I think we are all guilty of envisioning life as one way and later hitting that wall where things turn out nothing like the picture in our head. I pretty much live my life in a state of disappointment because of this. Not because my life totally sucks, or isn't filled with moments of greatness, but because I hold myself and my family to such a high standard at times, that when things don't go how I planned, I pretty much fall apart. Such a terrible quality of mine. I spend so much time complaining about the end results that I don't take the time to reflect on the journey. Often times, the journey is the best part, regardless of the outcome.
Typically, a contingency plan is a plan derived for business, in case of a major event, such as a fire, severe weather, or even acts of terrorism. It's scary to think that companies have to plan for these things, but we do. It's simply a written way of saying, that if a problem should arise, here are the ways to reduce the impact, or loss of integrity, to this business. Not necessarily a smooth transition back to normalcy, but certainly better starting point than if you are left to deal with a crisis unprepared.
Of course, life is filled with surprises, and even crisis situations, but I thought I could use these same principles in my own life to deal with minor, and perhaps even major, events that can sometimes hit me off guard and throw me off track. I have been trying to move myself and my family onto a more positive path, and I felt that just having a plan was a great way to not let unexpected circumstances demolish the overall enjoyment of life. That's not to say that you, or even myself, is expected to spring back from a hardship such as a fire, or a death, or anything similar, with a smile on your face, but when those times come, you will be better equipped to deal with them. I simply want to enjoy my life more, right now, as it is, regardless of our current situations, obstacles, or inconveniences and be prepared for those to come.
My Life's Contingency Plan
(and how to create one of your own)
1. What are your values?
In the past, I have talked about how important it is for me and my family to live according to our values. I always suggest listing at least 5 things that are most important to you. I have shared my 5 before, but I have added to the list here, to include a few more.
- Financial Independence
2. What goals do you have that are based on your values?
I personally keep broad goals for each one and then break them down into smaller goals as I see fit. Here are some of my overall goals, according to my values.
- Praying and attending church regularly
- Spending less and setting financial goals
- Include fitness and to be more aware of what we eat
- Spending quality time as a family, making time for Jason and I together, allowing each of us to have alone time.
- Reading and constantly continuing to learn
- Maintaining a clean home
- Demonstrating reliability with myself and others
3. Surround yourself with those you can count on.
Of course, I always trust and turn to God as part of my life plan, but I can't say that, even when trusting Him, things don't hurt, or make sense, or even make me a little frustrated when His plan is a little different than what I had in mind. It's always great to have those you can count on in times of need.
Some people I keep in my little circle are God, church members, my family (including Jason and my children), my parents (and Jason's parents), friends, teachers, and even doctors. You don't need a million people in your life, just a few really great ones.
4. What do you hope to gain from these people?
For me, I have zero desire to gain anything tangible from people (unless it's cookies. Yep, I'll take some cookies!). Surrounding myself with people to guide me, to listen to me (even if it's just to vent), to make suggestions if I need them, to hug me when I am hurting, and to love me unconditionally, regardless of how crazy I act or what decisions I make, is all I need.
Ditch the negative people, or the people who only come around when they need you for something. And don't take advantage of those people either. You must make an effort to be in the lives of these people if you expect them to be in yours.
5. How do you plan to put all of this into action if something negative occurs?
When life gives me lemons, I hope to turn to this list, access what I value most and conclude whether I am living according to those values. Most often, we will discover that we've either lost sight of what is most important, or that circumstances simply happen. We can't always change the way things turn out, but we can change how we choose to handle them. I will turn to God, and when necessary, count on my friends for support, to find the positive, and even through tears, make this journey enjoyable, memorable, and more worth living.
Of course, the true test is putting this plan into practice, but I look forward to it!
*Photos are from a recent family outing in downtown Raleigh and don't really pertain to this post. I love looking back on them with a more positive eye because, if I am being honest, Elijah was a flipping nightmare that day and my blood pressure was through the roof. Ha!