New Year Resolution: Planning to Live PurposeFULLY

I have always felt that I handled change pretty well.  During my teaching career, I often would be the person who would dive into changes (as long as I believed in them) and help others make the jump.  This year, after getting to the point where I feel I can make plans and follow through with goals, etc., I’m now also dealing with the transition from work-life to my retirement-life.   I’m far from being bored.  As I’ve said, I feel like a kid in a candy store.  I really want to try almost everything (not skydiving, though).

I’m excited, but also overwhelmed.  Partly, my ADD leads me to scamper from one project to the next.  That was a good skill in past years; as a teacher and mom, I could multi-task with the best.

However, now this scatteredness is causing me stress. For example,  I’ll start dishes but then realize that (as the water-fills up the sink) I can go throw in a load of laundry.  From there, I see the cat food needs filling. Realizing the water in the sink might overflow momentarily, I head back to the kitchen, still holding the bag of cat food which I sit on the counter so I see it when I go back into the laundry room.  With the water just turned off in nick of time, I wash a cup which makes me realize that I haven’t drunk any water yet this morning, so I get the teapot to fill with water…

Time Slips Away

This type of scatteredness ends up with me fatigued and a bit frazzled on my bed, the untouched tea still on the counter in the kitchen, a few clean dishes drying as the hot wash water is cooling still half-full of dishes, washing machine beeping it’s done, and the cat who has now knocked his food bag onto the floor, eating the bits that have spilled out. Eventually, I get all the started things done, generally that same day, but time seems to slip away without me truly focusing on what I want to be doing in this new place in my life.

On this online program that I purchased yearly for $12, 
I could duplicate items,
 add in links to documents, videos, etc, 
put in specific notes that would remind me of what I needed, 
and I could share it with others.


As a teacher, my time was very scheduled and orderly.  Each day I knew, for the most part, what I would be able to accomplish.  I would make my list on sticky notes or in my on-line lesson planner to keep me focused during my “free times”. If I didn’t get something done, I’d move it to the next day without too much of a struggle. Albeit, the stress to always do and get things done did end in my leaving teaching due to developing Fibromyalgia, so I’m not suggesting this is a good way to live.

Focusing on the PurposeFULL

What I am needing is a direction.  Each day can be eaten up by things that call at the moment but don’t add up to anything meaningful.

This past year, I focused on my health, working towards lessening the symptoms of fibromyalgia which had brought me to halt.  While I still need to do this daily, this coming year, I want to grow, learn, contribute in a purposeful way.  For me, I know that to do this, I have to be purposeful in my moment to moment choices.

Last week, after feeling overwhelmed with what I want to do vs what I have to do vs what I think others expect of me, I decided to put it all down.  I ended up first prioritizing my areas of focus.

I color-coded my five priorities:
Get/Be Well
Nurture Family
Connect w/Friends
Pursuing Passions
Making Money
I searched for an online program like the one I used for my lesson-planning; however, most that I found focused on business and productivity.  I did find one program (weekplan.net) that suited the individual that had a good structure for developing purposeful, daily scheduling.  They focused on the roles you play in your life: friend, spouse, parent, etc.  I think I could make my 5 Goals fit that.  Unfortunately, the cost was $156 per year-way to steep for me.
This is the first time I’ve won something since 1976 (6th grade)!  
Thank you Zebrapit.com!
Last month, I won a Warrior Life Planner created by Mckenna Harwell, a 28-year-old spoonie, dealing with chronic endometriosis. I have the complete version of the 2020 planner. This has a wealth of ways to keep yourself on track while dealing with a chronic illness: medication lists w/check-off, doctor info with visit dates and note space, insurance info, and year goals, just to name a few. For a review of last year’s model, read Michelle Curtis’s interview with Harwell at this link: Mckenna Harwell & the Warrior Life Planner, January’s ZP Hero.  The version I have is a paper/pencil journal, and because of this, I know I won’t really use it.  I’ve decided to give it to a woman, who hates using technology and is dealing with chronic illness and all it has to encompass, and I know she will put it to good use.  On the Warrior Life Planner Website does have an ultra-lite version you can get as a digital download to create your own planner binder.

So that brings me back to what I currently use for organizing: Google Calendar for events and reminders, Google Keep for lists such as my current meds, doctors’ info,  camping supplies, and blog post ideas, and a paper monthly calendar I share with my husband.  These things help me stay on top of things fairly well and are at my fingertips pretty much where ever I am;  however, they have only been for putting down actual appointments I’ve made, not focused on what I’m actually spending my time on and surely not helping me focus on my priorities.

I’ve come up with a plan for Google Calendar:
Because this is a holiday week, I have a lot of Nurture Family time allotted
 and not much Money Making!
  • When I make an event, I am color-coding for how it fits into my 5 goals.
  • I can repeat an event very easily.  
  • I can delete or change the date or time for any event without a problem. This is important that I can be flexible when I never know when a day or more is going to be a wash due to a fibro flare.
  • In the event creation screen, I can add details, documents, or links to help me remember information. This is especially helpful for doctor’s appointments.  If I don’t write it down, I often forget to bring up a question or concern.
Note that I have a question for my next check-up 
to ask about ruling out Sjogren’s Syndrome. 
I had never heard of it before until it was mentioned in 
Facebook Group FIBRO CONNECT.  I have many of the symptoms. 
I’ve added a link that was shared that talks about what it is 
so that I can share it with my doctor.
  • I can add the address for the place of the event which allows me to click it to bring up Google Maps.  I tend to get lost easily (not a symptom of fibro; I’ve always been directionally challenged).
  • I can invite family/friends to an event that helps them to remember we have it scheduled or to know if I will need help.
  • I can add as many reminders as  I want.  I generally have one email of one day ahead and then a message one hour before. I can’t tell you how much this has saved me since I’ve been using it.
  • I am now adding in not just officially scheduled events like doctors’ appointments or hair cuts, but putting in my own daily things like yoga, family, writing, etc times.
I’m feeling pretty good about this new system.  If I had programming knowledge, I do think it would be great to create a wellness warrior’s online life planner, but this new way of scheduling in Google Calendar (with the addition of lists in Google Keep) looks to be promising. It’s really ridiculous how I love organizing.  I think it makes me feel like I’m actually in control.  Ha! Ha!

PS-I’ve also fixed up my GoogleKeep notes, color-coding for the 5 Goals and putting the goal label on them so that I can search say “health” and on the screen comes up all my notes for doctors, medications, history, etc. for ease of reviewing, sharing, and updating. (Oh, and I can add reminders to the notes if needed or put a link to the note in my Google Calendar.)


What do you do to help you live your life purposefully?  I’d love to learn from you.  What are your strategies?


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my new normal means that some times I have to listen to my body and am
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2 thoughts on “New Year Resolution: Planning to Live PurposeFULLY

  • Katie, For my fifth page visit today, I decided to start at the beginning of your site and had to laugh a little bit at our organizational skills. It sounds like you're me or I'm you. If you could see my Google calendar you'd really laugh. Plus the whole part about doing the laundry and leaving the cat food in sight so I don't forget – that's so me! My nickname is Carrie 'Has A Plan' Kellenberger. I think a lot of fibro/ME patients are like this and it's because we just don't know how to slow down. I've really worked hard at this over the past decade and I'm much better now, but 10 years ago – wow. Lists, lists, lists, journals, multiple calendars, everything color coded – I've been that way since I was a kid. (But it does work, right! You'll never get my color tabs out of my hands!) Sending hugs and spoons.

  • I knew we were kindred spirits, Carrie. Thank you so much for taking time reading my posts and getting to know me. It really means a lot. Knowing that there are others that understand me and my journey really strengthens the walk:)

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