You know how to recognise a person who isn’t acting deliberately? Ask him “why?” If he doesn’t know, then he’s probably doing it “just because.”
“Just because” is rarely a good reason.
“Why do I need a reason for everything I do?” you might ask.
Because that’s what it means to live deliberately. It means that at any given moment you know what you are doing and why, even if the what is “chillaxin'” and the why is “because I need some rest.”
Does this sound radical? Then you can be sure that you’re not a deliberate person. Not yet at least. But that can change.
Here are three exercises that might help if you want to become more deliberate.
1) Track your time for a week.
Use MS Outlook or Google Calendar to track everything you do in a week… everything. Eating. Sleeping. Work. Church. Watching TV. Surfing FaceBook. Everything.
Then head off to the coffee shop with the results and spend some time thinking about it. In ten thousand years, looking back, will you be content with how you spent this precious, limited block of time on earth? If not, what adjustments could be made in future weeks?
2) Write out your goals.
Do you know what your goals are? I find that writing my goals down gives them clarity and objectivity.
I keep three lists of goals.
a. Life goals. This is the big picture. What do I want on my tombstone? What do I want to have accomplished before I die?
b. Mid-term goals. This is maybe the next three years or so. What am I doing that can’t be finished this year, but that I’m working toward?
c. Short-term goals. This is what I would like to accomplish this year. This gives me concrete things to work on and guidance in daily decisions.
3) Write out your roles.
At any given time, could you say with confidence that you are meeting your responsibilities to God and to others? Since it is your roles that determine your responsibilities, you must know your roles in order to answer.
You may have many roles (child of God, husband, father, employee, church member, student, sports team member, etc.). Knowing your roles is the first step to meeting the obligations that flow out of those roles. I find putting them on paper helps to clarify them for me.
Does all of this sound a bit daunting? That’s why I pointed out in the first post on this subject that deliberate living is not for the faint of heart. It is hard work. But it is worth the effort to squeeze every drop of life out of our short exile in this place.
Grace to you.