Weekly Challenge: Make a Top Ten List

January 15, 2018

Some of my students who are running their own non-profit (casual), approached me to do a piece for their blog. They were looking for a blog post about "the 10 steps to a new year/new semester resolutions regarding prayer life--spiritual life--balancing life..." Easy, no? I had not really thought of a Top Ten list for resolutions or best practices, or life-survival, or general advice for all of my nieces and nephews, but I am so glad to be asked.


This week's Weekly Challenge is for YOU to make your own Top Ten List of things you would tell another person to do to make their new year AWESOME. Because, let's be honest, telling other people how to live is always easier than telling yourself! I hope making your own Top Ten will help you to incorporate more of those practices in your own life! Without further ado, here's my list...


#10 is key. Enjoy,

Aunt Katie



Top 10 Ways to Make this Semester the Best One Yet (Composed for College Missions Company and their blog-followers.)


Happy New Year! I know what you’re thinking… it’s already mid-January. I have already given up on everything I had planned to do for 2018. I’m waiting to start in 2019. Well, that’s just silly. Have no fear, Aunt Katie is here. The fine folks at College Missions Company asked me to put together a list to help us get a little closer to getting-it-together in 2018. 


10. Take naps. No explanation needed.


9. Read a book. The real kind… without pictures. Ask friends who like to read for recommendations.


8. Travel. But, Aunt Katie, traveling requires money! Exactly. #8 is secretly a resolution to budget. If you know you want to go somewhere… visit a friend out of state, say Hola! to Pope Francis, or head out for a mission trip, you can start planning now to make that happen. That $4 coffee you are about to grab is potentially $4 closer to you getting to your travel destination. Not every “40% off” sale needs to be something you shop… commit to going on a spending freeze so you can make a bigger financial investment in passport stamps.


7. Start Tithing. Speaking of money… have you thought any about your charitable giving in 2018? Usually, we start thinking about that at the end of the year—when we’re already strapped for cash due to a jam-packed social calendar of holiday hoedowns and presents for all of your cute nieces and nephews. The causes that are close to your heart, your church parish, your favorite mission company, need your help year round. What small monthly sacrifice can you make? Every dollar counts when you’re a non-profit.


6. Call your mom.


5. Get over your insecurities and make new friends. Everyone secretly hopes someone will talk to them/ask them to go out to lunch/buy them a cup of coffee… Everyone also thinks to speak to a stranger or even an acquaintance that hasn’t become a friend yet is… TERRIFYING! We are often so worried we’re going to look like a weirdo through our thoughtful gesture or invitation that we miss out on an opportunity to meet someone new.


4. Find a mentor. We all need a little help and guidance. Great news—there are lots of people who have already been through what you’re dealing with! Whether you want to pursue a new major, career path, special skill, learn a language, grow in your spiritual life, etc. it’s always harder to go it alone. People love to share with others how they became successful at whatever it is that they do well. We just have to have the humility to ask!


3. Get a calendar. Tired of missing appointments and feeling like you never know what’s going on… there’s an app for that. A CALENDAR!! Make 2018 the year you write things down (or at least schedule them through a calendar app.)


2. End your most toxic relationship. Most of us like to believe we are free-thinking, independent, pretty-good-at-stuff folk, but in reality, most of us are stuck—chained in a codependent, time-sucking, all take and no give relationship (spoiler alert: it’s with your phone.) Take the time to really examine your phone usage—is it always in your hand or pocket? How do you feel when you can’t find it? Do you have anxiety that you may have missed a message or photo opportunity? For a thorough Phone Examen check out these posts: St. Lucy, the Patroness of the Smart Phone Generation or Giving Up Screen Time.


1. Set aside intentional time for daily prayer. Start small. 7 minutes. Make sure your phone is off or in another room. TV is off. Netflix is paused and your tablet is facedown. Just you and Jesus. 7 minutes went to fast? Graduate to 14 minutes, then 21 minutes, before you know it you’ll be rounding up to a half hour and more. NOTE: Daily prayer works best in the morning… as soon as we shrug and say “I’ll get to it later” we’re almost always condemning ourselves to another day without prayer. 


What would you add to this list?

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