Motivation, Challenge, and My Evenings (a new tool makes the most of my time)

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I’ve come to accept that I will always need a new tool to help me keep going in the direction of my goals.

When I stop thinking critically about my life, actions, priorities, and thinking (yes, I need to think about my thinking) then drift, coast, or stand still in the areas that are most important to me. Sure, I may still be active online with social media and even in person with friends and family, but the things that fuel and energize me take the work of paddling against the current.

As a homeschool mom, I find that using tools in my own life to keep me organized, prioritized, and energized is the number one thing that impacts our home and education the very most. It isn’t selfish or distracting from that work. I need these tools in order to teach – in fact, these tools are maybe more important than the ones I use for my kids.

I used the Make Over Your Mornings tool about a year ago for the first time. The course, by Crystal Paine of MoneySavingMom.com, was one of the most motivational things in my life. She helped me define (maybe for the first time) the connection between my priorities and my goals. Without her encouragement and direction, I don’t think I would have made the effort to progress in the areas of my life that were (and are) challenging.

Plus, I became an affiliate for the course, and this post earned me enough money to buy a bulk of our Christmas presents for last year. Win, win.

I tried going through the morning course again after becoming pregnant because so much of my routine was altered by my changing needs.

It was good, but not as great as the first time. I felt like I was lacking the challenge of the newness.

So when Crystal messaged me about her new course, I was skeptical that it would really work for me. It’s called Make Over Your Evenings.

I thought, “What could the difference really be?” In the mornings course, she takes a day to address creating an evening routine. I couldn’t see how she could expand that one day into a stand alone course.

But she did it, and it’s amazing.

Like the first course, it challenges me. (And the daily intro music is better than the mornings course. 😉 )

Just in the first three days, I’ve had so much success in the life application.

For example, she shares advice that challenges my thinking like this:

“I love what Marie Kondo says in the The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: ‘People cannot change their habits without first changing their thinking.’ Today, I want challenge you to change your thinking so that during the rest of this course, you can work on changing your habits.”

And challenges for my actions like a 4-question process of adding anything to my calendar and the process of creating a temporary “Stop Doing List.”

In the first day, she addresses the reasons why she created the evening course – including the fact that she created this one for the people who took the morning course. I was thinking that this course would be an alternative for those who didn’t want to take the morning course, but on the contrary, she developed this course to dig in deeper to the work already started in the morning course.

It’s so good.

Plus, I believe the structure of the workbook is laid out better with all the worksheets and resources right within each day (no more having to jump back and forth to the end). And the resources included are very practical.

My favorite resource so far has been from Jeff Sander’s post Morning’s 101: How to Create Your Ideal Evening Routine:

Keep in mind that the evening routine tends to much more flexible than the morning routine as schedules are likely to evolve more dramatically as the day progresses.”

Also in this post are the 9 Potential Habits to Include in Your Evening Routine.

The most helpful thing I took away from Jeff Sander’s post is learning to set an evening boundary. The time when all work related, house projects, or other tasks get put away and I begin to go through the routine that best sets me up to go to bed on time and to prepare for the next day.

I used to set my bedtime as my only evening boundary, with the hope that I would have already done the things that make for a great evening. But I’ve learned (through many disappointments) that this doesn’t always work. Usually, it’s one of two options: I go to bed on time but I don’t accomplish all the ideal evening helps (writing out the next day’s agenda, cleaning the kitchen, or winding down in a way that’s relaxing for me) OR I do accomplish all the things at an arbitrary start time only to realize I’m going to be 30 – 60 minutes later than I intended.

So, as I prepare for baby, schedule our summer activities, and review my priorities I’ve been so blessed by this course’s guidance in setting up an evening routine that refuels and refills my soul. It’s true that a great morning routine is built on the foundation of the evening routine from the night before.

Who wants to join me?

I’m also about to start another Whole30. If you’re interested in doing that or the Make Over Your Evening Course, contact me or comment!

Accountability peeps! This post is my challenge to you today. How are you doing with your planning and trying the Bullet Journal? If you have any more questions, you know how to reach me! Keep up the great work; your life is worth it.

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