January: Quiet–Bringing It Down

Welcome to the January 2017 Loving My Actual Life Challenge!

How to Get Started on the January Challenge:

  1. First go through the January Awareness Questions to help you think about the idea of quiet in your life and about ways you can get more quiet or use it more meaningfully.  You can brainstorm and choose one to three ideas that you’d like to make into your goals.
  2. Next, you might want to check out the January Ideas and Resources to inspire you further. You can add to or adjust your goals if you like.
  3. You might want to try to make your goals “SMART”.   (Don’t worry too much about this right now, though.)  That means you describe them specifically so you know exactly what you’ll be doing, as well as make them measurable by describing “how much” or “how often” you’ll do the goal.  Make them attainable and realistic, which means don’t make them too hard for yourself.  And make them “timed” which means you need to write down when the goal should be completed.  If one month isn’t realistic to complete the goal, either make it a smaller goal, or extend your deadline until later.
  4. Then (and only if you want to), post your January goals in the comment section below (you could e-mail me with them if you wanted, as well).  I’ll let you know my goals in the comment section, too.
  5. During the month of January you’ll receive a few e-mails from me to encourage you.  You can also read my blog posts in January based on the idea of “quiet” to inspire you.  Here’s the first one about “quiet” entitled “Are you Experiencing More ‘Silent Nights’ or ’10 Pipers Piping?’ [January Challenge: Quiet]”
  6. Also, if you like, let me (and this community) know some of your struggles or victories as you go along in the comments below.
  7. You can also join with me to encourage others who comment.

(Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions.)

8 thoughts on “January: Quiet–Bringing It Down

  1. Hi Everyone! Okay, so my goals for quiet this month all rotate around a similar idea, but that’s what I think I need right now. I wrote a lot below–you don’t have to write nearly as much as I did, and your goals can be very different. I’m just trying to show you my thought process, I guess. Feel free to just write one to three short goals here in the comments, if you like

    1. I’d like to continue to work on spending time with God in the evening…usually around 9pm after my son is in bed and some other things have been finished up. One thing I”ll do during this time is read the Bible–especially pertaining to areas I am trying to grow in and learn about. Then I’ll choose a verse or two that seem to speak to me and write them on cue cards–one to put on the window sill and one to put in my wallet.

    2. I’d like to also dedicate some quiet time in the morning before I start the day. This has been difficult because Clayton is sometimes unpredictable when he gets up. But I’ll aim for 6:30am. I’ll get my cue card with the verse and think and pray about it while Clayton is sleeping, or if he is up and playing (hopefully). I’ll aim for 5 – 10 minutes, but if it lasts longer, great.

    3. I hope to have about three other brief times during the day when I’ll have a look at the cue card and think and pray about the verse, either while I”m quietly sitting, cleaning, or waiting somewhere, etc.

    I’m really trying to get the truth of God’s word in my mind so I can apply it to the situations in my life, so that’s why so many goals around the same idea. Though I’ve tried the cue card many times before, now that I have a child it seems to get misplaced a lot so that I hardly look at it. So hopefully having a cue card on the window sill as well as in my wallet will help!

    I also plan to use my “monthly habit tracker” (you can find it in the section on the hub page entitled “potential resources for all year long”) to track these three habits, which often helps me. That way I can check it off during the day or at the end of the day –that’s very motivating to me. I”m aiming to do these habits every weekday, if I can, and perhaps relax for now on the weekend, doing them as I like.

  2. First of all, I would like to thank you Erica for encouraging us each month with a challenge. I am praying for a Bible study to attend, because I have a desire to grow in knowing God and His will for my life. This is a good time of the year to change habits and make changes. As for January- focus on Quietness:
    * Getting back to have my quiet time with the Lord ( maybe after lunch since I am not a morning person and we,Roelf and I, spent time reading and praying together after breakfast).
    * shut down the TV for an hour at night and read (either a christian magazine or book)

    1. Thanks, Francien, for posting your goals! I think they sound like wonderful ideas and I will keep you in my prayers as we both try to make progress in getting more quiet and drawing closer to God. Hope you have a wonderful week!

  3. It’s been a busy couple of weeks and so I’m only just getting to figuring out my January goals. It’s a bit tricky as I’m living the life of a graduate school student and things can be unpredictable but here is what I think I can do and will help.
    1. Plan for 15 min. of quiet meditation time in the morning. Start with the aim of doing this at least 3 times a week and see if I can make it to 5 times a week over the month. I think having a Bible verse to reflect on will help focus this time, but it might also just be sitting and soaking in the silence.
    2. I think it would be good to reduce the amount of multi-tasking I do – “watching” TV/movies while I do assignments and get work done. So, my goal is to spend at least the first half hour of each work session with no distractions – no TV, no radio, nothing.

    In an effort to not overwhelm myself (lots of changes already happening in my life) for the time being I am going to stick with just these two goals and see how they go. If they are going really well then I may add a third goal in during the month. These two goals will start tomorrow morning.

  4. Thank you, Sharon! It sounds like you are being very wise as you limit your goals and plan to start with quiet time a few times a week and move up, if possible. That’s a great example of not overextending yourself, and something I can learn from 🙂 Thanks for posting your goals and I hope you have a great month!

  5. Thank you Erica for providing this wonderful opportunity. I have quite a bit of “quiet” time in my life now that I am retired. I was a teacher for 25 years and have learned to relish the quiet. I find myself not using that time in meaningful ways however. So that is my goal – to use my quiet in meaningful ways by: 1. Having at least 15-20 minutes of devotional time each morning. 2. Journaling in my journaling Bible or my Faith-based art journal at least 1 time per week. 3. Spending more time reading a book rather than on social media. I may have started slow, but am going full steam ahead!

    1. Thanks, Pam! I’m glad you are joining us! I know that teaching is super-busy and it is hard to slow yourself down. I like your goals and will keep you in my prayers, as well 🙂 Let me know if there’s anything I can do to further help you all.

  6. So here are some of my wins, struggles, and take-aways from January.
    The truth is, it wasn’t easy to succeed in these goals. Quietness take a lot of self-discipline and motivation! But as you’ll see below, I did have a few wins, and I have a plan for February to help me continue finding quiet, and also make good progress with my February goals:

     I do feel like I’m making more and more progress in getting more quiet time with God.  It’s definitely up and down, though. But I do feel like I gained insight from some Bible passages at times.  I also recently read the idea on-line of choosing a Bible passage and then asking God what He wanted to say to me personally through that passage.  Then I write down what I think He’s saying.  I really like this idea and plan to continue it.

    I decided a few days into January that instead of writing out Bible verses on cue cards every night, I’d do that for sure once a week (and then think about the meaning of the verses and how they apply to my life during the rest of the week.)  Every night seemed like too much, since I sometimes wasn’t remembering to read the verse on the cue card the next day anyways.

    I also decided to sometimes do my Bible reading during the afternoon during Clayton’s nap, rather than at night when I’m feeling sleepy. This is still sometimes up in the air, though, since Clayton has been skipping or delaying his nap quite a bit lately 🙂

    Honestly, I thought since I’m leading this challenge, that just having the knowledge that people are going to read about my successes and struggles would help me do really well on my goals. Oddly, it helped a little, maybe but not ask much as I thought. Laziness and forgetfulness still got me at times. So I have a plan, if you want to read it below.  

    Take-Aways (Things I Learned): Even though I am leading these challenges, I think I really need an accountability partner that I can call back and forth once a week or so.  I have a friend in mind with whom I have been accountability partners before, so I’m pretty sure she’ll go for it. I’ll do that this February.

    Creating habits of quietness and connecting with God is something that grows little by little by little (with lots of ups and downs).  So one month wasn’t enough for me tons of progress, but I do believe I’ve planted lots of good seeds, and as I keep working on it and praying about it, it will get better and better.

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