Yesterday someone asked what my New Year’s resolutions are. I didn’t make any resolutions, but on the first day of the year my husband and I sat in Starbucks and decided on some weekly rhythms we want to establish or continue in 2017.
I like rhythm more than resolution when it comes to new year goals. A rhythm can be a living, flexible thing whereas a resolution seems brittle, held up only by my own willpower. If I get out of step with the rhythm, it’s still there waiting for me the next week. (The Sacred Year and The Life-Giving Home influenced my ideas about living rhythmically, especially when it comes to spiritual disciplines.)
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” So begins one of my favorite passages, Ecclesiastes 3. Creating a rhythm for the new year involved discerning the priorities for the season we’re in, as well as the enduring habits we want to form in our family.
Both The Sacred Year and The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man inspired me to practice a form of Sabbath in our own home. It’s as simple as lighting some candles and gathering around a loaf of bread (fresh baked, preferable) and a glass of wine. That moment marks the beginning of a rest, even a brief one, from all the activities that occupied us during the week. Ideally, Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons remain free of screen time and housework. Instead of watching a movie, we may read together or go on a walk. This year, we also want to begin incorporating prayer more deeply into our Sabbath.
Prioritizing rest on the weekends means I need to be more efficient at getting “life admin” work done during the week. Establishing bi-weekly family business meetings has helped us do this. I found myself seeing our evenings together as let’s-get-work-done time, cluttering them with “honey-dos” and lists of decisions to make. Now, I try to save anything non-urgent until our next family business meeting. We use Trello to keep track of things we want to talk about and also sort through any papers that have accumulated in the last two weeks.
Other than that, our rhythms remind us of the goals we’ve made and can help each other towards. We set a goal of going to the gym together on Wednesday mornings. Thursday morning my husband reminds me to get up and blog, and Thursday evenings I encourage him to spend time on his own writing projects.
For me, rhythms are that extra push to do something that doesn’t feel good at the time (getting out of bed to blog, working out, or choosing to read rather than put on a movie). But inevitably it feels good when I do.