Don’t Have a Groundhog Year


One of my favorite movies is Groundhog Day with Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. I can watch it over and over. (Sorry, bad joke.) In the movie Bill Murray’s character lives Groundhog Day over and over again and in the process he has the chance to grow and mature and eventually find true love.

In real life we don’t get the chance to keep doing the same day over and over until we get it right. However, there are some of us who seem to seem to get stuck in a rut doing the same thing year after year. There are of course some things which are great to do every day, every month, every year – reading and reflecting on God’s Word, honoring the Sabbath, exercising and eating right, time in prayer, investing in ourselves, quality time with family, etc.

In my coaching with pastors and work with churches I often hear phrases like, “I just feel stuck.” or “It feels like we are just going through the motions.” When consulting with a church I will often ask them, “What’s the difference between this year and last year in your ministry?” Too often the answer is “nothing” or “the year on our calendar.”

Here are four things I’d like to share with you as ways to ensure you don’t have a groundhog year:

  1. Time Assessment – Keep track of where you are spending your time for at least a couple of weeks. I know every week is different, but try to pick a couple of weeks you would say are fairly typical. Fifteen minute intervals are best to get a true picture. Look for trends. If needed, take it to another week to ensure you have a good picture.
  2. Priorities – Clearly identify what is most important to you. Where would you like to spend your time? Whether you call them “Big Rocks” or goals or just priorities, take an honest look at where you are investing your time on the assessment. Is there a connection? Are your priorities showing up at least every week? Don’t mistake activity for progress.

“It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?” Henry David Thoreau

  1. Lose ONE Thing – Yes, I know there are lots of things we cannot change about where we spend our time. There are always meetings we must attend, tasks only we can do, demands on us we have no control over. However, there are always areas of our time where we have total control. Focus there. Pick ONE thing you are doing now that could be done by someone else. This may take some investment (training, teaching, etc.) but will be worth it in the long run. Warning: this one thing may be something you really like to do—but is not in-line with your priorities. It will often take some will power to hand off this type of task. But it is critical for you to have space/margin before you go forward.
  2. Add ONE Thing – Insert a new activity or task every week (at least) which is very clearly connected to your goals or priorities. My recommendation here would be to start small, 30 minutes or less, and to grow your time investment gradually over the course of the year where possible. Imagine the rewarding feeling this will give you every time you take these small steps each week.

There is a quote from Albert Einstein where he said, “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” Very true.

Are you in a rut? Do you want to ensure your 2018 is different from your 2017? Then now is the time to make an adjustment to where you are spending the precious hours God has given us.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12

Need help? Would you like a partner on this journey to help provide resources and hold you accountable? Let’s talk about coaching.


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