Stephen Covey widely popularized the idea of “beginning with the end in mind” in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Find a project. Imagine how you want it to look when you’re done. Design a plan. Buy the materials. Begin creating your future image.
It’s a habit that many of us do in our workplaces all the time.
I’m extraordinary thankful that construction projects function this way. Imagine the mess and chaos that would happen if a company just started mashing building materials together without a clear plan of the final product.
Far less customary however, is this same bent and inclination in our everyday lives.
When we fail to plan with the end in mind in our everyday experiences, we are subjected to every whim and chaotic moment of life. Flung around like a rag doll we limp into the future barely clinging on. This leaves us feeling mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted.
When we fail to intentionally plan our future, we must react to every situation. Instead of leading proactively with positivity we often respond negatively and critically to situations, thereby making the initial problem worse.
In order for us to create a plan and live with the end in mind, we must take a starting inventory of our lives. We must know both what we have and where we want to end up. Like a construction team, we must know what we are building our lives towards.
Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’
Instead, may we be willing to do the hard work of starting and building our lives with the end in mind.
That starts by developing a holistically healthy mindset.
Early on in my coaching practice I wondered if the world needed one more “holistically minded” coach. Sure, I had unique passions and perspectives to bring to the situation, but the internet is flooded with people espousing themselves to be a holistic health guru of some fashion. Maybe the market was saturated enough already and I should focus on something else?
As I was wrestling with this tension, one event confirmed for the need to have even more holistic health coaches.
I got on Facebook.
My feed was flooded with individuals caught in the trap of the day-to-day ebbs and flows of life. Posts popped up, seemingly at random from an individual and in the matter of a few hours went from having the greatest day of his life, to the worst, to cursing everyone out, to being happy, to cursing again. He ended his day on a lengthy diatribe and threatened to block anyone who dared to question him.
The next morning, his first post was about how amazing everyone was and posed the deep question, “Why can’t everyone just be nicer and get along?”
He was completely unaware of his part in the problem and expected everyone to just forget the previous day of status updates.
All of it public. All of it for the world to see.
I was emotionally exhausted just reading the posts!
That’s why our total health is important. It gives us a chart and a plan to direct our path with purpose and intentionality. It helps us avoid the debilitating and divisive lows while deepening our enjoyment of the pleasure in life. Our plan for the future embraces our steps and gives us the security to live more deeply in the present moment of life. We know, despite what may be going on now, that we can process and develop ourselves to pursue the life that we want.
Will there be moments of surprise and unexpectedness? Absolutely.
Will we need to course correct at times? Yes, but it’s always easier to course correct than set a new direction every time something surprising happens.
There are seven vital areas of life that we must attend to if we want to life fully with the end in mind. Like that construction crew that spends times designing the final shape of the building, we too must design what each of these seven areas of life will look like for us.
These are the seven areas of total health:
Over the next several months on the blog, we will be unpacking each of these seven areas together. Each area of focus will have two blog posts dedicated to it. The first will introduce the topic and what holistic health looks like from this vantage point. The second post will provide tips and tools developing this area of health.
I want to personally invite you into this process.
Grab a journal or a notepad and process the activities and questions that will emerge, both out of the blogs and in your own head. Take time to personally invest in your life and design your life with the end in mind.
Finally, if I may, I want to invite you to subscribe and share these posts. Together, we can create a moment of people passionately pursuing God together that can leave a lasting legacy on the world.