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Are you enjoying your life?
…How would you answer that question?
Maybe you enjoy parts of it, but not others.
Or maybe you would say you enjoy most of your life, but there are times you wish some things were different.
Or maybe because of difficult circumstances… or generally not being where you want to be in life… or just insane busyness, you would say, “no”.
A decade ago, my answer would have been for sure (at least in my head) a resounding “No!”
Although there were some really good things in my life, I wasn’t enjoying a lot of it. My job felt very unfulfilling and difficult. I didn’t feel like I was using my gifts and interests to make a difference anywhere much outside of work, either. I wondered if my hopes for marriage would ever happen. And I also felt really far from God.
But thankfully, after believing (mixed with plenty of doubt) that He could change what looked impossible, and after taking step after little step in the direction of the dreams I thought He’d put in my heart, I am now privileged to be able to say emphatically, “YES! I am enjoying my life–a lot!”
I love my career, my opportunities to contribute, and my life situation.
…Even so, sometimes it’s easy to forget about all the good stuff in my life and focus on the struggles. Why? Because there are always struggles in life, and there always will be (they refine our character, don’t you know?). And no matter where we are in life, there will always be new dreams, new goals, and new desires that haven’t yet been fulfilled… Do you relate?
But the secret to enjoying our lives even when they aren’t perfect (which they never will be) is learning how to enjoy our lives NOW in the midst of the imperfections.
Because life is always experienced in the PRESENT and if we never learn to enjoy life now, it will continue to be difficult to enjoy life in the future… no matter how many dreams of ours may come to pass.
That’s why, this 2017, I want to issue a monthly challenge for you and me called the “Loving My Actual Life” Monthly Challenges.
These challenges are closely based on the experiment thought up and created by author Alexandra Kuykendall. It is documented in her fun and insightful book Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What’s Right in Front of Me.
Alexandra felt like she was always running around–that life was a blur– and that she wasn’t really appreciating the good things around her. At the same time, she had a lot of responsibilities with kids, career, etc., and she didn’t know if she could make any big changes in her life at that point to help her enjoy it more.
So she decided to focus on one thing per month that she believed would help her to better love her actual life–the life she had. She did this for 9 months and wrote her insights as she went along and then created the book.
Topics she focused on included:
- making time for quiet moments in her life
- making space for “dates” with her friends and family members
- adding more adventure to her life
- focusing on her physical health
- and making efforts towards home organization
So many of these themes line up with my goals for 2017, so I’m looking forward to addressing many of these topics over the next year and giving it my best shot with the time I have. How about you?
The point won’t be to necessarily add a lot MORE things to do to our lives… but if we set some realistic and needed goals for ourselves, hopefully they will help us actually simplify and appreciate what we do have MORE.
I plan to blog at the start of each month about the topic for that month and about the 3 goals I’ve decided to set that month based on the topic.
I’ll challenge you to join me before the beginning of each month— if you want to — in setting goals for yourself connected to that theme–up to 3 goals that you think are realistic for you and would help you enjoy your life more.
Then at the end of the month, I’ll let you know how it went with me including any insights I’ve gained, and I’ll ask you how your month went as well. I’d be so happy to hear of your wins, struggles and insights as we go!
Want to join me?
If you do, watch for my blog posts and I’ll give you challenges as we go throughout the year. I’ll probably give each challenge in the week before the next month starts so that you can plan your 3 goals and jump in when the month begins.
Goals need to work realistically for you and your life situation. Don’t worry–you can’t “fail” this. We are going for progress in our goals and not perfection. We’ll learn from our mistakes, revise or change our goals, and just do the best we can.
There are two ways you can join me:
A. Casually: Join the challenge as you are able during specific months during the year depending on the topics that interest you. You can click the “|I’m In” button to keep up to date–then you won’t miss out on “challenge announcements” or possible resources (including some freebies) that may help you with that month’s challenge. You can add any insights you have on that topic and your experiences, if and when you like. I’ll be happy to hear about your exploits!
B. All In!: Let me know if you really want to jump in and try to take the challenge for all 9 months or at least a lot of them (see below for a list of the 9 topics). If more than 8 people want to join and be “all in”, I’ll create a private Facebook group where we can challenge each other and let each other know our insights, victories and struggles as we go along. This group will really help with motivation, tips, and camaraderie on the journey to loving your actual life this 2017.
Either way, click the “I’m In” button and try to do the challenge as best as you can for each month as it works for you… no problem if you can’t do a month or two. As a subscriber, you’ll stay up-to-date on great resources (some free or at a discount) to help you with that month’s topic as we go along.
Also buy the book, if you like: Loving My Actual Life: An Experiment in Relishing What’s Actually In Front of Me by Alexandra Kuikendall. The book relates best to a mom’s life, with all its kid-craziness, but it has plenty of insights for all women in any life situation as well. It is not mandatory to buy it to take the challenge, however.
If you’d like a sneak peak, here are the topics we’ll cover each month in 2017 (based on the chapter names in the book):
January: Quiet–Bringing it Down: Discover with me how we can pare down some of the busyness in our lives, add some more stillness, and perhaps become more attuned to what God might be speaking to us.
February: Dates–My Peeps: This is actually the third chapter in the book, but we’ll cover it in the second month, since it coincides nicely with Family Day (in Ontario, Canada where I live), and also my son’s birthday, and Valentine’s Day. (If you’re single and not dating–don’t worry; there will be plenty of great connection ideas for you and your friends/family, too).
March: First Things First–Mornings: Let’s learn some ways of how we can start off our mornings on the right foot and make way for the best days possible.
April: Being Kind To My Body–Health: We’ll look at some strategies to add some healthy habits to our days and make progress towards healthier bodies.
May: Unleashing the Wild–Adventure: Got a case of the dulls? This May let’s challenge ourselves to add some adventure–activities that will bring some more fun to our lives.
June: Pushing Through The Piles–Home Organization: Man, do I need to do this one. My basement (as well as other places) is calling me to sort through those mountains of stuff and create some order. How about you?
July: Love is in the Details–Creativity: Want to add some more creative activities to your life? Don’t worry if you don’t think of yourself as “creative”. There are plenty of options for everyone’s tastes.
August: Three Times A Day–Meals: Is wondering what to put on the table a daily frustration? Let’s look at some ways to make it easier and maybe more fun.
September: I am Made to Do Great Things–Passions: Yes you are! We all have passions and interests we could pursue, but perhaps don’t feel we have the time. We’ll find ways to make some time and explore some activities that we think we’d enjoy.
So those are the themes and challenges!
You’ll set your own goals based on each month’s theme–joining in whenever you feel like it.
I’d love to read your thoughts whenever you like as well in the months you choose to join.
What do you think?
Want to make strides in “Loving Your Actual Life” in 2017?
Let’s do it!
Got questions? I’m happy to answer them. Comment here or send me a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.