LIFE CLEANSE: OUTLINE

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“Motivation is a fire from within. If someone else tries to light that fire under you, chances are it will burn very briefly.” Stephen R. Covey

So do you remember a while back, well it would have been at the beginning of the year when I posted we were going on a beach trip and then I was coming back to start my 2014 LIFE CLEANSE?

Did you see my post right after about our crazy stressful trip that, although full of mercy and learning, left me a bit frazzled?

Here’s the deal, I was originally planning a 90-DAY LIFE CLEANSE. Yep, whole thing start to finish from January through March.

Well, here it is April and I’m just now getting to the next Phase!

At first I was kind of getting down on myself, which was definitely not helping the process, and then I thought to myself, “Come on Meg! Who put a time limit on this thing anyway?! You did! Nobody else is imposing these time restrictions! You silly thing, just keep working on improving, stop with the crazy/impossible expectations!”

So, here I am. I went back to the original 2014 LIFE CLEANSE title to relieve my personal anxiety on the subject. Plans are more motivating to me when they have a title;) Also, I’ve taken a more “Move on when you’re ready” approach to reaching the next phase.

Each Phase of my plan has a Section that I can work on exclusively or in connection with the other two sections. Also, each section tries to focus on a different aspect of my being (ie: spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, etc.)

Here’s my ORIGINAL plan:

Phase 1: Renew, Revitalize, Reflect

Renew: This is meant to be a more Spiritual and Emotional Section of Improvement. Spiritually I want to Repent and Forgive (mostly myself), moving forward, as if I was starting life anew. Emotionally I want to leave Discouragement and Self-doubt behind and move forward with Hope and Courage.

Revitalize: This is a more Physical Section of Improvement. For myself, I know I need to focus more on self-care, especially rest. Sleep, breaks, and focusing more on where I’m “letting myself go” physically. It’s impossible to fill everyone’s bucket from my empty one. Also, in my surroundings, to make myself more efficient and productive I’m organizing, downsizing, and deep cleaning my home. This “spring-cleaning” is always very refreshing for me.

Reflect: This is a Mental, although touching on the Emotional and Spiritual Improvement Sections as well. This will of course require Heavenly help, my knees will get a workout With this Section I want to focus on three main questions: What do I really need to change in my life ? What is/are the root(s) of what is holding me back from this change? What changes can I make that will make change in my family?

Phase 2: Study, Strengthen, Synthesize

Study: A mostly Spiritual Section, a need to focus more on the quality of my study rather than quantity. I’ve been going through the motions lately and don’t feel the invigoration of learning and inspiration as strongly as I once did. I mostly want to focus on my study of Scripture, being “IN” my prayers and not just habitual monologues, and the topics that I have pondered on during my time of Reflection in Phase 1.

Strengthen: In this Physical focused Section I was to hone my routines/habits. Making sure I “Put first things first” (Stephen Covey), namely my study and self-care. Also, taking a literal interpretation of the section, I want to focus more on changing my exercise routine to include more strength training. I’m finding I can do my daily Mommy tasks when my body is in better condition.

Synthesize: This will be mostly a Mental Section. I want to focus on how I can use the emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical aspects of my being to work together more efficiently and productively. I believe this will mean paying more attention to timing, and highs and lows of the day/week/etc. For this section I will focus more on receiving guidance through prayer, and daily planning, using a long-term vision. Also I plan to write the things I’m discovering about myself so that I can forecast what, when, and how to do tasks/activities.

Phase 3: Clarify, Cleanse, Create

Clarify: This will be a Mental and probably Emotional Section. At this point in the process I am hoping I can define what really are the roots of my personal vices. The idea being, to kill the problem from the source.

Cleanse: A Physical Section that will focus mostly on food cleansing. Omitting some foods and adding others to cleanse my body of toxins and hopefully find a good food balance that will lessen the “build-up” in the future.

Create: Another Mental, Spiritual and Emotional Section mix. Now that I have found the roots, I want to create a “game-plan” of how I can use my virtues to eliminate the vices. This will probably be an ongoing process but I’m thinking that the earlier Phases will help me get rid of distraction and focus on the things that will empower me to make real change.

Another thing I noticed after I started working was that the Phases kind of overlap. Right now I’m still working on Revitalize from Phase 1, and I’m learning that Renew is something that needs to happen more regularly…. but I’ve moved on to all three Phases in Phase 2, albeit slowly;).

I’m hoping this makes sense. Sometimes my ideas only make sense to me;)
I’ll be posting and hopefully vlogging some of what I’ve been learning in this process of Cleansing my life. My main goal is to find the main roots of change in my life that need to be made. I realize that some may take a life-time to change but I think that the identifying and concentrating on specifics will help me progress more successfully.

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Routines and Schedules

I am a routine person. I also like schedules. I would define a routine as a plan and method for doing something. A schedule is the timing for doing that something. From how I organize my day to how I put on makeup. I like to study out the task, find what I think is the best way to accomplish it both in timing and method and then repeat it in the same way every time I do that task. Some family and friends tease me about being a bit OCD and when under stress I wouldn’t argue with that label. But the majority of the time I’m pretty even-keeled. However, I do prefer routines and schedules for several reasons:

  1. Efficiency and Effectiveness: when you need to do something, having a plan for your timing and method makes it easier and generally you will do it better and in less time.
  2. Memory: I just do not remember things as well as I used to, but for my routines and schedules they become habits so I can do them with little or no thought.
  3. Stress: when you have a plan, especially ones that have become habitual, it lessons worry and anxiety because you know that thing will be taken care of and most likely in the best way possible.

I’ve seen the benefit of having routines and schedules especially after becoming a wife, then mother, and now a homeschooling mother. When I was just taking care of myself I did have many routines and schedules because I liked to be efficient. Once I married, I saw how melding myself and my life with another person would create new but even more important routines and schedules so that we could accomplish our goals as a team. Then when children started joining our family routines and schedules became not only a source of accomplishment but I began to see them as more of a necessity.

Kids sleep, eat, learn, and interact better when they have people and things that they can count on. Routines and Schedules create security and free up their minds for learning and growing rather than anxiety and worry.

After several years of homeschooling I’ve seen routines and schedules as even more of a necessity. Now they help me fit in the many tasks and responsibilities that are necessary to keep our family progressing towards our goals. While preparing for a new school year I always try to create a list of the things I feel need to be accomplished and how I feel is the best way to accomplish it, both in regards to schooling and family life. I also create a schedule of what I think will work best. Then I try to plan things out even more detailed on a monthly and weekly and daily basis, in that order.

Do we always follow these plans and routines and schedules? No, of course not. There are bumps in everyone’s lives and also sometimes things/changes or needs will come up that I had not thought of, or anticipated. In our family I have seen a pattern of about every three months needing to revamp a few things or sometimes completely some of our routines and schedules. But if you begin with a plan outlined it is much easier to revamp than if your coming from ground zero/clueless.

Are there any downfalls to routines and schedules? I think so. Here are the ones that I’ve found I need to watch out for:

  1. Flexibility: if you are so concentrated on accomplishing things in a certain way and in a certain amount of time that you cannot stop to smell the roses, listen to your spouse/child, take an opportunity that is even better for you and/or your family in the long run, then you have become the slave rather than the master.
  2. Needs: if you are too set on doing things in a certain way at a certain time then you may miss signals in yourself and others that perhaps this isn’t the best way or best time to do that thing. For instance, one thing I do not do on a “schedule” is feed my babies. We do have routines and they usually find their own “schedule” but I do not time feedings, I feed them when they are hungry.

Despite the possible drawbacks I am still very much an advocate of having a plan. Routines and schedules help you accomplish what you need and want to in (usually) the best way possible and help you avoid worry. Also, in terms of family life they provide a calmer and more secure environment so that families can flourish rather than just survive.