Thursday, March 8, 2012


I had an epiphany this week while reading Elaine S. Dalton's A Return to Virtue. She talks in the book about running a marathon. The day before the race, she ran the last mile with her husband, and crossed the finish line victorious, imagining the crowd cheering her on. In the book she compares it to our life, and visualizing what we want to become.

It's something I haven't been able to stop thinking about ever since. So finally I've gone and done it. I've done these kind of visualization projects before, as I'm sure most of you have. "Where do you want to be in 5 years?" In fact my bishop had me draw a picture of this before I got married to Ben, to see if he "matched up" with my life plan.

We live in a world where we make goals and lists, and try to reach someplace by checking off boxes. For example, if you are trying to meet some financial goal you give yourself checkpoints, amounts you want to save each month. If you are planning a wedding you make a list of everything you still need to figure out or plan or do. If you are writing a research paper, you start with a rough draft and spend time working out different sections. So it made me think, why don't we do this with our lives?

We spend all this time finishing the minute details of a blog post, or a research paper, or finishing a project a work, and yet have never even spent the time to plan out where we want to be in five years. No, I'm not talking about "I want to have this many kids, live in this kind of house, and drive this kind of car" -type stuff. I'm talking about you. What kind of person do you want to be? What kind of attributes do you want to have, what weaknesses do you want to have eliminated in 5 years?

I have gotten in the habit of setting aside time each day to read my scriptures, about 30 minutes (I am a stay-at-home mom with just one kid, so it's a little easier to fit this in). But when I decided to write out this five-year plan for myself, I was a little worried. It just seemed like it was so daunting, it would take hours and lots of brain power. But I decided to just use this quiet time that I already had set aside and just do it. And you know what? It didn't even take 15 minutes.

I wrote out a few of my major weaknesses (obviously, it wasn't all of them, I didn't want the list to be 15 pages long or depress myself, that wasn't the point). I just wrote down ones I was very aware of, or ones I felt prompted to put down.

Then I wrote down a couple of things I knew I was good at, things maybe I had already overcome (you want to show progress, after all, and like I said, the point isn't to depress yourself).

I know this sounds kind of lame, but now I am just totally excited about my life! To think about who I could be in five years, what a better person I could be just with some small daily efforts on my part, really gave me something to look forward to. To get rid of the things I am so weak in right now, to become more like my Savior, really is an exhilarating thought. So I'm starting today and never looking back. Onward, to the new me.


  1. I love this! I feel like I have a loose plan on who I want to be eventually bouncing around inside me head--but writing it down and thinking about it more deliberately would be much more effective. Good luck with your plan!

  2. Ash you are such an inspiration to me. Seriously. Thank yuou for posting your awesome ideas:)

  3. Thank you for that Ashley! I think I am going to do this myself.