Too often, motherhood is a mass of impulsive, unconscious, hurried actions. Wipe the counter while pouring the milk. Grab the tissue to wipe the nose while yelling at the older kids to clean up their mess; then remembering the item to add to the shopping list, and sweeping the floor while you search for a pen. It’s the epitome of multi-tasking and organized chaos (or unorganized chaos).
In my own life, learning to live deliberately has become not only a personal mission, but an indispensable key for survival. Our family of seven has a less than conventional lifestyle – we don’t have a home; our children don’t attend school; my husband and I don’t have jobs. Instead, we’re slowly traveling through North and South America in our camper on a three-plus year journey from Alaska to Argentina. We mentor our children’s education, which is amplified by our travel experiences; and we earn our income through online, location-independent businesses.
Our life is all about living deliberately. It’s the end goal in everything we do, in every decision we make. Our main objective is to live on purpose, following the path that is uniquely ours, which focuses us on the things that we place highest value on.
Essentially, living deliberately comes down to consciously deciding what you want your life to look like – who do you spend time with and how do you use your time? Once you’ve made that decision, take daily action to make it happen – either doing what you want to do, or making preparations to do it at some future date.
Here’s some of the principles we follow to make sure that our family lives deliberately:
1. Establish Daily Routines
Our family is all about spontaneity. We’re known to do things at the drop of a hat, once we make the decision. But through it all, we still maintain daily routines that keep our family running smoothly, and ensure that progress on our goals moves full-steam ahead.
Some of our family routines include:
- Daily devotional
- Morning chores
- Study time
- Meal times together
- Bedtime stories
Some of our personal routines include:
- Daily input of inspirational books/audio
- Daily writing and content creation
- Healthy eating
It’s amazing how much progress we make toward living a deliberate life, when we just focus on living well today.
2. Input Determines Output
The profound impact of this principle can’t be fully understood until it’s been experienced! What does it mean?
Input refers to whatever we put into our mind, body, soul, etc. Whether it’s our thoughts, habits, food, the books we read, or the t.v. we watch – everything we think, do, say, feel, eat, etc.
Output refers to the results, consequences and circumstances that are created in our life as a direct outcome of the input that’s going in.
If each of us could fully comprehend this one principle, it would change everything about our lives!
We found that an increase in the amount of positive input in our lives (by reading great books, listening to inspiring audio programs, etc.) resulted in an expanded output: increased energy and motivation, bigger dreams and ideas, and an enlarged capacity for achievement. In essence, our lives drastically changed.
We became more patient with our children, had better ideas on how to mentor them, and noticed improved relationships. We also felt better about ourselves and were able to accomplish more. We were amazed how the ‘magic little pill’ of input helped us accomplish more in our lives.
3. Eliminate & Simplify
There is just not enough time and energy to do everything we would like to do. We have to choose. To make a deliberate choice, you have to know exactly what it is that you want. What do you want to do with your time? What education do you want your children to have? What family culture do you want to create? What legacy do you want to leave? Would you like to spend more time with your kids? Take a class to develop one of your talents? Study information on motherhood?
Once you know the answers (and it may take some time to discover them), the next critical step is to eliminate everything in your life that distracts from those objectives.
Simplify your life in every way possible – eliminate clutter, time constraints, obligations, commitments, possessions – you name it. This might mean saying “no” to doing that small favor for your friend, or serving on one more committee, or attending that home party out of a sense of obligation.
The goal is to get down to a laser focus of time, energy and resources on those things that really matter most to you. This can only happen when all other distractions are eliminated.
Living deliberately is a must do, especially for moms today. It’s a philosophy toward life that gives you a sense of purpose, meaning and direction. It gives meaning to the madness that often accompanies motherhood. It helps you feel there is a me inside the mom, with an important role to play, not just in raising children, but in making the world a better place. Make the decision now to live a deliberate life.
QUESTION: What do you want your life to look like? What changes could you make to enjoy a more deliberate life?
CHALLENGE: Make the decision now to live a deliberate life. Choose one of these principles to work on and set a goal to change a daily routine, input, or to eliminate and simplify something in your life.