Do you long to live a better life? Ever ask if this is as good as it gets? Or constantly think about how life used to be better than it is now?
That’s normal. Life flies by and if we’re not careful, how we spend our days can amount to a series of small regrets and missed opportunities. I’m approaching 40 and never has this been more of a reality for me as it is now. I’m committed to doing better and making a better life for my two kids.
I just finished reading Michael Hyatt’s new book Living Forward, which he co-wrote with Daniel Harkavy. Toward the end of the book, in which they talk about writing a life plan to avoid drifting through it without purpose, they recommend several books. I realized two things: I had already read them, and they had each been transformative in my life.
I repurchased copies of these resources and committed to re-reading them annually, because they’re that fundamentally helpful and life-changing. I’ve added one resource to this list — the first one.
I hope these are as helpful to you and your family as they have been to mine.
Whether it’s these books or others like it, consider finding and adopting a philosophy or approach to your health, finances, marriage and parenting – and perhaps a plan to tie them all together.
A food tracker
Whether it’s an app like My Fitness Pal (which I use) or a program like Weight Watchers, logging your food choices is the best way to manage your weight and food choices. Their are fad diets and exercise programs, but at the end of the day, becoming more aware of what you put in your body is the best and most basic way to start a journey toward better health. And it can be as simple as using a pen and paper.
This is the book I just finished. Whether it’s this one or another resource, carving out time to plan, dream and make goals for your life is time well spent. Why spend our days hoping and wishing for our circumstances to change? One of the strengths of this approach is that is considers every area of our life, and how one affects the other. It also debunks the myth of balance. They write, “We fool ourselves if we think balance means giving equal attention to everything in our lives. Balance only happens in dynamic tension. Balance is giving not equal but appropriate attention to each of the various categories of your life.”
Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money
My husband Jeff and I attended a workshop series offered through our church several years ago called Financial Peace University. In it, and through his books, Dave Ramsey offers a bare-bones, brass tacks approach to getting your finances under control. This book is a solid guide to overcoming financial challenges and getting a plan together for making your future better by sacrificing now.
The 5 Love Languages
It’s required reading for most couples who go through pre-marital counseling (like we did), and for good cause. This ideology, articulated by the recently late Gary Smalley, a trusted and respected counselor, can help couples understand what motivates our behavior and what makes us feel loved. If you could do one thing to improve your marriage immediately, it’s read this book.
Parenting With Love And Logic
We go to school, attend trainings for work, watch YouTube videos to learn how to do everything from braid hair to fix a toilet. But how many of us invest time in learning how to parent? Most of us will admit we’re clueless about what we’re doing and just wing it from day-to-day. Discovering a parenting philosophy and committing to putting it into practice can transform not just our home life – but generations to come. This book is widely recommended by parents, education professionals, psychologists and more. It’s solid, easy to implement and worth reviewing in each stage of your children’s development.
Honestly, parenting has been the biggest challenge of my life to date, and without the help of resources to guide me, I’d continue making poor choices. We don’t have to be perfect, but we can eliminate needless frustration and help give our tools to become emotionally healthy adults (who are living a better life, too).
I realize that each of the approaches outlined in these resources have helped me live a better life, and I’m committed to keeping them fresh in my memory. My husband often paraphrases Maya Angelou when he counsels kids who come into his principal’s office, and I think it applies here: once you know better, do better.