What worked for me in January

When I wrote my first “what worked for me” post earlier this year, I was a little overwhelmed by the length of it, and if I was overwhelmed, that means y’all were even more so. But I am a fanatic about celebrating even the tiniest wins, and making quick corrections to what’s not working, so with that in mind, I’m going to try for a bite-sized monthly installment. So, let’s get right to it. Here’s what worked for me in January.

    1. The Full Focus Planner, by Michael Hyatt. Imagine the clouds are parting, rays of sunshine are streaming through, and the Hallelujah chorus is being sung by a great heavenly host. That’s how I feel about the Full Focus planner (and I’m only exaggerating a little bit). Y’ALL. This thing has me Living My Best Life.

      I have tried every manner of planner and process—I was a true believer in “bullet journaling” for a hot minute, but I failed at every system—including bullet journaling—for one major reason: there wasn’t enough structure to rein me in. The Full Focus planner forces me, by design, to narrow down my projects and goals, and really focus intently on just a handful of tasks at a time. And it encourages me to be strategic in my timing, only moving full-steam ahead on a small number of items each quarter. Rather than feeling discouraged every single day, because I didn’t make it very far on my list, I feel SO GOOD about what I AM able to accomplish, and how everything I’m working on is perfectly aligned to my 2018 goals. I’m more productive, and more efficient, and that right there is my love language.If this sounds like a good fit for you, click here for a 15% off code, or to learn more about the planner—what a great gift for the planner-minder person in your life!

    2. More houseplants. It’s no secret that houseplants literally make us happier. But did you know that they also improve indoor air quality? If you’re feeling a little blah, or like your decor needs a refresh, but you’re not quite sure what to change, pick yourself up a few houseplants. Long dangling ones look great atop a china cabinet, or trailing off a mantle. Tall, architectural ones (like snake plants) add life to any corner, and big statement plants (like the ubiquitous fiddle-leaf fig) are like living art. Succulents have some of the most interesting other-worldly shapes, and like a lit of sun and very little water—perfect if you’re a little negligent in your care.
    3. The New City Catechism: 52 Questions and Answers for Our Hearts and Minds (The Gospel Coalition) Okay now, don’t get spooked by the word “catechism.” Simply put, catechisms are collections of questions and answers designed for memorization and recitation. “The New City Catechism is a modern-day resource aimed at reintroducing this ancient method of teaching to Christians today.” This little book contains 52 questions and answers related to God, human nature, sin, Christ, the Holy Spirit, etc., and it’s a simple and approachable way to bring core doctrine into your home, and in front of your children. There’s also a free app, which includes sing-alongs to help children memorize. (Full disclosure: I use the kiddo songs to memorize, too. Whatever works!)
    4. I swapped political podcasts for books, and sermons. As a voracious podcast listener, I began to reconsider the focus of the content I’d been consuming, and determined that I was intaking too much political content. So since December I’ve been almost entirely skipping Ben Shapiro (and others), and have listened to several audiobooks in that time, as well as sermons I had been meaning to catch up on. Just in the time that I put Ben Shapiro on hiatus, I’ve finished:
      • “Grant”, by Ron Chernow,
      • “The Myth of Male Power” by Warren Farrell (which I recommend extremely cautiously, and with a lot of stipulations),
      • “How to Think,” by Alan Jacobs,
      • “The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery,” by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile, and
      • “Cold-Case Christianity,” by J. Warner Wallace
      • I’ve also listened to several sermons on the Old Testament that I’ve been meaning to listen to for literally two years.

Not a bad way to start the year! Have you shifted any habits, or found unexpected joy in your houseplants recently? I’d love to hear about it.

Peace to you,

mj

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