I am totally impressing myself (and amazing Jared and my kids) by getting up by 7 each morning. 7:00am probably sounds pretty wimpy to lots of people but it's quite an accomplishment for me and enables me to work out and get ready before 8am when I need to get the kids ready and fed so we can get out the door at 8:45. Just a little extra time in the morning goes a long long ways towards making my days go better – it's so nice to start out the day somewhat ahead rather than behind. And I'm really studying the scriptures for the first time in many years. I've usually read at least a verse or two before bed – but now that that I'm reading in search of something God wants to tell me that day and writing down what I find, my reading has become infinitely more meaningful. I'm making sure that I eat more fruits and veggies and drink more water and that makes a huge difference in my ability to feel more “even” and less easily anxious and stressed. And I've been limiting my time on the computer working on various worthwhile projects (that have previously been too consuming of my time) and ensuring I do quality activities with my kids each day (more playing cars with the twins and reading with all the kids and taking time to do great after-school snacks while asking them details about their day at school – and really listening to their answers). This makes me feel much less pulled in different directions and makes me feel much better about the job I'm doing as a mom. And there's more – but I'll spare you the details!
I have to say that a huge part of all this good stuff is thanks to the “Resolutionary Challenge” that my sister Saydi put together. A bunch of people from my family and some friends all put $20 into a pot and designed their own list of things they committed to do each day or each week to earn points. After 12 weeks, whoever has the most points will win the money – and everyone will hopefully have some well-established habits by then. I'd like to think I'd do all these things I know I need to do whether or not I was doing this challenge – but added incentives certainly help. Once you tell someone else you're going to do something and know that you'll have to admit if you didn't do it, you're just plain more likely to do what you set out to do.
So thanks, Saydi! One week down, 11 to go on the challenge! And hopefully after this 12 weeks, I'll be ready to challenge myself to do some more new things since these things will be totally ingrained.