I announced back in December that February would be Detox Month for me. As my husband and I have talked, we’ve decided to make it a family affair.
Here’s how we started our discussion.
1. We identified what we wanted to be or look like as a family. For example, for me that included being a better wife. When my husband looks back on our marriage in thirty years, I want him to be able to say that he learned about who God is through our relationship – how I treated him, how I loved him, how we interacted . . . When people look at our marriage, I want them to see God first, not my husband and I specifically. We each shared our thoughts on this question and ensured we understood each other.
2. We identified our priorities as a family. We set our values as God, Family, Community – in that order. I know that seems basic, but having the discussion was a helpful reminder and ensured we were on the same page. We knew these priorities would influence our goals. For example, using the word community was deliberate. Building relationships with our friends is important to us, but we wanted a word to cover the breadth of what is important to us: building authentic relationships with those around us. That includes our physical neighbors, and as I have mentioned before, I don’t want to let that opportunity pass me by.
3. We identified the main areas encompassed by our month long evaluation and purge. We fondly nicknamed those the “chunks.” I’m sure you can imagine the funny lines we came up with related to that . . . And here are said chunks:
Health – Physically cleansing my system from chemicals and identifying bad habits that need to be broken
Spiritual – Spending time in confession and cleansing apathy out of my system
Mind – Examining what I input into my mind and filtering out toxic media
Finances – Identifying toxic spending habits and “cleansing” our spending for the month
Calendar/Scheduling – Removing extraneous activities from our schedule which detract from focusing on our priorities
Relationships – Examining if I’m holding onto any toxic relationships or spending time on relationships that I just need to let go
Environment – Purging our house of clutter and extraneous “stuff” and evaluating how we are being toxic to our actual environment
4. We then created specific goals in each of the areas. In some cases, one of us had goals in an area where the other did not. Sometimes we had family goals rather than individual goals, and sometimes we had both. We’re still finalizing the rest of these goals, but the majority are complete.
Let me take an aside here to say that all of this sounds formal and borderline legalistic, but I assure you (at this point) it is not. We’re not signing any contracts or holding ourselves to unreasonable expectations that will only lead to defeat and guilt. We are definitely challenging ourselves, sometimes to the point of discomfort (it is a detox after all), but it’s only for 29 days. Then we will re-evaluate.
I’m excited about what we’re about to do, and it’s neat that it happens to coincide (at least part of the time) with Lent. Basically, we’re taking a hard look at the things in our life that need to be eliminated or cleaned out and bad habits that need to be broken. We’ll set ourselves up for relapse if we don’t replace those things with good activities and habits, so in March we’ll explore that aspect. In some cases, our February and March initiatives may overlap, but that’s the overall focus for each month.
In the least, just the discussions we’ve had have been helpful. What I hope is that we move closer to what we aspire to be.
I’ll post my specific goals later this week, but for now, I welcome any feedback or suggestions on how you’d make this type of initiative work.