Photo by Cafe Sheri
Are you ready to find joy in a more balanced life? Boy, I am. Bring it on!
And I'm SO excited to have some enthusiasm from you about taking on this resolution. We can do it TOGETHER.
Here's what you are saying about the need for balance and joy in your life!
Peajewel says: I want to find joy....period! I am happy, don't get me wrong, I love my life and I love being a wife and a mother but I have a job that I hate that I make decent money and a job that I love that I make almost nothing!
Cafe Jenn says: I think one way to find that balance is to realize what is important in your life and what you have fun doing and try to eek out a few minutes to do just that.
Momof3cuties says: I want to find joy in the day to day things in my life. I have a blessed life & I know it, but....finding balance between all of these things has been something i have been working on since i started working from home.
brandoneaglemom says: I will start off by not worrying about house work so much....why???? because it will be there tomorrow.....if your house is messy...it's well lived in..lol that's my new motto. I don't mean to let your house go....but if your family is in the other room having fun and you're worried that something didn't get done, the dishes can wait til after the kids go to bed...LIVE....LAUGH....LOVE.
mnms0802 says: My DH is currently deployed and won't be back with us until next November. So I am alone, and trying my best to run the household, deal with the kids, the pets, and life in general. Time for myself?? That's a joke, right??!
The Find Joy in a More Balanced Life Plan:
Here's the plan for how I'm going to go about finding joy. Of course, I'd love to hear from you and we can adapt as we go along. Or, feel free to adapt the plan in a way that works for you. After all, we're after small successes here.
Step 1: Make a list of the critical areas in your life (no more than five).
It seems important to focus on the areas in your life that are lacking in joy and/or that, when running well, lead you to the most joy and happiness. Keep it simple here.
Here are my five:
1) Marriage: Actual time spent on our marriage is usually at the bottom around here. For this reason, it's at the top of my list.
2) Kids: Even though it seems that kids are the center of every single thing we do in the whirlwind that is our life, I want to make an effort to get in more focused, quality time with my boys.
3) Personal Interests: Oh, you know how this one falls by the wayside. I'm determined to get in more quality time with friends and quality time spent on my personal interests like photography and writing.
4) Work: Being a work at home mom really is ideal if you're a master of time management, focus, and setting boundaries, which I am not and strive to be better at in 2010.
5) Household: Our house is small, so I'm always struggling to stay on top of the clutter and, even more, the cleaning. I might be delirious, but I'm hoping to get into a system that will make organization and cleaning less of a chore.
Other critical areas might include: Friends, Health/Wellness, Religion/God, etc.
Step 2: For each critical life area, list one small, manageable joy you can pursue in that area.
The idea here is to list things you CAN do and WANT to do (or things that, when done, have proven to lead to more happiness) in an effort to create joyful (or joy-creating) habits that stick.
Again, keep it simple. "Keep my house clean" is too large. "Vacuum once a week" is small and doable.
Here are my monthly goals (I wasn't kidding when I said "small"):
Marriage: Sign up for the preschool's monthly Parents Night Out, even if it feels expensive (4 hours, $30 for both kids) and even if it means we drop them off and come home and do nothing together.
Kids: Sit one-on-one with each child for 15 uninterrupted minutes 2x a week (can be reading, playing, doing a project, or just sitting)
Personal Interests: Go on one photo-taking outing a month.
Work: Shower and/or get dressed to leave the house at the beginning of every work day.
Household: File, recycle, or trash "the stack" on the kitchen counter once a week (no re-piling elsewhere).
Step 3: Track your monthly progress.
I plan to keep this list on my desktop and make notes on my progress. In these notes, I will also try to pay attention to why things work or don't work and try to be mindful of the things that throw me off track or don't truly bring me joy.
Each week, I will check in here with you and note my progress and check on yours.
Whenever possible, I will also share new processes, ideas, tips, discussion topics, and/or tools for improving joy and balance from one of my Find Joy resources.
Tip of the Day: With all the Christmas input into our household, we were bursting at the seams. To kick off the new year, I did a full-fledged declutter session on our household (it took about a day). I cleared out the unused kids' toys, old Christmas decorations that haven't been put up for years, adult books that won't be read again, even a giant bag of perfectly good gift bags (believe me, I kept plenty for the year's use). My husband took about ten bags immediately to our Goodwill drop-off location. I also went through every junk drawer and paperwork pile and filed away, tossed, or organized everything in it. It's so nice to start the new year fresh and with some cleared surfaces! It's not too late to do this at your house! Trust me...it feels great!
Thoughts on the plan? I'd love to hear them. Feel free to join anytime and to share your Critical Life Areas and Monthly Goals in the comments below.