Even pastors have pastors... have you ever thought about that? And one of my husband's favorite pastors did a sermon series years ago that has always stuck with him. So much, in fact, that he decided to start 2013 by teaching the principles from it to our church. If you're a person who sets goals or makes new year's resolutions, I think these would apply to you. If you're a person who doesn't, I honestly think it still applies to you.
The idea is simple: in order to make your life better and achieve big things, you just have to do five things everyday. You don't have to do them all day; just everyday. The literal example that he gave was about chopping down a tree. Sure, you can hack and hack at it all day long until you pass out, or you can just take five swings at it everyday, and eventually it will fall. If you chopped at it all day, you'd hate it. If you chopped at it a little bit everyday, you still have the joy of seeing it fall down, and the process of making it happen was not something that was terrible. In this world of instant gratification this is a hard concept to wrap our heads around. People quit diet plans two weeks in because they have not lost any weight. YET. So often we don't do something long enough to get to the YET.
Soooo... in an effort to make my list of five, I first thought about what I would want to have accomplished by the end of 2013... my big goals if you will, so certainly not my everyday five things. Here's my list:
- Read more. I'd like to get through 13 books in 2013. That doesn't sound like much to most people, but I am a ridiculously slow reader and do not make it a priority.
- Learn scripture. I knew many key verses, but I want to add to add to it.
- Run 13 races, including a marathon. The more I say that last part out loud, the more committed I become to it. With this, I'm hoping just to be in better shape overall and finish the year thinner and more fit than I started it.
- Play a key role in building and growing our women's ministry at TurningPoint Church. Our retreat was just the start, and there is so much more that can be done!
Granted, there may be more, but that's all I have off the top of my head. After thinking about these big goals, and just my priorities in general, I was able to see the small everyday things that I could do to work toward them, and a better life in general. So without further ado, these are my FIVE for 2013:
- Daily quiet time for reading, studying the Bible, and praying. This works toward #1 and #2 listed above, but it also just improves my mood when I do it. Being consistent is where I faulter.
- Dedicated time with my kids and husband everyday for at least an hour. This may seem odd since my kdis are home with me most of the time, but that's where the word dedicated comes in. I want to spend more time with them without checking my phone, my email, or while I'm distracted with housework or cooking dinner. They'll only be little for so long. I don't want to miss it. Same goes for Josh. We need to ditch the phones more often when we are hanging out.
- Exercise everyday. This could mean a run or even just some sit-ups while watching TV if I didn't get in a workout that day. And without this, I'll never accomplish the 13 in 13, and certainly not a 26.2 mile race!
- Encourage, pour into, or serve one person everyday. I know some incredibly encouraging and giving people in this world, and I admire them greatly. Even if it's just a text message or a phone call to tell someone I'm thinking about them that day, I think it will help me think of myself less and think of others more.
- No Facebook or blog browsing during the workday. I'm not sure if a rule like this really goes into the five, but this is essential for me. I get into cyclical bad habits with how much blogs and the Internet suck me in, and right now it's back to a level that I'm not happy with. I do enjoy both things, but they can wait. I often complain that I don't have enough time to blog, work on our long overdue photo books, read (see #1), etc., but when I look back on my day I had logged plenty of time perusing the Internet. I just need to get back to managing my time better like I used to. It's all a matter of habit.
So I think that this about sums it up... sounds easy enough, right? Hopefully I can post periodically throughout the year about how it's going and hopefully those posts will be positive. If you choose to try this method as well, here are some tips that can help after you find your five:
- Prioritize Your Five - put it on your calendar or into your daily schedule!
- Enjoy Your Five - remember, doing a little everyday will help you not get burnt out. You don't have to do your five all day, just a little bit everyday.
- Fight For Your Five - be intentional about keeping your "appointments." If you have daily quiet time scheduled during your kids' nap time and a friend calls to chat right then, just ask if you can call later. Surely you can get back to him or her when you're in the car later or after the kids have gone to bed.
- Evaluate Your Five - every few weeks, revisit your list and see how you're doing. If you aren't doing some or all of them everyday, don't stress out... just start anew! If you have started some or all of them everyday, track your progress and celebrate the wins! It's all about baby steps.
As soon as the message from this weekend is on the Internet I'll add it, too, since it was absolutely fantastic and worth watching at the start of this new year. Hopefully it will help you accomplish those bigger goals, too!