We're about half way through 2023. How about we take this month for some intentional progress?
Have you every watched an Instagram bedroom re-do reel or a before-and-after Tiktok, and been inspired to give your own little home makeover a go? Or maybe you’ve lingered with a home improvement show on television, perhaps while waiting for a doctor’s appointment or for family movie night, when “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” was running (that wasn’t just me, right?).
It’s so neat to watch pieces of a project come together seamlessly in 30 minutes or less and to see an incredible new bedroom where a lackluster one stood before.
I’m often motivated by these displays, and tempted to try my hand at redoing something, even though intellectually I know it took them a lot longer to do the renovation than it seems. Besides that, the people working on screen are all very good at what they do, having spent countless hours honing their skills, most likely over many years.
I know all of that, but I still get frustrated with my paltry attempts at any household project I tackle. My slow painstaking progress seems pitiful and silly. Again, I know in my head that it’s only the slow, monotonous work that will allow me to make any progress at all. But, it is just not fun or showy in the meantime!
I’ve seen this very clearly with my next door neighbors recently. They have been transforming their grassy front yard into a huge garden with multiple raised beds and intricate landscaping. Their backyard and side yards are beautiful gardens already, so I know it will be an amazing thing of beauty in a few weeks. But its current state is not so pretty. They worked long hours to dig up all the grass, and then had to dig it again because hidden roots were making it difficult to till. Lots of tools and a folding table are set up to make their lives easier as they work. Overall, it looks a little crazy and will for a while. But their slow, steady progress is teaching me the patience and perseverance that most projects require.
This has me thinking that we are almost halfway through 2023. It has been five months since New Year’s Resolutions, and almost two months since Lent. Putting home improvement projects to the side for a while, let’s focus on the ever-present project of self-improvement.
During the month of May, I joined a “May for Mary” challenge where everyone committed to 30 minutes of intentional movement every day, alongside praying either a decade or a whole rosary every day, and then choosing one other small something to do that brings them closer to Jesus (for some that was saying a certain prayer or reading a little bit of the Gospel, for others, it was putting their phone away in the evening).
Every day we completed our challenge, we texted the group with an emoji. It was fun to be a part of, and harder than I thought to complete my tasks everyday. If you’re ready for a reset this month, join me in something similar — let’s work on creating a new habit or two for a better lifestyle.
Pick something for your physical health (maybe more sleep, some exercise, less of some kind of food) and something for your spiritual health (maybe a daily decade of the Rosary, opening up the Bible daily, 10 minutes of quiet prayer). Decide on a specific way to work on enhancing your life in the next month. And then choose an accountability partner to make it stick! That might be one friend, or a group — but sending a thumbs up emoji to say “I did it!” is the same kind of rush you got from your sticker chart for good behavior as a kid. It is a suprirsingly effective motivator!
We celebrate John the Baptist’s birthday this month, and he’s the one who jumped for joy in Mary’s womb. How about we call our June reset, Jumping for John in June? If that’s too cutesy, you can stick with June Reset. Whatever you call it, it will take slow, steady work every day this month. You won’t have a flashy video to watch your progress. But as July begins, maybe the garden of your soul and your body will be just a little bit stronger and more beautiful as you soldier on this summer.