Friday, February 07, 2014

Seeking intention in 2014.

My dear friend Liz gave me this lovely flower... Looking at it always inspires me!
February just started and 2014 is already a doozy. Duh, let's face it, you don't get engaged and start grad school simultaneously (while working full-time) unless you understand that it's going to be a doozy. I'm still learning how to adjust and prioritize and get it all done and enjoy it in the process...

I didn't make any new year's resolutions this year, but I have been thinking about things I can do in different areas of my life to at least begin to (re)form some new rhythms. I want to share those ideas, those hopeful habits here for a few reasons: 1) To keep them in my mind, 2) to ask you to ask me how it's going through the year, 3) to ask you to share habits that have worked for you in the past. Have you ever been in the same boat - planning a wedding and grinding out grad school? Or have you ever had a ton of big stuff on your plate all at once? Give me your wisdom!! Please?... 


Create a reading schedule for school. I did this earlier in the week and it made me breathe a little deeper. Now I at least know which book I'll be reading each week.

Read at least 30 pages for school every day. I'll probably need to up this number many days, but it makes it feel more manageable to break it down this way to begin.

Write creatively for at least 30 minutes each day. Again, this is one that will have to increase as I go along, but I hope that it can get me into a good shitty first draft rhythm, as we'll call it. I've done it for the last couple of days and I write about 6.5 rambling pages each time. Better than nothing. Also, I have to remember that writing creatively is equally if not even more important that my critical work. My reading and paper-writing are supposed to enhance my creative writing, and the ultimate goal is to improve on that.

Blog twice a week.

Write morning pages 3 times a week.


Take a few simple planning steps every week. Have a conversation about the rehearsal dinner, determine a date for a shower, begin to collect addresses, schedule engagement photos...

Value simplicity.

Respect others' opinions and be honest about my own.

Ask for help/advice when needed.


Exercise every day. On the days I don't go to the gym, I've been taking a power walk or doing a Zumba class on YouTube.

Use my hand weights every day. I slowly want to build better upper body strength.

Cut way down on processed foods. Make conscious decisions.

Sleep at least 7 hours a night. Make myself get up off the couch and go to bed instead of staying dumbly glued to the TV.


Keep up with my daily devotional. I've been reading from Frederick Buechner's "Listening to Your Life" every day.

Sit in 10 minutes of centering prayer/silence 3 times a week. It's been really hard for me to add this to my daily practice, but I hope that starting with a small amount will make it less daunting to later move to 20 or 30 minutes every day.

Wake up with my first alarm. Too often I press "snooze" and feel even sleepier/more rushed when I do get up. When I wake up on time, I feel awake much more quickly.

Lessen my social media consumption. It's come to be where Facebook and Twitter feel like comfort, yet also like laziness. Often I check them out of sheer boredom. I'd like to limit my check times and find ways to channel that boredom elsewhere... (Like reading or writing or centering prayer or actually interacting with people!)

Keep up the conversations. I really value the time I spend with my fiancé, family, and friends, and I'm always grateful that even though so many friends are far away, we find ways to stay in touch regularly. These talks with my kindred spirits are so good for my soul.

May I be gentle with my self and appreciative of my attempts as I begin to move into these practices. And hey, I'd love to hear yours!


Mackenzie said...

I like to set aside designated "declutter" time for taking care of the little tasks that can make bigger projects feel overwhelming. Taking 30 minutes to do some little things I've been avoiding makes it a lot easier for me to keep moving forward, in everything from blogging to wedding planning! Exercise is the other top priority... for me it's as much a mental/psychological break as it is physically healthy.

J. M. Evans said...

Breaking up wedding planning and doing small things each day is a great way to go. I found it helpful to have a wedding binder--because I am very hands-on--with a tab for each thing: the dress, the food, decorations, rehearsal dinner, photography, reception location, etc. I got the idea from a book, then added a few more tabs for things I needed for mine that weren't suggested. Also, is a great resource. I think they're the one that gives you a free wedding website so you can share updates more easily.