Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cultivating good habits & trying new things

Last year when I set goals, I created a list of twelve new things I wanted to try.  It was an epic failure, because as I've mentioned---my goal setting for last year was far too ambitious and lacked any real direction on how to go about accomplishing my goals.

We are only 25 days into the new year, but going through the process of setting goals according to my priorities has been transformational.  Each week, in addition to working through my to-do list & my cleaning checklist, I've been sitting down with a sheet that has a space for all 8 of my priorities.  I've been setting one or two goals underneath each priority for that week.  For example, this week under my "Work to maintain a clean home and organized life" my goals were to clean out the linen closet & under the guest bathroom sink.  By accomplishing that goal, I worked through another goal of filling a box of items to donate from my stockpile under my priority of "Serve others"---cleaning out those two spaces also meant I got to check them off of my "Areas that need to be cleaned out and organized" list!  :)

While I am getting "stuff done"----I think the better way to sum up how I feel is "I'm being more fruitful with my time, I'm accomplishing my goals & I'm keeping my priorities in check."

In addition to the goals, I'm really striving to cultivate some new habits for myself and the kiddos and I'm wanting to get back to the "try 12 new things".

This month, the habit I'm working to cultivate is spending time in God's word everyday.  One of my goals for the year is to read through the entire Bible using the ESV chronological plan.  By the grace of God, I've managed to spend time every day this month in His word.  While reading the Bible isn't a new habit, reading the Bible every day is.  I'm striving to cultivate this habit & make this a regular discipline in my life.  As I've said before, if I have time to check facebook, I have time to be in His word.

As for the new thing?  This month I made homemade dishwasher detergent!  I have tried this in the past and hated it.  This time I'm using a powder recipe that is a collection of other recipes.  The first few rounds have gone well---I'm going to keep using it, and if I'm still happy with it in the next ten days, I'll post the recipe I've put together from other recipes online.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

book it!

One of my priorities in 2012 is to "seek to provide a healthy lifestyle for myself & family."

A focus area I identified was "developing my mind"--and thus, setting a goal to read at least 12 books happened.

I enjoy reading---and, I tend to read quickly when I set to it.  I'm not a fan of fiction and I enjoy reading things that may not line up with how I choose to live my life---simply because it challenges me in ways I wouldn't be otherwise.  However, I also find it really important to read books that also challenge me to develop new skills, habits & sharpen old ones in my roles.  I know many are put off by marriage and parenting books, but while I don't take everything they say to heart---I think there are often some good things to gain from reading extra books.

My book list for 2012

(I've already finished three books since we've been sick and relaxing a lot around here!)

A Love that Multiplies
Sacred Marriage (reading this with the husband--we are halfway through it from last year)
Love and Logic for Early Childhood
The Help
Wrestling Prayer
Satisfy my Thirsty Soul
Choosing to See
What Women Fear
Love Times Three
Loving the Little Years
Decision Points

I have many other books I might add to this list or change out---but I'm hopeful to finish at least 12 books by the end of the year!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

getting priorities straight---aka, a really long post about goal setting.

We're all still battling various illnesses here. It has slowed us wayyyyyyy down in the last few weeks. As I jokingly told my husband, we are well on our way to meeting our deductible for 2012---thanks to an ER visit, two doctor's visits & three prescriptions for our little family of four.

 Goodness.  Honestly, being forced to slow down has been good for us. We've had time to read, reflect &; REALLY plan for 2012.

A few months ago I set out to "goal set" with a prayerful heart. I had been telling my husband for weeks that I didn't want to set goals according to my own agenda this year---but that I wanted to set goals with my most important roles in mind.  I have the temptation to see what someone else is doing and want to jump on that bandwagon….and when my attempts to “match” don’t work out, I get down on myself & my skills. 

I’m sure I’m not alone in playing the comparison game.

With a few months of prayerful processing, journaling & the planning sheets from Moneysaving mom, I've put pen to paper on what is really on my heart for 2012. Instead of setting out with grand ideas of what I want to do, I first put in writing what my priorities are (or ought to be). Truthfully, if you were to glance into my life even a month ago you would think my priorities were facebook & reality TV.

Starting first with my priorities and listening to what God has laid on my heart led me to set goals---and put meaning behind them. I think it's also helped put pure intentions behind my goals & actions recently. I don’t feel like I’m playing a comparison game or working to be someone I’m not---I feel really excited about what God has laid on my heart & actions I’m taking to be fruitful in these areas.

My Priorities....

-Having a growing and authentic relationship with the Lord

-Continuing to nurture and deepen my relationship with my husband

-Nurturing, loving, teaching & enjoying my children with lots of patience & grace

-Continuing to live a frugal lifestyle

-Seeking to provide a healthy lifestyle for myself and family

-Working to maintain a clean home and organized life

-Serving others and being faithful and fruitful in areas of service

-Developing new skills and sharpening others as a homemaker

Using the formula provided by Money Saving Mom, I first identified my priorities—then focus areas within those priorities---and then smaller goals to fit in those focus areas.  Sounds tedious, but what a wonderful exercise this has been!

For instance, my relationship with the Lord holds its place as my first priority.  Nurturing that relationship in my opinion requires time in God’s word, a devoted prayer life, reading additional books to challenge my heart and mind, etc.  One of my smaller goals that fit under these focus areas is reading through the Bible this year following a chronological plan.

I have done this process for each of my priorities—listing “focus” areas & then creating many smaller goals off of that.  Hopefully I’ll be able to share more about that throughout the year!

Do I expect to meet all my goals?  Maybe not. I’m still a mom of two little ones & a wife to a husband whose schedule requires more flexibility & patience on my part than I’m generally willing to give.  I’m only guaranteed one evening a week at home with him & thus plans (meals, projects, dates, etc) change…all the time!  But I’m thankful to have some sense of direction & a plan to achieve and sharpen myself in some areas.