Steve CookAs the page turns on another New Year, it’s a natural time to assess the last year, and contemplate the future with the self-challenging question: Where am I going from here?

For me 2017 was a great year. It had its ups and downs, but overall I cannot complain.  Life is really good.  As I look back, I see how abundantly God has blessed me, and I have much to celebrate. But the thought of “accomplishing more” comes with mixed feelings.

Keep Moving Forward…

First, I don’t want to stand still, I want to move forward.

The normal response is to make more money, but honestly, I’m not really interested in making that my goal.  I’m open to making more, money, but it should not and will not be my focus.

I’ve seen it time and time again: When people focus chiefly on making more money, putting profits before people is an unfortunate byproduct far too often.  It reveals a lot about a person when they start complaining about money and how they want more of it.  It’s not easy, I get it, but I certainly don’t want to put money before relationships.

Instead I want to give more…and I want to give first.

That may mean more money, but even more, I’d like to give more of myself.  Not necessarily in a big way, but instead in little ways that mean a whole lot, and that help propel me towards my own goals (more in that in a moment).

I Want Better Health…

Most of you do not know, but most of my adult life I’ve been sick.  I would never have said I was sick—in fact, it’s been rather normal for me because it is all I’ve ever known. I didn’t even realize I was sick.

But over the years it’s been compounding and getting worse. I’ve always wanted to be in shape, to be able to play with my kids, to have energy, etc.  I’m an athlete at heart, but my body no longer cooperates with that, and it’s frustrating.

I’ve tried many different diets, I’ve worked out hard. Most of the time I feel worse, not better.  When it gets very frustrating I go to the doctor to figure out what is wrong, and they always tell me that there is nothing wrong with me, that I’m very healthy… which only increases my frustration, because I know there is something wrong and they tell me that I’m just fine.

What I have discovered is that it’s my diet.

For the most part I eat very healthy. The problem is that it is not healthy for me. I’ve come to realize recently how very few people who are even aware of how eating the wrong foods can wreak havoc on your body.  When you have intolerances to certain foods (even healthy ones) it can take its toll on your body in many ways.

I want to be healthy so I can give more. I want to be healthy so that I can be around for my kids.  But that comes with a couple of problems.

A Major Overhaul (Bigger Than Me)

To be clear, contending with my lifelong food sensitivities aren’t just a matter of going on a diet. For me to eat the way that I have to, it means a complete lifestyle change.

  • Most of what I eat will have to be fresh, unprocessed, likely grown in my own garden, etc.
  • Which means prep time is going to be long and necessary.
  • It will require me to plan way ahead.

This is not something that I can do for myself— I have to make it about something bigger than me.

So, my hope and plan is to turn this into somewhat of a ministry. Whenever I want to do something for myself, I will stop doing it if someone else has a need.

  • I won’t spend $2500 on myself if I know of a family in Guatemala who needs a house.
  • I won’t put the time into working out if someone else needs me to walk through life with them.

Looking back at my life, I can see a consistent propensity to make sacrifices so that others can have what they need—I’ve tended to sacrifice my time and income in business, so others can live the life that they want.  So it’s congruent with how God has naturally wired me.

How I Help Myself By Helping Others

This is important for me to know about myself and honestly, I’m convinced one of the keys to why I’ve enjoyed successes in so many areas of my life. When I want to grow in an area, I teach it to others and help them to do it.  Then it is no longer about me, it is about others.  And as an after-effect, I end up living what I teach because, I sure don’t want to be a hypocrite.  I won’t teach someone to do something that I won’t do myself.  And if I’ve committed to helping someone else, I’ll honor that whereas I’m less likely to honor it if it is solely for my own benefit.

This is why I relentlessly pursue Lifeonaire values and principles, particularly when it comes to debt.  I cannot stand in front of a room and tell people why they shouldn’t go into debt, if I’m busy borrowing myself. This is a very strong motivator for me.

I will sacrifice my own desires to do what is right for others—which is frequently in mind as I craft and combine elements of my own Lifeonaire Vision.  I will eat the way that I need to eat, if I’m committed to teaching others about it, or committing to not only cook for myself, but for cooking healthy for others.

  • We are looking for a new service project for my family so I’m looking to combine all of these.
  • We will as a family learn to cook healthy, but regularly prepare extra so that we can give the meals to others.
  • We will regularly entertain people in our home and give them healthy meals, and I will share my experiences with others.

I don’t know if your hot buttons are the same as mine. But if so, perhaps try taking something you need to improve in your life, and committing to help others achieve it in their life can be the path for you to enjoying success sooner than later.

What do you think? Any of this resonate with you as you look at the fresh year ahead?

—Steve

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