Epilogue: 3 Key Challenges To Live with Greater Intention

Epilogue: 3 Key Challenges To Live with Greater Intention

Will the life you are leading reflect your true intention?

“Short and sweet.” That’s how my dad wants his obituary. In fact, he’s already written his obituary so we won’t have to. His intention is quite clear. Thanks, Dad.

Obituaries are a curious practice. Have you read the Obit page lately? It’s a fascinating read…lofty accomplishments for some, humble basics for others. Family pride mixed most often with aching grief.

Summarizing the value and impact of a person’s life into a few lines of black and white text always falls short. How can anyone capture the unique contribution of a loved one in 100 words?

What would the epilogue of your life say?

Wouldn’t it be interesting if—in addition to an obituary—an epilogue for your life was published a year later? An epilogue would be far more telling about the impact of a person’s life.

Challenges to Greater Life Intention

Imagine a year after your passing, one of your kids, or perhaps your spouse, sits down to write an epilogue to the story of your life, reflecting upon the impact of the life you lived.

For me, this is both a scary as well as an inspiring thought. Here’s what I’ve discovered.

Getting real about your mortality can inspire you to live with greater intention.

I know that if my epilogue were to be written today, it wouldn’t be all I would hope it could be. Thankfully God isn’t finished with me yet. I’m a work in progress. We all are.

If you are at all like me, some areas of your life could use a little improvement. You might need a tweak here or there. Or perhaps you need to embrace a significant change. There’s still time.

Your daily choices—big and small—are creating your legacy. 

With the daily barrage of distractions, merely making it through the day can sometimes seem like a major accomplishment. Yet, the cumulative effective of myriad individual choices culminates in our life’s legacy. Living with greater intention requires awareness and commitment to transcend the daily grind.

Shaping the legacy of your life might feel daunting. May I offer a simple approach? I call it 3×3.

Begin by identifying 3 areas of your life that matter most to you. A few possibilities include relationships, family, faith, personal health, service to others, financial health, and career. Create a notecard for each one.

Consider 3 key challenges that create intention.

For the three areas you have identified, I challenge you to:

#1: Implement one small change this week that will create positive momentum in your life.

Walk the stairs instead of taking the elevator; write a card to a friend to nurture a relationship; read a book instead of watching mindless TV (that’s mine!); meet with God in the morning. The possibilities are endless. Turn intention into action.

#2: Embrace one new habit in the next month that will drive success, however you define it.

Start a gratitude journal and record 3-5 things each day for which you are grateful; introduce one healthier food choice in your diet each day (more fruits for me); commit to daily exercise, even by starting with 5 minutes a day to develop a routine. You probably already have an idea about what’s right for you.

#3: Set and achieve one significant goal in the next year that will create a deep sense of accomplishment.

Find an opportunity to serve others regularly (that’s my goal!). Set a financial goal, like charting a course to get out of debt. Participate in a serious bible study to grow in your faith. Invest in healing a broken relationship. Your potential is limitless.

Write your response to each challenge for each area of your life on the notecards. If you are more techie, put these in Evernote so they are handy on your mobile device. Read your cards each morning, over lunch, and in the evening to keep these intentions top-of-mind. Honestly assess your progress periodically. Revise when necessary.

Live well, finish well.

As you may be aware, Jerry Lewis passed away this week. His selfless and passionate support for Muscular Dystrophy is a powerful example of a life well lived. His gift for humor and entertaining generations of Americans is the cherry on top.

I know my epilogue won’t be extraordinary or impressive. I won’t be leaving millions to any charity. There won’t be any buildings emblazoned with my name on the ivy-covered brick. No long list of board positions will be included.

I am evolving. In the past few years, I have not been invested in serving others, so I’ve set a goal and created a plan to change that pattern in my life. I’m striving to live a healthier life so I won’t be a burden to others in my final years. And, I have prepared for a peaceful end-of-life journey, whenever it comes. I plan on having a good death as part of the legacy I shape.

As I consider my epilogue, my conviction is renewed to live with greater intention—one change, improvement, or accomplished goal at a time. I do hope my epilogue will describe a woman who loved others well and lived to give glory to God.

QUESTION: What is one small change you can make this week or month that could shape the epilogue of your life? Will you please join the conversation by sharing this post via social media with your comment using #epilogue?

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