I consider myself lucky to have spent the past sixteen years or so being able to primarily focus my time and energy on raising my children and supporting my husband in his various business ventures. When our son was born and I started my new career as a stay at home mom I was committed to excellence and determined to take this task seriously. But we were among the first of our group of friends to start a family and I had never taken any ‘Home Economics’ classes so I started reading everything I could find that would help me do a good job.
In one of those books I came across the concept of a weekly family meeting. I was drawn to the idea of coming together every week to discuss our schedules, plans, hopes, and dreams – even though our schedule was quite manageable at that time – and I implemented the Sunday Family Meeting right away. While we sat together at the dining room table this afternoon I found myself reflecting what an important role those meetings have held for our family.
Besides the obvious perk of knowing where everyone will be throughout the week (and who’s in charge of getting them there – which is huge in and of itself – our family meetings have helped in so many other areas. Everyone has learned how to put their appointments on the family calendar (now we share our respective google calendars with each other) and by second grade both of my children knew when they were available for a playdate and what events to prepare for each day because they knew their schedule. They also learned how an official meeting is conducted (although we leave room for fun), goal setting (we set weekly goals), and accountability.
Probably the biggest impact of those meetings has been the bond that has been forged around the table. When we talk about the week ahead we practice caring about what others have going on in their lives and supporting each other when something especially difficult was ahead of one of us. We’ve practiced paying attention to the needs of others and sharing empathy through our prayer requests. We’ve practiced problem solving skills while we discuss our ‘issues’ (sometimes the same issues every week for months), we’ve learned about planning for fun events, and we’ve learned how to celebrate the successes of others as well as acknowledging when someone helps us or does well.
To top it off, I have been keeping ‘the minutes’ of each meeting in little composition notebooks so I can look back at the day we celebrated Zak learning to ride a bicycle without training wheels or when Morgan got her braces off. Our family meetings have made our lives more simple (through organization) and at the same time richer in so many ways and I highly recommend them.
As the weather turns cold (frigid) here in the mid-west and the darkness comes earlier I find myself leaning toward ‘hibernation mode’. More than one time today I thought that my ideal week would be one in which I didn’t have to put on ‘real’ clothes or go outside – AT ALL, opting instead to sit by the fire with a cup of tea and a book, surrounded by blankets and the sounds of lovely music. But, that’s just a nice daydream and I’m sure there would be something about that scenario that would be less than perfect.
It’s easy to want to hunker down when we enter the cold season but it’s not the best choice for our bodies – or our minds. I was doing a little research today and ran across this article in the Huffington Post listing 13 Mental Health Benefits Of Exercise (see link below) and I began to think about how a decrease in activity could (just my hypothesis here) contribute to or worsen some of the negative effects that winter has on our mental state.
So before you resign yourself to big sweaters and melancholy for the next five months consider these benefits of keeping a little movement in your day (refer to the article for additional insight).
- Reduce Stress
- Boost Happy Chemicals
- Improve Self-Confidence
- Enjoy the Great Outdoors
- Prevent Cognitive Decline
- Alleviate Anxiety
- Boost Brainpower
- Sharpen Memory
- Help Control Addiction
- Increase Relaxation
- Get More Done
- Tap Into Creativity
- Inspire Others
Don’t let winter get you down, stay motivated and …
Make Your Minutes Matter!
Do you have a passion that drives you or do you find it difficult to identify the deep forces that motivate you?
I’ve struggled with being aware of my passions from time to time and have even lived parts of my life unaware of why I do what I do. I thought I would share some of the questions that I use to help me that become aware of my passions.
What brings you deep joy?
What do you spend your time doing that brings you peace?
What is important to you?
What would you do if you only had one day to live?
When you were young what did you enjoy doing with your time?
What makes you laugh?
If you remove what you think you should be doing, now what would you be doing?
When you find your passion you will discover abundant energy, clarity, joy, and motivation. When you operate from a place of passion, you will be more present with yourself and equally important, you will be more present for others.
What is one small thing that you can do this week that could make a profound impact – either on your life, someone you love, or something you believe in?
You probably know by now that I believe that micro decisions create Macro Results and as I think about that today, I think I want to focus on something this week that will make a difference in the life of those around me. This week I will focus on listening better – as I go through my day, talking with people; I want to listen to them on a deeper level and really connect with them better than I ever have before.
So what is one small thing that you can do this week? What’s that one thing you’ve been putting off that would really make a difference? Maybe it’s getting up five minutes earlier and making coffee for your spouse, maybe it’s writing a letter to a loved one that you haven’t talked to in awhile. I encourage you to ask yourself, ‘What is that one thing?’ – and then do it .
Post your one thing on our Facebook page so the Minute Mover community can stand with you .
Make your minutes matter.
The other day Aaron and I were talking about doing something that, in a perfect world, we wouldn’t actually do very often (probably grabbing dinner out, because really – some nights you just have to). One of us said something about it just being ‘this time’ and that sparked an interesting conversation about exactly how often we were eating out.
In truth we would really like to say that we are cooking at home more often than not – because that’s the ideal that we hold in our minds, it’s what we want for ourselves and our family. The reality is that we are trying to keep so many balls in the air that we aren’t really always doing what we say we want to do. So, the truth of ‘just this once’ is that it happens more than once a week – each and every week. That’s not a deviation from the norm – that’s a habit!
How many times have you given yourself permission to break the (read your) rules ‘just this once’ only to find that, over time ‘just this once’ somehow stretches into something that’s completely out of your control?
You had cake and drinks at the wedding and that leads to snacks at the next office party and then treat day and then family game night and before you know it you’re having snacks because it’s Tuesday and the weekend is SO FAR AWAY or for stress relief or because the sky’s awfully blue this afternoon – or (and this is the true issue isn’t it?) because the new habit you’ve created is giving yourself permission to do whatever you want to do in the moment.
Even in the midst of the scenario above, I might insist that I am always a very healthy eater; asserting that I eat LOTS of fruits and veggies, only drink water, and never have sweets – but if someone were to actually TRACK what I eat over the course of the week what would they really see?
I will never forget the day this insight hit me after a visit with my doctor where we had been discussing my fitness regime. I had assured her that I exercise every morning – and while I sat there on the table I was sure that what I said was the absolute truth. But as I walked to my car after the visit I realized that I hadn’t worked out that morning, or any morning in the past week. Had it been a month? More like six months. I didn’t even realize that I wasn’t living my ideal because I believed that I was doing what I wanted to be doing.
Have you ever found yourself saying that you’re doing something and then realized that you really aren’t? While I’m not an advocate for living a meager existence, and I completely think we should enjoy life to the fullest (and have a piece of wedding cake for goodness sake) I do believe that if we want to improve our lives we must learn to exercise self-control and live in integrity with ourselves.