New Year, PURPOSEFUL You : The Plan

You did it! You made it to the new year! Proud of you, boo.

Looking back on 2018, I do feel proud of just getting through. Making it through was an accomplishment. Life can be hard.

But in so much of 2018, I felt like I was just getting by. I wasn’t LIVING. I wasn’t being intentional about life.

So this year, I decided to do something different. Instead of planning out my whole year, I decided to plan how I’m going to live intentionally this year.

I went through a long process to figure out how I wanted to live intentionally in 2019.

You probably started reading this blog post because you thought I would be able to give you some master plan for success in the new year…you thought maybe I had the magic formula for living with purpose.

That’s not true at all. I have no magic formula. I have no quick guide or perfected three-step process.

I’ve tried a bunch of different processes in search of personal success. I’ve even combined different ideas and lifestyle teachings to create the best possible PLAN.

But for me, that’s all it ever really is: a plan. The plan. I’m all about the PLAN.

When I was living in North Carolina attending Duke Divinity school for my master’s, I was a master of the plan. No matter what dream I or my husband at the time had, I could plan it into our future together. I wanted to move home to Iowa? I planned that in. He wanted to get his PhD in Scotland? I planned that in. And no, I didn’t sacrifice any dream for another.

So that meant I planned his getting a PhD in Scotland along with my living in Iowa. I planned where I would live, how he would get all the necessary paperwork for his education in a different country, the money we would need to fund both places to live plus travel back and forth…I even planned what time of day would need to Skype or FaceTime due to the time difference.

I “scheduled in” when we would have kids. I scheduled in the jobs we would have. I scheduled in the travel dreams and the fitness goals.

I planned it all out. But you know what I didn’t plan on?


I had pages and notebooks and bookshelves and computer folders filled to the back covers and gigabytes with these plans for how my future life would unfold. And then, with a 10 minute conversation, all the plans were thrown in the burn pile. (Literally. I burned them.)

After that, I had to reconcile the fact that I had planned so very carefully and been so adaptable in my planning only to watch it all crash and literally burn.

I continued to follow my part of the plan…I moved back to Iowa. I worked as a freelancer. And I kept trying to plan.

It wasn’t until Christmas 2018 (yes, just a few days ago) that I realized I had been planning all wrong.

I was planning exactly what I would do. I was planning exactly where and how I would live.

But I wasn’t making all my plans from a place of knowing myself…

See, I didn’t know myself at all. To be honest, I’m still working on that—daily. So all the plans I made COULDN’T work for me because they were set up with a different “me” in mind.

But I’m not that person who was going to seamlessly handle being married to someone who lived in a different country and who wanted kids and who wanted to be in the academic world for the rest of her adult life.

In fact, the person I was planning this life for looks little like the woman I know I am now.

The woman I was planning life for understood her life purpose to be this: support her husband in his intellectual goals and leave a family legacy.

And when that’s who I thought I was, that was a perfectly good life purpose to pursue.

But when those plans were burned, it took a while to realize that the purpose burned with them.

Obviously the first piece of that purpose was instantly gone. No husband to support took half of my assumed purpose.

But it wasn’t long until I realized that I had no interest in leaving a family legacy. I didn’t want to have children. The only legacy I wanted to leave was in my words. I wanted to be writer, not a mother.

But I didn’t know HOW to have that purpose. I had planned for years around my old purpose. I had planned and planned and planned…

It’s no wonder none of those plans worked out for me. A plan won’t work if the purpose behind it is wrong.

This year, as you may know from previous blogs, I was brutally honest with myself about who I am and where I am in each of the 7 key areas of life: Fitness, Finance, Family, Field, Faith, Friends, and Fun.

I found myself…I can see my little blue dot on the map. I know where I am.

I know what I want my purpose to be in general, and I’m daily seeking increased clarity.

So today, my plan looks a little different. I still plan—almost constantly. I get different ideas and gain new knowledge of myself and I adjust my plan.

I need to plan. Planning does the same thing that writing does for me: it helps me figure out who I am and what I think.

But this planning has to be done with a renewed sense of purpose—a renewed understanding of who I am. From there, I can figure out where I want to go.

My challenge to you, then, less than a week into the new year, is to really look at how well you know yourself. Take the Oola Wheel evaluation on Read books. Write or journal. Go on personal retreats. Meditate. Walk. Hike. Jog. Do whatever you need to do to get to know yourself so that you can realize your purpose.

Learn who you are to discover how you need to live intentionally this year.

Then, plan away, friend.

Join my network of people who are striving to Live Well (On Purpose). I would love to support you as you seek clarity this year.