I recently write a post titled, "Professional Initiatives: 5 Habits to Begin Your First Month on the Job." Though I incorporated these habits into my game some time after my first month on the job, they became game changers for me after I worked them into the rhythm of professional routine. I only regret that I did not think about how important these habits would be the success of my professional initiatives.
Then, after further reflection, I realized that in addition to habits that support my professional initiatives, several habits of mine also have supported my personal initiatives, which in turn, has contributed to the overall success of my work-family-life rhythms and balance.
I admit that my personal habits often take the hit when I believe that I need to choose between my professional and personal work life. I will often choose work, productivity, and accomplishment over my personal routines, waving the banner of sacrifice and nobility as a sign of affirmation.
In actuality, the habits of my personal initiatives stand equal with the habits of my professional initiatives. One is not greater than the other and vice versa. In fact, both are necessary and essential to the whole health of an individual. Below, read the list of habits that make up my personal initiatives and contribute to my continued well-being:
1. Set a regular devotional time. Obviously, this is the most important personal (and professional) habit that you could do. Make this the most important priority over anything and everything else that you could do.
2. Claim healthy margins. Andy Stanley wrote all about this, and I commend his book to you. You need to set time with your family, friends, and your personal well-being. One should approach balance, however, with some caution. The word balance can bring about some conflict, for balance is hard to achieve. But rhythm on the other hand promotes long-term health. Sometimes, work demands much of us, and the only way to overcome the challenge is getting through the work and into a new season of recovery and health. Balance teeter-totters and creates conflict and tension, but rhythms ebb and flow with resolve. Look for a blog post specifically on this topic in the weeks ahead.
3. Care for your health. I recently read an article to which I unfortunately no longer possess access. The writer asked a question to 40 year olds, "What would you tell yourself at 30?" Across the board, each person said, "Choose health." What you do in our 20's and 30s sets up your health and longevity for the rest of your life.
4. Keep learning. Find at least one book to read and three blogs to follow per month. This may seem daunting, but with the prevalence of audio books, this habit is becoming easier to do (especially while you work out!) You only need about 30 minutes a day. Make this a value.
5. Find accountability and create boundaries with the opposite gender. Find accountability for the obvious reasons, but in addition, you need to think through now - during your first month of ministry - how you will engage with others of the opposite gender. This may seem pedantic and old-fashioned, but your goal in doing so is to remain in ministry long-term with your integrity and witness to Jesus Christ in tact - and that's not old-fashioned; that's Scriptural and God-honoring. This is a hugely important topic (and little discussed), so you can expect a blog post on this topic, as well, in the weeks ahead.
QUESTION: On which one of these habits do you need to focus over the next few weeks - either as you prepare for your first job, or as you grow in health in your current one?