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Choosing rhythms over resolutions.

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 HANNAH

I'm a writer, author, and online educator who loves helping others build intentional lives through the power of habit and meaningful routines.

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I’ll start off by saying that I am the queen of goal-setting. There are few things that I love more than sitting down with an open notebook and casting a vision for the future. It’s 100% my jam and I make it an intentional part of my life.

But I’ll also be the first to raise my hand and say that the arrival of a new year has changed for me in the last few years. I don’t feel my spirit leaping out of my chest to run towards a fresh calendar year. I don’t feel the same desire to hustle towards a better version of myself at the strike of midnight. 

Something in my heart has paused. It has slowed down. It was made me rethink the resolutions I was so good at setting and decidedly swap those for something different, something that means more to me.

Rhythms.

Rhythms over resolutions.

Here’s what I’ve noticed about my resolutions over the last decade. 

They’re often abstract.

They’re often built from a place of “not good enough” in this area.

They often are held up by a foundation of “I need to get it together” and that’s not a very sturdy foundation.

I’ve also found that I set a slew of goals and never really check back on them. I’m quick to grovel over the failure but I never think to step back, recalculate, and keep moving forward. I reserve results for January and February and then count my losses after that.

There’s nothing freeing or grace-filled about the way I set New Year’s goals for myself over the last decade. 

In the last 4 years of my life, since moving to Atlanta, I’ve been dedicated to the process of slowly building up discipline in my life. Creating new habits. Shifting lifestyles. Making progress in areas that matter to me. And I’ve learned that you cannot approach life with a series of abstract goals and expect anything to change about you. Goals needs to be tangible. They need to be measurable. And goals that look like serious lifestyle overhauls have to be taken one day, and one baby step, at a time. If you don’t figure out how to rejoice in the small, finite progress then you won’t even get past the first mile. 

This doesn’t mean I didn’t walk into the New Year with some of the same feelings: I would love to make healthier meals for my feeling. I wish I didn’t get so easily exhausted by my phone. Yikes, I am so bad at managing a Google calendar.

Those feelings still remain but how I am choosing to approach these feelings in the New Year is completely different than how I’ve ever done it before.

Enter rhythms.

I sat down on January 2 (yes, that was intentional) and wrote down some daily rhythms, weekly rhythms, and monthly rhythms I wanted to bring into my life this year. I told myself from the start: you will not be perfect all at once and you are likely going to mess these up BUT the great thing about rhythms is that you just try again the next day, or the next week, or the next month. Failing something in January is no longer an excuse to not pick it up again in March. 

A rhythm is a thing you do on repeat.

It’s specific. 

Another word for them? Routines. 

But I think rhythm just sounds better 😉

 

View this post on Instagram

Subject: 2020 Message: If I am not careful, I can easily become overwhelmed by my social media feeds this time of year. The holiday comes to a close and everyone starts bounding towards the new year. I have to remind myself that other people’s goals and resolutions are not a reflection of how I need to plan and plot for a new year or a new decade. I can cheer others on without feeling the need to take on the same load or adopt the same kind of goals. You do you as 2020 arrives. There is no need to set 101 goals. You can set one. Or maybe you throw all resolutions out the window and pick a few life-giving rhythms. This is your year and it cannot be defined by how other people tackle or approach their goal list. Breathe, babe. Take time to look back and reach forward. You’re doing just fine and not a thing you add to your life come 2020 can change that fact.

A post shared by Hannah Brencher (@hannahbrencher) on

 

Here’s a look at the rhythms I am committing to in the year ahead:

DAILY

  • 15 minutes a day in my calendar: This was/is an area in my business that constantly stressed me out because I’m managing a bunch of different calendars and I don’t like meetings. I found myself avoiding the calendar because I didn’t like meetings but that didn’t change the fact that there still were meetings coming up. So instead of continuing to live in dread and chaos, I’ve created a daily rhythm where for 15 minutes each day (minus Saturday + Sunday), I set a timer and I update my calendars. I check reminders off the list. I add new ones in. I create notes and I even stop to pray over things on the calendar.

  • Time spent each day following Jesus: Technically, I’ve been doing this for the last 8 years or so but I recently found myself reading John Mark Comer’s new book and I was inspired by how he talked about how you have to spend time with Jesus and closely follow him. I read my Bible each day but do I always look up close at the life of Jesus? Only if one of the Gospels is on my reading list. So I’m committing to a rhythm of finishing each morning of study by reading a bit of one of the 4 Gospels. I read until I have a takeaway point I can remember, I open up a Google Document, and then I pray over it for the day ahead.

  • Nighttime rhythm: Why is this one the hardest for me?! At the end of the day, I just want to curl up in bed without removing my makeup. I don’t even care at that point. So, while I know this will be the hardest rhythm to implement this year, I made a list of essential nighttime tasks like using facial toner and taking my vitamins to check off the list before hopping into bed.

WEEKLY

  • Sunday meal prep: This is one of my favorite things. I did so well of keeping a rhythm of Sunday meal prep when we lived in our apartment but I have barely christened the kitchen in our new house. So I hauled back the Sunday meal prep. I love the time spent picking new recipes, ordering groceries, and spending a few hours watching a favorite show while stocking up the goods for the week ahead. I always enter a new week feeling more clear and ready when I know there is healthy food in the fridge waiting for me.

  • 36-Hour Digital Sabbath: Another rhythm inspired by John Mark Comer. Sabbath is not an area I’m particularly blessed in observing. I like to work. I like to always be on. But I know my soul needs a break from social media more than once a month. So this Sabbath begins on Friday evening and ends whenever I feel like breaking the Sabbath on Sunday afternoon. I hide away the apps on my phone I know I will be temped to use and I am making more time for things I love but rarely get to: long walks, baking, reading, time spent with people without feeling the need to check my phone.

MONTHLY

  • Finance Friday: I love the finance side of things in my business BUT I am often guilty of letting little tasks fall by the wayside. I often find myself wishing I had a few hours to just fully nerd out into the financial side of things. I know I could leave that stuff to my accountant but I love being knowledgeable and knowing how my business operates. Enter Finance Friday. It’s a full Friday, once a month, where I can focus specifically on financial tasks. There is nothing else on my plate but that. I have yet to have my first Finance Friday of 2020 but I have set the date on my calendar and I looking forward to it!

As you can see from the rhythms I set up for the new year:

The rhythms are relatively simple and don’t take up too much time.

They’re all created out of a need in my life– the need to be more present, the need to be more organized, etc. 

They are simple enough that if I miss a day or a week then I can just pick where I left off.

The list is short. There are only 6 rhythms. I did this on purpose. We are expecting a new addition to our family in April and I want to leave space to establish new rhythms for a new pace of life. 

The rhythms are specific. They are clear. There is no possible way I can miss the point of them. No abstract ideas here.

I’d love to know in the comments section if this idea of rhythms over resolutions resonates with you. Do you have any new rhythms for your new year? And, if this information is helpful to you, would a follow-up on how I am doing with the rhythms at the 6-month mark matter to you? I can’t wait to read + respond to your thoughts! 

Happy 2020, crew! I have a feeling this will be one of the best years yet!

 

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Hi, I'm Hannah

I love writing about all things faith, mental health, discipline + and motherhood. Let's be penpals!

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