Monday, April 11, 2011

Everyday Goals

Everyday Goals for 2011

Say Yes
Smile more
Give thanks
Pray more, talk less
Less time online
Breakfast earlier
Bed earlier
Don’t procrastinate
Say no

I typed out this little list of “Everyday Goals” shortly after the new year. I’ve never been one to make resolutions, but since I took the step of “naming my year” I wanted to have some small, realistic goals to help me along my road to joy. Now we’re a few months into the year, and I thought it would help me to revisit this list. I really ought to print it out on some pretty paper and put it up where I’ll see it more often. (I think I should add “stop saying I really ought to” to my list.)

Here are the “baby steps” I set out to work on this year:

Say Yes
 Say yes to the kids when what they're asking for is reasonable, even if it might not be what I have planned, even if it inconveniences me in some way. Try to at least pause and think before just blurting out no. 

Smile More 
I've noticed that the physical act of making myself smile, even when I don't feel like it, can change not just the tone of my voice, but the attitude I have. I so often have an "edge" to my voice when correcting (for the fiftieth time!) some child, or instructing someone who isn't really listening. I listened to an excellent seminar called Hold on to Your Kids and the speaker stressed the importance of "collecting" our kids- taking a moment to get in their face in a friendly way, engage their eyes, get them smiling and nodding- before we give them some direction.  This seems to work wonders, and reinforces my resolve to smile more. 

Give Thanks
I wrote a bit about this when I shared my desire to become a more joy-filled person. This is a real discipline, and one I'm working on cultivating. After noticing many people talking about it, I finally decided to read One Thousand Gifts. It has been a real blessing, as Ann Voskamp fleshes out the connection between living a life of gratitude and being filled with joy. I felt like it was the perfect time for this book to come into my life, right after I'd made a commitment to foster joy in my heart. Highly recommended! I've started my own little gratitude journal and am up to about 150 things so far. Writing them down is very helpful.

Pray More, Talk Less
This is hard to do! "Pray and then speak. That's what to do with your children. If you are constantly lecturing them, you'll become tiresome and when they grow up they'll feel a kind of oppression. Prefer prayer and speak to them through prayer. Speak to God and God will speak to their hearts. That is, you shouldn't give guidance to your children with a voice that they hear with their ears. You may do this too, but above all you should speak to God about your children. Say, "Lord Jesus Christ, give Your light to my children. I entrust them to You. You gave them to me, but I am weak and unable to guide them, so, please, illuminate them." Elder Porphyrios

Less Time Online
I don't think that really needs any explanation!

Eat Breakfast Earlier
I have a hard time getting going in the morning, which leads to the next one...

Go to Bed Earlier
So, so hard to do! By the time the kids are settled down, Erik and I really like to just relax, but it's easy to stay up way too late. 

Don't Procrastinate
So often I put off the little things that really wouldn't take long to do. I'm trying to be better about just taking a moment to pick up a book, or a toy, or to carry something to a room I'm walking to anyway. It does make a difference!

Say No
My first goal was to say yes to my kids, and this one is to say no- to other things. Things that take my time and attention from serving my family and being content in my own home. They could be relationships, commitments, hobbies, opportunities, or "things" that distract me from what is given to me in the moment.