or need. It’s probably best to start with four, and when you find that you’re making strides in those areas, you can add new pillars.
There will be differences, but in general, I bet most of us will overlap with other readers when coming up with our pillars. They will be important life items like marriage, parenting, extended family, career, friendships, spiritual issues, health, personal time, hobbies, relaxation, large project management (personal and/or work-related), exercise and dieting, organization, etc.
To come up with your Pillars of Purpose, think back to last year and even to some of the years before then. What caused you to feel like life wasn’t working for you? What made you feel like others had life more “pulled together” than you? (They usually don’t!) What made you feel a little guilty or upset at yourself? What negative(s) did you have too many of? What positive(s) didn’t you have enough of? What are some things that matter most to you to which you don’t feel like you’re giving the time you need?
Four of these things will become your Pillars of Purpose. When you give them your attention, you’re living your purpose for this year! And while the demands of life will try, and often succeed, to deter us from putting our time into these areas, if we make them our Pillars of Purpose, they’ll get more of our attention than if we don’t! Plus, we’ll feel our positive emotion (see Day One) every time we do!
Like I did on Day Two, I’ve used my Most Fulfilling Year Ever plan to show you an example of how this works in real life. Of course, your unique Pillars of Purpose and the items of concentration in each will be different than mine. I just always find it useful when someone shows me a real example and doesn’t just talk in theory. Otherwise, I feel like I’m trying to assemble IKEA furniture. Nothing fits, and the whole thing falls in on itself about halfway through!
I love alliteration, hence all the M’s in mine that you’ll see below. You certainly don’t need to alliterate!
When you write your pillars, number them, and leave room to write up to three specific items under each one. These will be your area(s) of concentration for that pillar throughout the year. (You’ll find this already done for you on your worksheet.)
To come up with the areas of focus, think back to last year and answer the Cornerstone Question™ for each of your pillars: “How do I want this year to be different than last year?” From your answers, craft the items you write under each of your pillars. Limit yourself to three items per pillar. It’s better to make a couple of impactful improvements than to list a bunch and accomplish none of them because of feeling overwhelmed and genuine time constraints.
There’s only one rule: One of your Pillars of Purpose needs to concentrate on you! So label it “Me”. Tomorrow we’ll fill out that component by using what I call The Better Me Triangle.
My Five Pillars of Purpose and Areas of Concentration In Each:
My time in prayer, worship, scripture reading and study. If you’re unfamiliar with manna, you’ll discover it in the Bible in Exodus 16. You can read the beautiful story in one of the many online Bibles. Just type “Exodus 16” into your search engine.
If you don’t align yourself with religious beliefs, I still urge you to include a spiritual pillar: meditation, poems, wise quotes, and such.
A. My verse for the year: “I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4 (NIV)
B. My One Word for this year: Bold! Choose a verse for the year (or a quote) that ties into the area of concentration of your Cornerstone Question™. Choose one word that you would like to add to your personality or concentrate on intensely this year. Since I want to overcome fear, both my verse “…He delivered me from all my fears…” and my One Word tie into that, with my word being the opposite of fear — bold(ness). The emotion that we want to run throughout our year that we talked about on Day One in my case is Boldness! (See how well everything ties together when we first figure out the emotion we want moving us forward throughout the year?)
C. Time with the Lord: Spend the first 30 minutes after waking up and feeding the dog in the morning in reading the Bible, praying, and writing in my new prayer journal. (Note: in order for this to work, you must be an early riser. It was hard for me at first. Now I wouldn’t trade those soft, still, hush hours for anything! To me, they are of more value than extra sleep.) Because I’m usually up at 5 AM, I go to sleep about 10 PM. (Thank goodness for DVRs!) So I still get seven hours of sleep.
A. Spend three weekends alone with Kent. Stay at a hotel near home without our boys. Dates: Early February, Early May, Early October. Pick the locations and dates, and make reservations for the year, by the last week in January.
B. Communicate about finances. Maintain a better family budget while keeping each other in the loop about how much we’re earning and spending.
A. Make mealtime memories and improve the healthiness of our meals by cooking more and relying less on eating out and take-out food.
B. Only eat out or bring in take-out for one meal per week.
C. Research freezer cooking and crockpot dishes on-line and prepare two weeks of menus at a time every other Sunday afternoon. Grocery-shop the next day.
4. Manners Mentor, Inc.:
Here I listed seven items. That’s more than for the other areas; however, these are projects that have start dates and end dates within the year. Only one of the seven items runs throughout the year.
The particular attention we need to focus on ourselves so that we can be better in every area of our life is the one that we will be filling in tomorrow on Day Four of our Most Fulfilling Year Challenge.
Days Four and Five of our Challenge will be short and sweet with easy skills to learn and implement that will make a giant impact on the quality of the rest of our year! On Day Six, I’ll share my top tips for helping us succeed in putting into action all that we laid out in the challenge. And then on Day Seven, we’ll have a quick recap to help us retain the information so that it’s easier to put into daily practice.
Please join me every day, and if you have friends or family who would appreciate experiencing their Most Fulfilling Year, please share this post on Facebook and any of your other favorite social media sites.