Progress reports

Lesson 32 Exercise of Recovery Nation returns to the values-based action plans. It asks me to review my progress and see whether my plans need updates. Here’s my thinking on this.

Proactive action plan 1. Counting my blessings. At dinner we do the “what am I thankful for” exercise. Regularly, especially when challenged by life, I should do the exercise internally too.

A. Do the “what am I thankful for” exercise daily, at dinner time, when possible.

B. Reflect deeply on Thanksgiving, anniversaries, and family members’ birthdays, to thank God.

C. When viewing other people’s misfortunes, remind myself of my blessings.

D. When viewing other people’s blessings, remind myself that everyone has blessings and misfortunes.

Progress: After discovering the importance of this value over the past four years, I find myself now getting a bit complacent on this particular action plan. I am a much more grateful person than I ever was. But, I do need to remind myself of my blessings more regularly. For example, today I am very thankful that my wife and I have made some new plans together that give us both some hope. I am thankful that my sons are doing well academically and socially. I am thankful to find myself actively working to support my wife emotionally. And, I am thankful to have such a beautiful and intelligent woman as my partner.

Proactive action plan 2. Honesty. I should remind myself of this value when talking with others.

A. If I do, think, remember, or experience anything I hesitate to tell my wife, due to fear or embarrassment, I must tell her, right away.

Progress: I do believe I am on track with this action plan.

Proactive action plan 3. Maturity. This is really what I always wanted out of life: to be grown-up and responsible for myself. I should remind myself that it requires responsibility and courage.

A. Accept reality. Don’t focus on wishing some fact, past decision, or past action had been different.

B. Make decisions that are not conflicting or incoherent.

C. Focus on the future, not the past.

Progress: I think I am on track. An example is my acceptance that I must retire soon and change careers, as well as my acceptance of the work I must continue doing to try repairing our marriage.

Proactive action plan 4. Being a good husband. This means keeping my wife’s needs and desires prominently in mind.

A. Focus on her happiness. Search for ways to show her a fun or interesting time.

B. Focus on her need for companionship, optimism, and emotional support. Make it a priority to spend time with her. Focus on her when we are together. Do not make any sort of comment that could be negative or discouraging when she talks of her ideas.

C. Search for opportunities to highlight her abilities or accomplishments.

Progress: I am actively working on this each day, but I do need to stay focused on it.

Proactive action plan 5. Being a good father. This means enabling my kids to succeed and to be happy.

A. Make it a priority to spend time with them. Suggest fun and active things we can do together.

B. Make it a priority to discuss their questions and interests.

C. Give them structure, but try to be minimalist in that regard, to avoid creating resentment or dependence.

Progress: This is a work in progress.

Proactive action plan 6. Wanting the best for my family. This means vigilantly monitoring my decisions to avoid selfish behavior.

A. Think, before each decision, about the consequences for my family’s safety.

B. Think, before each decision, about the consequences for my family’s money.

C. Think, before each decision, about the consequences for my family’s time.

D. Think, before each decision, about the consequences for my family’s happiness.

Progress: I think I am doing fine on this effort.

Proactive action plan 7. Protecting my family. An example is summoning the courage to stand up to my mother, who has a history of criticizing my wife.

A. Think, before each decision, about the consequences for my family’s dignity, honor, and reputation.

B. Speak up quickly when anyone, be it my mother or a stranger, says anything bigoted or disparaging.

C. Drop everything, instantly, to respond to my wife’s concerns about safety, even before stopping to think about whether I fully understand the concerns.

Progress: I think I am doing fine on this, but it demands vigilance.

Proactive action plan 8. Meaningful relationships with my wife and kids. This means being mentally and emotionally present, not just physically present. It means focusing on them, and not being distracted by chores and similar compulsions.

A. When they stop to talk, I should give them my full attention; no multitasking.

B. Take time off to be there for all their special occasions and events.

C. Regularly seek ideas for weekend, holiday, and vacation activities with them, and make plans.

D. Be aware of their emotional struggles, and look for ways to be supportive.

Progress: This seems fine, but requires constant attention.

Proactive action plan 9. Being active. I love exercise and outdoor activity. This also means looking for efficient ways to be active, such as focusing on intensity instead of quantity and being active with other people so that exercise does not distract from my commitments to family.

A. When my wife or kids are available to do something together, invite them to do something active, such as walking, swimming, biking, playing catch, or whatever else might be accessible.

B. Continue my habit of getting 35 minutes of exercise before each normal work day, and don’t increase that quantity until I’m certain I’m working to 100 percent intensity for each of those 35 minutes each time.

C. Look for vacation activities that keep us active, such as skiing or walking tours.

Progress: I’m doing fine on this. Examples include taking advantage of my family’s interest in jumping on the trampoline, playing dodgeball, and riding bikes.

Proactive action plan 10. Being useful. For now, I enjoy this luxury at work and at home. I will thank God if I can continue having the time and opportunity to do work that is useful, for several more decades.

A. Search for my next job.

Progress: On track.

Proactive action plan 11. Lifelong learning. This comes with my career and my wife. In finding my next career, I need to remember this value.

A. Learn new skills or knowledge for my next job.

Progress: I’m practicing teaching.

Proactive action plan 12. Creating new ideas throughout life. My job allows me to exercise some creativity. Writing also helps. I want to be sure my next job also allows me to be creative.

A. Find a job that allows me to lead, create, speak, teach, or write.

Progress: On track. Our newest career change plan opens up more options.

Proactive action plan 13. Improving the community or world. I often look for ways to improve my neighborhood or community.

A. When I inevitably come across something that I want improved in my next community, talk with my wife about my ideas for getting involved and taking action. Consider the school or housing community.

Progress: On track.

Proactive action plan 14. Living with integrity. When faced with daily decisions or interactions, I must keep up my inner dialogue about honesty and courage.

A. Look for ways to be transparent in professional, personal, and business interactions.

B. When I think twice about speaking my mind, remind myself to have courage. As long as I behave in a way I can proudly describe to my wife, I have nothing to fear.

C. When tempted to adapt my behavior in the presence of bosses, co-workers, my birth family, attractive strangers, fellow parents, or other categories of people, remember that I want my behavior to be consistent, regardless of who is there to see me or hear me.

Progress: In progress.

Proactive action plan 15. Living with compassion. When relating to other people, I must maintain my inner dialogue about being empathetic and not being judgmental. There, but for the grace of God, go I.

A. When others, be they family or strangers, treat me harshly, remember to consider their emotional struggles or possible emotional struggles instead of taking it personally.

B. Before judging other people’s behavior, remember they may have faced difficulties that shaped their behavior.

Progress: on track, but this requires vigilance.

I don’t believe the plans need updates now.

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