Yesterday, I wrote about my year of FOCUS, and how I came to declare a word over this year, even though I used to secretly make fun of the word-of-the-year trend.
Thinking about what FOCUS looks like isn’t quite as straight-forward as my previous years’ goal making method. While I think the 7-categories-method is really good, it’s just not going to work this year.
This year, the “goals” are blurrier. Focusing in my day to day is more of a lifestyle change. Getting back to the foundational disciplines of life.
Here’s what it’s going to start out looking like. Who knows where it will lead…
#1: LESS SCROLLING
Specifically, reading, praying, reviewing memory verses, and working on my daily to-dos instead of mindlessly scrolling social media. Though I’ve considered dropping Instagram and FB all together, I really enjoy keeping up with more distant friends and connecting with blog readers on those platforms.
My general habit-changing process is to follow strict rules at first, then lax up once new habits have been instilled. (I highly recommend the book, “The Power of Habit,” to help you identify bad habits and replace them with new habits! It was one of the best books I read in 2016.)
I’ve already been working on replacing the habit of checking-social-media with reading or doing something around the house, if I have several minutes. If I only have a minute or two, I’ve been reviewing memory verses instead of scrolling.
Already, the payoff is amazing. I’m getting more things done but feeling less overwhelmed. I’m getting enough sleep. I’ve read a few books the past couple weeks, and checked out 5 more from the library. My brain feels clear – I can think straight. Truly, I have not walked into a room and forgotten why I went there in 3 weeks. And that’s saying something.
#2 – FINANCIAL
The main financial goals this year are stick to the budget & save save save.
The darn grocery budget got out of control when we were in full-blown newborn mode. I have no idea what happened. It was just every man and kid for himself, make sure everyone gets fed. Ya know. In the past few weeks, I’ve gotten back on track with more efficient, cost-effective meal planning and we’re kicking budgeting butt. Nothing like a new year and a failed debt-payoff goal to motivate you to shop the Aldi sales.
Speaking of failed goal – we set a CRAZY debt-payoff goal last year.
Annnnd we failed.
Reach for your dreams, people.
How’s that for some real-life inspiration?
Anyway, we worked really hard, but ended up replacing my car (by paying cash for a used minivan- cool mom alert), and hitting the brakes on the extra loan payments in November to start saving for a down payment. (Which we then changed our minds about and dumped toward debt in 2017). So we didn’t hit our crazy 2016 debt payoff goal.
We’re back at it though. Nerdy budgeting, minimal spending, and tons of savings. We’re hoping to buy our first house this summer, although we’re open to the Lord’s leading if He tells us to wait. (UPDATE: He told us to wait… we paid off our debt first!)
#3 – BIBLE STUDY
Right after I have a baby, I tend to rely on sermon podcasts for the bulk of my quiet time. The postpartum quiet time is kinda whenever I can fit it in a day, and sometimes not at all.
Elliot started sleeping through the night pretty consistently a couple months ago, so I’ve been able to mostly get up early and read my Bible in the morning. I’ve been praying about a direction to go in for this year’s Bible Study to become more focused in the methods for more long-term understanding and growth.
Inspired by this article and this article, I plan to read through Old Testament Chronologically in one year, using a simplified version of this note taking system. It shakes out to 2-3 chapters per day. I’ll simultaneously work through the New Testament at a slower pace, approximately 5-10 chapters per month. Several New Testament books are shorter than 10 chapters anyway, but I’ll split the longer ones over a couple months each. If I continue in this, it’ll take me a couple years to get through the whole New Testament. I’m really excited to read slowly, repetitively, and methodically. I’m praying the Truth will sink deeper and deeper into my heart and mind, and I’m expectant to see what the Lord has in store this year! The Bible is so life changing!
#4 – FAMILY
FOCUS with my children looks like…
- Being mentally present when I’m with the kids. This has already improved by taking the FB app off my phone and not checking IG throughout the day.
- Blocking out 1-on-1 time for each parent with each kiddo.
Another area I’ve considered focusing on is my eldest child’s obsession with learning. Addie is on the verge of reading and is so excited about learning ALL THE THINGS. She LOVES preschool and is always asking to do “learning time” at home. I bought a couple phonics workbooks, she finished 3 in a week. I’ve considered working with her more intentionally & consistently on this… either prepping a few simple hands-on reading activities for each week, or ordering this book to work through together. We’ll see.
As far as FOCUS in our marriage… When I was in high school, I heard a pastor say the following about investing time in your marriage: 15 minutes a day, 1 night a week, 1 day per quarter, 1 weekend (or week) per year.
That time is to be kid free, phone free, you + spouse time. We’ve mostly stuck to 15 minutes/ day, 1 night/ week, 1 weekend/ year, but this year we’re adding in 1 day per quarter together. We’ll bribe family members to help, or get a sitter, and spend a whole 12 waking hours together kid-free. Yahoo! We also hope to do a couple weekends together this year, keeping at least 1 or 2 super cheap by sending our kids elsewhere and just staying home, hanging out & doing fun stuff around town.
Last but not least. Health. My FOCUSED health plan could be summarized in: less sugar, more water, more exercise.
I finally re-joined the gym last week, along with the rest of America. Though I can barely walk, lift my infant, or operate the clutch in our stick-shift vehicle without shaking, my body and heart are happy.
I’ll go to a strength training class 2 days a week right after preschool pickup, and try to squeeze in at least 1 other cardio session each week. When Elliot drops his morning nap mid-year, then I’ll pick up a little more cardio.
Additionally, I’ve way cut back on sugar. I’ve resisted donuts 3 times in the past 2 weeks and stopped eating sweets for dessert. Winning! In fact, I rewarded myself by baking cookies last night. (Points for honesty?) Anyway, I definitely notice my body wanting sugar and have to mentally work to resist the urge. Sugar is so addicting!
THERE YOU HAVE IT
A new year.
A year of focus.
Anyone want to join me? What areas of life do you need to focus in?
I’m not limiting FOCUS to those categories. Those are just aspects of life I prioritize right now. I’m entering 2017 open-handed and expectant – to see what the Lord has in store. “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord!” (Ps. 31:24)
Let’s do this together, friends!
If you haven’t already, share your goals and/or word for 2017! I’d love to hear. And I won’t judge you if you have a word this year. Haha!
Grace upon grace,