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My overarching goal for 2016 is to make this year my most intentional yet. As I shared in my post from early January, to me living intentionally means that my words, actions and finances are consistent with my ideals. I have been feeling like I owed y’all an update on my efforts… the thing I love most about blogging is that I now have a community of people to whom I am accountable! 🙂
So here is an honest look at my efforts so far.
- I want to be more intentional about the time I spend with my daughter. Recognizing that I needed help to be less distracted with her, I started reading the wonderful book Hand Free Life: Nine Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better and Loving More by Rachel Macy Stafford. It turns out it is taking me a LOOOONG time to get through the book. I’m still only about a third of the way through it. So one stumbling block I’ve found is that it is really hard for me to make time for reading. I’ve realized that it has to become a habitual part of my day again, like it was before baby came along over 3 years ago. I guess I’m still figuring out how to do that! Can anyone out there relate? It is so hard to find time to read with little ones in the house!
- What I have read in Hands Free Life I have really taken to heart. I see myself in Rachel’s description of herself prior to her hands-free revolution: always rushing to get out the door, constantly multi-tasking, driven to accomplish more in a day that is really possible, etc. I have put some of her tips to work, such as striving to have at least 10 minutes of totally dedicated and distraction-free time each day with the ones you love. That means lock the computer and phone away, let go of any nagging thoughts about what you should be doing, and say YES to whatever it is your loved ones invite you to do. I’ve also realized just how much I hold onto past mistakes. So I am also working on surrendering control to be free of past mistakes, another of Rachel’s habits. Overall, I feel more aware of how I am spending my time and my thoughts, and I feel like I really SEE my daughter and husband more, instead of just looking at them all day. Then I can appreciate them for the amazing and unique individuals they are.
- In terms of being intentional with our finances, discovering what is called the 50/30/20 principle has helped hugely. This minimalist approach to budgeting basically means aligning your monthly budget so that 50% of your income goes towards fixed expenses (mortgage, monthly bills, etc.), 30% goes toward flexible spending (groceries, eating out, clothing, entertainment, etc.), and 20% goes toward meeting your financial goals (paying down debt, building an emergency fund, saving for college, etc.). I easily rearranged our monthly budget spreadsheet to put spending into these categories, and was actually surprised that we weren’t as far off from the 50/30/20 principle as I would have thought! It helped me see how we can move some spending from our fixed and flexible expenses into the 20% for meeting our financial goals. I put one savings account on auto-pilot (moving money automatically from checking to savings every month) and I upped our automatic contribution to the college fund. I’m also attempting a “no-spend” month right now as an inquiry into our flexible spending. I’ll share all of the gory details here on the blog next month. 😉
- And lastly, I’ve decided to work on my organization as a way to be more intentional with my time. I have been keeping what I’d call a “modified bullet journal” in which I record everything I would have previously put on a list of any kind. It has been SO helpful when I need to retrieve some piece of information such as my ideas for a Costco shopping list, dates for travel I am helping my family plan, and paint color ideas for our kitchen remodel. I have been using up my planner as well and it helps me be much more focused when I sit down to work at the computer. No progress yet on a cleaning schedule, but at least overall I feel less harried and more organized each day.
So that is my honest appraisal of my efforts to live with more intention this year. I will keep on with my efforts and give you another update in a few months. Did you chose a word for the year or another goal? How is it going so far? Please leave a comment or send me a message!