2020 threw us for a loop. We didn’t make a choice for it to happen, it just did. It was out of our control, and no matter which way we turned, we still had to duck.
But if 2020 taught us anything, it taught us to think outside the box. To look around for better, stronger, alternatives.To plan ahead, live a simpler life, and always have an alternate source of income. It showed us who we really are, and who we could eventually become.
We are now fully engaged in 2021. 2020 is firmly behind us and it is time to move forward. Before we do that, it is time to make a choice. Are you going to just hope this year is better? Or are you going to take control of your life.
Hopefully, you are going to make a choice to take control of your life. But instead of putting on a suit of armor, wielding a sword and letting loose with a war cry, maybe the first thing you need to do is get creative. Figure out what it really means to you to make a choice.
When you make a choice to take control of your life, the first stop on the journey is to assess your current lifestyle. Not the one you were forced to live during 2020, but the lifestyle you lived prior to finding pieces of Chicken Little’s sky littered at your feet.
With that lifestyle, how much of it pertained to moving through your days with no real destination or goals in mind? How much of it was going to work, coming home, and repeating the process day in and day out? Did you make a choice to just survive? Were you just going through the motions?
Once you have evaluated the lifestyle you once lived, it is time to get creative and plan ahead for a new, improved and better one. A lifestyle that can take food shortages and a reduced income in stride. One that brings joy, rather than fear.
Make a Choice for a New Lifestyle
When contemplating a lifestyle change that will help us survive through most any catastrophe, we know we need to make a few choices that may not be comfortable. We have lived in the fast lane for so long, we are not even sure where the exit is, or how to get off that highway.
Instant gratification is now something that is taken for granted. Instead of mailing a letter to a friend and waiting a week or two for a response, we just send a quick – and very abbreviated text or email and get our answer in a matter of hours. Instead of preparing a healthy meal for our families at home, we scoot through a drive thru.
Having plenty of food on grocery shelves is a given. And depending on the store, we can eat just about any type of ethnic food we want – Chinese, Indian, Mexican, or food from any other country. Many of those meals are also in a box, and all we have to do is add water.
Let me give you a little hint here. That isn’t a quality version of what you are buying. Real ethnic food – regardless of the country of origin – has been lovingly prepared with pride in someone’s home. It took time to create – and most great cooks embrace the time they spend in the kitchen. And flavor? No box mix will ever match the sheer taste perfection of home cooked food. And let’s not even discuss the preservatives and additives those boxes contain.
Make a Choice to Change
There are so many things we take for granted, or have become ingrained into our daily lives. It will take some time to make the changes and adjustments, so learn to be patient with yourself.
Start small. Make a list of everything you would like to do, then work on them one at a time. Start a garden. Learn to cook. Create handmade items. Or build something you need, rather than buy it.
By the time 2022 is creeping up on us, you may just look up to find you are living the best life you could have ever imagined.
Where to Start
When facing a pandemic or world crisis like we have in 2020, we find that things that were once available in abundance aren’t anymore. To prepare yourself and your family, you need to consider those things that will help you survive. Food, water, shelter, safety, health and income.
These are by no means all the considerations you have to make, but in most cases, they do take priority. There are many ways you can prepare for these things, but the important thing is to make a choice to do them.
But once you make a choice, how do you go about doing them? Here are some ideas for each of these areas.
Make a Choice to Grow Your Own Food
Growing as much of your own food as possible is going to depend a lot on how much space you have. An apartment or condominium may only have a small yard or a balcony. An urban or suburban home may be on a postage stamp-sized lot with only a flower bed and a small strip of grass.
Regardless of whether you live in a home with very limited growing space or acreage to maintain a large garden, at least some portion of your food can be grown.
Container gardens can be added in most every home. Herbs and some lettuces can be grown in a windowsill garden. Pots can be placed on a patio or balcony.
Even if your space is limited to only a few pots or containers, you can still grow a variety by using a Theme Garden layout.
If you make a choice to grow vegetables in an urban or suburban home, adding them to your flowerbed is an excellent place to garden. You can either add vegetables and herbs in between the flowers, or plant only vegetables and herbs. Either way can lend itself to an attractive arrangement. And remember, many flowers are also edible, which will increase the yield of food you grow yourself.
Some smaller yards do well with raised bed gardens. With these you can keep the garden contained and neat, yet still grow a wide variety of food.
Make a Choice to Create a Beautiful Home
No, I am not talking about redecorating. A beautiful home isn’t necessarily one that is showcased in a home decorating magazine. Instead, a beautiful home is one that is safe, comfortable, managed easily and filled wall-to-wall with love.
Creating a beautiful home also means being organized. You can do this in many ways:
- Declutter (minimizes how much you have to clean)
- Put your Records in Order (find budgets, important documents, etc. at your fingertips)
- Keeping lists on items in your Pantry, Freezer and Refrigerator (this helps with making grocery lists and meal plans)
- Creating a ‘Library’ out of your bookshelves (organize by subject, at the very least)
- Make a ‘cleaning’ caddy or apron (keeps all your cleaning supplies in one place)
- Clean & organize your craft room, garage, storage shed, etc.
Make a Choice to Live Healthier
When you make a choice to live healthier your body will react in kind. Your body moves easier, your energy levels are maintained and your mind and thoughts are clearer. On a whole, you just function better, and in some cases, can knock down and obstacle and challenge with ease.
The first step in living healthier is obviously your food intake, as well as fluids. Our bodies are made up of approximately 60% of water. Throughout the day, we lose hydration through even normal activity – even more when that activity is more strenuous. Our fluids need to be replaced.
Junk food may taste delicious, but it is also a secret ‘thief’. It fills us up, but usually offers little to no vitamins and minerals, but provides high fat, sodium and sugar levels.
Instead of a meal or snacks that consists of chips, candy and sodas, replace those items with water, fresh vegetables, nuts, and a bit of cheese, yogurt or other favorite dairy product. If you add crackers to that, think in term of whole grain varieties.
Making a choice to live healthier isn’t just about food consumption. It also means:
- Slowing down and living a life with less stress
- Keeping your home, car, and office area clean
- Exercising (this helps with both physical and mental health)
- Scheduling ‘Me’ time at least two to three times a week
- Learning something new (this helps with self-esteem, as well as mental health)
- Considering the benefits of Herbal/Natural Remedies
Getting creative doesn’t just mean learning to knit. Life is full of ways to get creative:
- Crafts – knitting, crochet, weaving, etc.
- Cleaning – including homemade cleaning products
- Finances (no, this doesn’t mean setting up an account in the Caymans. Sorry…)
- Community Participation
- Reusing, recycling, repurposing
- Planning, Goal Setting
- and so many more ways it is impossible to list them all!
Manage your Money
One of the biggest stressors we can undergo is financial concerns. Make a choice in 2021 to get those under control. Learn to live within your means. Create a budget, make an Income and Expense Worksheet and know where your money is coming from and where it is going.
Keep a list on hand of things you can do to earn more if the income is less than your outgo. Look for ways to cut expenses. Create meal plans, shop with coupons and learn to compare prices.
Another consideration when you make a choice to control your finances is by taking a good hard look at your spending habits. Do you really need another pair of shoes, more clothes, or to do a complete makeover according to the latest fads and styles? Consider the absolute necessity of what you buy, and work backwards from there.
Make a Choice in 2021
You may think it will be difficult to make a choice this year. Like most of us, you are probably still smarting over all the changes you had to make in 2020. In spite of last year, and because of it, you need to show the world what you are made of.
Make a choice to live a better life. One that isn’t filled with fears of what the world and society can throw at us. Wage war against peer pressure, politics and any other outward issues, and take charge of your life.
Learn to be who you were meant to be. Allow those dreams you once had to reimerge. Determine if they are still a viable passion. If not, let them go and make room for new ones.
Don’t let 2020, or any other year, person, place or thing determine who you are or should be. Instead, make it your goal to take full control of your life, learn to live simply and embrace your passions. Blossom into the beautiful person you were meant to be.
Make a Choice to Keep Reading!
Hopefully, you were able to take the 2021 Challenge. This post was written to help you take your responses and dig a little deeper. From this point forward, get ready to keep digging with more detailed and specific information.
This month we will explore how to get your finances under control, including the basic finances of a homemaker and homesteader. You will learn some tips on cleaning and organizing your home, find out what homemakers through the ages did, and to round out a very busy month, you will be awarded with a personal spa day!
Are you ready to make a choice? I know I am. So stop back by the virtual porch of The Farm Wife and let’s make a choice together to have the best year possible in 2021! And don’t miss these other great posts in the Gain Control of your Finances series!
How to Gain Control of your Paper – Organize with a Notebook
Simple Budgeting Tips from the 30s
(And don’t stop reading. In February we are going to have a ‘Date’ with Baking. From there, we are going to get creative in so many ways. You don’t want to miss any of it!)
Are you looking for some ways to make a choice for a better 2021 and a stronger you? Then sign up for my newsletter and stop by for a visit! While we visit, you can find some great tips, hints, ideas and freebies to help you get started!