As Advent comes to a close, I’m still working on my Advent Resolution of preparing for 2016. In fact, last Friday, in the post-Star Wars euphoria, I took a day off and sat down to put in writing all the ideas and plans that I’d been working on. 

I quickly became completely overwhelmed.

I started by grouping my goals into four categories… fitness, family, professional and household. And then started trying to figure out how to make all these things happen. But the list of things I want to change are long and two things happened:

  1. I got discouraged: How am I ever going to do all these things next year?
  2. I got depressed: I have to change all these things to feel like I’ve accomplished anything.

And planning and preparation came to an abrupt halt. Friday night though, I came to a conclusion: I really love my life and I don’t have to change anything. But I want to be healthier, more organized and more connected to my family. I can’t make all these things happen at one time. They have to happen gradually as part of a lifestyle change.

I tackled my list with renewed energy. I tried to prioritize items as I grouped and I noticed a pattern: Every category had a foundation. 

For the fitness and health, the foundation goal is walking at lunch. When I walk at lunch, I eat better and feel better, and I’m more likely to work out more and log my food in Lose It. All my other goals start to fall in line if I make time to walk around downtown Columbia at lunch. 

For my family, it’s eating dinner at home as a family around the dinner table. With our busy schedules, it’s too easy to eat out. Things just run better when we eat at home and get all five of us around the dinner table.

For professional improvement, it’s the blog. When I’m posting regularly, I’m more creative and energetic. Writing about design and creativity typically sparks ideas and projects. 

And for household, it’s sitting down with my wife to plan the week, figuring out meals and schedules for the week ahead. Life’s a lot easier when we are on the same page.

As I started to structure my goals, it became clear that if I do those four things, lots of good things tend to follow. I’m going to add a few more things like using my phone less and some specific long term fitness goals. But I’m starting with my four foundation goals.

And I’ll build from there.