CM 4 Episode #1 Reflect, Reach, and Resolve: My Three Step Process to Setting New Year’s Goals for Homeschool Moms with Julie H. Ross

CM 4 Episode #1 Reflect, Reach, and Resolve: My Three Step Process to Setting New Year’s Goals for Homeschool Moms with Julie H. Ross

Show Notes:

Julie H Ross believes that every child needs a feast of living ideas to grow intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. As a former school teacher, Curriculum Coordinator, and Assistant Director of a Homeschool Academy, Julie Ross has worked with hundreds of students and parents over the past 20 years. She has also been homeschooling her own five children for over a decade. Julie Ross developed the Charlotte Mason curriculum, A Gentle Feast, to provide parents with the tools and resources needed to provide a rich and abundant educational feast full of books, beauty, and Biblical truth. Julie lives in South Carolina. When she’s not busy homeschooling, reading children’s books, hiking, or writing curriculum, you can find her taking a nap.


1. For the Children's Sake by Susan Shaeffer MacCaulay

2. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life in Business by Charles Duhigg

3 .Mother Culture by A.

4. The Atmosphere of Home by M. F Jerrold

5. Parents and Children: steps to change a habit

Show Transcript:

CM 1

Julie -

Hello. Welcome to season four of the Charlotte Mason Show. I'm your host, Julie Ross, and I am so excited to start this new season with you. I can't believe that we've had three seasons so far. It's just been such a fun journey. I've so enjoyed getting a chance just to teach you guys, to interview some really awesome people, and I hope that you have benefitted from these episodes as well. I have a real exciting lineup ready to go, here, for season four. But the first couple episodes are going to be me doing some teaching and reading some Parent's Review articles.

We've gotten feedback that you all really enjoy having someone read those articles. That you don't really have time to go into the archives and find those articles. And spend time digging through them for yourselves. That you like just being able to listen to them as you cook or exercise or take care of your kiddos. So, we're gonna include some more of those as well.

Just so you know, for season four, we're going to be going to one episode a week, and those will air on Wednesdays. And this first episode, I'm super excited about. One of my favorite things is goal setting. I love just thinking through, kind of, my vision. I like having actionable steps in my life to achieve the things that I want. And I know it's very common for people to make New Year's resolutions, but oftentimes, those aren't successful. So, there's a difference between resolutions and goals. And thinking through how practically make those a possibility.

Also, as homeschool moms, we need to kind of cater our goals and our vision specifically for what we're doing with our family. So, about seven years ago, I created this three-step process called Reach, Reflect, and Resolve. And I made a packet that goes with it, so this episode is actually a previously recorded talk I gave. I believe I did it in 2018, so if you hear the wrong year, I do realize that next year will be 2021. Even though 2020 was just, like, a train wreck of a year. I know, for so many people, I do know what year it is going to be. So, if you hear the wrong year, that's why. Also, you know, I've had some major life changes in the past year, and so some of those things that I talk about in the episode, obviously, are for the time period that I was recording that. So, if you know me very well, you'll be like, what is she talking about?

So, I just wanted to clarify that as well. But the information and the content is still super relevant, super powerful, and so I didn't wanna record a whole new one, because I really felt like I got my point across in that recording. And just did such a clear job of saying what I wanted. But, I was afraid I would mess it up if tried to do it again. So, I appreciate your grace with that. But, if you'd like to go through this packet, and there's nothing magical about doing it at the beginning of the year in January. You know, take your time with it. But I do think it's really key to kind of set your vision for the end of your homeschool year.

So rather than setting, like, goals for the entire year, just kinda think through what do I wanna accomplish by the end of the homeschool year. Whatever that may look like for your family.

So, this packet is super powerful, and I reference it a lot during the recording, so you're gonna wanna get that first, and kind of help yourself walk through it. You can get that packet for free if you go to It's about ten pages or so. It has, you know, fill in the blanks, for you to kind of go through this three-step process that I'm going to outline. If you're not in a place where you can download it, you know, you can just listen and kind of pick up a lot of information about goal setting and habits and how it all ties together with Charlotte Mason's philosophy, bringing that into our goal setting and our vision, what she does have to talk about in terms of habit training is so impactful. So, anyway, if you go to, you can download your free packet there, And I would love to hear from you if you're in our Facebook community, A Gentle Feast community, I would love to know, kind of, what some of your goals are for this coming year, what you thought of this process, I would greatly appreciate your feedback. And as always, if you like this podcast, if you would take a second to go leave a ranking review in iTunes, I would greatly appreciate that as well.

All right let's jump in folks.

So, the first step, as we look forward to the next year, is to look back. I used to not do this, so when I first, like I said, I've always been, like, a very, kind of, driven goal setter person. And so, I would just set these goals, okay, like, what do I wanna do in the future? But I would never take the time just to sit still and reflect back on what happened the year before. And so, I would just kinda make these, like, arbitrary goals, right? And we've all done this, right? Like those New Year's resolutions that you just write down, cause everyone's gonna ask you, what are your New Year's goals? And you're like, oh... So, you just make up something, like, I wanna lost fifteen pounds. I think that was my goal for like, twenty years of my life, right?

But I couldn't, like, tell you why that was the goal, or how I was gonna do it. It was just, like, oh, that sounds good. Everybody says that. Or I wanna read more, I wanna go here on vacation, right? But if we don't take the time to reflect and learn what God has to teach us from the year before, we're missing out on a huge opportunity. And so, it was about, let's see, seven years ago, my husband invited me to a goal-setting workshop. So, my husband actually teaches goal setting, which is funny. And, for some reason, I hadn't ever gone until about seven years ago. And it's a three-hour-long class, from nine to twelve, you sit in this room with other businesspeople, and you think through your goals, and it was the first time that I ever did this process of looking back.

So, we come in the room, you know, you introduce yourself to everybody. And then there's these questions of looking back on the past year before you move forward. And I had such a different experience than I'd ever had before coming up with goals. And I was like, wow, this is so key and so important. And if we're not careful, we can just push through life, right? Like, I'm gonna pull up my bootstraps kinda gal, and I'm gonna get on through all this, and you miss these kind of learning opportunities.

And so, ever since that goal-setting class, I've done this every year since. Just to take the time, and like I said, there's this three-step process, so you can kinda do it how you want. the class that I went to that my husband taught, it was three hours. One morning, blocked off, three hours of your time. You might just do it in small chunks. I like to do this reflect piece when I have some time by myself. And I'm not talking about, like, locking myself in the bathroom by myself. Like, I need to actually, like, have some time, let all the craziness that's going on in my head stop, to sit still enough and listen. And my friend, Shay, that's on Instagram, she put a picture of herself doing this yesterday or the day before, and she was sitting on her porch swing looking over her beautiful yard, and I was like, oh, I wanna join you. That looks like the best place for me to, like, just being outside, is so therapeutic.

And so, just find a spot where you can get away by yourself and, like I said, on the post, like, you're gonna have to block that off on your calendar, right? That doesn't just magically appear. It's like, oh, I have an hour with nothing to do and no interruptions. Oh, I guess I'll go do my packet now. Like, that never happens, right? Unless you live in a different world than mine. If I wanna actually have uninterrupted time, I have to put it on my calendar, and our whole family uses Google calendar now, so I'll put it on there, from nine to ten, Mom is busy. Mom is going to a coffee shop. Mom is going on a hike by herself. You know, I'll put it on the calendar so everyone can see it.

And sometimes, I've set my alarm an hour earlier that first week in January, to really take the time to kinda work through this packet before everyone wakes up. So, before you get started, just look at your calendar to see when you can find some time to yourself. I like to do this reflect piece and then kind of have just a couple days for it just to sit, to think, to pray, to, you know, just allow the Spirit to kinda speak to me about some things that I need to learn from the past year. And it's been hugely convicting. I mean, this process is not easy. There has been some things I've learned about myself during this time, that, you know, frankly, I didn't really wanna know. But I'm thankful, I learned then because that helped me move forward and to, you know, repent and see what God wanted in store for me after that.

So, all right. So, now we're going to, on page three of your packet, you're gonna look back on the year. And I think this is really key because we can just focus on those big events in the past year. We can focus on maybe, just, the challenges that we've had in the past year. And we miss the little things. And it's those little things that add up to what we have now. And so, I really encourage you just to take the time to go through, to celebrate the things that went well.

And this has been a huge lesson. If you're in the Gentle Feast membership, you've heard me say this over and over and over again, but I'm just gonna say it anyway. We have to allow ourselves an opportunity to celebrate. That's what gives us joy in life. And so, celebrate the small things, even if your year was so hard, and I have been there where, at the end of December, I felt like I was dragging myself across the finish line. And there wasn't anything left in the tank. Like, it was just clumps, you know?

But there's still good things that have happened. I know there are. Go back through your Instagram feed. Go back through your Facebook feed. You know, look at pictures of your kids and the things that you've done. Ask them. What are some things you remember from this past year? Ask your husband. Don't let those opportunities go by. That creates a spirit of gratefulness and appreciation in us. When we're just so forward focused and forward driven, we miss that opportunity to grow in our gratefulness and thankfulness for the past.

So, I just encourage you to kind of be honest with yourself. Allow yourself to celebrate your successes. Don't diminish them and go, oh that was just, that's a small thing, that's not that big a deal. No, every little, small thing adds up to a life and to our habit, so celebrate those small wins in your life. The small victory. You know, ask God to reveal them to you if you can't, I can't think of anything good that has happened.

So, yeah, just take the time to reflect back on your year before, okay? So, that's the first page in the packet. That's the first step, is this kind of reflection piece. Then the whole rest of the packet's moving forward. So, if you're one of those really, like, forward driven people like me, don't worry. Now you get to jump into the next part.

So, step one is reflect back on 2018. Be grateful for the good things. Celebrate the good things. You know, see what challenges you had. See where you wanna grow before you move forward. And now we're gonna reach forward to 2019. Don't you hate that? Like, I hate the first month. I never write the year right on the checks.

Okay, 2019. We're moving forward here, people. All right, so now we're gonna reach forward. And I love Proverbs 29:18. It says, without vision the people perish. And, we need to have vision in our life. It creates a sense of hope inside of us. It allows us to just kinda move past the mundane aspects of everyday life, right? We need to have something that propels us forward. And so, having this vision, this direction, is really vital, again. So, we're not getting to the goal steps until step number three. You really need to do steps one and two to lead you in the right way.

So, we're setting our vision here. So, our vision needs to come before the practical. And so, on this page, we're gonna reach forward. It's kind of just a whole bunch of lines, here. So, this could be, like, your brain dump page. I mean everything you can think of for 2019. I give you some questions to help guide you, but you don't' necessarily have to answer these questions or these specifics. You can write about whatever is on your heart for this coming year.

So, we're gonna imagine ourselves at the end of the school year. So, if you don't end your school year in May or June, just have that be your endpoint for now. Like I said, it's too hard, sometimes, to plan out the whole year. So, just plan these next couple months. What do you want to be different? What do you want to accomplish? What do you hope your kids will say about the past school year? How will you have grown? How will your children have grown? What will make it a great year? Just write out all the thoughts. Right now, you're just getting that vision, that aim.

One of the quotes I put on the front of the packet, by Zig Ziglar, who's a famous business coach, was, if you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time. And I don't know about you, but there are plenty years of my life where I was aiming at nothing. And I was just like, throwing spaghetti on the wall and hoping it sticks. Which, do people actually do that? Do any of you do that? Like, throw your spaghetti to see if it's done? I don't know. That's...if you're saying that...I've never actually thrown spaghetti on the wall. But I had no aim, I had no direction. I didn't purposely set my vision and set my course, here.

Coolridge says, the paths in which we may pursue a methodical course are manifold, but at the head of each stands its peculiar and guiding idea. So, we're going to Charlotte Mason now, right? She always says that these ideas are our guiding principles. So, as Coolridge says, the paths that we can take are manifold. There are many to get to whatever destination might be, but at each of those paths, at the head of it, at the start of it, is its corresponding idea. So, by setting your vision for the coming year, you're setting this idea, which, you know, Charlotte Mason always talks about, we need to have the ideas first. So, you need to have your vision before you have your goals, your how, your practical.

Simon Synek is a famous business coach. He wrote a book called Starting with Your Why. It's the same thing that Charlotte Mason said, but, that our why has to be bigger than our what and our how. So, too often when we're thinking through our New Year's goals, we just write out all this practical stuff, but we don't set out our vision first. So, you have to have those corresponding ideas. So, picture yourself, it's the end of the school year. You're putting your feet up, hopefully. It's nice and warm and sunny. What do you want to say about the past year? What if you said you were able to do this? I really enjoyed this. I'm so glad we got to do this. We really grew in this. To have that end in mind will help determine the steps that you're gonna take to get there.

So that's this page. Just kind of reaching out, getting your vision set. Everything you can think of. And then, on the next page, on page five, again, we're doing the same. We're still creating that vision. So, what is something new you want to try? What do you wanna be more consistent at? So, now we're getting a little bit more practical. I love this question. What memories do you want to create, and how will you celebrate? So, like I said, that's one of the things that I talk about in the Gentle Feast membership all the time, is we need to celebrate those good things that happen. Okay, what are you gonna do to celebrate the fact that your son is now reading? What are you gonna do to celebrate when we get the multiplication facts memorized? What are you gonna do to celebrate when we get through that Winston Churchill book that is really big and really hard?

And one of the reasons I love the Charlotte Mason schedule is that she has these three twelve-week terms. And so, the end of every term, we celebrate. Here's all the things we learned. We have a party. My kids recite their poems. We have yummy food. You know, we need those celebrations to keep us going in this long journey.

So how are you going to celebrate this year? You might think of something you wanna do at the end of the year. Like, we're gonna have this big trip, or we're gonna do this fun thing. I'm hoping and praying...I'm just gonna share with you, some of my goals too as we're that we'll be able to take a family trip to Washington DC. That has been something I've wanted to do the whole time I've been schooling my children and my oldest is going to graduate in May. And I'm like, okay, we gotta do it this year. We gotta get that trip to Washington DC in. So, that's one of my goals, and I'll talk about some of the more practical steps in a little bit.

And then, this question is really key too. In order to have a successful year, I need to stop, there's a whole bunch of lines there, and then start. So, oftentimes when we think of goals, we're like, I'm gonna do this and I'm gonna do that, and I'm gonna do this. And we don't ever think about things that we probably need to stop doing. You can only add so much on to your plate before the whole thing just falls over, right? And so, there's gonna be things that you need to stop doing in order to start doing things.

There's a famous business book called Good to Great, there's a lot of, like, scientific research in it. It has some great principles. If you're into business stuff, it's a great book, by the way. That's why I wanna recommend reading it. But there's a lot to go through, but one of the business principles that he talks about is what makes a great company different than a good company. And he says, in there, that the great companies have a stop doing list. Which I thought was so fascinating, that these really successful companies have a list of things that they're going to stop doing. And that propels them to further success. So, taking the time to think through, okay, what do I need to stop doing? We'll go a little bit more into that when we' through the habits, here in a little bit. But it's just kinda something to think through as you're studying your vision and how you're going to get there. Just keep in mind, that we can't just all be, I'm gonna start, start, start, start. Sometimes it has to be, I'm going to stop, stop, stop.

And that's why I think that reflection piece is really good and knowing what your vision is because there have been years where, during that reflection time, I've felt like God was telling me, okay, you need to step down from that position. You need to stop doing that thing. And it was not easy to tell people I was no longer gonna be on that committee. I'm not gonna volunteer for that anymore. And not really, you know, have a real, like, I'm sick, another legitimate reason. I felt like, other than I felt like, I have too much on my plate and I feel like this is one of the things God is telling me to take off. But I would have never had that opportunity if I hadn't taken this time to reflect and to set my vision and go, okay, what are the things that are really important to me? What do I need to be doing?

Okay, now we're gonna get a little bit more practical. Like I said, there's several pages of moving forward here. So, this, on page six, now we're gonna set the path. So, we have our destination, we have our vision of what we want at the end of the year, and now we're going to set the path. We haven't taken any steps yet. We're still just setting the path here. So, the first thing is to say, okay, what are my top priorities. These are like the non-negotiables. These are after I've set my vision, this is my vision. These are the things that are most important to me. So, that's on page six, the first thing is, what's your top priority for your homeschool for the rest of the year. It can be more than one. It could be top priorities. But don't make it too much, right? We can't do it all.

Okay, so here's your vision. Now, we're gonna set the path. So, in order to reach that vision, the first thing that you need to do is eliminate stinking thinking, is what my husband, in his business classes, calls it. Stinking thinking. And let's just be honest, right? We all have it. And I was actually if Shay is still on here, I was talk...I was texting her last night and being, like, my brain is stuck in my head trash. And so it's something we all struggle with, right? But, in order to reach that vision, we have to recognize the fact that we are thinking head trash. And just acknowledge it for what it is. It stinks, right?

So, what thoughts do I need to intentionally transform? So, just...that's when you really think through and pray through. That's gonna be different for everybody. But I encourage you to really think about your thoughts because your thoughts really do determine how you're seeing the world, how you're seeing your homeschooling. Okay. And what are you saying to yourself that you need to stop saying to yourself? So, to give you an example, the other day, I met a friend at the trampoline park. Another homeschool mom. And I was showing her some of this goal-setting stuff, that I was working on, and, I like to work on it at the trampoline park, and my kids are old enough now, they can go jump and I can get some work done.

And so, she was looking over my stuff, and she was like, oh, I need to do this. She's like, I'm such a failure as a homeschool mom. And it made me so sad to hear her say that, and I was like, what are you talking about? Like, I know your kids. Your kids are geniuses. And your son is like, doing all this Eagle Scout stuff. And you are not a failure as a homeschool mom. ??? feel like, oh my goodness, don't go to my house. But it was so interesting to hear her say that because I hear it from so many people and I've felt it myself so many times. But it's wrong. It's that stinking thinking. It's that head trash, right?

She's not a failure by any means. I also said to her, I said, you are just out on the trampoline jumping with your kids. Your preteen children want to be seen with you, at a trampoline park, jumping. And she was doing flips and they were... I mean, I would have broken my neck if I'd tried to do that. I'm like, you are so fun. You are such an amazing mom. Your kids want to spend time with you and you guys are out there having a great time and making these memories. You are not a failure. And I said, why would you say that? And she said, well, my son's really not good at spelling. And I said, well you wanna know a secret? Neither am I. She's like, what? I'm like, I'm not. I'm like, you know, I have my own business that I run and I'm a terrible speller. But praise Jesus for spell check, right? I've learned to overcome my weaknesses. I've learned to ask people. I try to make sure everybody proofreads everything I put out. And it's funny, actually, my tenth-grade daughter does a lot of my proofreading for me, cause she's a better speller than I am.

I said, but that doesn't make you a failure as a homeschool mom, because your child has weaknesses. I mean, my dad isn't like, oh, I failed as a dad because my daughter can't spell. He doesn't think that about me. He's like, wow, my daughter can do this, and this, and this, right? And so, that's some of that stinking thinking that we need to eliminate from our vocabulary. And I just encourage you, if you feel like there are areas in your homeschool where you're just, you just feel like you're a failure at, to change that kind of wording, that thinking, and turn it into more of a growth mindset that, I haven't learned how to do that yet. My child is still learning how to do X, Y, Z. They're growing in this area. We're all growing in da, da, da, da, da. Right?

And I think that kind of failure mentality comes from this all or nothing thinking. Either we're all good and we're all successful, and everything is wonderful, and we're all just sitting around the house reading Little Women, and just reciting poetry to each other. And nobody fights. And, you know, we have these unrealistic expectations, and that's good, and then everything else is terrible. Right? But that's not reality. And so, we have to eliminate that all or nothing thinking. And that was huge for me because let me tell ya, I spent so many years in the pit of thinking I was terrible at everything because everything wasn't living up to my ideals and my expectations.

One of my friends has this quote that I love. She says unrealistic expectations are premeditated disappointments. I'm gonna say it one more time, cause that's so good, right. Unrealistic expectations are the same as premeditated disappointments. So, we are setting ourself up for disappointment with these unrealistic expectations. So, that might be some of your stinking thinking too. Like, I just need to realize, you know, I can't do it all. And to take joy in the things that I am doing well, to see the areas that I am growing in. It doesn't mean that we put blinders on like, oh, wonderful. Everything's perfect. I don't have to acknowledge the fact that, like, we're struggling with this. No. Acknowledge it, and go, we are trying. We are growing in this area. We haven't arrived, but we're getting there.

And then, for your there might be other stinking thinking. I don't know what it is that you struggle with, but we all struggle with those thoughts and those doubts, right? And so, just write those out here, because we can't get to that vision that we've set for ourselves if we're continually putting ourselves down and continually thinking thoughts about ourselves that aren't true.

Okay, the second one. So, this is the hard page, people. Page six. I'm just letting you know. This is hard stuff. Might need to call a girlfriend in the middle of this. I was texting my friend Shay yesterday about it, because it's hard stuff.

Today's episode is brought to you by A Gentle Feast. A Gentle Feast is a complete curriculum for grades one through twelve that is family-centered, inspired by Ms. Mason's and philosophy, and rooted in books, beauty, and Biblical Truth. You can find out smooth and easy days are closer than you think at

All right, number two is name your fears. Okay, we can't get to that destination if fear is keeping us stuck right here. Okay? So, name those fears. I'm afraid I'm gonna fail my children. I'm afraid that they're not gonna be able to grow up and go to college and be successful adults and contribute to society. And it's going to be all my fault because I'm their mom and I'm the one teaching them, and I can't blame it on anybody else. That's a huge fear. And maybe I'm the only person that's ever said that. But name them, call them out on their bluff, right? See them for what they are. When they live inside your head, right? Our imaginations are way bigger than reality sometimes. You know, when you're like, a little kid, and you're in the dark and you see this shadow over there and you're like, it's a monster. Right?

I used to be so scared of the dark as a child, cause I had a very vivid imagination. And I read way too many books. So, my imagination would just go, wooo, all over the place. And I'd be so scared. And how do we solve the problem when we're a little kid, right? We turn the light on and we go, okay, that's just my coat over my chair. Nothing to be scared of. Well, it works for grownups too, people. And so, when you're afraid of something, by naming it and writing it down and calling it out, it kind of dissolves that power that it has that your imagination can run with it.

All right, the third thing, the way that we're gonna go forward toward the vision is to develop some routines. So, routines are so key to transformation. I really this. And so, I'm gonna read to you, this is from For the Children's Sake, and hopefully you've all read this, cause this is awesome. If you haven't, put this on your New Year's list. Okay. Anyway, this is like, everyone's gateway into Charlotte Mason. It's awesome. But, in here she talks about routines, and she says, routines form habits. So, really when we're setting these New Year's goals, we're really setting all these habits, because that's what actually changes our behavior. Routines set our habits. They're the frameworks we can think about.

Yes, going to church or reading the Bible and praying can be decried as being just empty habits, but how helpful the habit is that it is the reality of what we make or what we usually do that counts. Take the area of human relationships. Routines don't make the relationship, but they're the frame upon which we hang our experiences. Some families do not have a routine of eating meals together anymore. Any time goes for snacking, people rush about at a thousand activities, any one of which could be good, but what is the sum total? Without the priority of a framework, nothing much happens. Few conversations, little time of togetherness. A family decides to read a book together whenever there's time. This invariably becomes no time. It is essential to have these basic routines.

So, as we're thinking through what your vision is, you know, think through these...some routines that you might need to put in place, okay? Like, she said, it's not that the routines that make the relationships. It's just this framework because if we don't plan our time, right? Our time is just gonna fill up anyway. So, we have to be purposeful with the hours that we're given, and routines really do help make that, okay? Every day at this time, we're doing this. And then we're doing that. And that's why, you know, with A Gentle Feast, I have the routine of morning time and teatime, reading aloud, poetry. Those things are built into our routine so it doesn't become this, oh, we'll get to it when we have time. Cause you're not gonna have time. Right? You have to have that kind of framework to reach the vision that you want.

She also talks in here about how having routines frees us up to think about the activity on hand, which is really key with children, but it's also really key with ourselves, right? So, I mean, just take for example, you get in your car, what do you do? Put the key in the ignition, you buckle your seatbelt, you turn around to see if anybody's behind you, you put the car in reverse. You don't think about those steps, right? Okay, do I buckle my seatbelt first or do I put the key in the ignition first? You just do it, right? Your mind is probably thinking about 55 other different things, like, okay, how am I gonna get to this location or what time do I have to be there or did I pack Susie a lunch? And does Timmy have his shoes on? And your brain is able to think about all those other things because the routine of getting in your car and pulling out of your driveway is built into the framework of you mind.

The same thing with learning, right? Where we have these routines in place, they free our children's minds up to learn different things and to think different things, but also frees us up. You know, there's that term, buzz word that goes around these days, decision fatigue. And that's just continually making too many choices actually does wear us out. And so having these routines in place kinda takes that decision fatigue away. This is just what we do. Right? And then that helps build those relationships. That helps build that vision.

So, I encourage you just to think through what those routines are and then, I'm reading from For the Children's Sake if you just jumped in. She says when planning routines, priorities must be given to the most important things. The person matters, be it child, husband, wife, or friend, will need time to talk, read, relax, and work together. Our relationship God matters. Where is the time for that to be found? I am part of His Creation. Where will I find time to get out and enjoy nature? There's too much work to be done and I am finite. I need to accept that reality and I need to plan the time and priorities carefully. Oh, and you're asking, it's on pages 80 and 81. The chapter's called A New Perspective, which I just love, so if you have this book on your shelf and you, like, the whole chapter is just awesome, just kind of giving you that perspective for the year moving forward.

So, what she said, when we're thinking through our routines here, our priorities are always people, right? Our family, our relationship with God. And then, because our days will get filled up with other stuff if we're not purposeful, and so having these routines in place really do help. And it's not like, I've heard people say, I don't wanna do that. I don't wanna feel like we're being boxed in. Well, you're not. I mean, you can break the routine, right? But it takes time to build that routine and not have everything just be this kind of free for all. Having these routines in place does help you get the things done that you want to accomplish. So I encourage you to think through, what are some routines that you might need to add.

She talks here about, you know, your relationship with your family. Your relationship with your, with God. You relation...being outside in creation. Reading together as a family. Eating together as a family. Those are so key. But also think through, like, your homeschool day. What are some routines that you might want to add to that? I often hear from people, well, my kids don't like morning time. And I say, okay, well, what do you mean they don't like morning time? She's like, oh, well, you know, I tell them it's time for morning time and they're like, oh, do we have to do school today? Do we have to come sit down? And so what are y'all doin' before that? She's like, oh, well they're playing Legos or they're playing on the Wii, and then I have to go get them and tell them it's time for school.

I was like, well, I can totally relate to your kids, right? If I'm doing something super fun, I don't wanna have to stop it. And go switch my train of thought to something else. So, maybe you can start morning time before they start doing those other things, right? Well, I'm not really that organized and I'm not awake, and we don't have the...maybe like the night before, you could set out the things for morning time so when you wake up, they're all ready to go. Right? That you have this routine in place, this is just what we do.

It's been so funny, like, over Christmas break, my kids have literally asked me, like, three times, are we doing school today? When they wake up, because they're so used to, I wake up, I come downstairs, I get breakfast, I sit down, we start doing morning time. It's become that routine. Now at first, building these new routines is hard, right? It's that habit training that we're gonna talk about here in a little bit, and that Charlotte Mason talks a ton about. And so, at first you need to give your kids that inspiring idea. First you might need to make it really appealing and really fun. You know, we, my kids are allowed to have juice at morning time. We have candles, I try to play some relaxing music, just to kinda set the mood and the tone and just everybody's clue that, oh, this is starting now. You know, think through, maybe you can have your morning time on the floor on a blanket, or outside, or under the table. Put cloths around it and make it look like a tent. I mean, be creative as your first starting these new routines and making them appealing for your family.

And then the fourth question is, focus on doing a few things well rather than trying to do all the things. Oh, this is so hard. That's why it's so important to have your vision. Because when you have your vision, then you can go, you can look at something and go, oh that's really cool, I'm so glad our family's doing it. But it doesn't fit with my vision. It doesn't fit in our plan. And you don't have to go, oh, that's what I thought, oh, I'm gonna go try that. I'm gonna add this to our day. Or I'm gonna add this. Or I'm gonna add this. And I'm gonna this. And before you know it, like, you're totally overwhelmed because you have way too many things on your plate.

But it's real easy to say, these are my top five things. These are the things, if we accomplish these things, I'm like, woohoo, hey! Let's celebrate, have a party, right? If you have your focus going too many different things like that Zig Ziglar quote, you're gonna aim for nothing. You're gonna hit it every time. So having your course set, and saying these are the things that are most important. And so, if one of your most important things is, every week we go on a hike, somebody had shared that on Instagram earlier this week, and the 52 hikes. So, when you have your hike planned out, and something else comes up, you're like, no. This is my priority. This is what we're doing. We're gonna have to take a raincheck, or not do that. So that's why it's really key to have those top priorities in set.

I watched this motivational video with Matthew McConaughey, and I'll link to it in the replay that I'll send out. If you sign up for the packet, you'll be able to get the replay emailed to you. But one of the things he says in this video is, too many options will make a tyrant of us all. And I know what it feels like to feel like a tyrant, cause I've been there, right? I'm trying to do too much and I'm trying to control too much, and it ain't pretty for anybody.

So, having too many options can sometimes be the enemy of what we really want to accomplish. So, as you're thinking through, just take it and keep narrowing it down and narrowing it down. That's why we start with the big vision and then we're gonna kinda break it down here.

And then the last thing, as we're starting to set our path here, is get help, right? We're not gonna be able to do all this by ourselves. We need help. So, maybe it's people, maybe it's like a local homeschool mom's group or a Facebook group. Maybe it's resources, like I'm going to, you know, a book is a great resource. Course, podcasts. There's so many awesome different things out there. There's another book that I'm gonna mention, and I'm gonna mention it here, cause it fits in, is awesome. It's called The Power of Habit. While I read to you what we do in life and business. And so, I love Charlotte Mason's teaching on habit. I think it was so brilliant and key, and she knew so much about neuroscience that we're now just figuring out. So, this book reiterates a lot of what Charlotte Mason taught and said, but it has the most recent scientific data to kind of back that up.

But in here it's talking about, you know, habit and how people change. And in here, they're using the example of alcoholics anonymous and how people change that habit of drinking. And here's what he says. How do habits change? There is, unfortunately, no specific set of steps guaranteed to work for every person. We know that a habit cannot be eradicated. It must, instead, be replaced. And we're gonna talk about that in a little bit when we talk about habits. But that's huge. And Charlotte Mason says that a lot, okay? You can't just get your child to stop doing something that they've been doing that a bad habit. You have to replace that with a good habit, right? We can't just sweep out the house and leave it empty. We have to fill it with something else.

So, if you wanna change a habit, you have to change it to a good one. And we know that habits are most malleable when the golden rule of habit change is applied. If we keep the same cue, the same reward, but a new routine. So in this book, and he shows countless, countless examples of people's lives, teams, businesses, who have changed their habits. The cue is the same, meaning what, like I said, like, my kids know its morning time when I put out the cups with juice and we cue the music, right? The cue, what happens. Then the reward, what's the reward? We get this close family time together, right? The routine is what happens in the middle, and so changing your habit is changing that routine.

So, the cue could be, I'm just gonna give you an example, the cue could be I'm all upset because someone said something mean to me. I'm gonna go to my kitchen and I'm just gonna open the fridge and start eating whatever I can find. The reward is, I feel a little bit better for like, five seconds, right? I get that, like, brain, endorphin rush. If I wanted to change that habit, cause I do do this by the way, the cue is still the same. I can't control what people say, so they're gonna say something mean to me, right? The reward is, I want to better. What I need to change is the routine. So instead of going to the kitchen and opening the fridge, I need to pick up my phone and call my friend, and be like, someone said something mean and I'm hurting right now. Right? If I do that enough times, my habits will change. I'm changing that routine. Does that make sense?

So that's what he's talking about in this book. But he said that that's not enough. And here's the key. For a habit to stay changed, people must believe change is possible. And most often, that belief only emerges with the help of a group. And that's where he's, in the chapter, he's talking about alcoholics anonymous, and what's made it so effective is the community that's built around it. If you wanna quit smoking, figuring out a different routine that will satisfy the cravings filled by cigarettes. Then find a support group. A collection of former smokers or a community there that will help you believe you can stay away from nicotine, and use that group when you feel you might stumble. If you wanna lose weight, study your habits to determine why you really leave your desk for a snack each day. And then find someone else to take a walk with you. To gossip at the decks next door, rather than going to the cafeteria. A group that tracks weight loss goals together or someone who also wants to keep a stock of apples rather than chips.

The evidence is clear. If you want to change your habit, you must find an alternative routine. Your odds of success go up dramatically when you commit to changing as part of the group. Belief is essential and it grows out of a communal experience, even if that community is only as large as two people.

So, this is key, cause I just used to just be like the lone ranger here and figure I could just do my goals by myself. Like, if I just wanna go do something, I was gonna pull up my bootstraps and I was just gonna go change and do it. Without realizing that I really needed that community piece to do it. I'm just gonna give you kind of a silly example, but, not really silly. I guess it's not silly. So one of my goals, back five or six years ago, was to run a half marathon. Which seemed like a really crazy goal, because I could only run to the end of my block and back to my house at the time. And then my goal is to run thirteen miles. So that's huge, right? I knew that I could not get to that goal by myself, that I needed accountability and I needed people who believed that I could actually do it.

And so, I sent a message out on Facebook to a whole bunch of women at my church, and just said, hey, are any of you runners? Would any of you be interested in helping me figure out how I can run a half marathon? And I had some friends who had did a few before, and they had started from running from nothing as well. And so, they were able to kinda coach me and help me along the path and for an entire year, we met every Saturday morning at 7:30 in the morning at the clubhouse in my neighborhood, and we ran together. And sometimes, it would only be one other person, and sometimes, a group of thirteen women would show up. I mean, it just varied from Saturday to Saturday. But my butt got out of bed on Saturday morning, even if it was 29 degrees outside, because I knew that somebody was there waiting for me. And I knew that someone believed that I could do it.

And so, thinking through your goals, think through who are those people who can help you reach them. Have those people who are gonna keep you accountable to encourage you when it gets hard, who believe in you. Cause like he said in that book, The Power of Habit, was what I was reading from, we can change our routine and put, take out the habit we don't wanna have and put in the right habit. But, more importantly than that, we need to have the belief that we could actually do it, and to have people that are gonna be there to help walk us through that.

One of my goals for 2018, this past year, was to read more fiction, because I can just live in the world of nonfiction. Like, I just, I only wanna read books that are, like, gonna help me improve or books that I'm gonna learn something from. And that's great. I mean, I'm glad I can read those books. But at the same time, like, I need to read for fun, and to read for relaxation. And so, but I knew I just wouldn't do that by myself. So, I just found a book club. Again, I put a thing out on Facebook and our church's women's group and said, hey, anybody wanna join a book club for me, where we meet once a month and we'll read some fiction together? And we meet at a coffee shop the first Saturday of every month, and we started this past fall, so we've met, like, five or six times. And it's been great. I read the book, I've read some books I probably wouldn't have read otherwise, because I know that I'm gonna have to talk about these with my friends, and so, having that community and that support is really helpful.

And so, even if, it says in the book, even if it's just one other person. Even if it's just a group of you and one other person, right? If you can find another homeschool mom who you can share some of these goals with, who can help keep you accountable and can encourage you that can believe in your and what you're doing. You know, share these homeschool goals with your spouse. I had someone comment on Instagram that her and her husband went out on a date and they worked through this packet together, and I'm like, that is awesome, right? You wanna be together and feel like you're a team, but also be there to help one another. So, that's great. So, just think through, what's the community that can help me with that? So, that's questions number five, down here.

All right, so now we're gonna get into some personal goals. So, we've set the vision for our homeschool and what we want to happen, we've kind of set the path here, and now we're gonna look at ourselves. And you might go, well, that's weird, I thought this was for homeschool. Well, it is. But, our emotional, spiritual health, the way that we're growing, greatly affects our children. So, there's a Parent's Review article called The Atmosphere of Home. And if you download the packet, you'll get the reply. I'll send you all these links, so don't worry about trying to find everything right now. But, The Atmosphere of Home, by M. F. Gerald, and this is one of, if you're in the Gentle Feast membership, you've heard me read this quote before, but it is so powerful and so convincting.

So, the article is The Atmosphere of Home. And if you're familiar with Charlotte Mason, here, she says, education is an atmosphere first. So, the atmosphere of our home is huge. Here's what it says. There are many important aspects of home life, from first training to highest education. But there is nothing in the way of direct teaching that will ever have so wide and lasting effect as the atmosphere of home. And the gravest thought concerning this is that, in this instance, there is nothing to learn and nothing to teach. The atmosphere emanates from ourselves. Literally is ourselves. Our children live in it and breathe it, and what we are thus incorporated into them. There is not pretense here, or possibility of evasion. We may deceive ourselves. In the long run, we never deceive our children. The spirit of home lives and what is more home atmosphere is accentuated in them. Atmosphere is much more than teaching, an infilling more than taught. I doubt if we could live a week, even with the very reserved person, without being able to say what his aim in life is and what is the things he values supremely. That, after all, is the kernel of life, to make up our minds what it is that we want, that's that vision setting we talked about, what is worth striving for, and it is this central aim which makes the atmosphere of our lives, which stamps itself, inevitably, on our ways and our words, so that we are ever declaring it, though it may be unconsciously and involuntarily.

Is that convicting or what, right? The atmosphere of our home is us. Right? It emanates through us. We can deceive ourselves, we can pretend like, you know, we're fooling everybody, but our kids pick up on it. What we're aiming at, what's important to us, what our vision is, is so important, because that's gonna determine all this other stuff. That's what's gonna determine the atmosphere of our home, whether it's unconscious or involuntary, we are creating that atmosphere with what is important to us and what our priorities are, and that's why it is so key to spend this time thinking through these things and thinking through what our vision is and what it is that we want to create and not just aimlessly going day after day.

And so, when I read this, and I read through Charlotte Mason's other teachings on atmosphere, I was really convicted, because, honestly I was...spent many years putting myself last and not taking care of myself. And I really became convicted, what example am I showing my children, right? What am I teaching them about setting priorities, about taking care of yourself? About being healthy? And so, that atmosphere is a huge part of our homeschool, and so that's why I wrote these goals out for you to think about. What are some areas of your life that you want to grow and change in? So, there's body. How are you taking care of yourself physically? Our mind. How are we growing in that? Our soul.

So, let me just talk through that real fast. When it comes to cultivating our mind, you know, the term Mother Culture that gets thrown around in Charlotte Mason circles a lot, you know, what does that mean? We need to be growing in ourselves before we can shape and mold our children. There's a very convicting Parent's Review article about that. It's called Mother Culture. It says it's by A., which I don't know if that stands for anonymous or if someone's name was just A., cause that's really cool. Like, it sounds like a spy or something. A. I don't know who it is that wrote this article, but, I mean, you've all, you've heard some of the quotes from this article. They're used many times. But I just encourage you to go through, if you're struggling with taking care of yourself. If you're struggling through fighting the importance of that. Of growing your mind, of staying healthy. I'm just gonna read a little section here, but there is so much in this article that is worth reading.

It says, the only way to do it is to be...wait, hold on. Oh, it's talking about, like, mothers being able to kind of justify themselves, that it's okay to take this time. It says the only way to do it is to be so strongly impressed with the necessity for growing herself that she herself makes it a real object in life. She can only rarely be helped from the outside. The resolute planting of ??? in her chair at one end of the table with her toys, of master five-year-old at the other end with his occupations, and fascinating master baby on the rug on the floor with his ring and his ball, that decide announcement, now mother's going to be busy will do those young people a world of good. Though some of their charms will be missed, they will gain respect for their mother's time, and some self-reliance in the bargain. While mother's tired back gets a rest, if only for a short time, either on the sofa, or flat upon the floor, then she can listen to her children and perhaps do a little thinking. Not about frocks and foods, but about characters and how to deal with them. Or she can take a book and grow in that way. This would do something, but not enough. Mother must have time to herself, and we must not say I cannot. Can any of us say till we have tried? Not for one week, but for a whole year, day after day, that we cannot get one half hour out of the 24 for mother culture. One half hour in which we can read, think, or remember.

And here's the quote you've probably heard before. The wisest woman I ever knew, the best wife, the best mother, the best friend, told me once, when I asked her how, with her weak health, and many calls upon her time, she managed to read so much. I always keep three books going. A stiff book, a moderately easy book, and a novel, and I always take up the one I feel fit for. That is the secret. Always have something going to grow by. If we mothers were all growing, there would be less going astray among out boys and less separation of minds from our girls.

So, here, she really is giving you the key, right? I won't have time to do that. She's saying, for a year, make a commitment to find one-half hour, every day, for this mother culture. And again, that's talking about these routines. Putting them on your calendar and planning it out. And here, she's saying, she has a mom with a three-year-old, a five-year-old, and a baby, right? And she's finding this time. She's putting them at a table. She's laying on the floor with them. She's reading a book. But she's making that time to grow her own mind.

And in here, she talks about that she has the three books going. That's the other thing, if you want to grow in mother culture, you have to make a plan for it. Okay? So, think through this. What books do I want to read? What three? A stiff book, an easy book, a novel, if you wanna do her example, but it doesn't have to be that way. I know some people don't like reading more than one book at one time. I usually have like, 20 going on at one time. I have a novel, a stiff book, a nonfiction book. I usually have, like, four audible books going at one time. But, you know, finding something that works for you, but making a plan to do it. When am I gonna find that half-hour? And so, start with just this next week, right? And I know some of you are still traveling and you have family and holidays and things coming up, but every day, what thirty-minute chunk can I grow in this week?

And it doesn't have to be, and in this example, she talks about reading a book, but she talks about other things in this Parent's Review article as well. That mother culture could be learning a new handicraft, right? It could be taking a water coloring course on YouTube. Again, having that vision set is really gonna help determine your steps. If your priority is to go on 52 hikes this year with your kids, maybe your mother culture needs to be spent reading through the handbook of nature study, so you can help identify that plant or that leaf or that bird, and you can have more information from which to bless your children with.

So, that's why that vision piece is so important. But think through these goals and these things that are important to you, as you set your year. That we can't just focus so much in our homeschooling, but we really do need to focus on taking care of ourselves.

And then she also says, make, or on this sheet, I put, make a list of ten fun things that make you happy, and add these to your week. So, think through, what do you enjoy doing. It could be silly, it could be playing 80s rock music really loud and singing to it. It could be, you know, getting your nails done or taking a bath, or you know, like, just reading a novel. But, what are those things that you do enjoy? It could be cooking. If you cook, I love you. Why don't you come to my house? Cause I do not enjoy that. But, you know, think through the things that make you happy and purposely put those into your week. Again, we can just go from one thing to the next, and be so focused on the tyranny of the urgent that we don't make having fun a priority in our lives.

All right, and then the very last page, or the last two couple pages here. Now, we're gonna talk about habits. So, you've come up with it. Okay, these are my top priorities. The five things that I really wanna focus on for the remainder of the school year. Now, we need to focus on our steps. So, a first, let's just review what we've done, okay? We've looked back on 2018. We've set our vision for where we wanna be at the end of this school year. We've kind of thought through what's important to us, to kinda set our path. And now we're gonna actually set our steps. We're going to be moving forward in that direction. So you have these top five things that are most important and now we're gonna break them down. And the most powerful way to make changes in our lives, if you read Charlotte Mason, if you read this book, is by our habits, okay?

So, we're gonna take those negative habits, those things that might be holding us back, the things that we need to stop doing, and we need to replace them with new habits. Those new routines that we need to put into place. So, sometimes when we have a new goal, we might not have a habit that needs to be replaced. It might just be, we're starting something totally brand new, okay? So, on this little chart where it says, your goal and your old habit, you might not have an old habit. If this is something that you've never done before, we've never done poetry tea time, or we're gonna add that into our homeschool year for the rest of the year. We've never done a hike a week. You don't have an old habit that you're having to kinda break and think through, so you're just focusing on the new habit here, or more, some of those behaviors.

So, let me just's these habits though, that build these routines that actually lead to these changes that we want to see. So, like I said, if you're, one of your goals is, we're gonna have a consistent morning time. We're gonna start at a consistent time every day. Great. Okay? What is an old habit that might be holding you back from that? Okay, your old habit might be that everybody can wake up and kinda just do whatever they want, and they start playing and then, it's hard to bring them to the table. Okay, so what's your new habit gonna be? Well, your new habit would be, I'm gonna wake up before the kids. I'm gonna get things laid out in the morning. I'm gonna lay things out maybe the night before so that when my kids come downstairs, they can get their breakfast and we can get started before they get distracted playing, okay.

And so that, like, where it says behaviors, here. Those would be some of the new things that you're gonna lay out to help you build that new habit, kinda breaking that down into smaller steps. So, I'm gonna, you know, set my alarm for 30 minutes before I've been waking up to get things ready. I'm going to have the kids just play quietly in their room before they come downstairs. And so their cue is, as soon as we come downstairs, we know we're gonna start school. I did that a couple a year's ago. My kids kept waking up really early and I wasn't able to kinda get my day planned. And so, I bought them all digital clocks. And I taught my little one how to read the numbers on the clock and I said, okay, when that first number's an eight, then you can come downstairs. You can't come downstairs till that first number turns into an eight. And that really helped him go, okay, at eight o'clock, I can come downstairs. That was kind of his cue. And then they knew when they came downstairs, we were starting school.

Some other goals. You might have, like, a personal goal, okay. Maybe your personal goal is to exercise, okay? So, an old habit, I don't know. What are your excuses that you kinda have for not doing it? What might be a new habit or a new behaviors, if you wanna start this new routine, that you would need to put into place? So, we talked earlier about, like, decision fatigue. You want to eliminate that. You want to build this routine that just becomes a habit. So, like I said before... well, okay, I asked you to do a personal example, so, a couple years ago I wanted...I had the birth of my fifth child. I wanted to go back to the gym and start exercising again. And, so, again, these routines are gonna change through your seasons of life, right? You're gonna have something that's gonna work for a little bit, and then it's not gonna work anymore. And that's why our goals and priorities just are so different than everyone else's, as homeschool moms. So, just think though, again, these next five or six months, and then you can re-evaluate, and might need to change the habit. You might need to change the routine.

But after my fifth child was born, I wanted to go to the gym, and the routine that we kind of came up with was everybody would take naps or rest time, and then we would, I would get everyone ready and we would go to the Y every day at four o'clock. And the Y next to us was awesome. It has this amazing, like, play space. My kids loved it there. And then I would come home and I'd make dinner and we'd do our evening routine. We did that every day. That way my kids knew, as soon as I wake up from nap time, we get in the car and we go to the Y. I knew if I decided I was lazy and didn't wanna go to the Y, that my kid's would be like, but I wanna go, I wanna go play. And they would whine and I would feel bad and then I'd get in the car and take them to the gym.

Well, that worked really great for that season of life. That really helped me be consistent. That was the routine. Soon as we wake, we get our stuff, we get in the car. There was no, like, thinking through, do I wanna go today? I'm not really sure. I'm kinda tired. I don't think I wanna go. If I go, what am I gonna do when I get there? Right? Like, we don't wanna have to think through all that, okay? Eliminate all that decision and build that routine in.

Now, I'm in a different season of life, so I go to the gym every...well, four times a week at 6:15 in the morning. And so, my alarm goes off at 5:30. Half the time, I'm not even awake. I know exactly what to do. Like, I'm like, my eyes are like, alright, I put the gym clothes on, I put the sneakers, I get my keys, I get in the car. I don't have to think through it because that's just...the alarm goes off, I get up, I get dressed, like, I just do it. You're building those habits in your brain, those tracks, like Charlotte Mason talks about, that make the train go easy, as smooth, easy days. It doesn't just work for our kids, it works for us too. So, having those habits built-in. So, as you think through your five goals on this page, what habits do you need to put into place in order to reach those goals?

So we have out path. These are the actual steps that you're going to take. And that might seem overwhelming with five. Like, there's no magic rule, okay? You can, like, make it one. This month, or you could write 'em all out, but say, okay, which one am I gonna tackle first? So, maybe one of your goals is, we're gonna do a hike a week, right? All right, so what's the new habit? New habit is, every week, we're going on a nature walk. Would it be helpful to schedule that on your calendar? Would it be helpful to do it at the same time every week? Is it helpful for you to plan out, ahead of time, and do some research? Okay, here's the trails that we're gonna do. And list them out? Would it be helpful for you to gather supplies, maybe you need, like, backpacks or nature journals, or your kids need different shoes, cause the trails are gonna be really muddy in the winter, or they need warmer coats. You need to think through what are the steps that are gonna help me reach that goal. And then turn that into a routine. Okay, every Friday afternoon at one o'clock, we go on this hike. And it becomes something you're not having to think through so much. Again, we wanna develop it into a routine, into a habit, and eliminate some of the decision fatigue, and just build that consistency.

It might be that that is one of your goals. You r goal is to go outside in nature more. But maybe you live somewhere where it's like, I don't know, ten degrees outside in January, okay? And so you're not gonna start that goal right away. You know, say, that, we're gonna, I'm gonna work on some of these other goals and, maybe like, starting your morning time consistently, or a goal of reading aloud together more. And I'm gonna wait and do that nature...I'm gonna start that goal in the spring, when it's a little bit easier. You don't have to start all of it right now. And that's huge too, like, I'm just gonna lay a relief on everyone. You don't have to have all your goals set January 1st. Now, if you're like me, you do, because I'm a real type A and I need to have it all written out. But, there's no magicness that happens tomorrow, right?

There's no hard fast rule that all of it has to figured out the first week in January. You can take your time and, you know, take a couple weeks to go through process. You can make goals, like I said, I write goals in August. So, it doesn't have to be something that you have to do right now and you have to figure it all out. There was one year where I said, we moved across the country in a year. We moved from South Carolina to Colorado and back to South Carolina. And the week after Christmas, my husband resigned from his position. We didn't know where we were gonna live. We didn't know what my husband was gonna be doing. Like, I couldn't write goals then. Like, I had no clue what my goal was. We're gonna live to see tomorrow. Like, that was my only, that was my only focus right then, you know? And so, you might be in a position where you cant' really write goals right now, because your life is kind of up in arms, right? You can still set that vision and what is important to you and what your priorities are, but the actual steps, those might have to wait a little bit. And that's okay. Right?

Again, there's no magicness that happens tomorrow if all these are written down tomorrow, though. You can wave your magic wand and they'll all be fulfilled. Like, it doesn't happen right, and so don't put this pressure on yourself to get this whole packet or to get all your goals or whatever it is that you...system that you use, you don't have to get it all done tomorrow. Okay? I promise. You can take your time. Take the entire month to do it. I think it's when we take the time to think through these things, and to do these three steps, that we actually see growth happen in our lives. When we try to rush it and just get something down, because everyone else has a New Year's resolution right now, I need to have one too. You don't really learn as much from it.

So, just to wrap up. I hope that was helpful. Oh, and then the last thing, is to write out your goals, your top five things that you're going to focus on. Put this somewhere that you're gonna see it. Put it in your homeschool planner, put it on your mirror, put it wherever. But you wanna be able to see these on a regular basis to remind yourself, what are your top goals? And this can be homeschool goals, it can be personal goals, whatever your goals are, just to see it.

And then lastly, we just run out with prayer. Okay. We can have a vision and we can have our steps that we wanna take, but God's the ultimately the One that's directing our path. And so, just to surrender that, right? And to, just to be prayerful about what's coming up, I think, is so key too.

And then I did put that book in here, and then I put some of my other favorite habit books, of course, the portions of Charlotte Mason's writings that talk about habits. I think it's just really, if you're really interested in this kind of stuff, which I'm a total brain science geek, it's really interesting to read some of this stuff and learn some of the information that's come out now on habit training. And it all just really reiterates what Charlotte Mason said. So, you can just read her words. But her words are really geared toward habit training with children, and we're habit training ourselves. But they all apply, right? Sometimes I feel like I am still a child, and I need to develop these good habits just like I'm trying to do with my own children, right? We're all in this growing process together, which I just love so much that education is a life. And I haven't suddenly just derived that we are all working on this together.

So, if you haven't got the packet yet, one last time, I'm gonna tell ya where to get it. You go to a and then go over to blog, and then you scroll through. The name of the post is Reach, Reflect, and Resolve. And that's the three-step process that I kinda walked through that's in this packet. Reflecting back onto 2018. Reaching forward, setting your vision for 2019. And then resolving, determining your steps in order to get those goals. This process really, really, really, really does work. Take the time, look at your schedule again. And like I said, it doesn't have to be done tomorrow, but look at your schedule in the next couple weeks and block off at least three hours. It can be one hour one day, the next, if you can get a whole three-hour chunk away, like, awesome. More power to ya. It might mean you have to go to bed earlier and wake up before everyone else to try to fit this in. It might mean you need to hire a babysitter to go and do this, or a mother's helper to come play with your kids in the backyard while you do this. But be intentional about setting the time to go through this process.

And if you follow me on Instagram, or Facebook, I would love to hear from you. What are some goals that you have for the coming year? And again, having that community is so key, so if you are on Facebook, there's A Gentle Feast community, you can join. I'm gonna be asking in there about people's goals. But finding just another friend to say, okay, here's my goals. Here's what I wanna accomplish. Here's my vision for 2019. Can you help me with this? Can we keep each other accountable? Can you encourage me in this? And having those people that believe that you can reach those goals.

And you know, this is an amazing thing that happens, is when you start achieving your goals, it has a compounding effect. See, you reach a goal in one area and it gives you the motivation to reach a goal in another area. And it talks about that in this book, The Power of Habit, how, you know, like people in alcoholics anonymous, then they stop smoking. Then they stop overeating. Then they are getting their financials in order. That as we reach these goals and we're successful in one area, it does carry over to another. And I've seen that in my own life. Where I've reached certain goals, then I wanna like, tangle with some other areas. You don't have to fix everything all at one time, right? Just start with one thing at a time, one goal in mind, and when you're successful in that, it is so motivational to move on to the next thing and to move on to that next goal. And it feels so good.

So thank you for taking the time. Happy New Year's everyone, I hope you have a super fun night. We're gonna be playing board games over here, and maybe watching Jumanji, and I'm not really sure what else we'll be doing. But that's my plan. I'll probably be in bed by ten. My kids wanna stay up till midnight, but that just...that sounds really stressful, so. We'll see what happens, but I hope whatever it is that you're doing tonight, that you have a wonderful time. And thank you so much for joining me. And Happy New Year everyone. Thanks again.

Thank you for joining us today on The Charlotte Mason Show. I'm your host, Julie Ross, and I would love to meet you in person. All of The Great Homeschool Conventions have been rescheduled to 2021. Go to to find a convention near you.

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