toliveonpurpose

For where you treasure is, there will your heart be also…

Archive for the month “January, 2012”

Results: Day 21 of 21

Wow! In some ways the 21 days went fast. In other ways, it feels like it’s been a forever journey!

Today’s reading is titled “Discipline begets discipline”. So true. I posted about this the other day. It’s sort of like motivation. I feel like once I get doing something, it gets me going and to keep going is much easier. I am looking forward to continuing to work on the habit and goal I have been working on these past 21 days and also excited about adding more goals. I’ve most definitely gained some motivation from doing this challenge, as well as some great tips to help for greater future success! I feel like I’ve gotten the ball rolling and set myself up for being motivated for more discipline to come!

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Results: Day 20 of 21

Today’s challenge is to just do things that need to be done instead of putting them on a list or thinking about them too much. Specifically, the things that only take a minute or two to do. Why think about them so much when we could just take action immediately and then it’s DONE! I’ve been thinking about this lately, actually. There will be things lying around that I need to take care of and sometimes it seems like it’s going to be such a hassle, so I put it off… and put it off… Then one day I just get tired of seeing it lay around, so I deal with it. And guess what? It wasn’t that bad.

I recall recently reading somewhere to make a list of all of the things that you WANT to get done, but don’t need to be done immediately (the non-everyday type tasks). It was recommended to put just ONE thing from that list on your to-do list every day. Then it’s a very realistic way to get those things done without getting overwhelmed about it.

This challenge has been so encouraging in so many ways. One way is just knowing that someone else out there shares some of the same struggles that I have. And being given tips and a plan to deal with those struggles in order to overcome them is a great gift!

Tomorrow is the last day. Excited to see what’s in store and then to ponder the progress I’ve made and the goals to strive toward going forward. This is awesome! I’m feeling so EMPOWERED!!!

Results: Day 19 of 21

Wow. Only 2 more days left. This has certainly been a whirlwind for me. I already feel like I need a review. There’s been a lot to take in and ponder, as well as ACT on!

Today’s post has to do with “Getting it done early.” This is such a SIMPLE concept. Not EASY, but SIMPLE. I think it also has a lot to do with HABITS. A lot of the tips provided to help us to succeed in meeting deadlines, getting places on time, etc, have to do with being PREPARED and just doing things as they come, instead of waiting for later. This is so true. Crystal referred us to a post by Mandi Ehman from SimpleMom.net. Mandi says “Whenever possible, get it — whatever it may be — done early and eliminate the stress and frustration of being pulled in a million directions.” Isn’t this just so true?!?! Mandi says that “getting it done early” is the key to SUCCESS. Wow. How different would my day, my MOOD, my stress level be if I were to follow this in all areas of my life? A lot of it has to do with KEEPING UP, instead of letting things build up. Some of her practical ideas are PLANNING MEALS ahead (maybe weekly), PREPPING food all at once (cutting up veggies, dividing meats, etc), FOLDING LAUNDRY right out of the dryer, practicing the TOUCH-IT-ONCE rule to eliminate papers/clutter everywhere, PREPPING backpacks (or diaper bags in my case!) when you get home so they’re ready for the next day.

So, like I said- this concept is quite SIMPLE, but not EASY. But the benefits definitely are worth it! I know this from experience- especially when I PLAN ahead, it makes things go soooo much smoother. Then, if there is a BUMP in the road, or something skews the schedule, it’s not AS big of a deal and it’s easier to get back “on track”. Also, “just do it” pops into my head because it doesn’t involve THINKING- especially when it comes to the daily stuff- like putting things away, doing laundry, dishes, etc. I need to tell myself to STOP THINKING ABOUT IT so much and JUST DO IT! It will be so worth it and rewarding to have made the accomplishment. Plus, some of these things may just end up being new habits. Wouldn’t that be great? 🙂

Results: Day 18 of 21

This is good. Talking about embracing who God made us to be and not comparing ourselves to others or feeling guilty because they do something we don’t do (or do it better). It got me to thinking (imagine that!)… I think most of us have people who we admire or look up to. Do we want to be LIKE them? Or do we want to BE them? I think there’s nothing wrong with wanting to share some of the good characteristics or habits of those we look up to. Another great thing is when others INSPIRE us with some of the amazing things they do. It’s just important that we don’t start trying to be more like them instead of being happy with who we are and using our own uniqueness to be effective.

The challenge today is to think about who God made us to be and to ponder if we are doing the best we can with the energy, gifts, talents and resources that God has given us in this season of life. She says if we are, then we have no reason to feel guilty if our life or goals don’t look like someone else’s. My advice, if the answer is no, is to prayerfully consider how we can be used more effectively and then GET UP and DO SOMETHING!!!

Results: Day 17 of 21

I am really glad to have today’s topic in the 21 Day Challenge. Today, Crystal addresses not comparing ourselves to others- specifically in the area of goals/habits. She mentioned that we should not feel badly if we do not get up as early as she does, since getting up early was a goal she had mentioned she was working on forming into a habit.

I was glad to see this and really found freedom in what she wrote. She also said how she is in a season of life now where certain goals for her make more sense. For example, getting to bed early and getting up early are much more feasible for her now since she has no baby, is not pregnant, and her children sleep through the night. She said there was a time in her life when it would not have been the wise or healthy thing to do to try to get up early. This is so important to remember.

Seasons of life can change so quickly. Some seasons may seem like they are lasting forever, but I think it’s really good to see what types of habits and goals are REALISTIC for the particular season we are in. For example, one thing I’ve been trying to do is to keep the main living area in the house cleaned up- especially at the end of the day, and to try to maintain some semblance of order throughout the day, putting things away right away, etc. During this season of my life, while having young children at home, between toddler toys and baby gear, I’m finding that my definition of “order” may need to be a little more lax and that it will need to be “ok” for now. I need to find a point of tolerance where it is manageable to find order and be content with that. 🙂 I also need to remember to apply this to other goals that I have and really determine if they are realistic for this season of my life.

Results: Day 16 of 21

Unfortunately, the post that I forced myself to write last night did not get saved before my computer quit cooperating. Honestly, I have no idea what I even wrote, since it was very late. I do remember doing it, typing with one hand as I held a certain sick little baby in the other arm. 

So, I’ll just do a new post now. 🙂

Today’s reading was about doing those tasks that we most avoid FIRST, then they’re DONE, we don’t have them lingering over our heads and it gives us momentum to keep going with the other tasks on our list!

This has been something I’ve been pondering lately, as there are some tasks that I just seem to avoid for some reason, even though they aren’t necessarily “difficult”. So, I have been trying to figure out why I avoid certain things and devise a plan to help myself to not fall into the avoidance trap and just get them done! Sometimes there are adjustments that need to be made in other areas that will affect the avoided tasks or chores. I’m hoping this will help. Sometimes I find it’s important to see where our weaknesses are and recognize ways to combat them that will be effective in producting our desired result.

Results: Day 15 of 21

So, this discipline thing is “testing me” lately! I have to admit that I’ve had to exercise some real discipline recently, forcing myself to get some of these blogs posted at the end of the day, when some of these days have been quite long and draining. It has certainly been a challenge, and I’m sure glad that it’s an exercise in discipline, and a good reminder of why I’m even DOING this challenge- because let me tell ya, the temptation has been there to just skip it and do it in the morning, but that’s not the commitment I made, and that would not be exercising the discipline that I’ve been trying to strengthen!

So, with that said, today’s reading was about the importance of evaluating what we say “yes” and “no” to. Lucky for me, this was an issue that I really dealt with several years ago, around the time I finished college (okay, I guess I should accurately say “many” years ago, since several insinuates less than that). I used to be a very, very extremely active, involved, and over-committed person, back in my “younger years.” I remember back in my junior high, high school and college years, I was CONSTANTLY on the go. If I could possibly find some way to squeeze something into my schedule, I’d do it. It never seemed to be a big issue then, but I knew by the time I finished college, that I needed to make some adjustments, so I pulled out of pretty much all of my commitments. (It also helped that I was heading to Mexico for 10 weeks.)

The thing I’ve realized though, is that this type of thing is something that I always need to stay aware of and be “on guard” because it’s easy to get back into that type of whirlwind, crazy schedule of being over-committed, stretched too thin, “busy”, etc. I want to spend my time wisely since how I spend my time affects my family, my home, my relationships, my overall effectiveness in all of my roles, including ministry, etc.

When deciding if I should or shouldn’t do something, I can’t simply evaluate if it’s a “good” or even “great” thing. I could fill my schedule with entirely awesome things, but that doesn’t mean that’s the right thing to do. Besides, I could be committing to something, only because I feel obligated, when really, I may be taking the opportunity away from someone else who was being called but had not had the opportunity to step up. I remember first hearing that concept back in a Sunday School class I attended MANY years ago about Mary and Martha. That hit me. Just like the story of Mary and Martha, from Luke 10, Jesus did not say that by serving and tending to her guests that Martha was doing the WRONG thing, but Jesus told her that Mary has chosen what is “better” by spending time at Jesus’ feet. Sometimes I need to remember that there are times and seasons for things. Sometimes when asked to do something, I think to myself ,”Sure, I am available/capable, etc, but is this something I SHOULD do? Is this something I should say YES to or not?” Most of the time I find that I really just need to prayerfully consider my involvement/commitment. I tend to find that God has a way to let me know what is “better.”

I have found that it’s important to do things for the right reasons. There are times, yes, that we need to just step up and do something because it needs to be done, but if our heart’s not in something, it’s probably going to be pretty difficult to be real effective doing it. Sometimes, too, if we do something out of sheer obligation, we can end up really being turned off or with a sour taste when it doesn’t go as expected.

I also love how Crystal points out that “if I say yes to one thing, I must say no to something else.” So true, and a good point to help us to decide if the trade-off is worth it. Both could be good things, so it may be a tough decision- but one we must make nonetheless.

I’m glad I was able to see and address my over-commitment “problem” years ago. I have experienced the “freedom” and peace that come with being able to evaluate commitments before I make them and to, in turn, make wise decisions because of evaluating the cost ahead of time. I had to come to grips that it is OKAY to say NO sometimes, even if it feels like I’m disappointing someone or letting someone down. To reverse Crystal’s quote- “When I say NO to something, it means I’m saying YES to something else.” It’s not like we’ve LOST something – we’ve GAINED something “better.”

Results: Day 14 of 21

Today’s reading really hit home with me. The topic is about setting ourselves up for success in reaching our goals.

I can honestly say that “I am not a morning person.” Which does NOT mean that I can’t make myself get up early and be productive (that would be giving up the opportunity for me to be able to make a change). It just means that I’m not NATURALLY inclined to do that. I am definitely a “night owl” and find my most productive times to naturally be at night. This, of course, starts a nasty cycle of even more difficult mornings since I end up “being productive” way too late into the night to be able to get up at a decent time (and feel sane). I’ve been pondering this whole thing a lot lately and trying to decide if it’s even worth trying to get up earlier, when it’s such a troublesome thing and I could just go with the natural energy I get at night (okay, yes, sometimes it is CAFFEINE- but I guess that’s still “natural”) 😉 and have my productive time then. It’s kind of a sticky situation getting up early because if I get up early in order to be productive before the kids get up, sometimes it backfires because they end up waking up early, too. So, that’s why it’s sort of sticky right now, at least at this point in my life with kids at the ages mine are. I still think I need to make some adjustments to my schedule because I do find that it helps me out a lot just to be up before the kids and be able to start my day with some focus, even if I’m not “busy” doing chores, etc. Just to get my mindset right for the day – maybe even some reflective devotional time – makes a big difference in feeling prepared for the day and just seems to help it go more smoothly.

So, I felt the need to address that topic, since it was the example used in today’s reading, even though that is not the current goal I am working on. As far as my particular goal, I am going to be contemplating what may be hindering me (or potential hindrances) from successfully following through. Also, I’m challenged by the application section to take steps to set myself up for better success. I think one big thing is having those goals, milestones, bite-sized pieces WRITTEN DOWN and VISIBLE so that I don’t lose track in the day-to-day grind. I notice that happens to me. I will be so focused and all excited and ready to achieve something and then… LIFE HAPPENS. It could be a routine/schedule change, sickness, etc. I’m pretty sure this happens to other people, too.  So, I think since there’s nothing that can be done about life “happening”, I just need to find a way to still achieve the goals, despite the distractions, setbacks, etc, that just happen as a part of life.

Results: Day 13 of 21

Wow. I feel like this period of 21 days is going fast. And yet I feel like there has been so much to think about, mull over and work on that I almost feel like it’s been forever. Weird.

Well, today’s challenge is about reading motivational books, specifically those related to self-discipline. I definitely love to read these types of books and always have. Problem is that I like reading them so much that I often end up in the middle of several at the same time, then something happens to get me off-track of reading and then I finish none of them. They end up back on my bookshelf with a bookmark partway through. By the time I pick them up again, I need to start all over because I’ve already forgotten what I’ve read! Yikes! This is frustrating. I like Crystal’s idea to set page number goals for each week. I feel like this is very realistic since it’s not another daily task to add to the list. My day is just not regimented enough to make sure this would get done every day. I’ve never been that regimented and that is fine with me. I like mixing up my routine (or getting it mixed up without my doing!), as long as I can still find the time to do these types of things over the course of the week. So, I will be choosing a book very soon to complete by this time next month, if not before then.

I have to just share an exciting victory for me tonight! 🙂 I started implementing the “15 minute” rule to get something accomplished (particularly for me, something I’ve been neglecting – due to “fear” or just laziness). I told myself I only had to tackle some piles of things to put away for 15 minutes. Well, the exciting thing is that I happened to have time to keep going even after the 15 minutes was up and since I was on such a roll, I wanted to complete the task. I did and I have to say that it really wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be and I feel GREAT now that it’s done. 🙂 So, that strategy can be very successful. Definitely helps to set ourselves up for success (just 15 minutes would have still been more than what I had done already)! It was exciting to have had even more success than I had anticipated. 🙂

Results: Day 12 of 21

Great reminder in today’s challenge to focus on staying focused. 🙂 Crystal breaks this down into 2 steps: 1) Remove Distractions and 2) Focus on a small piece at a time. I love how practical these are. And so very important.

With the removing of distractions, it’s important to know ourselves and to be one step ahead in making sure those things don’t totally throw us off-course and to know how to get them out of the way so we can still achieve our goals.

The “small piece” way of breaking our goals down really cuts down on feeling like the goals are too overwhelming and increases our chances of reaching the goals. I love her suggestion to work on something (piles of clutter, in her example) for just 15 minutes a day. I notice a big difference when I set the timer. Sometimes I don’t realize how long I may spend just sitting down at the computer “quick” to look up something, read emails, Facebook, etc. When I have the timer set in order to work in a specific area and I get de-railed, that timer quickly holds me accountable as I can clearly see how much time I’ve just spent doing something that did not cut the clutter! It also makes it almost “fun” like a game! This is a good reminder and I’m going to take her advice and grab my timer and try to squeeze a quick 15 minutes in each day to work on something I’ve been avoiding or something that just seems to daunting to tackle all at once. I believe that little chunks of time add up to significant things, just like pennies add up to significant amounts of money. (And anyone who knows me well, knows I truly believe the latter!) 😉

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