Plan to make this year a great one

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I tell people all the time that the simple pleasures make it all worthwhile.

This time of the year — the New Year, that is — one of my most favorite “simple pleasures” is buying a new planner.

Geeky, I know.

It’s like a fresh notebook on the first day of school. There’s something about the crispness of the pages and the wide-open spaces ready to be filled with upcoming events.

As one would guess, I’m one of those people who plan everything. I plan dinner menus for the week on Sunday mornings, work out schedules for this practice and that practice; meetings from everything from the city council to PTO, not to mention doctors’ appointments and what-not.

At any time, my life can be laid out for inspection, page-by-page, month-by-month and day-by-day; however, I’m not so bad that I can say minute-my-minute, thank goodness.

I have a friend who teases me and says that I need to let a bit of spontaneity into my life.

“I can’t,” I say. “You can’t pencil that in, and besides it might conflict with Florala city council.”

I put a lot of time into picking out exactly what kind of planner I want, too. I’m very specific in my needs — No. 1: Months must be tabbed for easy reference; No. 2: There must be an easy glance overview of each month; No. 3 – I need it to break down each month by day, with room enough where I can scribble my must-accomplish tasks.

To me, that new planner represents a blank tablet in which I can construct my year. I get a great thrill when I pencil in birthdays and anniversaries, upcoming holidays and such.

In essence, I feel in control of my life, and I guess that’s what it boils down to — that feeling of empowerment you get when decisions are made, followed through and executed as designed.

It’s that thrill of accomplishment that gets me, too.

My planner is just a paper roadmap of how to get from Dec. 31 to Jan. 1, and the resolutions made between now and Jan. 1 are simple tasks, waiting to be checked off.

And as one would guess, as much as I love having a plan, I adore checklists. Being able to draw lines through the things I must do from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. gives me a thrill.

For me those lists and my planners are reminders to not let the things that I need to do fall by the wayside.

I would challenge you to do this — grab a piece of paper, a pen and big fat magic marker. Make a list of the things you would like to accomplish between now and this time next year. Make them realistic things. No climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro if you’re sitting in Loango with $15 in the bank.

No. 1 on the list should be, “Make a list of things I want to accomplish.”

Now, take that list and put it on the refrigerator.

Take the magic marker, and mark off No. 1.

Feels good, doesn’t it?

Move on to No. 2 and continue thus forth.

David Joseph Schwartz, a motivational speaker, once said, “The person determined to achieve maximum success learns the principle that progress is made one step at a time. A house is built one brick at a time. Football games are won a play at a time. A department store grows bigger one customer at a time. Every big accomplishment is a series of little accomplishments.”