the new new year

"Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly-sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address." - You've Got Mail

Ah, the start of fall and a new school year. Here in Florida, it doesn't feel anything like fall, nor will it for a long time. In fact, temps are in the 90s, humidity is hovering between 90 and 100%, and it feels like over 100 degrees during the day. Perfect beach weather - not great for loading small children into car seats. But I digress.

I love a new school year for the feeling of newness it brings, and a renewed commitment to routine and order. Listen, I adore summer as much as the next gal, but with two small kids in the house who thrive on routine, I am actually relieved to be back on a schedule. I can't help but feel like the start of school is like the second coming of the New Year, because new routines are being set, and with them the opportunity to improve.

My One Word Theme for 2016 is Prepare - I'm dedicating myself to being on time (it's not in my nature - I have to work at it!), planning my week ahead of time, packing and laying out clothes the night before, and getting up before my kids. All of this is an effort not to rush, not to be urgent all the time. It's really been working for me to keep my mind focused on an idea, rather than striving for 5-10 different written goals. I find that "preparing" fascilitates good habits, like Bible reading, exercise, writing, and cleaning.

With the NEW New Year - the beginning of school, I want to add a One Word Theme to focus on during the months of August through May (the duration of our school year), and that is consistency. A little bit every day, with the focus on every day. I have to say - it will be hard work to change this about myself. I often feel like I need large chunks of time to dedicate to something, or I can't do it at all. But that leaves me procrastinating until I have more time, and that almost never happens.

I see this helping me in a few areas:

• Bible Study - getting up early to read 2 or 3 chapters - nothing huge. Usually ends of being 20 minutes of reading.
• Writing - I made a commitment to myself to write more consistently, so as soon as I'm done with my Bible reading, I get to pour myself a cup of coffee and write until Teddy wakes up. It actually feels like a treat, since I pair it with my coffee and some quiet time. (Pippa might be up by this time, but she gets to watch her TV show)
• Fitness - I am so done with feeling self conscious about my stomach, due to separated abs from my last pregnancy. I'm working a little bit each day on healing exercises, but also on walking 2 miles a day (or more) pushing the double stroller and holding the dog's leash. I've already noticed improvement in the area from a week's worth of short, but consistent, workouts.
• My business - we're kicking off a 90 day game plan, and I'm committed to helping serve those who said they are ready for a change in their health and their income. This is hard to balance with being home with my kids and teaching, but per the advice of a mentor, I'm getting organized, and making sure I do one thing for my business each day, no matter how small.
• Correcting papers - I have to say, I have often left a stack of papers because I felt like if I didn't have  time to correct all of them, then I wouldn't even start. No more this year! A little bit at a time will prevent the overwhelm.
• Reading - 10 pages each day before falling asleep.

But the beauty of it is that there are no goals I can "fail." It's a mindset of designing my days and weeks to faithfully fulfill my roles and use my gifts. I find there is a feeling of satisfaction in being consistent - I feel responsible and dependable, and that is empowering. It's also liberating to not have a specific goal, deadline, or number to hit. "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." So says Aristotle.

Do you renew your goals around the start of school or in fall? I would love to hear them!

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