Part of the way I've been doing this is to focus on goals for the new year. I suppose one could call them New Year's Resolutions. But I know better than to set anything earth shattering for myself, because taking on too much new all at once sets me up for failure.What I prefer to do is examine the things I'd like to improve, and then realistically think of ways to tweak what I'm already doing to make them just that bit better.
So here are the things I'd like to work on, and then we can chat about yours if you like! For me:
(1) A prayer routine. So that would mean...it should actually exist. :0 Right now, the situation is that I attend Mass weekly and on holy days of obligation. I sometimes pray the rosary when I'm in the car. I pray novenas as they pique my interest. And that would be it. I don't feel "dry" in my faith life per se, but it does feel like I'm not putting all that much effort into it, and thus I am not thriving.
When I was contemplating my return to work late last week (stay with me, this ties in), being all sad about it, I thought to myself that I really need to change the way I approach my early wake up time, as that is always one of the most difficult parts of my day. I hate getting out of bed, I could lounge there for hours if allowed. Have I mentioned that over my break, I was able to sleep in until *8 am*? Peeps, the last time I slept in that long I was in my 20's. That would be a two digit difference in the first number in that equation. IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME. I reveled in it. But I'm getting off track, as I am wont to do. ;-) At any rate, ideally, this early morning time could incorporate into improving my prayer life.
When we're back to work and school, I *need* to be out of bed by 6:45 am. I really *should* get out of bed around 6:30 am, so that I don't have to be all rushy rushy. What I decided to do is this: at 6:30 am, I turn on my bedside lamp. I give myself one minute to let my eyes adjust, then I reach for my new devotional duo and spend a few minutes reading the days' entries. What I decided on are these:
I bought a copy of this back in the late fall, related to a project I worked on for CatholicMom.com. I didn't use it during Advent because I had the Magnificat Companion, so once the new year came, I picked it up, and loved it. It has the daily Gospel reading plus short inspirations for contemplative prayer. Each day is about a page or slightly less in length, all told. Then, I pull out my cute copy of the current Living Faith. I've subscribed to this little pocket devotional in the past, and the church we went to for the feast of Mary, Mother of God on New Years Eve had them available for free, so I picked one up. Each day there is a short reflection on the daily Gospel, so it works quite well with Sacred Reading. It comes out quarterly. Both this and Sacred Reading are available in either print or for Kindle. Convenient, yes?
I've been implementing this plan since Monday, and so far I love it. It helps to make my wake up time much more soothing and pleasant, and I feel better the whole day. My goal is to keep this going through Lent (which is early this year! starts February 10th) and beyond. I'm planning to re-subscribe to Living Faith toward this end.
(2) Fitness and dance. You all know how I love my dancing avocation, and I'm also a reasonably active person, going for walks most days and popping on an online Barre3 workout when I can (only 20-40 minutes total per week, though, right now). Overall however, I've become a bit complacent. I'm extremely consistent about attending my weekly dance class, but otherwise my approach to fitness and staying in shape is fairly haphazard. I'd like to be more organized in my fitness routine and to more practice time for dance. My Fitbit is really helping in this regard, making me more conscious of how active I've been on each day. I love it. I don't necessarily want to lose weight (except for that pesky 5 pounds that everybody always wants to lose :-)) I just want to gain more tone and strength. So I'm setting daily goals. Some days I'm shooting for that 10,000 step goal with my Fitbit, other days I want to get in a workout in that focuses more on core strength. I'm also going to try and incorporate in new and fun things where my schedule allows, like the new HipFit belly dance workout class I was able to attend on Monday evening. LOVED IT. SO MUCH. I can't usually go to those classes, because Mike teaches on Monday nights and I'm needed at home with the kids, but when he's off, I can try to go. Or I can try and find a class at the gym here on campus during lunch. Lots of fun possibilities to explore.
As I've gotten older, I've really tried to learn to appreciate my body for what it is. It is not perfect nor like that of a swimsuit model, which is totally fine with me. But it's what God gave me, so I should treat it well and be comfortable in it. This comes up quite a bit in that book I'm reading, Raising the Barre, which I'm excited to discuss with you soon.
(3) Keep the creative juices flowing! Last year brought a lot of changes to my approach to blogging, and personally, I've been thriving in them. I'm hoping to keep that momentum going. Stay tuned next week for some new and upcoming ideas. ;-)
What are YOUR New Year's Resolutions, dear reader? And don't forget, if you have or get a Fitbit, let me know so that we can become friends in Fitbit app-land and challenge each other to achieve our goals!