Posts Tagged ‘Friday Five’

It’s a new year. Time for another installation of Friday Five – five totally random bits of wisdom to jump start your year.

  • One mistake doesn’t make you a failure.

Fallen off the New Year’s resolutions wagon yet? Hope not. But, if so, get right back on. Just because you ate something unhealthy, skipped a day at the gym, forgot to read your Bible, sat around all day watching Netflix, doesn’t mean you can’t right the ship. The author (James Clear) of my 2019 favorite book (Atomic Habits) gave me lots of great advice, but one thing that really stuck with me:

“If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don’t want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change.”

So…change your system. If putting your new habit for going to gym isn’t working at 6 AM, move it to 5 PM, or whatever time will work better. If your new resolution to eat healthier is failing, put a better system in place to give yourself a chance at success.

You are not the problem – your system is. This stuff is gold, people. Total game changer for me.

  • Volunteer your time somewhere.

Annual bell ringing in December

As we enter this new year, make a choice to volunteer to benefit someone less fortunate. So many wonderful organizations could use some of your valuable time. And trust me on this, you will benefit more than anyone else. If you struggle with depression, grief, or just plain old “winter blues,” sign up to help out at the local women’s shelter, Salvation Army, or my favorite pay-it-forward restaurant, Groundswell Cafe, in Cedar Rapids. Of course, there are loads of other places to help out – your kids’ school is always looking for extra help, the local library could use assistance shelving books, the animal shelter will never turn away someone to feed or play with the dogs and cats. Got a knack for construction? Check out Habitat for Humanity. Somehow, when we take our minds off ourselves and our own circumstances, and place them on someone else, we end up feeling better. This won’t cure clinical depression or anxiety, but volunteering just plain feels good.

  • Be anonymous.

Do something for someone else and don’t tell them it was you. Allow someone else to take the credit for your bright idea. Share a social media post without adding your own two-cents. Give a gift without a “from” label. If you have the funds, pay for someone’s groceries in line behind you…and don’t stick around to see how they respond. Clean up the break room at work without looking to see who is watching you. I think you get the idea.

  • Go to a museum and read all the stuff.

A few years ago, I convinced my husband to go with me to the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. It was fun and we really enjoyed it. We had lived here for over 25 years and never taken the time to see the exhibits. Now I have a long list of other museums in the area that I’d like to see: the National Czech and Slovak Museum (always mean to, never have); the African-American Museum of Iowa; the History Center; and Brucemore.


The view of the Czech and Slovak Museum over the 12th Avenue bridge

I just clicked on the National Czech and Slovak Museum link – their current exhibit is the art and evolution of the guitar, open until January 26th. Sounds like a good mother-son activity!

  • Don’t text and drive.

My public service announcement for the day. This isn’t a joke – this is serious stuff. Please consider others before yourself. You can wait to check that text or take that call. Even a half-second of looking away from the road (including changing the radio station) can result in an accident. I’ve set my phone to “do not disturb” while driving so any incoming texts receive a message that I’m unavailable to respond until I stop driving. It may be annoying to the sender, but it helps me stay more focused on what I need to be doing – driving. And focus is my 2020 word.

Have a great weekend!

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It’s the Friday before Christmas and I’m swamped with a to-do list longer than any naughty-or-nice list Santa’s looking at today. Which means – how do I blog AND get my other stuff done. Came up with this: Friday’s Five. I’m offering five quick “what I’ve learned in my six decades of life” tidbits of wisdom. Take it or leave it.

  • Try new things.

We all get stuck in routines. Routines are absolutely necessary but occasionally, get out of your personal rut and try something new. A new route to work, a new restaurant, a new item at your old restaurant, a new coffee shop, a museum you’ve never visited, give blood for the first time, ring the bell for Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign, walk a new path, take a vacation to a different destination. These are all new things I’ve tried in the last five years. A couple of those new things have become new routines (I give blood every 8 weeks, and ring that little bell every Christmas) and I’m always looking for something else to try to push my comfort boundaries.

  • Don’t eat meat with an expired date.

Seems like a no-brainer, right? Maybe I should have said, “check the expiration date of any meat product before consuming.” No explanation necessary. Live and learn. At least I lived, though I felt like death warmed over for a while.

  • Visit national, state, and county parks as much as possible.

img_3853My brother and sister-in-law took me to my first national park in September of 2016. And my second. And my third. All in the space of three days. That whirlwind tour was life-changing. God is out there, people. Check out His creation in the wide open spaces. Or the deep dark forests. Or the windswept prairie. Or the little path through the woods. I will never be the same. I will never view God the same. I’ve thanked Alan and Victoria multiple times, but I can never express adequately what that trip meant to me.

  • Watch someone else’s kids play sports, perform in a play, or sing/play in a concert.

We all love our own kids best. It’s natural. But there is something so wonderful about cheering for other people’s kids. They light up. Their parents light up. Everyone needs a cheerleader – be one for someone else’s children. And it will change YOU.  Love for others grows your heart.

  • Go without occasionally.

If you have enough money to purchase whatever you want, don’t. Live with less. Say “no” to that voice- the one that says, “you must have this.” Give yourself a day or two – find out if that thing you so desire on Friday is still necessary on Monday. Show your kids that living with less can be freeing, gratifying, enjoyable. Stuff clutters. And I’m still working on this one.

Have a wonderful weekend!


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