Happy March! In case you haven’t been following my blog, I am working on a 52 week resolution challenge. During the month of January, I worked on being healthier! In February, I focused on being happier! Since Lent begins this month, I thought I would give up things that maybe aren’t necessary in my lives or take focus away from the aspects of my life that are important!
Have you ever made a new year’s resolution, only to abandon it a short while later. Resolutions can be challenging when they are not clearly defined or when they are set for an infinite amount of time. I recently listened to a book by Shelley Wilson, called How I Changed My Life in a Year. In this book, she took on a new resolution each week for one year, thereby changing her outlook in life and creating healthier lifestyles. I have decided to recreate this process in my own 52 Week Resolution Challenge. Please feel free to follow my progress or join me in your own quest to create better habits and change your own outlook on life.
March – Give Up to Gain More
In light of Lent starting next week, I thought I would focus on giving up things that rob my focus from aspects of my life that are important. So often in life, we get distracted by social media, external problems, addictions, extra activities, errands and the minutiae of everyday life that we lose sight of the things that really matter… God, our spouse, our children. This month, I am going to try to give up those distractions!
Week 1 – Keep Holy the Lord’s Day and Do Less Grocery Shopping
That’s a pretty fun title for the week! It’s really two goals! Since the first goal is for Sundays only, I will do it throughout the month and focus on another goal this week as well.
Keep Sundays Holy
So, in this 21st century, you may be asking why I want to keep holy the Lord’s day. It seems like something that was from the beginning of the last century and beyond! Aren’t we passed that? Do we really have time for that? I had those same excuses about half a year ago and then a little voice inside me began to say…”You need a break! You need to focus less on work and more on family! You need time for reflection!” God can be such a taboo subject these days, but I honestly think that He may be trying to tell me something. So, I am going to try to give up working on Sundays!
- My Plan – To accomplish my goal, I will use Sundays for church, family and pursuing the interests and talents that God gave me, that I seem to have very little time for. I will limit texting and actually call people! I will try to not go shopping on Sundays. Shopping on Sundays always makes the day feel shorter and has a tendency to put me on edge. I will try not to clean my house and maybe even fix leftovers or a crockpot meal, so I don’t have to cook!
- Week 1 – It snowed today and the roads were icy, so we didn’t make it to church. I got up early and did something I don’t normally do… I cooked breakfast! We are always in a rush out the door, so I thought I would cook some sausage and eggs! I know, I said I wasn’t going to cook, but I wanted to do this, so it didn’t feel like work… until I had to clean up! I also hung a picture, which probably counts as work, but I really want things hung up in my house and it makes me feel more complete if the house has pictures and decorations put in place. We moved this past fall and there are still some boxes around and lots of pictures that need a home! It’s starting to drive me a little nuts! We also got a cuckoo clock hung, which was my husband’s late father’s clock. The kids absolutely love it! In the afternoon, I shoveled the driveway and cleared the car. That IS work, but it had to be done! My hubby leaves for out of town tomorrow and it’s supposed to be bitterly cold then next couple of days! We did go sledding for a short time with the kids. For dinner, I fixed pork chops and some awesome sweet potatoes. The meal wasn’t very difficult and I had all of the ingredients. Plus, cooking a meal like this in the middle of the week is almost impossible! I’m not sure how successful I was this Sunday at taking a break. I’ve been trying to work on this goal since the beginning of the year. It’s hard because we either have something going on or I feel like I should be accomplishing something.
- Week 2 – Well, I definitely didn’t make my goal today. Since, there were storms yesterday, we ended up having our cookie booth today with girl scouts. After I got home, the house was such a mess that I had no choice, but to clean some. I just can’t think when it is so cluttered! Then, my husband and son when out for their Valentine’s Day date (we have a date with each of our kids for Valentine’s Day). So, my other two kids and I made some dinner and then I helped them with their baths, fixed lunches and then it was off to bed!
- Week 3 – Finally, a Sunday of rest! Today is my son’s birthday! We went to church, came home for lunch and then spent the rest of the day building a new Vex Robotics kit, going for walk, having birthday cake and making pizza together as a family! The evening was spent playing Minecraft with the boys and Barbie with my daughter!
- Week 4 – Today was a nice relaxing day! We went to church and then went to the symphony for a family concert! The orchestra played Carnival of the Animals! It was just the right length to keep their attention and allow them to enjoy the music. After the concert, we relaxed some more by using a gift card to take the whole family out for dinner at O’Charleys… no cooking for Mom tonight!
- Week 5 – Today, we hosted March birthdays for my husband’s side of the family! It meant a little cleaning (ahem or shoving) beforehand, but then we were able to relax once the guests arrived! It was a lovely afternoon and since the house was clean, we ate some Wendy’s for dinner and watched the Dick Van Dyke Show on Pluto. I didn’t even know we had this service. Apparently, it’s on our Roku device. The kids were skeptical about the show at first…. because it didn’t have color, but they loved it! Where are the family shows these days? They have been talking about that show all week!
Do Less Grocery Shopping
Have you ever walked into a store and almost dread going to the checkout because you shop there so often? I sometimes feel that way about grocery shopping! It feels like I go every time I turn around! It takes up a lot of time too! Generally, I go because I need milk or some other item that really needs to be bought and then, while I’m there, I may as well pick up all of the other things that could hold off, but I don’t want to make another trip in a couple days… at least, I hope! It usually doesn’t work though… yet!
- My Plan – For this challenge, I am going to plan my meals ahead of time and buy all of the ingredients necessary for the week. Additionally, the items that bring me back to the store more frequently, I will buy two of those items.
- Day 1 – Today, I took inventory of what I had in my freezer and pantry… not like an itemized list or anything! Who would have time for that?! I found that I had plenty of items for making dinners, but I lacked some of the essentials for packing my kids’ lunches. So, as I looked through my refrigerator and pantry, I asked Alexa to add things to my shopping list. I then went shopping, got my items and doubled up on Gogurt, and milk. I should’ve gotten 2 things of kitty litter too, but I wasn’t thinking. Next time, I will be prepared!
- Day 2 – No shopping! I spent time playing with my son instead!
- Day 3 – No shopping! I met my friends for coffee (or in my case…hot chocolate)! I then went home and got my bills paid and made some necessary phone calls…bleh!
- Day 4 – No shopping! My son and I played and worked on a Minecraft bean toss game for his upcoming birthday party!
- Day 5 – No shopping! I got some cleaning done and I’m working on this blog!
- Day 6 – No shopping! We went to our son’s Pinewood Derby! It was an all day event since my husband was running the computer! That night my sons and I had some pizza and watched The Lego Movie while my daughter and husband went to the Father/Daughter dance!
- Day 7 – No Shopping! It snowed, so we hung around home and then went sledding in the afternoon.
I loved this challenge! It really freed up a lot of my time to spend time with my family and doing other things that I love or needed to be done! Do yourself a favor! Cut down on your shopping trips! If you have to, try shopping online for pick-up or delivery service!
Week 2 – Give Up Chocolate and Cut Down on Sugar
This is going to be an extremely hard challenge for me! I love chocolate! I am addicted to chocolate! I eat chocolate every day! Sugar is going to be hard to cut down on as well. I love sugar and sweets! Sugar and spice… that’s what I am made of! Seriously though, everyone could benefit from cutting back on sugar. In this century, we consume way too much and it is affecting our health. Too much sugar can lead to obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and can exacerbate symptoms of ADHD. Check out this article from Sweetdefeat on how sugar can affect your weight loss goals, https://docs.google.com/document/d/12DwYL6lFrSw_hKE6RN_QNE7YFFHlAmpZvtmDsy8UXEM/edit .
- My Plan – For cutting down on sugar, I’m relying on one of my go-to snacks for dessert (Yes, I have dessert after almost every meal!)… yogurt with berries and granola. I can’t have my chocolate covered almonds because I’m giving up chocolate… boo! I am also going to be watching labels, so as to cut back on the sugar in other foods as well. If you want more tips for cutting back on sugar, check out my blog post, 8 Tips To Help You Cut Back on Sugar.
- Day 1 – This morning, I started my day off with some Low Sugar Oatmeal from Quaker Oats. I added some berries to it to give it a little more flavor. After that, I caught myself, after I popped a chocolate covered almond in my mouth! I had peanut butter and jelly for lunch and salsa with chips. It’s Ash Wednesday, so I can’t eat meat today. I may have to pick up some apple butter, since it has less sugar than jelly. I probably should’ve chose hummus over salsa, as it probably has less sugar. I finished my day off with some tuna macaroni!
- Day 2 – I started my morning off with one of my new favorite breakfasts that I discovered during my January challenge, almond butter toast with fruit and granola! Since my son and I were out this morning, we stopped at McDonalds for lunch and I ordered their Southwest Salad! For supper, I reheated some leftover pork chops and made some potatoes to go on the side. For dessert, I ate some prunes. They were just sweet enough to satisfy my craving.
- Day 3 – It was one of my rushed mornings, so I ate a quick bowl of cereal with some fruit. For lunch, I had leftover potatoes, a salad and a yogurt parfait. For supper, since it’s a Friday in Lent, we had fish sticks, macaroni for the kids and quinoia ravioli for my husband and me. We also had some vegetables on the side. Later, we went over to my sister’s house. We had cookies to deliver and she had pizza’s to deliver. While we were there, she had baked some brownies to share! I really wanted a brownie! Our meal hadn’t been very big, so I was really tempted! I stood strong though! I wasn’t exactly happy! The brownie looked so good!
- Day 4 – Our cookie booth was cancelled due to storms, so I didn’t have to go out. I had cereal for breakfast, leftovers for lunch and Culver’s for supper. Since the kid’s meals are filling enough, I got a kid’s meal (which comes with ice cream) and put my ice cream in the freezer to eat after this week!
- Day 5 – Donut Sunday at church! It’s funny, the homily was all about Jesus resisting temptation in the dessert! It was speaking right to me! We let the kids get donuts after church and they ate them in the car on the ride home. My husband fixed some eggs for lunch and we had pizza for supper.
- Day 6 – I am doing well! As long as I have some fruit to finish out my meal, my cravings have been manageable. It’s when people are eating sweets right in front of me, that it is hard to resist! Today, I started off with some cereal for breakfast. I didn’t want to take the time to fix anything grand for lunch, so I just ate a peanut and jelly sandwich, some chips and half of a banana.
- Day 7 – Mission completed! One week of giving up chocolate and sweets and I did it without caving in! I was tempted to cut it short, particularly when my husband thought that today was the first day that I could have sweets. However, the end of supper came and went and we moved on with our evening activities.
I surprised myself this week! I really stayed strong! I did not have one sweet! I did have a glass of soda (it came with my Culver’s meal) and a glass of juice (I’m coming down with a cold and wanted some vitamin C). I didn’t watch the labels as closely as a I wanted to, but it was such a busy week! There simply wasn’t time. I did it though! I proved to myself and my family that I could give up chocolate… at least for a week! I may stick with it during the weeks and splurge a little on the weekends to keep it going!
Week 3 – Give Up TV
This challenge is going to be as equally challenging as last week! I wouldn’t say that I’m addicted to tv, but my husband and I like to unwind at night by watching some tv as we fold the laundry. However, my time could be better spent just talking with my husband, listening to a book (or actually reading one!) or working on one of my hobbies! No matter how I choose to spend my time, I want to take the focus off of fake reality and be more present in my own reality!
- My Plan – This is promising to be a busy week! We have parent/teacher conferences this week, I have a girl scout meeting to plan for and I have my son’s birthday party to prepare. I will probably be so busy, that giving up the tv will not be hard, except for when I finally want a break! That’s when I plan on listening to a book with my husband or just snuggling up with him on the couch.
- Day 1 – The day was so full, there would not have been a chance to watch tv anyway. I was parent helper up at preschool all day with my son to celebrate his birthday. We came home, I fixed a quick dinner, then my mother-in-law came over to watch the kids while my husband and I attended parent teacher conferences. After we got the kids to bed and made lunches, my husband retreated upstairs to watch a little tv while I stayed downstairs and planned out my girl scout meeting for the next night.
- Day 2 – After my daughter and I came back from our girl scout meeting and we finished putting kids to bed, my husband and I fixed lunches and then folded laundry while talking about the books we were currently listening to. It was nice! It was a simple conversation and for once I didn’t feel distracted as I listened to my husband. Normally, when he’s trying to tell me something, there are a million different things happening and I just can’t focus on the conversation.
- Day 3 – My husband declared it date night and that he wanted to watch something! So, we ate some ice cream (what I had set aside from earlier in the week) and watched some Downton Abbey on Amazon Prime.
- Day 4 – It was birthday party day for my son! All went well at the party and afterwards, I decided it might be nice to go out to eat. We had a gift certificate to Dave and Busters and we thought it might be a fun way to spend the evening. However, we didn’t realize everyone would be out because of St. Patrick’s Day! We didn’t eat at Dave and Busters (the wait was too long), so we drove to Red Robin’s. The wait there was an hour and a half, so we then drove to Pizza Street, which we discovered was no longer there! My son started crying! We had been out driving for an hour at this point, so we picked up some McDonald’s for the kids and Panda Express for us and went home and turned on the movie Christopher Robin. Since my goal was already ruined for the day, my husband and I snuggled up in bed and watched another episode of Downton Abbey.
- Day 5 – Today was my son’s birthday! We had a great day! It was exactly how we had a originally planned, but it was relaxing! We started off the day with church and then went home for lunch. We were originally going to go to the Science Center, but the birthday boy decided that he wanted to stay home and play with his toys! So, my husband went on a walk with our daughter and I helped my son build a space rover with a VEX robotics kit. After that, the boys and I joined my husband and daughter at the pond in the neighborhood for some fresh air. We then came home, had birthday cake and ice cream and then made some homemade pizza for dinner. After dinner, the boys played Minecraft with Dad and I played Barbie with my daughter! It was time well spent without a TV!
- Day 6 – Tonight, my husband informed me that he doesn’t really like this challenge! He was fine with the others, but this one is a challenge for him! After the kids were in bed, I folded the laundry while listening to a book and he did some research, while listening to his book. It was not a very exciting evening, but I enjoyed the book that I was listening to.
- Day 7 – Tonight, my sister called! We don’t normally talk on the phone, but she said that she was thinking about the family and decided to call some of her siblings! It was a great conversation! We had some good laughs! I need to call my siblings more often! It’s hard though. Everyone’s schedules, including our own, get in the way. However, it is important to find time for the people we love.
Obviously, some of the days of this challenge got away from me. However, it just proves that we have to allow for flexibility in our lives. Upholding traditions is important, as well as thinking of others on their special day when things may not happen according to plan. This challenge also showed me that a quiet evening folding laundry and talking with my husband was equally as nice as sitting next to him sharing a laugh over a television show.
Week 4 – Give Up Social Media
In the 21st century, how many of us have gotten so accustomed to having our phone in our back pocket so that, in a moment’s notice, we can post something to Facebook or Twitter or, if we are bored, check our status or our newsfeed? It particularly comes in handy when we are in an awkward situation in which we may not know what to say to the person next to us that we may just pick up our phone for something to do. However, it can distract us away from our loved ones and sometimes we get caught up with “keeping up with the Jones’s” that we don’t see the problems that they may be having or the good things that we have right in front of us. So, here’s to a week of being social media free!
- My Plan – My plan is simple for this week: leave my phone out of my pocket! I may keep it in my purse or in my room. To keep up with my family or friends, I will simply have to pick up the telephone to talk!
- Day 1 – My weeks overlapped a little this week due to trying to get back to my normal schedule. So, this was the night that I talked to my sister on the phone. Social media is fine for getting the surface layer of what is happening in someone’s life, but to get the real breadth of what is happening, you need to have a live conversation!
- Day 2 – Since we were able to watch television again, my husband and I sat down and watched That 70’s Show! It is always good for some laughs!
- Day 3 – Since the kids were on spring break and my husband was taking the next day off, we curled up on the couch, declared it date night and watched Downton Abbey!
- Day 4 – It was hard not to post anything on Friday! We took the kids up in the Arch for the first time and they had a blast! That night we had company over for a playdate! It’s so nice to talk to people that experience similar behaviors with their children. We both have gifted children and sometimes people don’t understand the difficulties that come with gifted children (they are smart, but giftedness comes with its own unique challenges). After the kids were in bed, my husband and I sat down and watched another episode of Downton Abbey… 1 episode left!
- Day 5 – My husband helped his cousin move today and his back was all out of whack by the end of the evening, so…you guessed it…after the kids were in bed, we watched our final episode of Downton Abbey!
- Day 6 – It was another day that I really wanted to post something on Facebook! We took the kids to see their first concert at symphony! They got to play some brass instruments and then we watched the orchestra play Carnival of the Animals! It was an hour long performance, with a wonderful narrator from the zoo. They enjoyed the performance and then we used a gift card (because I need to start using those things!) to take the family out for dinner at O’Charleys restaurant. After putting the kids to bed, we tried out a new show called, Land Girls.
- Day 7 – Mondays are always busy days! There is laundry, lunches, paperwork and then I type up my blog entries for the week! So, that is what I am doing tonight!
It’s hard not keeping up with people on Facebook. I can’t say that my phone didn’t keep me busy because it did! With birthday parties with both sides of the families and scout activities, plus planning for camps, I was kept busying texting. I probably got a little more sleep as I didn’t check Facebook right before bed! Like anything, it’s a good thing to take a break from social media from time to time.
Week 5 – Give to Charity
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and it is true! Children need all sorts of people in their lives to grow up to be strong individuals: parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, teachers, doctors, police officers, fire fighters, grocers, farmers, tailors, etc. Many people don’t really think about how many people actually touch their lives. We often take this “village” for granted, particularly when life is good and our community is strong. However, what if the community you lived in wasn’t good? Perhaps there weren’t farmers to grow food or officers to keep the peace? What if there were no schools to teach your children to give them an opportunity at a better life? Your child’s life would be much different than the one they are living right now, even though your intentions haven’t changed… to give your child the best life possible. Giving back to your community and to others around the world helps shape the world you live in, as well as teaches your child the importance of service.
- My Plan – This week, I plan on finding ways to give back to the community. It may come in the form of donations to Goodwill, church or the rice bowl that feeds the poor (we received one at the beginning of Lent.
- This week wasn’t as much of a day by day resolution. Over the course of the week, I donated an extra $1 to 4H at Joann’s Fabrics while I was purchasing some fabric for a curtain. I placed some money in the rice bowl we received from our parish. We will turn this into the church at the end of Lent. We also donated some money at church towards a mission project to build a well in Kenya. Finally, I’ve been going through my kids’ clothes to see what they have outgrown that can be donated! Red Cross will be stopping by our neighborhood next week for a clothing pick-up!
This week was a little hard to keep up with my resolution. I had a LOT going on. There were numerous phone calls that needed to be made to doctors and the insurance company. We hosted March birthdays for my husband’s family on Sunday, so there were preparations to be made. Plus, we had to bake a cake for birthdays on my side on Saturday!
All in all, March was a successful month! It is really hard to give things up, particularly things that help you relax, eat or do! Giving up sweets was definitely the hardest for me, but the one I was probably the most successful at! It helped me realize that I don’t need these things in my life. There are alternatives and I need to be better about adding variety back into my life. Also, this challenge helped me focus more on my family and my health!