I have a problem. I get inordinately excited every year when it’s time to begin filling in a new agenda! This year I bought my 2021 agenda at the beginning of December. It was time to start looking forward with hope!!
I love the crisp, clean pages that are filled with opportunity. How will I use the coming year, knowing that each day I live is a gift? The Bible encourages us to “make the most of every opportunity” (Colossians 4:5 and Ephesians 5:16 NIV).
That short, little phrase is packed with meaning. Other versions render it as “redeeming the time.” Let’s break it down a little:
“Make“: It’s an active choice! What will I do?
“the most“: How much purpose can I live out in the time I’ve been given? On the flip side, what are time wasters that frittered away my moments over this year that I need to intentionally cut back on in the next?
“of every opportunity“: Not just now and then, but I am called to make the most of all of the opportunities God puts before me! I already know I’m going to fail at this one, but it’s a goal to work towards for the rest of my days.
In years past, I have used my agenda to help build new habits into my daily and weekly routines (daily Bible reading, watering the houseplants every Monday, etc.). Checking off a list gives me a sense of accomplishment, and having it recorded on paper makes it seem more meaningful. It’s also a helpful reminder of all of those things that I thought would be good ideas to begin doing, and adds to the likelihood that I’ll follow through with them.
Where to Begin?
This year’s purchase is slightly larger, and comes with a hard cover (I tote it to work and home again, so it needs to hold up) and a solid spiral binding (with lots of room for expansion due to sticker usage!).
I know many of you would rather use phone apps and such, but I much prefer old-fashioned pen and paper. Not only do I get excited for crisp, clean, new agendas, I have a weakness for colored pens and stickers. I have more stickers than I think I’ll ever use! But it adds to the fun of making things more colorful.
I’ll share a few pages of my agenda, and explain why I’ve added each part.
This page has “Kairi” on it–a reminder for my pup’s monthly heartworm pill. I also entered birthdays of friends and family, as well as any doctor’s appointments that are already scheduled. My memory for tasks is on the poor side, so writing things down beforehand makes it more likely that they’ll be completed!
Another addition to each month that is not pictured here is an in-season produce item that I haven’t been brave enough to try yet. Yes, I’m 50 years old, and still scared at some of the things I find in the grocery store! So this year I’m going to expand my palate horizons, and plan to report back to you how that goes. January will be Brussels Sprouts. I am truly terrified. Please share your favorite recipes using brussels sprouts with me in the comments below!! I really need help here!!
I’ve already written in the following reminders:
- Exercise 5 days each week (with a sticker tracker)
- An area to deep clean each week, rotating through the house each month. (There are many plans out there, but I use the system found on flylady.net and have for years off and on.) The area for this week will be the kitchen.
- One goal I have for 2021 is to keep up with decluttering my house one area at a time. The area for this week will be the kitchen counters and sink. My plan for this follows Taylor Flanery’s Home Storage Solutions 101, where she provides daily decluttering action steps for each weekly area outlined for the year. I’ve written in all 52 areas in my agenda, with a new one each week. Daily action steps will be added weekly.
Older women, likewise, are to be reverent in their behavior, not slanderers or addicted to much wine, but teachers of good. In this way they can train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, managers of their households, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be discredited.Titus 2:3-5 (BSB)
- Gratitude reminders! Another goal I have is to begin writing down at least two things at the end of each day that I’m grateful for. After the chaos of 2020, I need to get my mind in the habit of looking up more often! So at the bottom of each day I’ve designated an area just for that.
And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.Ephesians 5:20 (NLT)
- A third goal I’ve set for myself is to blog at least twice each week. I’ve gone through the month of January and written in idea starters for inspiration, although they are very flexible! For example, several of these are based on “holiday” stickers I found on clearance one year–National Spaghetti Day and Houseplant Appreciation Day for starters. Those should be fun posts! You can see above I’ll be holding myself accountable to my brussels sprouts trial by scheduling a post to tell you about my experience . . .
God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.1 Peter 4:10 NLT
What’s Your Plan?
Now that I’ve shared my planning system with you, I’d love to hear how you go about getting ready for a new year.
- How do you go about planning for the year ahead?
- Do you prefer paper and pen, or phone apps to keep yourself on track?
- What goals have you set for the new year?
- How will you hold yourself accountable to those goals?
- And finally, please share those brussels sprouts recipes!!