And Now the New Year Really Begins

by Diane Sweeney on January 13, 2017


Starting everything new in week one of the new year is overwhelming to me.

Our traditions, and the distance of family and friends, tend to keep us traveling or entertaining from Christmas to New Year’s Day. I’d much rather focus on enjoying the company of others as opposed to ‘getting ready’ to hit the ground running on January 1.

I do think about what I want to see happen in the new year, but I’m never ready to start right away.

The clutter of the season is still within my sight. Accumulated dust and particles from wrapping paper, extra people in the house, doors opening and closing, and ashes from the fireplace do not make anything feel new. The untidiness doesn’t excite me into doing more than pulling the blanket up over my head and hoping it all goes away on its own.

But – sigh! – it doesn’t.

My year can’t really start until all the dust is packed away with the smiling Santa’s and ceramic angels, glitter and treasured ornaments.

Organizational and productivity experts tell us to use the week between Christmas and New Year’s to form thoughts, create a plan and ‘clean the mind house’ for the new year.

My personal experience is to start sometime after the tree gets put outside for the birds to perch on and protect themselves through the cold winter.

Sometime around… just about now!

But today, before I put pen to paper to plan my new year, I celebrated one more personal tradition I hold true to before ‘locking down’ the previous Christmas.

Re-reading all the Christmas cards and holiday greetings we received through the season.

Transition into a New Year

For one more moment, I hold onto ‘old acquaintances’. I remember why we are connected, how our relationships have grown closer or apart through the years, and how much fun we have when we do get together.

If friends or family send cards with pictures, I smile as I look at their growing families, cats and dogs, and really read about their last year’s adventures.

I embrace the gift each of them has been to my life. Then I lift them in prayer to be graced with many blessings in the new year.

There is a comfort in remembering.

There is joy in thinking of all the good that can come to my friends in the coming year.

And there is peace in knowing that no matter what the coming months bring to my life, no matter what goals and resolutions I may make, the notes, good wishes and love from those I care about will carry me through the new year.

And with that thought – it’s time to really bring on 2017!

Happy New Year, friends! It’s only January 10 – there is still plenty of year ahead!



How Do You Do What No One Else Can Do For You?

by Diane Sweeney on November 10, 2016

Get Focused to do so many thingsLast time I wrote about doing the right, first thing each day.

Did you have a chance to try it? How is it working for you?

Hopefully, by doing the right, first thing. you are finding yourself able to get “the” important thing done each day.  And then a lot more of the other stuff.

After all, you aren’t wasting time worrying about when you will get the first thing done anymore!

What’s Next

So, what’s next on this journey to Get Focused on Living?

Once you fall into a habit of doing the right, first thing on most days, you will likely find yourself with a bit more time.

Take a peek at your task list again. Determine which other items on the list are things you absolutely need to get done each day or week.

Make sure, however, you include those things you need to do on a regular basis that no one else can do for you.

The types of things you don’t really think about having on your to-do list.

The types of things that somehow, though, manage to eat away a LOT of your time!

Things like:

  • Personal hygiene.
  • Eating.
  • Some form of exercise.
  • Prayer and personal reflection time.
  • Spending time with those you care about.
  • Caring for those who need your daily attention – kids, parents, pets.
  • Travel to and from your workplace.
  • Networking for business purposes.

Some people put these on a to do list, others on a task list.

The reality is, these ‘things’ are not list items. They are activities that need to be done, by YOU, so they should be on the calendar before anything else even gets there. Yep – even brushing your teeth!

Your True Power

Whether you use a paper calendar or electronic one,  mark your calendar with the activities in the time frame when you will be doing what must be done, which only YOU can do.

For some, that will be an hour each morning to take care of one’s personal needs. For others, that might only be 15 minutes.

Same with meal times, networking and spending time alone or caring for others.

Whatever it is for you, these are things that have to take up parts of your day. Honor the value of these activities and block out time in each day to get them done.

Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.”

— Lao Tzu

The reality check in this exercise is you discover how much (or little) time you spend on the things you must do. And some people are quite surprised at those findings.

The prize is truly understanding how much time these activities require each day and how much time you really do have for the rest of what you want to do in your life.

Understanding provides you with the power of knowing how to best manage your life and live life to its fullest.

Live your life with focus to Get Focused on Living!

Next up, we’ll look around and see what others can do to help you get focused!

Please share below to tell us what you learned about how you fill your days! Inspire someone else with your testimony!


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Re-Solving New Year’s Resolutions

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Thumbnail image for Re-Solving New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year!     What? it’s the 18th of January.  Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – the first 3-day weekend of the new year, the final weeks of the football season and the dead of winter in the mid-Atlantic. New year? We are half way through month one of 2016! Resolutions are already broken! […]

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Move Forward to the Future

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“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.” ~ Dr. Emmett Brown in Back to the Future It is not my style to spend a lot of time looking back on reflecting on my life. Don’t get me wrong. Reminiscing with friends and family, looking at old photos, and doing some resemblance of the Hustle […]

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