(“Stephanie, stop beating yourself up. We all make mistakes.”)
Oh, I know (believe me I KNOW). Actually, I’m not beating myself up; instead I’m taking responsibility for my poor choices yesterday. And, really, yesterday was not a totally wasted day. I did get the basics done and a couple of other things as well. Yesterday also reiterated to me just how important it is for me to make these changes. If I do not start living purposefully and start making conscious choices for each hour of each day (within reason – life happens no matter what is on my agenda), I will continue making the mistakes I’ve made in the past. So, I’m going to start over today and start making those conscious choices.
So, here's the plan: I’ve decided that the best way to structure this journey is to make small changes in
five six areas [I decided after thinking about a couple of days, that there is one other area I should add] of my life and focus on them for two weeks. After two weeks I will continue to implement those changes while shifting my focus to five six new changes. Knowing myself as well as I do, there are so many things that I want to change that if I just focus on one area I will not see myself progress quickly enough and will get discouraged, plus it will take a long time to get to all the changes I want to make. But at the same time, I can’t try to change everything at one time either, or I will burn out very quickly. Of course, I have the freedom to adjust this structure if I find it isn’t working. [Edit] I also have the freedom to continue focusing on any particular area indefinitely if I feel the need to do so. These five six "Life Zones" are the areas that impact everything in my life: personal (relationship with God, habits, mental discipline, emotional discipline, academic study), relational (as a wife, as a mother, with extended family, with friends), physical (primarily eating habits and exercising), home (housework, organization, gardening, home improvements, etc), social (civic involvement, community outreach, volunteering, etc.),  and financial (budgeting, prioritizing, spending, saving, giving). So, here is the set of changes I’m going to implement today and focus on the next two weeks:
Personal – Restricting computer time to early mornings before the kids are up, and in the afternoons during naptime. If need be I’ll set a timer to make sure it happens.
Relational – Taking time to have playtime with the kids, outside whenever possible.
Physical – Jogging 2 miles 2 days a week via the Wii. (I read an article recently that said that the best exercise to increase your energy levels is moderate jogging for 1.7 miles, twice a week. It takes 6 weeks to start feeling the full effects, and then you can increase the intensity of your exercise routine.)
Home – Getting back into my one-load-of-laundry-a-day routine (the lack of laundry detergent wasn’t the only reason I haven’t kept up with this routine.
Social – Finding ways to perform my volunteer duties more efficiently.
[Edit] Financial – Getting our spending in line with our budget.
I need to add that I haven't chosen any of these things lightly. I've prayerfully considered where to start and am proceeding as I feel God has shown me to. He is a light to my feet and shows me my path a little at a time with the Ultimate Goal (Christ) ever in sight (Phil 3:14).
If you’d like to join me by adapting this system to your own life, you are more than welcome! You can work on just one life zone, or all
five six, or even add more if that fits best into the structure of your life. Leave lots of comments and let me know how you’re doing and we can encourage each other along the way. If you just want to follow along, you can join my blog (where it says “Join this site” in the right-hand column) to make it easier for you keep up with my posts. And, don’t forget to tell your friends and family about me. The more the merrier! Have an awesome “Fresh Start Tuesday”! ;)