Like many people, I love spring! I look forward to longer days, warmer weather, colorful, blooming flowers and trees, and the chance to spend more time outdoors. I am more motivated this time of year and always seem to begin new projects and start personal challenges that I have put off through the winter months.
All that said, this year, my family is committed to doing things a little differently. Instead of adding new tasks and taking on more, we are going to reduce, cut back and refocus our priorities. We are doing some serious spring cleaning – both figuratively and literally, and making a real commitment to live more simply.
We recently had the opportunity to spend several weeks away from our “normal” lives. In addition to gaining a fresh perspective, we were reminded of the importance of down time and the blessings that come from unscheduled family togetherness. Away from the hectic schedule, rushed activities, work, school and social obligations, and constant pull of technology, we were able to connect on a much deeper level and experience a peace I haven’t felt in years. Not to mention, we had more fun just “hanging out” than any of us can remember!
Here are a few guiding principles that we will embrace as we “clean house” this spring:
1. Focus on what matters most – Find a way to quiet the noise and daily distractions and make time (even a few minutes) for the things that are most important (a hug, an encouraging word, playing together, a focused conversation, a shared meal, preparation for a special event or task).
2. Remember, less is more – In contrast to what American consumer culture preaches, I believe having and doing less leads to a greater sense of accomplishment and peace. This goes for material items (clothes, toys, accessories) as well as work, social and volunteer obligations. None of us can do everything well and when we are spread too thin, everyone suffers. We have to pick and choose. We need to say ‘no’ to lots of good things in order to fully commit, enjoy and reap the rewards of a few great things!
3. Be present and engaged – All human beings crave relationship and a sense of belonging and yet, in this digital age, people are more disconnected and lonely than ever. My children feel loved when we spend quality time together. To protect our family time, we have technology-free zones at home, a “no technology during meal-time” policy and frequently scheduled “family members only” nights.
4. Carve out down time – Most of us had a lot of unscheduled time as children to explore, discover, imagine and play. Downtime is a rarity these days, so we try to resist the urge to have built-in entertainment wherever we go and plan days, afternoons and evenings with no set agenda.
5. Make memories that will last a lifetime – It’s our goal to raise successful, independent, ethical, optimistic, compassionate adults, and we only have a limited number of years to instill the wisdom and values in our kids that will guide them the rest of their lives. We must be deliberate and intentional about the people and experiences we expose our children to. We make it a priority to plan outdoor adventures and family trips since it’s quality time we all enjoy, and we believe nature is a great teacher. ###
Christy Ziglar, CFP® is the founder of Shine Bright Kid Co., an experienced personal finance advisor, speaker, entrepreneur, mother of twins, and the niece of legendary motivator, Zig Ziglar. She is the author of Can’t-Wait Willow!, Must-Have Marvin!, and Whatever Wanda!, the first three books in the Shine Bright Kids series from Ideals Children’s Books, that helps teach kids (ages 4 – 8) basic life and character skills and the importance of making good choices. For more info, visit http://www.ShineBrightKids.com