Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Goal Tracker, Establishing Great Morning and Night Routines

"The course of our lives is not determined by great, awesome decisions. Our direction is set by the little day-to-day choices which chart the track on which we run." -Gordon B. Hinckley

Last Saturday, as Scott and I were getting ready for bed, I thought of the treats I'd had that weekend, on our date and with the family, and I said something like this to Scott, "It's the little things we do every day, the habits we've established, that make us who we are. I'm glad we eat so well most of the time, lots of plants, almost zero refined or processed foods, so that we can enjoy a treat on the weekends and know that we'll be fine because of the healthy habits we've established everyday." 

Knowing that our daily habits determine who we are,  Scott and I are very intentional about our morning and nighttime routines. Of course, how we use our time throughout the entire day is important, but in the morning and night time, we don't usually have people and other responsibilities pressing on us, and so that time is 'our own'. The choice is ours. Will we take advantage of that 'free time' to better and improve ourselves, or will we not. 

Right now, in January of 2016, our morning and night time schedules look something like this(with a little variation on the weekends):

515-530am wake up
515-6am pray, read/study scriptures 
6-7 exercise at home (or outside when it's warmer) 
7-820 get ready, help kids get ready, green smoothie, pray with family, get kids off to school and scott to work
830-930 clean, tidy, organize  
(After this time the schedule varies: some days we grocery shop, some days we clean more, some days we go to play group. We always have lunch about 1130 and quiet time until 2, which is when I do some dinner prep, and Jane does her homework and then kids get home about 330 and 330-530 I usually spend helping kids with homework, finishing up dinner etc)

7pm-730(some days it's later because of sports) read to little girls, then family scripture, prayer
730-745 take girls to bed (talk, pray, sing)
745-830 quiet reading and/or writing time (sometimes cleaning for me)
830-9ish take older kids to bed (this takes longer because we like to visit with each one)
9-930 reading and visiting with just me and Scott
930-10 couple scripture study and prayer and visiting

"A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true." Greg S Reid

We have worked over the years at making goals and putting them into action until they have become habits. Some of these habits took several attempts, trying and trying again, until they stuck. I'm glad we didn't give up when we seemed to have failed, but that we kept trying until we got it. It's so important to stay positive, and work hard so that we can make things happen. Our most recent habit success has been with our nightime routine...Scott and I have been wanting to consistently read something spiritual together at night for years, but we were very hit and miss until this year. 

"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals." Henry David Thoreau

Scott and I are continually trying to improve ourselves. We know we've got a long way to go, and that's okay. It's kind of exciting to think about where you might be, what more you'll know and be able to do, 5, 10 and 20 years from now. Scott and I each filled in a 'Goal Tracker' recently where we also fill in an action plan with steps to take, and a target date (if applicable). We had a few 'couple goals' including one in finances, spiritual and family but everything else was on our own, though when I looked over his after I had made mine, it was amusing to see that many of our individual goals were very similar. We made sure we challenged ourselves, because if it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you, but we also didn't create goals that were so challenging that they seemed impossible. 
I, unknowingly, took a few pictures this week of  some of my daily habits that I've had for years: 

1. Green smoothie! I drink this daily and LOVE it! Do you like my new glass mason jar with a handle? I found this at's a Pioneer Woman product if you're curious. 

2. Reading. I've read pretty regularly for years. When I was in high school, I hated to read, then at BYU, all I had time to read were my text books. Once Scott and I were married I started to read a little more, and then a lot more as I discovered Harry Potter and the Twilight series. I loved reading fictions and read a lot of them, but over the years I've found that I'm more interested in non-fiction books. I love books on nutrition and health, finances, on how to improve relationships and I love reading healthy cook books :). I also enjoy biographies and sometimes I'll pick up a classic, like Les Miserables which is pictured below. I don't always finish the bookclub book for the month because they're almost always fiction books and unless it's an uplifting and edifying fiction, I'll probably ditch it part way through. 
Nora has been joining Scott and I, in the wee hours of the morning, most days, for scripture study and exercise. It's never too early to start creating good habits.

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