My Gifts to Myself for 2013

Tomorrow is the start of a new year and after spending some time looking back over the past year, I know what I want for myself for this coming year. You could call them New Year's Resolutions or goals, but I'm calling them gifts that I am giving myself. I am calling them gifts because they are things that I want to do for myself to strengthen my overall well-being: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It is my hope to end 2013 stronger than I began it. Time Management

The biggest key for the next year is to work on my time management skills. Time seems to dissipate some days and I know that there are many things that I do that waste time or don't make the best use of my time, like...ahem...Twitter, Facebook. I probably don't need to check them a million times a day. ;) In the interest of making better use of my time, I created a schedule for me and my family. I created one last year and it helped some, but I was too detailed with it and filled every time slot in the day. Mind you, they were all important tasks, but I learned from that experience that I do not like to have my weekends scheduled. So for this new schedule, I scheduled my days M-F and kept Saturday and Sunday open, except for my morning routine (I'll get into that shortly). There are a few time slots during the week that are empty and I chose to leave them so because I know that other things will arise during the day and schedules can run over too. These empty slots give me a cushion in my day.

Another key component to the schedule is making the most of the time that the kids are awake and home from school. The time after school and before bed goes so fast that it seems like we hardly ever get the things done with the kids that we want to. The kids have a few chores that they are supposed to do, but we have been lacking in the follow-through because we simply forget about them. But we believe that it is important for them to contribute to the household and learn life skills, so I have created a space in the schedule for their chores in addition to the family time. Life can't be all playtime, even for children. They should be taught about balance in life too. No one, old or young, needs all work or all fun. A balance of the two is healthy for us all.

AM Routine

The other key to accomplishing what I hope to this year is my morning routine that I have created for myself. Morning is the best time to get certain things accomplished. I've tried getting up earlier to get things done in the past but I used that time to get a jumpstart on the day. And I didn't stick to it, because who really wants to get up early just to do laundry or other housework? Now I have realized that a better use of the early morning quiet time is to use that time to exercise, mediate, pray, read, write, and study. The activities and work of the day I can do when the whole house is wake, but these quiet and creative activities are best done first thing in the morning when I am alone and undistracted. Because mornings are a more productive time of day, I have pushed the housework duties that require less thought to the afternoon when my brain is more prone to wandering.

My morning routine now starts at 5:00 AM and since it is vitally important to good health and happiness to be well rested, I have to go to bed far earlier than I had gotten into the habit of doing. At first, the thought of going to bed so early seemed kind of awful (as did the 5 AM wake-up time), but I looked at how I was spending my evenings and realized that I wasn't actually accomplishing anything productive in the evenings. I like to spend some of the evening relaxing with my husband but after a certain time, it becomes more about just vegging on the couch than relaxing together. So I decided to make better use of my time and spend the early part of the evening with my husband then go to bed and read around 9:00 PM. I have been creating this new routine on paper for a few days but only started it in practice yesterday. After hearing me talk about what I wanted out of my days, my husband decided to join me in going to bed early and waking up early too. He is not getting up quite as early as me, but he is getting up early enough for him to have time to ease into his day with some exercise and quiet activities too.

365-Day Project

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I was interested in Marelisa's idea, from Daring to Live Fully.com. Her idea was to decide what you want to accomplish in 2013, then decide what you can do every day to work toward accomplishing that goal. This is her 365-Day Project. I had already formulated my goals for this next year when I read her article. Reading her article gave me the final push that I needed to commit to giving my best to my goals for this year and to commit to my own 365-Day Projects to achieve my goals.

My Intentions for 2013

  • Manage my time well, utilizing my schedule to do so.
  • Strive for balance in my life. Balancing my roles as a wife, mother, student, home manager, self, and dreamer as much as possible. Following my morning routine will help me stay balanced.
  • Grow my creativity by writing and taking photos more.

My 365-Day Projects for 2013

  • Follow my morning routine every day.
  • Write every day.
  • Take a photo every day.

I am really excited for this coming year! I can't wait to see what it has in store for me and to see how I grow and change throughout the year. 2013 is going to be a good year.

Happy New Year!