Thoughts on Life Planning for the New Year
There are certain categories of life that are important in life planning and if you miss out on one, you’re not going to have a completely fulfilled life and you’ll end up regretting—let’s try not to do that!
Remember when we were kids and the old people would say if you don’t have your health you don’t have anything. Now that we’ve grown up and seen people suffering and done some of our own suffering with health we realize how true this is.
My books are all about attaining optimal health. But one thing I’ve learned over 16 years of health book writing is that you can’t force anyone to care about their health enough to make preventative changes, and even if you lead someone to water you can’t force them to drink. Your health is up to you.
If you’re struggling with health issues and/or are overweight, follow a program of optimal health. This time next year you’ll be glad that you did.
Being physically fit also doesn’t just happen. You have to work at it. I recommend that people put exercise on their calendars. When someone asks me about my availability, if yoga is on my calendar then I can honestly say I have something booked at that time and suggest an alternate time.
Some people choose to follow a religious path others prefer Buddhist psychology. There are all kinds of ways to pursue spiritual fitness. For me it means being kinder to myself (self-compassion) and letting that compassion spill over onto others.
There are 7 billion people in the world. I was just in Vegas last week and whenever I go to crowded cities or places of entertainment it’s mind boggling to realize how many people there are in the world. Just sitting in traffic is a reminder. But we also have personal encounters daily on the phone with strangers—people who answer the phone at AT&T, Verizon, airlines—those who are working in outsourced jobs and we connect over thousands of miles by phone. If the world were going to end tomorrow wouldn’t it be so much better to be nice to strangers?
Life changes radically when you become single like I did after a 24 year long relationship. I moved back to LA where I hadn’t lived in 20 years. I had to make new friends. I went for it by making a list of people I wanted to reconnect with. I started online dating. A few people emerged from my distant past. Making and keeping friends doesn’t mean that you sit back and let people tend to you. You have to extend yourself—be their friend. Do considerate things for people, and be sensitive to their needs and desires. Put yourself in their shoes and act accordingly.
Being financially fit is as crucial as being physically and spiritually fit. Our government is a terrible role model of financial fitness. To be trillions of dollars in debt to foreign countries is like having parents who are in debt to loan sharks. How in the world does anyone expect Americans to have responsible attitudes toward money when every single day of the year we read about billions and trillions (of borrowed money) being spent on this and that.
And then there are the irresponsible and onerous policies about credit cards—policies that the government allows and even protects.
The only way for anyone to get out of debt and to start building financial security is to start being responsible and disciplined about spending.
Create a budget and get rid of credit cards. Spend only cash. I know that when I have cash in my wallet the tendency is to not spend it.
Very few people can be happy without a dream to pursue—and this involves working. Most people are happy if they are pursuing a career that meshes with their dreams. If you hate your job—even though this is a very bad time to be making career changes—you can at least entertain ways to make your dream come true in the future. Take online or night classes and continue to network in your chosen profession until the economy or your own situation improves.
However, all work and no play makes for a very dull existence. Workaholicness does not lend to a happy life. I don’t know any happy workaholics and I know many. I recently counseled a friend who is a workaholic and is always lamenting that he can’t get a date. I reminded him that he doesn’t put any effort into meeting women, nor does he have any time on his calendar. If you want a social life and you want to date you have to schedule it on your calendar. Keep your eyes open to new opportunities for socializing. If you’re a workaholic, get help just as you would for any other addiction.
Quality of Life (Fun)
I spent three very long decades working. Now it’s all about fun for me. I still love my work but I’ve figured out ways to make it more fun. When it’s fun, the stress level goes way down. Fun is different for everyone. Decide on some activities and then go for it. Schedule fun on your calendar.
Now that the new year is a few weeks away, rather than do the NY resolution thing that generally goes nowhere, why not think more globally about your life and come up with a life plan. Where do you want to be next year? Life planning can help you get there.
Peace, Fun, Love.
Your girlfriend in health,