jar-of-golf-balls1
Ah, a new year.
A time for rejuvenation, renewed effort, or a new game plan – in other words, the ever popular New Year’s Resolutions.
I’ve never really liked resolutions. They usually wind up a bit unrealistic and destined to fail.
In the past I’ve tried out a couple of variations of the idea of New Year’s Resolutions, creating scary-good goals, creating a great story, and simplifying things.
Over the Holiday break I reconnected with a blogging friend (Todd Sellick of A Private Affair) and he posed a great question to his readers last year.
Fill in this blank:

Any time spent _____________ is absolutely not a waste of time!

What’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Share this statement with your spouse. What’s their response?
It’s easy to get caught up with and only focus on the things that seem a waste of time. But what if you focus was on the things you love to do? Things that at the end of the day you can look back on and say “That was a good day!”
Too often the top New Year’s resolutions are pretty boring. Lose weight, get out of debt, get in shape, etc. Not that they’re unimportant, just that they fail to stir something deep inside.
How about this?
Instead of New Year Resolutions, come up with a list of five things that complete this statement …
For me, any time spent __________ is absolutely not a waste of time!
1. ____________________________________
2. ____________________________________
3. ____________________________________
4. ____________________________________
5. ____________________________________
Now write these someplace you’ll see regularly. These are the five things that are really important, what matters, what you enjoy, what make life worth living.
Ask your spouse to do the same. No cheating. Compare notes and perhaps discover something about each other.

“Who loves not women, wine and song remains a fool his whole life long.” – Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Along with this idea, my father told me of an object lesson he recently came across.
When things in your life seem almost to much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar … and the beer.
A Professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
So the Professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The Professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous “Yes.”
The Professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
“Now,” said the Professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.
The golf balls are the important things – your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favorite passions – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else – the small stuff.”
“If you put the sand into the jar first”, he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house, and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”
When he had finished, there was a profound silence. Then one of the students raised her hand and with a puzzled expression, inquired what the beer represented.
The Professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers with friends.”
Welcome to 2013! Be true to yourself and each other as you launch into a new year!

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