Imagine if I told you you’d just won $10,000.
I can almost guarantee you’d start ticking off in your mind how you’d use it. Maybe you’d pay off a pesky loan, make a nagging home repair, set some aside in savings, and perhaps even donate a portion to charity.
Now suppose I told you that the $10,000 would be paid to you in $5 daily increments. That’s right, for the next 2,000 days (5 years and 5 months!), you’d receive a $5 bill. Would you apply the same amount of discipline in how you allocated that money as if I’d paid it to you in one lump sum?
So it is with time. Every day, we have a finite amount of hours. We make choices, most of them small, that lead up to the sum of our lives. Those small choices can either build patterns that drive us to achieve our larger goals, or take us farther away from them. The older I get, the more I’m convinced of the importance of making wise decisions about the small stuff.
What the MIT process has done for me
I’ve been pondering the importance of small decisions a lot in 2014 and in the last several weeks have decided to do something about it. In the month of May, I:
- Worked out 5-6 times per week, building up from 2 to 6 miles running (and lost 5 pounds in the process!)
- Kept my house reasonably clean and presentable most days
- Took time out to do things that I enjoy including gardening, reading, and visiting with friends
- Spent most of my weekends unplugged
- Met with my spiritual accountability partner every week
- Finally felt like I’d made progress in creating a work-home balance that works for me
I share these things not to boast, but to encourage you. See, I am *not* the world’s most disciplined person – by a long stretch! I’m just your average gal who often feels overwhelmed by life’s many tasks and my inability to “keep it altogether.” About 6 weeks ago, I told my spiritual accountability partner, “you know, I’m just really frustrated. There are tasks I feel I procrastinate on and many days I just feel like I’m spinning my wheels. Would you be OK if every day I just shared what my top 3 goals (Most Important Things) are with you?” She generously agreed.
And every day (well most days, anyways!) for the last 6 or so weeks I’ve done just that. Every morning, I’ve sat down and jotted out my to-do list, noting which three items are my Most Important Things. I’ve taken a moment to message her my list. And most days, she’s chimed in, sharing hers as well. Sometimes we’ll check back in with each other at the end of the day, but even if not, the process of considering my many to-dos and prioritizing the three Most Important Things is enough for me to get on track and stay on track.
What are MITs?
So you’re probably wondering a little bit more about Most Important Things. First, I cannot take credit for this genius idea – it comes from Tsh Oxenreider, of the Art of Simple. She describes MITs like this:
My MITs are my top three things I want to accomplish that day. If nothing else gets done, I’d say my day was a success if those three things happen. They usually pertain to my home management job, but often they focus on a personal habit I’m working on.
Pretty straightforward, right? But sometimes the simplest ideas are the best! When considering my own MITs, I take into account the things that I value – faith, family, fitness, self-care, work ethic, tidy house, etc., and try to build those in. Here are some real-life examples of MITs I’ve had in the last month:
- Do a 3-mile run
- Meet with my spiritual accountability partner
- Do 2 loads of laundry
- Register my kids for VBS
- Plan my daughter’s birthday party
- Clean the kitchen
- Plan the meals for the week
- Make time for Bible reading
While there are usually 8-10 (and sometimes more!) items on my to-do list, I focus the greatest amount of attention on completing the 3 Most Important Things I’ve set out for that day. And most days, I’ve been successful. At the end of the day, I feel satisfied knowing that the day was productive and meaningful, even if not everything on my to-do list got done. This process has virtually eliminated that feeling that I’ve spun my wheels all day but gotten nowhere!
Here is the FREE download I use every day to track my to-do list. It was developed by Tsh at Art of Simple and is quite frankly, the best daily checklist I’ve come across! There is a place for all your to-dos, your three MITs, a general work plan to track times, plus gentle reminders such as “what’s for dinner?” and a water/fitness log. Each morning, I print and fill one out. In fact, today’s list is setting right next to me as I type this post!
I could’ve developed my own checklist to share with you, but I so adore the Art of Simple’s, I felt – why mess with success?
Now it’s your turn: June Challenge!
This process has been so amazing for me, I knew I wanted to share it with you! We’re into a new month (June) – and it’s a month that we don’t typically associate with goal setting. Remember those resolutions you set for yourself in 2014? It’s not too late to make good on them!
For the month of June, I’d like to have you join me on an MIT challenge. If you’re in, all you need to do is commit to noting your 3 MITs every morning in June. Along the way, I’ll offer you some support and inspiration. Here’s how it will work:
- Every Monday, I’m going to be sharing an MIT-related inspiration post to keep us going! I’ll share some stuff I’ve been learning as I’ve been going through this process.
- Every Friday, I’m going to do a check-in with you. I’ll share how my week went and give you a place to do the same. Let’s encourage each other!
- At the end of the month, I am going to want to hear from you! What were you able to accomplish in June? If I feature your story, there may be prizes involved!
If you’ve been looking for encouragement or a way to finally kick-start your 2014 resolutions in gear, I hope you’ll consider joining me on this journey!
I’d love to hear from you – does this challenge resonate with you today? What do your days normally feel like, and how would you like to change that? What areas in your life would you like to see personal growth on in June? Please share!