Can you believe it's February already?? Focus on Finances month is officially OVER! I'm sure you can guess what that means…time to introduce our next Focused in '14 Month-long theme and challenges. Drumroll please? I now introduce to you…February: Focus on Relationships month! Read all bout how we're getting Focused in '14 over HERE.
Though February is the month of love (thanks mostly to Valentine's Day), the relationships we will be focusing on this month will not always be the ROMANTIC kind! All month long we will have challenges to help you strengthen the relationships you have with ALL the important people in your life – from your friends, your family, your kids, your colleagues and neighbors, to of course, your spouse/partner.
Let's take a look at how the month will go down…
I have created a calendar for you to print out and follow along with all month long! Aren't you lucky…
Click HERE to print. Stick it on your fridge, your bathroom mirror, in your car, and even download it on your phone so you can stay on track this month! Let's take a closer look:
Let the month begin! Aren't we excited? (Sorry I'm a day late posting, by the way, having way too much fun with the fan on our overnight stay-cation and stink at planning ahead.) Here's the calendar, broken down for you:
1. Month-long Unplug Challenge. I expect this to be one of the hardest challenges I could ever post on my blog EVER. For the entire month of February, challenge yourself to unplug from ALL technology (including your TV and phone) when you're in the presence of another person. Checkout line at the store? Leave your phone in your pocket and strike up a conversation with someone else instead. Kids in the room? No TV, computer, or phone. Out to dinner with your spouse? Keep the phone away the entire time. Use times when you're completely alone to catch up on your DVR, social media, etc. Exception – reading the 5 love languages book on an electronic device with your spouse. More details coming soon!
2. FBC Book Group! This month one of our month-long challenges will be to read “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman together. This book is amazing. It's focused on improving your relationship with your spouse/partner, but ultimately it will help you understand everyone better! It's only 209 pages (a super easy read) so you only have to read 8 pages per day to get through it by the end of the month. I'll do a separate post about this in detail soon, but rent it from the library and start reading! If you are married or in a committed relationship, the challenge is to sit down and read it TOGETHER every day. Note: I bought the kindle version long ago and it wasn't as good, they had cut out a bunch of stuff. Not sure if that's still the case but just be aware.
3. “Long Lost Week.” This week we are rekindling old long-lost relationships! This can be a friend you haven't talked to in a while, a distant family member you never see, or someone you had a falling out with that you need to mend things with. These relationships are your main focus this week. (See #5 for more details)
4. Invite someone over 1x per week, all month long. As talked about recently, inviting people over is the best way to create deeper relationships with friends. Make it a month-long challenge to invite someone over at least 1x per week for the entire month. It could be a neighbor for root beer floats, an entire family for dinner, a group of friends for a game night, or that cutie you've been eyeing…invite them over and cook them dinner! Open your home and do it at least 1x per week, all month long. You will need to do this on the day that works best for you, but I put a few reminders throughout the calendar in case it helps.
5. “Touch-Base Challenge”. Referring to the relationships talked about in #3, every day for 7 days the challenge is to make it a point to “touch base” with a long-lost someone or another in some way – even if it's just a text, email, Facebook message, or card in the mail. Think of a time in your day where you have nothing really to do (brushing your teeth, driving in the car, doing your makeup in the morning), put a reminder note in that area, and do it then!
6. Family night! One of the best ways to strengthen relationships with your immediate family is to have quality time! I'm a FIRM believer in having “family night”. Pick a night of the week where – no matter what – your family will sit down together, even if only for 15 or 30 minutes, and will do something together other than watch TV. You could play a game, read a book out loud, or learn about something together. For us, our family night is on Monday, that's why it's on the calendar for that day. Decide TODAY what that day is for you, and make it happen – no matter what! For your first family night have everyone in your family write a letter to someone and send it through snail mail. It could be a grandparent, friend, or find a pen-pal for your kids.
7. Girl's Night Out with friends. We all need some QT with friends once in a while! Grab some ladies (or dudes if you're a dude…) and have a night out! It can be any time this week, but I like to reserve weekends for family time so I recommend doing it during the week. Make it casual, and of course, affordable.
8. Family Date Night every weekend. Family time is important!!!!!! Every weekend pick one night and have a family date night. It could be a movie night with popcorn in your basement, going out to eat as a family, going to a park, playing a board game, etc. Plan a quality activity and have fun together!
9. Couple date-night every weekend. Date nights are important!!!!!! If you know me, you know Bubba and I try to do a date night of some kind every weekend. The weeks we don't, you can really tell – we seem to bicker more and care about each other less. Whether it's getting fancied up and going to a play, doing a group date with friends, or grabbing a frozen pizza and having a picnic in your living room, do something together without kids. I recommend trading babysitting with a friend so you don't have to pay for a babysitter all weekend. Check back for posts on date night ideas.
10. Love Your Love week. It's Valentine's week, after all…let's show some love to your hunny!
11. 7 in 7 challenge. Show your love how much you love them by doing 7 random acts of love in 7 days. Not just buying them a stereotypical Valentine's gift, but think creatively too. Dig deep and show them you love them, using THEIR love language (see #2 for how to figure out how they receive love!).
12. Valentine's Day!! Make it something truly special this year. We'll give you lots of ideas how, so keep checking back!
13. Kids Week or Family Week. If you have kids, this week is all about them! If you don't have kids, then focus the attention on your future family (setting goals, deciding now what your beliefs and philosophies are), or on your current family situation.
14. Dinner Together Challenge. Every day this week make it a firm, unyielding point to sit down and have dinner together…EVERY NIGHT. It doesn't have to be a fancy meal, and it doesn't even have to be homemade (though I always recommend that). But make sure that when you're eating, you're sitting down and eating TOGETHER. We'll give you fun dinner games and conversation starters to help!
15. Happy President's Day! Find out now if you have this day off of work, so you can start planning ahead for #16.
16. Family Fun Day. If you have the day off on President's Day, plan a full day of fun family activities! Again, these don't have to cost much – if anything at all. Just get organized, plan ahead, and don't wast a single moment of the day!
17. Allowance Program. This week we will be teaching you some amazing ways to help your kids get financially fit. One of those ways is to nail down a consistent system of paying your kids, and figuring out what THEY should pay for, and what YOU should pay for. Pick a day this week to start implementing your new program.
18. Man in the Mirror Week. When we think of relationships, we rarely think of the relationship we have with OURSELVES! This week is all about getting to know ourselves better, and learning to love ourselves a little more.
19. Nothing Negative Challenge. For one week our challenge is to say NOTHING negative. At all. If we have something negative to say, find a way to turn it around and make it a positive. The most important part of this? Saying nothing negative, degrading, or self-depricating about OURSELVES. Draw a big black X on your hand to remind you all week long!
20. Last chance to invite someone over, February is ending! Hurry and make plans to open your home to someone.
21. Family Night “10 things” activity. For Family Night tonight have every person write 10 things they love about each person in your family. Then take turns reading the list out loud to the person the list is about! Sometimes it's hard to hear nice things about ourselves, it makes us feel awkward. Well, this week we are embracing the things we are good at and people love about us, and this is a great exercise to help!
22. Take notes of things you want to improve upon further next month, or any other notes that come to mind!
23. Get excited for March, “Focus on Fitness” month!
Man…this month is going to be goooooooood…