20 days into 2020
The new year has come and gone. We entered a new decade, a new year, a centennial of women's right to vote, milestones and resolutions, national impeachment trials and local elections. So many headlines, posts, opinions, distractions come our way every second. How have you stayed on task with your intentional living and mentoring goals? Twenty days into 2020, and have we thrown in the towel, back to our old habits? I'd love to invite you to breathe, forgive yourself, and laugh at the days to come. You still have so much to anticipate in the last 11 days of January.
Here are some ways you can own your intention as you head into February.
Perfect Day Challenge
Grab a blank piece of paper, set your phone timer for 20 minutes, turn your phone on airplane mode.
Close your eyes.
Imagine money and practical considerations are not an issue.
If you could spend this day doing anything, anything at all, with anyone you'd like, anywhere you'd like, what would you do?
Write without thinking. Just write. Draw pictures. Display your perfect day in whatever way you'd like. Stop dreaming, imagining, and perfecting this day when the timer rings.
Take a picture of your perfect day with your phone. Fold it and put it in your pocket or somewhere safe.
Then, go back to your normal routine.
Return to your Perfect Day paper. Write on a second piece of paper what you actually did today. Compare the two.
Go to sleep.
Open your calendar and plan two dates where you can just play - make them a recurring weekly date. Label them: Playdate
Return to your normal routine.
Set your phone timer to 20 minutes
Get some 3x5 cards
Write on each card your favorite things to do or favorite dates to go on with your spouse. Some examples might be:
- go for a hike
- go to Mass
- pack a picnic and walk on the beach
- go see a movie
- take ballroom dancing lessons
- read a book with my phone turned off - completely powered down
- take a long bubble bath
- enroll in a painting class
- learn a new language
- write a thank you letter to a friend
- read the Bible
- listen to a podcast
- go volunteer somewhere new
- play laser tag
- bake a pie
- offer free babysitting for a friend and her husband
- plan my perfect day with my spouse - plan our perfect life - dream for the future
- write my book
- make something new
- try a new gym
When the timer goes off, fold each one and put them in the cookie jar. When date night or playdate comes, you can go to the cookie jar and have a sweet play plan in place.
Thank a Teacher
Whether you have kids or not, do something kind for your kids' teachers or a random teacher in your local schools. These educators are shaping lifetime love of learning, our future generations, and our children and grandchildren's views about kindness, joy, sharing, and gratitude. Let's reward them! Some ideas may include:
- write a handwritten thank you letter and acknowledge specific ways you appreciate the teacher's dedication, inspiration, or hard work
- ask if the teacher needs anything for the classroom - always appreciated are tissues, wipes, dry erase markers, and pencils
- send a coffee, pedicure or some fun gift card - you will never disappoint
- volunteer to come read a few books to the students in the classroom - that break will be well-appreciated!
- thank your local administrators, board members, superintendents - these jobs are crucial and tough!
Look at your calendar
In what ways do you have plans to make meaningful connections with people who inspire you in the next five days. Plan accordingly.
If your mentoring relationships need a coffee date or a lunch, plan that day.
If your personal relationship needs a spark, make that a priority this Saturday night. Write a thank you note to your spouse or parents, best friend, someone needing to hear you appreciate all the ways they make your life possible. If you aren't sure where to start, "I'm so grateful for you because," and write bullets. Be specific. Mundane tasks are fair game. Appreciate the little things.
If you aren't sure where to make meaningful connections, go back to your perfect day paper. What type of people also like the same perfect day things that you like? Find them. If you can't, call me. I'll help.
Literally. Turn off your phone. I know. You are behind on e-mails. You can't unplug. You have to work. If you have to, then try to rest for one hour or half a day or until 5pm or sunset. Try to give yourself true rest on Sundays. If you are a believer, go to church. Really be present. Listen well to what is being said, read, and pray. Rest your mind, turn away anxious thoughts, read a book for pleasure, or do nothing at all. Take a nap. Get a box with a padlock. Put all the phones, ipads, remote controls, game controls, any robot, anything that makes noise, into the box. Lock it for the day. Make a fort in the living room. Get a basket of picture books and spread them on the floor of the sleeping bags and pillows - lay on the floor with your book. Watch the little people imitate you. Make grandma's homemade chocolate chip cookies and tell stories about her. Have a family meeting and do the perfect day exercise with the kids and your spouse or with your roommates or your girls night out. It's amazing to learn from other's words just waht they wish their days could include.
E-mail only at 7am, 12pm, and 7pm
Let this Monday be about your productivity and crush your goals. Only read essential e-mails during the three brief (15 min) e-mail breaks. If your job allows this, you might find this is a habit you will pick up daily.
We all hope to live to the be at least the genius age of 80. If you are lucky enough to have someone in your life in his or her 80's, schedule a lunch date with him or her today. Ask questions, listen to stories, take in the wisdom of the 80's. Talk about your biggest impasse. Ask for advice and then take it.
Wednesday Family Day
Have lunch at school with your kid(s). Schedule a one-on-one date with your child. Have a family game night. Try to keep Wednesday free from work and other distractions. Read aloud to your kids. Start a book club and read the same book as your older kids and talk about the book on Wednesday. If you don't have family dinner any other night, try to eat dinner together on Wednesdays. If you are traveling for work or deployed or managing your home full of little children, maybe a facetime date with the kids or write a letter or make a video for the deployed parent or order takeout and have a picnic on the picnic planet on the living room floor. Grab flashlights and tell stories. If you don't have kids, invite your parents out to dinner, or go visit a nursing home and play cards with someone needing a friend. Play. Do something that invigorates you.
During your lunch break today, bundle up and go outside and let the sun hit your face for 10 minutes. Close your eyes and imagine you are relaxing on the beach and reading a fun book. If your resources allow, schedule a real beach vacation for late March. Or put some dates on your summer calendar where you will go to the local beach or plan outdoor activities.
Intentional planning for February
Grab a pack of post-it notes.
Put 28 on your bathroom mirror.
Write 1 thing on each note that you'd like to accomplish in February.
Take one off each day of February.
If your mirror is clear of notes by March, reward yourself with a cookie. And write an e-mail to your boss complimenting the work of someone on your team. Be specific.
If you have some ideas and ways you make the last 11 days of January the best days, please share in the comments.
If you'd like to hire me for personal coaching and accountability, we can create a personalized plan for you for 2020 - please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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