Written by guest blogger Joel Gardner
In 2015, my wife, birth-daughter, and I decided to expand our family of 3 into a family of 7 by adopting 4 amazing children. My wife and I immediately found ourselves buried with the difficulties of merging two families, dealing with the intricacies of adoption, and figuring out how to manage a home with 5 children.
Around the same time we adopted our children, I had just begun writing a book on how to get the most important things done in life. You can likely imagine that writing this book took a backseat to more jugular needs of taking care of our family and my full-time employment. But, through this experience I have learned a lot of things, like
- Raising 5 kids is harder than raising 1
- Earplugs are sometimes necessary at the dinner table
- Mini-vans are both expensive and useful
- My son can take me out with one well-placed roundhouse
More importantly, I learned that there are a few vital strategies for focusing on and achieving what is most important. I learned to use these strategies to help our family come together, to perform well at work, and, yes, to finally write and publish the book I started.
3 Success Strategies for Dads in 2018
Here are 3 the key strategies that fathers (and mothers!) can use to focus on what is most important in their lives. Apply these strategies regularly to focus on being a better dad.
1 Choose Your Focus.
A great dad focuses on his family. For me, this means that (1) I have a job that provides my family with its needs and (2) that I work, teach, and play with my children each day. Now, dads, this does not mean that you have to cease all other activities – Skyrim, civil war reenacting, karate, or volunteer work all have their place. It simply means that to be a great dad, you must give your family first priority. Think of the greatest dads you know or have known. How did they put their families first in their lives? What did they do to be great dads? When you choose to focus on your family, you have made the right choice.
2 Eliminate Distractions.
A great dad eliminates distracting people, media, and clutter from his life. For me, this means limiting social media time, avoiding violent or salacious media, and staying away from the people and circumstances that distract me from my family focus. I know many dads who have given away their greatness to addictions, excessive habits, and negative relationships. Distractions are always there, and you must keep them out of your life to be a great dad. Consider the following questions:
- What habits do you have in your life that reduce your ability to be a great dad?
- What individual or group interferes with your fatherly greatness?
- What distractions disguised as opportunities should you let go to focus on your family?
All worthwhile endeavors require sacrifice. Resolve to eliminate the most distracting obstacle from your life now.
3 Optimize Yourself.
A great dad takes care of his own health. For me, this means sleeping 8 or more hours, exercising, and reading uplifting books and scriptures daily. If you do not care for your body, mind, and spirit, you cannot be a great dad. You must optimize yourself for maximum contribution.
What should you do to optimize yourself?
- Sleep. Get at LEAST 7 hours per night. 8 or 9 is better.
- Nutrition. Clean out the junk and eat whole foods.
- Exercise. Great benefits come from weightlifting, cardio, and sports.
- Spirituality. Read scripture, attend worship services, meditate, or pray – do what helps you stay spiritually grounded.
- Personal rejuvenation. Date nights, time with your friends, hobbies – do what restores and rejuvenates you.
4 Bonus: Do It!
A great dads acts on what is most important. If you are going to be a successful father, (or successful in any other endeavor!) you have got to take positive action. Here are some questions to ponder:
- What one habit could you start to improve your relationship with your wife?
- What do your children need from you that you have not been giving them?
- What specific action could you take to be a better contributor in your work and a better financial support?
Take some time to consider the questions above. Determine what you can do to be a greater dad in 2018, and then take action. Do a little better. Reach a little higher. Do more for your spouse and your children. Take a few minutes RIGHT NOW and do one simple thing that will make you a great father and husband today, and you will be on your way to becoming a great dad.
If you want more motivation, examples and strategies for doing what is most important in life, check out my new book Get It Done. I share what I have learned over years of research on how to get the right things done in life. You can find Get It Done on Amazon.com.
Dr. Joel Gardner is an award-winning professor in the field of learning design and leads a team of outstanding design, media, and assessment experts. An expert in learning and personal change, Joel has taught and trained thousands in several international organizations.
As a scholar, Joel is an expert in learning design, human performance improvement, systematic decision-making, and self-leadership. He resides in Columbus, Ohio, with his incredible wife Katie and their five amazing children.