Here in Bend, the days are getting shorter, and the winter sunlight takes on that soft glow. You never know when that first snow will come. And this year, it came frigid and fast in early November.
I don’t know about you, but I love those first few weeks of winter. More time inside – hopefully by the fireplace. Time to slow way down and pick up a good book. One of my favorite parts of winter is how it dramatically changes my cooking.
While it’s more challenging now to spend all weekend in the kitchen with our toddler, I love the time to make more extensive recipes that need all day on the stove or in the oven—homemade chicken pot pie with buttermilk drop biscuits. Bolognese lasagna with a to-die-for bechamel sauce. Maybe the best bourbon pecan pie you’ve ever had.
Just thinking about all this food is making my mouth water.
Winter is a time we all naturally slow down. The weather and shorter days dictate we spend less time outside. This also gives each of us a chance to reflect on how we spend our time.
One of the most impactful practices I’ve implemented this year is a weekly review (falling down many times). Each Sunday, I reflect on my past week – what I wanted to accomplish and what I actually worked on.
Then dive deeper – ask yourself more questions. What helped set up my successes? Or what happened when I got off track? This allows me to course correct, celebrate wins, give myself grace, and help grow.
My next process is setting priorities for the week. Let me be clear, this is not another to-do list. Instead, these are the priorities that move the dial in my life. I have one weekly priority in each category – marriage, fatherhood, health, wealth, and business.
I find it helpful to ask questions like, “What’s the one thing I can work on this week to strengthen my marriage?” Or “what’s the one thing I can work on to improve my physical health?” For all of you, I often ask, “how can I show up for my clients in the way that best serves them?”
The power of focusing on One Thing is you don’t dilute your energy and work. Having too many priorities is the same as having none.
It felt our lives were changed instantly when Wes was born. Here was this beautiful, perfect child who depended on my wife and me for everything! Looking back over this past year, I recognize it forced me to ruthlessly prioritize my time.
The overnight call doesn’t seem worth it anymore. Neither does missing bedtime. Could I have made these decisions a decade ago when I started practice? Probably not. I am incredibly grateful I have better choices and options today.
Now is my chance to turn the lens around on you. What has gone well over the last year? What can we celebrate in your life? Are you making progress at home, teaching those little ones to help in the kitchen, getting them on skis for the first time, or taking them camping?
Is it success in a new role at work? Perhaps you’ve become a medical director at a surgery center or another leadership role? For those in academics, was this the year you were up for promotion?
Or did you hit a few PR’s in the weight room this year? Or rode your first 100-mile mountain bike race? Maybe it was the first time you thought about riding 100 miles 😉
I encourage each of you to use this early winter season to ask yourself, “Am I living the life I want to live? Am I living intentionally? Where am I growing, and what would I like to learn this next year?”
I firmly believe that when we are curious and learning, we continue to grow and develop. The inverse is also true. When we close ourselves off, when we stop growing, that is when we start dying.
What have you learned this past year? Who was your best teacher? What do you want to work on this next year? And how can I help in that journey? I think we are all at our best when we help each other.
Let’s make this next year one to remember.
Reach out here if you want to chat about your current situation.