Friday, February 3, 2012

Twelve Daily Habits for 2012--Habit #11: Do Something for Yourself

Habit #11: Do Something for Yourself

This habit is definitely a new one for me. However, in the past year, I have lost forty pounds, forty inches, and three sizes—by doing something for myself each day. Exercise, face exercises, skin brushing, moisturizing, “anti-wrinkle” cream application, and more have been added into this busy mamma’s schedule that formerly contained washing my hair, face, and body with the same Suave shampoo that my husband uses. (I’m not a real picky person—with seven children, you either become flexible and don’t freak out over not having everything “just so”—or you make everybody around you miserable—and I have always chosen the former.)

At first, I could barely write the shortened form of my new “something for myself daily habit”—SC—and that doesn’t stand for South Carolina, but rather for “Self Care,” something I decided that I would really try to do over the past several months. It felt so, well, self-focused and self-absorbed. I mean, people are waiting on their new language arts books, my kids need their mom during the fifteen minutes I was standing in front of the mirror attempting to make wrinkles disappear, and I could be writing another book with that time!

However, I succumbed to the SC regiment—and I’m kind of liking it. Oh, I don’t do all of my “Self Care” tasks every day—and some days I fall into bed without even one SC done. But taking the time for these extras is starting to pay off—and I really love the new clothes I am fitting into! 

Character Training From the Heart Seminar in Decatur, IN, Feb 17-18

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Twelve Daily Habits for 2012---Habit #10: Work on a Big Project Every Day

Habit #10: Work on a Big Project Every Day

In the last post’s exercise confession, I described how I am an “all or nothing type of person.” This, as I stated earlier, can be a real boon or a real detriment.

I have always believed in the concept of “do a little bit of a big project everyday,” but, as is true with all really good things, it is not enough to believe it, you have to do it. And that’s where I break down a little.

Oh, I’ve had varying degrees of success with it—and have always loved the outcome of that success. Many years ago, I made a commitment to write curriculum a few days each week—a little at a time. And thirty thousand pages later (they are not *all* text; some are student “worktexts” with lines for the kids to fill in), I know that “write most days” really worked.

I learned a dozen years ago that organizing experts say that you can maintain an organizational system in twenty minutes per day of maintenance. We have applied this to most of our home’s organizational systems and kept things flowing despite full time jobs, homeschooling, and starting a business/family ministry. A little every day keeps things moving on bigger projects in the same way that a few “dailies” each day keep things moving on a day-by-day basis.

I even taught my kids to do this. I can remember our third child, who is now a disability ministry director and gets tons done every day, announcing near the beginning of high school, that no matter what her days held, she was going to do ten minutes of each subject every school day. Obviously, most subjects required more than that, but her thinking (and it is great thinking) was that if she got out each subject for ten minutes every day, regardless of whether she was working that day or going on a field trip, etc., she would make her way through everything by the end of the year. And it worked.

Two years ago I set out on a “do a little bit of a big project everyday” as I started Positive Parenting 3*6*5 and committed to write a post every day—365 days in a row, as much as possible. I ended that on December 30th with success—365 parenting blog posts.

I was inspired again to apply this approach to some big projects I am working on right now by the “Git It Done Guy” ( and on FB: ). This internet self-help guru described how he broke down a big project (an upcoming book) into twenty minute increments every day. I am doing the same this year with my outlines and presentation materials, as well as with our parenting blog and our Language Lady blog.

Truly, to “git ‘it done,” you just have to do it….a little bit at a time.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Twelve Daily Habits for 2012--Habit #9: Exercise a Little Every Day

Habit #9: Exercise a Little Every Day

If you have read Positive Parenting long, you have probably heard me say that I am an “all or nothing type of person.” This mindset can be either really great or absolutely horrible. It is really great when I have the time and energy to put “all” into something and come out with something wonderful because I gave it my all. It’s absolutely horrible when I can’t do “all” of something, so I do nothing. Exercise and I have definitely had that all or nothing relationship through the years.

I either power-walked 90-120 minutes a day, did “Abs With Denise” every night, and lost eighty pounds. Or I did nothing and gained eighty pounds. Definitely all or nothing.

As I have found with most things in my life, the older I get, the more balance I achieve—and exercise is finally coming into balance for me. No more all or nothing. If I can do ten minutes of arms and stomach a day, I do that. If I can ballroom dance for two hours one day, I do that. If I can take a long walk with one of the kids, I go for it. If we can play basketball in the driveway for thirty minutes, pass me the ball.

With this “new” approach to exercise, I will probably never be a size six again…but I will never be a size twenty-four again either! I am healthier than I have been since my “exercise mania days” (which turned out to be not so healthy when coupled with starvation diets!). And definitely healthier than my size twenty-four days.

So…do you want to join me in the coming year? Exercise a little everyday—ten, twenty, thirty, sixty, or 120 minutes. Because a little bit all the time is better than a lot very infrequently.