We draw (reasonably) near to the end of 2017. As your thoughts turn to goals for 2018, I want to outline a system I have developed which works for me and has for several years (in slowly varying iterations). This is how I track owning my shit.
I divide my life into three broad fields (personal, patrimony, professional), and a set of subcategories for each. I have my terminal goals, instrumental goals, and possible short-term habits, behaviors, and opportunities written down. In four-week sprints, I set specific goals and systems (weeks are easier to plan by than months). Since the text file I work in stays open on my computer(s) and is synced via Dropbox, I always have access to the material and see it multiple times during the day. (I have not been posting this to OYS since the last 60 days of dread, but I hereby commit to participating weekly for at least the next quarter.)
- Personal---structured towards making me into the person I want to be. I have a fairly clear vision of this, but I know it will take years to train my instincts, tastes, and scholarship to this.
- Spiritual---reading, religion, interior life, church
- Physical---lifting, boxing, diet
- Mental---reading, mindset, management, energy level, managing legibility
- Patrimony---how I want my household and affairs to operate. A lot of outer MRP overlaps with this area.
- Marital---relationship with my wife
- Relational/Game---MRP for home life
- Patriarchal---relationship with my children and my household
- Security---marksmanship, handyman
- Economic---home economy
- Financial---day-to-day operations, weekly and monthly checkins
- Investments---tracking retirement, etc.
- Professional---having to do with the first job, an academic position I greatly enjoy, and the second job, which is eliminating the need for the first job.
- Teaching---technique, curriculum, 4HW aims
- Development---research, blue-ocean projects
- Social---persona, style, networking
- Civic---service, community (online and IRL)
Some categories are very active, like the professional and mental ones. Others, like physical or marital, tend to change slowly. Habits tend to grow and empty as they become internalized or discarded. I don't get something done every day in every category; I do get something done every week at a minimum.
For example, my section on fathering looks like this:
#### 2bi. fathering ·························································· - TERMINAL GOALS: a legacy for my family; stable, satisfying home life - INSTRUMENTAL GOALS & SYSTEM: - create multi-generational relationships for my kids - develop a work ethic - embrace limited consumption - learn how to travel meaningfully - embrace serious reading - prepare an intentional inheritance for my kids - church activity - family activities and outings - reading goals for older children - HABITS/TODO: - regular review of school day and schoolwork - road trip with kids, no wife - summer homeschooling ... et cetera ...
My four-week plan for fathering (
/ means it's done,
- means that it's not):
2bi. fathering: /take B boxing w/ I /take boys to pro wrestling -follow up on piano lessons -set up regular org. for family night
Once a year I revisit everything, typically beginning in early December. (I'm starting early this year, thus this post.) I rework categories as necessary and I adjust goals and motivational quotes. I self-assess on things like my SMV and DEVI, as well as my professional and social performance.
The following are the articles and books I return to most often for perspective. Your list will be different, but have a list—your own sidebar, if you will.
- Dag Hammarskjöld's Markings (must-read for you Meditations fans)
- Thomas Traherne's Centuries of Meditations and Thomas à Kempis' De imitatio Christi
- C.S. Lewis' The Abolition of Man
In short, this is a reflection on what I have and where I'm headed. It's more focused on becoming a high-value man than strictly sexual strategy, but of course both prongs are necessary. I don't always know how to get there, and I sometimes can't see the mountain when I'm down in the valley. But the mountain is there and I know where I'm going. If I'm messing around, well, I know what I should be doing instead. This is my frame.