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Today is going to be about tough love.  Sometimes that’s exactly what we need.  A little kick in the bottom to say, “You, yes you.  You can do this.  You can pick yourself up and make things better.  You have the power to change your life.”  When I first picked up Jim Rohn’s audio cd set, I had no idea what it would be about.  I didn’t know anything about him.  He was a down-on-his-luck guy with no money, tons of debt and family to take care of at 25.

And at this time in my life, I desperately needed some tough love.  I was unhappy with my situation, stuck as a stay-at-home mom, doing a terrible job of taking care of my home and finding every reason in the world to blame for it.  And then along comes Jim Rohn and says that we can’t blame our circumstances for our lack of success.  With consistent hard work, we can make things better and find satisfaction in a job well done.

There are three specific ways I want to share with you all about how to accomplish this.

“Work harder on yourself than your job.” Jim Rohn, The Art of Exceptional Living

This is a great idea that Jim talks about where he challenges people not to just show up at their jobs and do the minimum required of them but to always be learning and growing and thinking of the future.  He explains that if you’re acquiring new skills, those will be useful even if you move on to another job.

And so I thought about this in terms of motherhood.  First of all, being a mom is a 24 hour a day job so we never stop working in a sense. This doesn’t mean that we can’t work on ourselves but this is often the case.  Many of us are guilty of being so burnt out serving others, that our own true self fades into the background slowly getting weaker and weaker.  We yearn to be recharged, to feel full instead of running on fumes.

Work harder on yourself than on your job.  Yes moms, you will be better moms if you take care of yourself.  This means eating well, taking a shower, going for a walk outside, taking a bubble bath and improving your mind.  I think this last one is especially important.  We should always be trying to be a better version of ourselves.  For me, that means reading books.  For you, maybe it’s trying a new recipe or find a way to make homemade laundry detergent.  We can always be improving our connection with God, our marriage, our parent skills, the way we run our households and the way we take care of our bodies.

If you’re too busy to learn something new, my guess is, that’s exactly what you need to be doing.  Take a step back and create a meal plan for your family.  Take a break and go for a ten minute walk.  I guarantee you were wasting more time being frazzled than ten minutes.  Going for a walk with refresh you and give you energy to tackle things anew.  Say a rosary. You must work hard on yourself so you can serve those around you and that is exactly what God has called you to do, to serve.

But God doesn’t ask us to work ourselves to the bone.  Once, Mother Teresa was asked why the nuns of her order prayed for so many hours in the morning instead of helping the sick.  And she said that if they did not pray, they would not have the strength to help the sick.

If you are struggling in an area of your life, step back and see if you can learn something to make it easier.  I really enjoy reading books but you could just as easily skim some internet articles or watch a YouTube video.  We live in a world where you can learn almost anything online for free.  Invest in yourself and your job and you will have more strength to tackle your vocation of motherhood.

“Everybody has to be good at either of two things: Planting in the spring or begging in the fall.” Jim Rohn, The Art of Exceptional Living

I had to pick this quote because it caused me pain to read it.  I’m a notorious procrastinator.  It drives my husband crazy because he is an engineer and a very organized person.  He’s always saying, “If it’s worth doing, doing it right away.”  And that drives ME crazy!  But he’s right, I often put things aside and say, “I’ll do that later,” and then I don’t get around to doing it until it’s a crisis.   I’ll let papers pile up on the table and then I freak out when I can’t find the registration form a class I wanted to sign my daughter up for and it starts tomorrow! I took off my favorite pair of black flats somewhere in the house and now I NEED them and I’m late for a meeting.

These stresses all come down to planning and discipline.  We must have a plan and we must be disciplined in following it.  This can apply to creating a budget for your money, organizing your kitchen so you can find things, keeping your car clean so it’s not a disaster, staying on top of your Christmas list instead of leaving it to the last minute.

I don’t suggest overhauling your whole life at once.  We all know that doesn’t usually work.  Instead, I suggest picking one to three habits that you know you need to work on.  This shouldn’t be hard. I’m guessing you already know what you need to work on.  I know my three:

  1. Open mail immediately and deal with it instead of leaving it in a pile and forgetting about it.
  2. Put my shoes away in my closet instead of leaving them (and tripping over them) all over the house.
  3. Create a better system for what we need from the grocery store so I can stop getting home and saying, “Oh man, I forgot eggs!!”

If you don’t have a financial budget for your household, I highly suggest starting with this one.  I’m a big fan of www.daveramsey.com and he can help you get started with that.  Don’t be a beggar in the Fall.  Pick a few things that are holding you back, that you keep putting off and tackle them.

“Failure: A few errors in judgement, repeated every day.” “Success: A few simple disciplines, repeated every day.” Jim Rohn, The Art of Exceptional Living

One of the things I think that is so hard about being a mom these days is our overwhelming sense of failure.  We just feel bad about ourselves and bad about how we’re doing as wives and mothers.  But I think there’s hope.  We don’t have to get better at everything to feel a little bit better, sometimes it’s enough to just get better at one thing.

When I feel like I’m drowning and I don’t know how I’m going to tackle everything I have going on, I’ll pick just one simple thing to focus on.  Maybe it’s to take a shower every day or to work on getting enough water every day.  I tell myself, “It’s okay if I don’t get everything right but I’m going to get this one thing right every day this week.”

And it’s amazing what happens.  When I stop pressuring myself to do everything and I successfully accomplish my one little thing, I start to feel good about myself.  I feel a little bit stronger, a little more confident.  And then this fuels me to try and tackle another small thing.  Then the power of inertia kicks in.  Once I start moving in the right direction, I want to keep moving that way.

My success snowballs and this is how I happily hum along getting all the things done on my To Do list.  This isn’t permanent of course.  Life happens.  Babies are born, grandparents pass away, families move out of state, epic colds get passed around everyone in the family.  It’s okay that things pop up and kill your momentum.  The important thing is that you remember to pick yourself up and tackle your one small thing to spark some momentum.

Please print and fill out this worksheet so you can work on the two pearls of wisdom I shared today.  Let me know how I can pray for you and let me know if you have any questions at all!

Art of Exceptional Living Worksheet Preview

Never stop trying, never give up on yourself.  You can always start again.

With Love,

Sterling Jaquith

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