Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Beginnings

I originally planned to write goals for the new year under the main topics of this blog (motherhood, marriage, faith, body image, homemaking, and femininity). Those are the main focuses of my life and I wanted to target each area. But just before Christmas I finished Jen Hatmaker's book 7: An Experimental Mutiny on Excess. It was the perfect book for me to read just before setting goals for the new year.

I read that book and I experienced so many moments of clarity. In short, the  author decides to rid her life of excess one area at a time, and her approach is pretty extreme. I have often been told I have a "guilty concience." I've been told I need to change that and I need to approach life differently by some that are close to me. "Just let go and let God". But I've never been able to do that and I realized why as I was reading this book.

My guilty concsious was less about consuming myself with guilt and more about needing to change. I feel conviction not guilt most of the time. I have a sensitive spirit, I've always known this and I have always felt that I have a great understanding of what will bring peace to my life (and the lives of those around me).

I have areas of my life that are all too consuming. I don't thrive in over consumption. I cower. I hide. I feel sorry for myself. When my life is more simple, I do thrive. For my spirit, less really is more. Which is why I feel like excess is a temptation for me. Not much else is, so drowning in everything is the only way to take my focus away from the things that matter. I can't "Let go and let God" if I am not letting go of the material (and even abstract) things that suck the life right out of me. I have finally come to the realization that my spirit and body are very connected and they are both incredibly sensitive to the choices I make and the way that I live.

Realizing this and acknowledging this means that I am really excited about this year's goals. Possibly more than any other year. I KNOW without a doubt that they will bring me peace, they will settle my soul, and they will allow me to thrive .I have decided that by simplifying my life and getting rid of excess, I will come more alive as a wife, mother, and woman. I will be able to feed creativity and ambition. I am excited about these goals.

setting goals

I will simplify my life in the following five ways:

Food:
(January/February)After JaiseAnn's first birthday, I am going to start a Whole 30 diet. For thirty days I will not partake of sugars, legumes, wheat, soy, or dairy. 

Less processed foods and overeating should lend itself to more clarity, energy, and more confidence. 

Media:
(March/April) I will uninstall my Pinterest and Instagram app from my phone for 30 days. I will keep my phone in another room during the day and focus on my daughter and my home. I will choose to spend one night per week reading a book or playing a game with Zach INSTEAD of watching a television show. 

Less screen time should lend itself to more quality time with my husband and daughter and more productive and invigorating time for myself. 

Money:
(May/June) I very specifically chose money for this time of year as it is going to be a tighter time for us for a few different reasons. For 30 days I will not ask Zach to pick anything up from the grocery store, I will shop for groceries once a week, with cash in hand--no card! We will not spend any money on extra food, treats, blog sponsorships,or anything extra. For thirty days money only goes to necessities. We are implementing a new budget in January so it will be interesting to see how things look after 30 days of no extra spending after we've been tracking our spending for a few months. 

Less spending should lend itself to more money or a more clear understanding of our budget and what we can do. 

Things:
(July/August) This is the month that we cut out the clutter. I am a clutter hater by nature. I do not like to have things that I don't really love or need or use. However, I'm married to a hoarder extraordinaire (he gets it from both parents, so I have no hope that it will ever change). He keeps every single National Geographic, coin, video game, board game, etc. We have too much stuff in our little house and WAY too much stuff in our garage. In July we will reduce our garage by 100 items. In August we will rid our home of 50 items. I will donate most of these items in a personal way and I will sell others.

Less clutter should lend itself to more order in our home. 

Waste: 
(September/October) I will implement a plan for our family and home for recycling. For thirty days we will recycle all that we can under this plan. I will also freeze items from my garden in abundance, not letting a single thing go to waste. I will research simple ways to reduce water usage and I will reduce the use of water in our home for the thirty days following at least one of the ways I find. 

Less waste should lend itself to more creativity and intentional purchases and actions in our home. 


What about November and December?
In November I will complete my Christmas shopping with the exception of stocking stuffers. I want December to be a month of service and reflection. I want to get myself in the habit of being done with ALL Christmas purchases by December 1st. 2015 will be the beginning of that practice. 

Each month I will check in before beginning and check out after I've completed my goal. I will record my thoughts and feelings after completing each goal and I will set sub goals in those areas to take me through the rest of the year. 

I have always been labeled "guilty." I feel guilty for having too much, I feel guilty for wasting so much, I feel guilty for wasting time, I feel guilty for treating my body so poorly, and on and on.  But the fact is, I have plenty. I have more than I need and it's time to cut back on that. I think my guilt came not from a need to feel guilty, but rather that was my spirit letting me know that I needed to make changes. 2015 will be the year that I listen.

What are your goals for the new year?

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