To get the most out of the UPGRADE adventure, tools are helpful. Create a personal Life Mission Statement to give direction and motivation for change. Then work through the goals sheet for your short-, medium- and long-term goals.
1. Create Your Life Mission Statement
A mission statement acts as a template for growth and change. Formats for determining a mission statement abound. Some are highly detailed. Others are quite simple like the one created by my friend, author Cindi McMenamin. She calls a mission statement "your dream."
I encourage you to link to her assessment here. First, pray. Then be encouraged and enjoy the process as you ask God to give you clarity.
2. Determine Your UPGRADE Goals
Two questions will help you figure out goals that are short-term (to work on now!), medium-term (1-5 years), and long-term (5 years through the rest of your life). Use this helpful Goal Sheet.
3. Organize Your Life
If you need help with some organizational motivators, try my UPGRADE Weekly Checksheet (or create your own). If you need some accountability, consider working on upgrades with a friend, perhaps meeting to share your sheets once a week and talk through issues where the choices got tough. (Remember - no room for judging here. No one is perfect!) Pray for each other! Encourage each other!
If you choose to use my UPGRADE checksheet, here are some helpful tips. First note: it is designed to help you balance your life. It's not a list of "do this/do that, or else" meant to stress you out. Jesus grew in every area of life, and we can too if we are intentional and yield our lives to God. If you're like me, you'll tend to grow in certain areas better than others. I fold my sheet over and take it with me everywhere (in my purse).
To get started, fill in the line with the dates for the week (for example, "For the week of April 28-May 4." I also find it helpful to put the dates of that week above the first set of S-M-T-W-T-F-S you find. Aim to mark off as many things as you can, each week, but don't beat yourself up if you can't. You're going to have good weeks and "struggle" weeks. Just this week, I messed up on three of the seven days, but I'm further along because I at least had a plan to return to - a plan to get back on track! Aim for progress, not perfection. Only God is perfect!
Spiritual Upgrades - Write the book of the Bible (or the Bible study you are enjoying) in the first blank, and a simple passage of scripture you want to memorize in the second one. (Note: if you print out the back of the sheet, you can write the scripture out to read throughout the week.) For prayer, refer to your own prayer list, but you might want to write urgent requests you want to remember every day of the week on the back of the checksheet. The important thing is to "commune" with God - to have a special time with just you and God each day.
Physical Upgrades - There are places to mark off vitamins/food supplements, excercise, and sleep/rest. (Regarding exercise, I sometimes put a number, representing minutes, immediately after the letter of the day.) Under the "stay hydrated" section, simply mark off each 8 ounces of water you drink that day. I've found that most people are dehydrated, so this is important. Under "healthy eating," simply mark off whenever you eat a healthy breakfast. (SB stands for Sunday Breakfast, SB for Sunday Lunch, SD for Sunday Dinner, etc.) I encourage you to find and follow a healthy eating plan that will give you strength and build your body from the inside out. You might want to use the back of the sheet to record information regarding that.
Wisdom Upgrades - The book of Proverbs tells us "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." I encourage you to read something from the book of Proverbs each day, because it is powerful wisdom literature. One of the best projects I did as a young woman was to make a "Wisdom Book" - with categories like finances, health, relationships. I recorded what God taught me about each topic from the book of Proverbs. In this UPGRADE section, try to incorporate something each week to help you grow in skill, knowledge, or talent.
Social Upgrades - For some women, this is "no-brainer" easy, but for others, socializing is a struggle. Aim to encourage, serve, and influence others each week - at least one social interaction in each of those categories. (Try to interact outside of social media! Aim for face-to-face encounters.)
Home Upgrades - This is for everyone (single, married, widowed). There are so many things you can do to UPGRADE your home, and some of you may have cleaning "systems" you're read about or found online. This list includes some simple basics. The 15-minute pick-up is something I do right before bedtime, so the house doesn't feel "messy" in the morning. (If you're a mom with young children, you might have to double that laundry part and have two 15-minute pick-up sessions!) Aim to dust and take care of your floors at least once a week, twice is better. I've found the "organize" line has helped me keep things civilized. I aim for 15 minutes each day, but you may want to schedule in more time. Find a plan that works for you. The "other" line is for whatever else you feel is urgent/necessary each week (weeding the garden, washing the dog, whatever ...).
Roles Upgrades - Each week, think about your primary roles in life. What can you do this week to upgrade (strengthen/improve) one of your roles?
My final note on the checksheet is: "do all to the glory of God." Ladies, this isn't for the praise of others, to pat yourself on the back, or to impress God. But it is all, ultimately, for the Lord - so He will be magnified in us - and remembering that will encourage excellence.