I Had a Birthday; Now I Have a Life Plan (Readjusted)

On October 5, I had a birthday. It wasn't a milestone birthday but a reminder that I'm not getting younger. Not that this is upsetting, but it reminds me if I want to do the things I want to do. Over the past year, I have had several starts and stops. I had several goals between my last birthday and this one, many of which I failed to achieve. However, with success and failure comes evaluation. That is something I have been doing a lot recently.


Have you heard of a life plan before? If not, think of it as resolutions with actual planning and purpose, not something concocted while drunk 15 minutes before midnight on New Year's Day. I strongly encourage each of us to do one. Art of Manliness has a great article on the process that I encourage you to read. It's a thoughtful procedure, so I encourage you to take at least an entire weekend to put it together.


I am still working on the finer details as of this article, but I have the framework completed. In the simplest terms, my goal is to demonstrate a positive radical transformation in every aspect of my life. This is the outline:

  • Redefine my roles as a person, then create personal goals

  • Focus on my Three Pillars of Life: Physical Health, Mental Fitness, and Spiritual Growth

  • Commit to the final plan and execute it without further adieu

What led me to do this process now? The answer is over the past four months, several significant signs have caused me to wake up to my reality and see the need for a course correction.


It started with me re-engaging with a life program I am involved with. After spending the better part of two years being mostly idle, the program creator reached out to me asking if I would help guide a new class of recruits. Honored, I accepted the position and allowed the new cohort's enthusiasm to inspire me to be better.


I started studying ways to strengthen my physical, mental and spiritual fitness during this process. I explored several programs and found the ones I feel not only appeal to me as a man but also work well in conjunction with one another. These individual programs, such as joining a book club and enrolling in a specific workout plan offered by a company I respect, form an overall life model in which I have invested.


However, the most significant moment was a conversation I had with my youngest son. During a period of intense reflection at the end of the summer, I confronted my failures as a father for my two oldest sons, mainly when it came to empty promises to help them as they were growing up. There are not many things in this life I regret, but this is one of the biggest regrets I have. Determined not to do the same to my youngest, I opened my heart to him and confessed my failings to help his brothers but my desire to do right for him. His response was to challenge me. We struck a bargain made upon action on my part. It puts pressure on me to perform or accept that I'll be who I am as a person currently.


Do I want to be the person I think I am, or am I the person currently here?


It's been six weeks since that conversation, with mixed results. I expected that to be the case because overcoming 20+ years of sliding into American Apathy is hard to escape. However, my birthday allowed me to step away from the small picture and look at my life as a whole. I felt disappointed and dissatisfied, but rather than feeling down on myself, I found the resolve to be better. Instead of knee-jerk reacting with a resolution, I continued delving into a readjusted life plan. There is work to be done here, and I don't want to rush through it and fail because I felt down on one day out of 365 in a year.

 

When I started this article, I wasn't going to share the details of my modified Life Plan. It is a personal thing that I initially felt was best to remain private to me. Then a friend reached out to me and asked me for help finding a new purpose in his life. At that moment, I realize sharing mine may help someone with theirs.


My Life Plan (Readjusted)

Defining and prioritizing my Life Roles

  • Husband - to be the best possible husband I can be for my wife. To always support her in her pursuits.

  • Father - to provide the best example for my sons that I can. To guide and support them as they become men and eventually husbands and fathers.

  • Son - to be a better son to my parents. To make efforts to see them more and enjoy the time we have remaining.

  • Brother - to reconnect with my siblings. To ensure that we carry our family traditions beyond our parents to our children and their current/future families.

  • Uncle - to strive to be as close of an uncle to my nephews as my Uncle Jerry was to me.

  • Writer - Stop being the lazy, procrastinating writer. Become the producing writer.

  • Guide/Mentor - to be the best guide and mentor I can be by example. Lead with the intent for others to become better than me.

My Goals (to be finalized)

From October 5, 2022, to October 5, 2023:

  1. Roles

  2. Work daily to be better each day

  3. Check in regularly for feedback

  4. Evaluate next year and ask if people noticed a change

  5. Physical Health

  6. Change my diet to eliminate as much processed and artificially sweetened food as possible, save the special occasion (holidays, birthdays, events, etc.)

  7. Return my physical body to a "battle-ready" state where I feel entirely comfortable and in control of my physicality.

  8. Challenge myself in physical events and push myself to find my new physical limits.

  9. Mental Fitness

  10. Finish degree.

  11. Read on average a book a week starting 10/10/2022 and hit 52 by October 5, 2023.

  12. Spiritual Growth

  13. Seek further understanding to gain deeper meaning

  14. Personal Goals

  15. Create an emergency plan:

  16. Financial

  17. Property

  18. Health

  19. Create financial security

  20. Short-term cushion

  21. Mid-term goals

  22. Long-term health

  23. Create a garage workshop & gym

  24. Create a dedicated workspace for projects

  25. Create a dedicated gym space for fitness

  26. Create a Backyard Sanctuary

  27. Create a podcast and YT channel

  28. Become published author

  29. Take Shawn X into the outer realms of a reputable lifestyle website for others.

 

Life Plans do not have to be intensive but must be comprehensive. Unlike a resolution, which is typically a singular goal, this is a lifestyle commitment and should be treated carefully due to its impact on others and yourself. I went through this exercise in 2019, made modifications in 2020, and now I am finalizing it again as I type.


Do not feel like a failure if your initial efforts do not produce the desired outcome. Life happens and causes us to change with it. Don't fall into the trap of rigidity. Maintain flexibility to adapt and alter as necessary but keep your core values firmly set as your foundation.


Define roles. Prioritize roles. Set goals. Commit to cause. Execute Life Plan. Amend as needed.

 

If you would like to share your Life Plan, please do in the comments. We can always learn from one another.

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