Essentials…

It’s the Holiday Season once again.  If you’re like me, you simplify things by saying “Holiday Season”. It’s not an attempt to take Christ out of Christmas, it’s an effort to say more by only saying two words. The “Holiday Season” incorporates all of the things I love…Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and of course who could forget…college football bowl season?!

During this season we are all busy shopping for the perfect gift, throwing parties or attending parties. Does it have to be this way, though?  Isn’t the most important thing making family memories or starting a new tradition with those you love?  I often find myself wrapped up in moments with my wife and sons amazed that we have a priority on making memories as a family. This is a huge step in the right direction for my family tree.  Growing up, my mom did her best to make family traditions memories. I know this season had to be stressful for her. I’m so grateful for her sacrifice and what she provided for us!  One of my favorite Christmas memories is when my brother and sisters and I got the same Indiana University sweatshirts!  It was great to live in the Hoosier state and represent!  There are certain things that I find are necessary in order to make the Holiday Season successful. Creating lasting traditions or fun family memories are some of the essentials!

I love dreaming big of what my sons are going to pass on to their kids, not just during the Holiday Season, but in general.  It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our own methods of survival during this season each year. We can allow our calendars to get swamped and we lose time space and margin for our Christmas Parties, activities, shopping, etc.  Is there a way to take back our calendars and breathe easily during this time to make meaningful memories that will be passed down to the next generation?  

I’m reading through Greg McKeown’s book, Essentialism.  I love it so far. I wonder in our own family trees what would this would mean if we incorporated the concepts and lifestyle changes described in his book with our own families?  We are all on a journey on this thing called a “timeline”.  We don’t live isolated in our own generations.  Each generation passes traditions, habits, etc onto the next generation.

McKeown’s theory states that “most of us make a millimeter progress in a million directions instead of making the most effort in one or two essential directions”.  Someone who exercises Essentialism chooses to do what they want to.  Instead of life happening to them, they choose to live life on purpose by only doing what is essential for their family.  

I’m confident that most of us don’t wake up and think “I’m going to suck at life today, I hope my life falls apart or I hope people hate being around me”  No one makes an intended effort to do these things but if we had, to be honest, there have been days that we’ve lived these statements out.  We’ve sucked at life. We’ve experienced family dysfunction and people have hated being around us. Here is something I’ve had to learn. If I spend my life worried about making everyone happy, I’ll disappoint everyone in some way.  So, I’ve had to answer the question “What is essential for me succeed at this life?”  If we don’t live life on purpose, life will just happen to us and we’ll allow our calendars and schedules to fill in the margin we used to have.  

I want to create memories with my family that our boys will cherish and pass down to their children.  I hope they pass our traditions down and the Ulrich name is said proudly because our lifestyle and reputations go before us.  I hope my sons’ children never have to live a life of survival but that they will thrive because of what Shad and Carson do and how they live their lives.  This won’t be accomplished if we attempt to make a millimeter of progress in a million directions, though.  We need to make the biggest progress in one or two essential directions and make the biggest impact in life.  

What about your life?  Are you attempting to do it all?  Are you trying to please everyone?  Or maybe you are simply standing still not attempting to do anything positive. We must be purposeful in our endeavor to make things better. It won’t happen just because we want it to.  Find one or two essential areas in your life where you need to live more “on purpose”. Write them down, and commit to them. Allow yourself to say “no” to good opportunities in order to say “yes” to the BEST opportunities.

Have a purposeful and meaningful Holiday Season!  

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