Saturday, October 04, 2014

10 Simple Everyday Ways to Create Excitement

Any time you take on a challenge you have to have a plan to succeed. If you're like me, and not a planner by nature, creating a plan can make you feel totally overwhelmed. And then the anxious thoughts come to mind. Am I leaving out something important? What if I fail? Where do I start? Making the plan seems almost as daunting as the goal in the end. I have a dear friend who is also a fabulous counselor, and her words of encouragement to me are always, "just start somewhere". So in my quest to live my life with more zest and get excited on a daily basis, I've decided to just start somewhere.

Shan and I determined that while this stage of life may be a little lackluster, we are definitely capable of adding zest to the ordinary and start getting excited again. Half of our issue with not feeling excited is that we live with a false sense of what excitement means. It doesn't have to be major life events like I wrote about yesterday. We just need a little something to look forward to. So I am determined to find excitement in the ordinary everyday. To do that, I made a list of 10 simple ways we can achieve success on our quest for zest.

1. Make time
I often think that our daily calendars are too full of unnecessary time wasters. It may not always be the events we actually write on the calendar that are our biggest zest-suckers. You know what I'm talking about. Think social media, phone conversations that could be cut shorter, housework that can wait, and the need to complete tasks without flaws. None of the above add any real value to my life, much less excitement. As a matter of fact, it's all quite draining. I've realized it's getting in the way and it's time to set all that nonsense aside and start making room for things to get excited about.

2. Get or give a facelift
There's just something about a new 'do, a new outfit, or trying out a new look that puts a little pep in my step. Personally, I'm not sure how extreme I would ever go with something like this, but it sure is fun to try out something new. I mean, a new skin care regimen or lipstick can do wonders for a girl.
If making myself over is not an option, I'm sure there's a room in my house that could stand to be rearranged. Creating a little feng shui might do the trick. Huh? And if nothing else, just adding some new throw pillows or an accent piece is also a good way to nip the doldrums. {Confession} I happen to be a corner hoarder. EVERY corner of my house has clutter that needs a forever home. Tackling clutter would be super exciting and feel so zesty-fresh!

3. Practice some good ol' hospitality
Opening my home to people that I care about has always been something that I have enjoyed. However, I have completely fallen off the hospitality wagon. I lost my passion for entertaining sometime in the last 5 years. Entertaining turned into more of a chore than something that excited me. So often I get caught up in making things perfect - the perfect décor, the perfect meal that has been prepared, etc. When all we really need to do is be comfortable in our own home and make our guests feel welcome. Sometimes my most imperfect moments of entertaining have ended up being the greatest. Now I feel compelled to drop the need to make everything perfect and just open the door again. Besides, there ain't nothing wrong with a good old-fashioned casual potluck. As my sweet Aunt Anna Rose would have said... "y'all come!" You may have to sit on a laundry hamper, but it would give us just one more thing to laugh about.

4. Make BIG plans
We say dream big, right? Even though most of our dream plans are not even close to feasible right now doesn't me we can't continue to dream about them. It would be inspiring and exciting to make them more of a reality by starting a notebook with great ideas for travel, parties, a dream home, remodeling, you name it! Kind of like Pinterest, but more tangible. I have had all these ideas swirling around in my head of trips to Italy, Australia, New York, and for some reason, Colorado, of what we would do and see and where we would stay if we were to go. Putting my ideas down on paper would be resourceful some day. Plus BIG plans give us something to look forward to, as well as giving us the incentive to save money and actually make it happen.

5. Feed your addition to your family
I would be a professional student if I could! I've thrown around the idea of going back to school many times in the last 10 years. But it's just not an option at this point, as I pour all of my energy into the boys and their education. Learning something new doesn't always have to come with a degree though. There are so many subjects I'd love to wrap my brain around. How exciting would that be if I learned about a new hobby or simple trade? And you never know! It just might be the thing that inspires a new career. Y'all get ready for Claudia 2.0!
Another thing that I realize gets me excited is trying a new recipe. And for a little inspiration on that, look no further than good ol' Pinterest! I've recently whipped up a few dishes that were A.MA.ZING! If you're lucky, I just might share them here!

6. Wake up!
Oh the monotonous morning routine that greets me everyday! How I'd love to shake you up a bit. The last 6 years have created nothing but dread Monday through Friday. The alarm goes off at 6:10am. I hit snooze at least 2 times. I eventually tumble out of bed and stumble to the kitchen (thank you Dolly Parton)...and you know the rest. By the time I get all 3 boys and a husband out the door I either want a redo or a nap.
I would be so excited to have a few still moments to myself in the morning to walk, do my devotional, or actually just sit in peace. Do the 30 minutes I waste avoiding the snooze alarm going off do anything good for me? I think not. The times I've been dedicated to spending a little extra time caring for myself or in The Word really have given me an extra zest for life. Seems like a good time to reintroduce it.

7. Finding the perfect pet.
You may recall when we lost both of our dogs within a few months of each other a few years ago {here and here}. It turned me into an emotional basket case. Saying good bye to my sweet babies of almost 17 years crushed me. We went through a pretty long spell of thinking they were irreplaceable. But after another little while passed, we arrived at the feeling of relief that we didn't have to deal with the maintenance of pets. Now that the boys are older, they are much more capable of helping us care for a pet. I know the boys and I would be over the moon if we did welcome a fur baby into our family. Besides, there are many studies that show that pet owners are overall happier people. I believe it. Hmmmm. Now, what to get?

8. Spice it up
What would a list about creating excitement in your life be without the topic of spicing up your marriage? Shan and I have been married for 15 years now and together for 22! With his insane travel schedule recently and the boys' busy schedules, it goes without saying that we are lacking in the quality time department. That makes me sad because we still love our special time together. We need to bring zesty back! In order to do that we're gonna have to get creative. It'll have to be put on the calendar as a priority. If the budget is an issue, we can do late night take out and a movie for date night in and for date night out, a local favorite dive! Shoot! At this point I'd take coffee and devotional time before the boys get up. I'd love to have that to look forward to!

9. Jump in
Take a chance on a bright idea! I've recently had a few ideas I've thrown around. From going into business with someone to completely doing an overhaul on my family - spiritually, financially, and nutritionally. I am in love with the ideas that I have, but that four letter "f" word is holding me back. F-E-A-R! What if I fail? What if I blow too much money? What if I'm rejected? What if we don't fit in? Uhhhhg! Make it stop! I want so badly to just jump in and say, who gives a hoot?!?! So if my kids turn orange or green because we've become strict vegetarians or if you see me driving a pink Cadillac because I decided to sell cosmetics door to door, just give me a thumbs up because it means I threw F-E-A-R to the wind and jumped in!

10. Do it on purpose
I'm not sure I've ever been truly intentional with life. Like I said, that requires planning. And a planner I am not! I want to reach a point where I'm living my life on purpose. Doing more "fun stuff" with my boys - family field trips, jumping on the trampoline, park and picnic time - would make life so much more exciting. Reaching out to others is something I also love to do. However, it'd be great to find a way through the JLC or another area of my community to serve others in a more personal way. Then there's being intentional about my health. Y'all have no idea how tempted I am to start eating baby food and rice cereal to reset my system and detox. Same thing with exercise! I'm telling you. I just need to start all over. Keeping a log in my planner of what I'd like to do each day to live life on purpose would help me make the big move to being intentional. Now that would be exciting to check off everyday!

See there? Just writing it all down already makes me feel more excited! I actually just planned something. It may not be a perfect plan, but it's allowing me to just start somewhere on my 31 day challenge of getting excited.

Find links to Days 1-31 here!

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