Now that we’re well into 2016, we can begin to evaluate some of the “areas of improvement” that we set for ourselves during the holidays (aka goals, resolutions). Although we’re still focused forward with the 3 quarters of the year left, we can start to measure how effective we’ve been in changing our behaviours. After all, a good plan, whether in battle or in daily life, lasts only until the first shot is fired.

Personally, I set a new weekly routine for myself as early as the beginning of December, 2015. My target was to start using this routine the first week back to work after the Christmas holidays. But by creating the schedule much earlier, I was able to meditate on the changes, and anticipate where issues may come up. Because they will; that’s a fact.

By Jan. 4th, I was all set to go. My new routine was created to ensure a few things: that I would be more consistent and find more depth in my meditation and times of studying the Bible, that I would pray more consistently for specific people or issues, and that I would write this newsletter week in, week out. As well, sufficient time would be given to meditating on the areas where I want to see growth in 2016.

Of course, my plan did not account for the 10cm of snow that came down Jan. 3rd and into the 4th. It’s those kinds of things press into the most well laid plans. That snow doesn’t move itself out of the driveway!

This is why Shawn talked about margin for the month of January. Without some in-betweens, some space to adjust on the fly, you’re creating a recipe for stress. Margin in your time is essential for many positives in life (boredom and play time among others), but especially for being able to handle the unplanned.

Here are a few ways I was prepped to handle this in 2016:

  • Be ready to adapt. The plan does not need to be thrown out the window the first time you have to alter from the schedule.
  • Be flexible. Your plan is not your master; it’s a flexible guideline. You are the master and the plan is in place to serve you.
  • Remember its purpose. Use your plan or schedule to focus yourself on what’s important to you. When the unplanned comes along and takes your attention for a time, the plan is what guides you back to the essential. An altered schedule for a few days, or even a week, should not end in guilt.

I’m no expert on military maneuvers, but it makes sense that a leader on the field of battle has to adjust on the fly, no matter how good the initial plan was. And a good leader keeps the focus on the goal, not the plan, and adjusts accordingly.