Recently I confessed that I am not the best homemaker in the world. I have always struggled with being organized and clean, but I have always wanted to be both.
When I talked to my husband Jim about wanting to change he was very positive and supportive. Originally I was just planning on coming up with some family rules and a cleaning schedule to keep our home cleaner.
However, that isn’t where our discussion ended. When we were going through and thinking of things that we could improve on with our cleaning habits Jim asked me what had changed to make me want to do this. I commented that I was tired of feeling constricted and hopeless, and just wanted to feel happy again and feel like I was in charge of my life, not just coasting through it.
That led Jim to ask “What other things make you happy? Are there other areas of your life that maybe we can work on with our schedule? When are you at your happiest?”
Well, I hadn’t been expecting that line of thinking, but when he asked again I really thought about when I was at my happiest. This was what I decided. I am at my happiest when:
1. I feel pretty
2. I feel healthy
3. I am productive
4. My kids and husband are happy
5. I am spiritually filled
6. I don’t have to stress about things: Most notably finances or work
7. When I get time alone with Jim
8. When I get alone time
9. Clean, beautiful & peaceful home
10. I am surrounded by family and friends
While this list isn’t in order of priority, it still is a representation of when I feel my happiest. I’m a typical girl – I like feeling pretty, I like having a beautiful, peaceful home, I love seeing smiles on my husband and kids’ faces, I love date-nights, hanging out with family and friends, and feeling the peace that comes through living the gospel to its fullest.
Then Jim asked me how I was doing in all of these areas. The truth is, it was hit and miss with some, and I was doing great in others. Then Jim said “Well, why can’t you be all of those things? Doesn’t it make sense to add these things in to your daily routine too, not just cleaning?”
Again, it took me a little time to think it through but we both decided in order to accomplish all these things I had listed I would definitely need to do better with time management and goal setting.
If I am going to improve my health I need to get better sleep, find time to exercise, and learn more about healthy eating and causes of migraines, etc. If I am going to be a better wife and mother, I need to figure out how to juggle all the other responsibilities I have, including work and cleaning – and still have quality time with my husband. Right now after putting kids to sleep, working, and trying to clean there was hardly any time for him – which is the exact opposite of how I want it to be.
That’s when we switched gears a little. Instead of coming up with just a cleaning schedule, we decided it was important for me to come up with a daily routine as well – with things that I need to do each day, including cooking, exercising, etc. That way I can maybe have better use for my time, and maybe accomplish more things in my day – which, as noted above, makes me feel productive and happier. 🙂
Before I could make a schedule, however, I really needed to sit down and look at my goals. I knew what made me happy, but what did I need to do to be that way more often?
I listed out the areas I needed to work on, and then made a list underneath them of ways to improve or things I needed to do to achieve my goals.
Ex: I am happy when I am healthy. In order to be healthier I can: 1. Drink more water in the day, 2. Get more sleep at night, 3. Eat healthier meals, 4. Incorporate an exercise & fitness routine in to my day.
Once I went through all the categories and set some goals, I typed it up and printed it off so I could have a visual reminder of the entire picture.
Having everything put together helped me realize what my priorities were and then what other things were important, but not essential. This, in turn, helped me with my daily (and thus weekly) routines and time management schedule.
The “Improve Me” Challenge:
For anyone who wishes to join me in my journey of improvement, please join! Sometimes having someone else there challenging us to do something can really help us have the motivation we need to get started. If you are interested here is your challenge:
1. Come up with a list of at least 3 things that truly make you happy. Everyone is different, so really think about you. I also realized that when I went through this that if there were things I was unhappy with, such as my messy house, it gave me an indication of things I could change to help me be happier.
2. Come up with ideas and goals on how you can achieve those things that make you happy. (Ex. If you are happy when you have $ in your bank account, what can you do to achieve this? Cut expenses. Budget better. Go to a financial help class. Get a 2nd job. Etc.)
3. Print up your own Master Plan and make it nice and organized. You can make your own, or use my free printable below.
4. Realize your strengths and weaknesses and let go of perfectionism. Making a list like this does not give you permission to get down on yourself for not being perfect at all areas of your life. The challenge here is to improve your life, not to be the “perfect” woman or man. Having goals and achieving them to have a happier, more worth-while life is better than being perfect at everything. Once you have let go of the idea of being perfect at everything, you will find it much easier to actually prioritize things in your life.
We’ll talk more about this in the next post, as well as how to make a daily routine with your goals in mind.
To be continued…