Making resolutions has become so cliche it’s really not a thing anymore. Everybody still has their version of starting fresh for the new year. Goal setting, list making, purposeful words and so on because it’s January, and everybody likes a fresh start.
Hey, I do too! Even though Jan 1st is just a day, there’s something to the idea that the calendar is starting over. We have a chance to reboot the system. We can either start some new intentions or get a do-over.
As part of my planning for the new year and rebooting my system, I’m looking back over last year. Looking at my year in review, there were some things that really worked for me. Not only did I try to focus on my goals, I implemented some habits that really helped me feel I was making progress and staying on track.
Jeff Groins, blogger and writer, wrote a really great post about creating habits instead of goals , and it really was a lightbulb moment for me. I still want to have goals, but creating habits will help me towards making daily (hopefully) progress towards those goals.
Here are a few of my life hacks to help me pursue my goals for the coming year:
–Exercise: Ok. let’s get this one out of the way. We all know we’re supposed to exercise, and yet, it’s SO tough to fit it in. I have to be honest with you and say that I don’t always exercise regularly. I struggle with staying committed to it. I’ll go through weeks of working out 3-4 times a week, and then life will get busy. Stopping for weeks at a time, it’s hard getting back into it. When I do exercise, I like to walk or jog outside. My brain and body get refreshed from the fresh air and sunshine. Or, I like to work out with a some exercise videos on YouTube. Finished with my 30 min, I always cheer for myself because feel better when it’s over.
–Sleep– Yeah. Here’s another one. We know we need more of it, but that’s easier said than done. For years, I stayed up later than I should, and then I feel awful the day after. Then, when I feel awful, I am not a productive, nice person. Also, my attitude and mood are seriously affected. Not enough sleep=”I can’t do this life”. Enough sleep=”I can do anything!” So, I’m making myself get in bed earlier and it makes SUCH a big difference.
–Weekly planner: I’m a list writer. When there are 20 things running around in my head that I need to get done, I’ve got to just sit down and write a list. Then I can work my way through it a little easier. However, there were things I wanted to do that I never felt I had time to do. So I took a course on productivity (see the checklist) and it was great! It gave me a way to prioritize my to-do list and to also see how I was wasting time. Now, I have a weekly planning session. On Sunday afternoons, I look at the calendar for the week to see what’s going on. I schedule errands, exercise, and other odds and ends that need to get done. Then, I’ll pencil in the time slots for what I want to get done for things like blogging, plannings events for WoW, studying and preparing for speaking sessions, etc. Menu planning is even easier when I decide what I’m going to make for the week (see below). A weekly planner has turned my to-do list into a more effective strategy that allows me to do more of want I want to do. See the checklist for some links to planner and productivity ideas.
–Chore checklist: This life hack is the most recent strategy I’ve put into place. It’s actually for the kids, but I’m already loving it! Don’t you hate it when you spend your life saying things like “Did you brush your teeth? Did you make your bed?” Yep, me too. So, with the help of my daughter, we created a weekly chore checklist and a daily checklist of tasks for the kids to do. At the end of the week, they get an allowance for completing the checklist. I was blown away by the way my kids used their checklists to get all their stuff done. And I didn’t have to say the same things over and over again. We’re still in the training stages of this process, so I’m still showing the kids how to do some of the tasks. But, when they can do the lists independently, I’ll have even more free time to do other things on my weekly planner. Win-Win!
–Crockpot/Meal planning: Alright, I’ve gotten better at meal planning with the weekly planner. Using the crockpot to get supper started even before I leave the house for the day is an awesome time saver! This early morning preparation allows me to spend more time in the evenings doing other things on my list or with the kids. The key to successfully using the crockpots for a handy meal is prep and planning. I’ve got to remember to lay out the meat the night before. Or, while I’m cooking supper on Monday night, I’m getting the crockpot ready for Tuesday night’s meal.
–Daily bible reading– A couple of years ago, I decided to read through the entire Bible in one year. I had never read the entire Bible from cover to cover. Let me tell you, it took dedication to stick with it, but I’m SO glad I did. Even when I didn’t fully understand what I was reading, the daily habit developed in me a taste for the Word. If I go through a time of not reading the Bible, opening it up and reading from feels so good! It’s like feeding my soul! See the checklist for some websites that offer Bible reading plans!
–Lunch study: Here’s another beneficial habit. Since it’s hard to find time to be alone at home, I try to do my quiet time study during my lunch at work. This study time has been vital to keeping me connected to God throughout the day. I read or study the Bible and spend some time in prayer all while listening to worship or instrumental music. It’s been some really good time with God.
–Silence/solitude: Before the day gets started, I spend some time in silence before God. I meditate on God’s love or the character of God. When my mind is going a thousand different directions, this discipline can be very difficult. It’s been a work in progress, for sure. But I really love the focus and feeling connected to God. I try to make this apart of my lunchtime routine as well. Look for the resources on the checklist for silence and solitude.
–Sabbath rest: This is the last but not least of my life hacks. A couple of years ago, I began to learn more about a Biblical Sabbath and the benefits of practicing it weekly. You can check out the checklist to learn more about it. But I’ll tell you, it’s done me a world of good! My mind feels clearer. I have more mental and physical strength to tackle a new week. I feel more productive. I really believe the same spiritual benefits of tithing can also be received when practicing Sabbath. God blesses the 90% of your finances when you joyfully tithe the 10%. He blesses the 6 days of work when you joyfully rest on the 7th. More than any of the other life hacks, this one has helped all the others work more effectively.
So there you have it! My contribution to help you get started on a great New Year!
You probably have some life hacks of your own. You may be in a different season of life and have some ideas for what works for you. I’d love to hear about them! Leave a comment or post yours on the Women of the Way TN Facebook page!