The Daily Resolutions by Brohgan Dieker


Historically, I am pretty good at following through on my New Year's resolutions. It's mostly just a part of my personality. I am goal driven, and I choose things that are attainable. In 2015, I resolved to learn to shoot a gun. I had lived in a hunting friendly area near an Army base for the better part of two decades, I had only once touched a handgun (unloaded with safety on). My encounter was terrifying and brief. That year I experienced shooting a musket, a handgun, a semi-automatic rifle, and a fully automatic rifle in another all in one day, and I have never touched another gun since.

In 2016, seven months pregnant and in the middle of moving to a new house, I resolved to make no resolution. This was probably my hardest to keep. At times I was desperate for a goal of my own to work toward, but I forced myself to stay in the moment in that first baby year.

In 2017, I resolved to buy nothing new if I could find it used instead. Clothes, furniture, electronics, toys -- I was the queen of thrifting, hitting up seasonal consignment sales, checking Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, going to garage sales. As a result, we paid off two smaller student loans.

But for 2018, I have nothing but huge, gigantic goals, and not a single one feels more important than the others. Instead of one big resolution for the year, I am developing an entire list of things I would love to accomplish on a daily basis. I'm calling them my daily resolutions.

Do you have a few lofty goals for 2018? Did you make a New Year's resolution?

If so, I have news for you: you can be successful in achieving your goal. Your New Year's resolution does not have to fail. I have a strategy that might help.

Have you ever heard of the psychological term "chunking'? Basically, it's a lot easier to remember larger things if you can break them down into smaller, more manageable chunks. For instance, the number "20124890" is a lot easier to memorize if you break it down into smaller chunks: "2012" "24" and "90."

I have some big goals that I would love to work toward in 2018: write a book, be a more present parent who is not distracted by technology, live an active lifestyle, stick to a personal budget. These goals are absolutely monstrous. Impossible, even. And, I can't seem to pick which one is the most important for this year.

By breaking my larger goals--like being more active, eating healthier, and being a more present parent--down into a daily list of goals, it makes them more attainable.

For instance, did you know that people who make their bed in the morning are happier and get more done? (If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.)  And, you are also happier if you spend more time outside?

Like me, I imagine that you probably have some lofty high hopes for this next year. There is probably a way that you could chunk that goal down to a daily, weekly, or monthly basis so that it's more attainable.

Here are my 2018 daily resolutions:

  • Wake up early
  • Make bed
  • Get dressed (including shoes, hair, face)
  • Swipe the bathroom
  • Run the dishwasher
  • Go outside for at least an hour
  • Drink water
  • Complete one load of laundry
  • Read my Bible
  • Read out of another book
  • Get on the floor and play with my son
  • Know tomorrow's meal plan before bed
  • Write for a little while
  • Spend less than 60 minutes total on my phone all day (I use the Space App to time track)

Today is January 5, and I am pleased with my progress on my daily resolutions so far. I have been adding and subtracting a few things depending on my day (no, I did not spend an hour outside in the -10 degree weather), but these daily tasks have been fairly attainable for me. Overall, I think these will contribute toward succeeding in my other goals by having me focus on doing a little bit every day.

For instance, by spending more time outside I am more likely to be more active, it's a great parenting decision for my preschool aged son, and a natural daily dose of vitamin d really improves my mood. I like to split this into a two chunks, 30 minutes each, in the morning and the afternoon, but sometimes I will split it up into even more chunks throughout the day.

By keeping up with home maintenance in little ways, I won't feel as overwhelmed as daily cleaning piles up. When the house gets messy, it bothers me first, and I am the one who benefits most by keeping up with small daily chores.

Getting on the floor and playing with my son is not only a way for us to bond, it allows me to be more creative. Play is important for adults too.

Know what the best part about daily resolutions are? You start fresh each morning.

If you get behind on laundry, for instance, my entire year is not ruined. Yes, maybe yesterday I failed in a few areas, but today is always new, and I always have a fresh start to make good decisions toward what I hope to achieve. If you are consistently struggling in a daily resolution, you can always adjust it too. Take it off the list, or make it easier on yourself by breaking it down further. (When I had a younger baby, put clothes in washer, put clothes in dryer, and fold clothes were all separate items on my to do list, and all three were very rarely completed on the same day.)

It's been 5 days. Have you given up on your New Year's resolution?? Is there a way that you could chunk down your goal? Could daily resolutions help you achieve your goals in 2018?

It's been 5 days. Have you given up on your New Year's Resolution?? Is there a way that you could chunk down your goal?

Clean eating? by Brohgan Dieker


Last week I wrote about three things that are not in my grocery cart on my food blog, Non-Chef. It actually is the most read thing I have ever written on the internet. Since writing this, I've found myself being especially mindful of the grocery store choices I make. Except, confession: I bought Hot and Spicy Cheez-It crackers to share at a soup potluck.

Confession: I bought peanut butter without checking for high fructose corn syrup. Another confession: I still haven't checked the label, because I just don't want to know.

Confession: I bought turkey for sandwiches, which is both meat and high in sodium. It was convenient and delicious.


But, I also want to be clear about this, because through writing, I have a small impact on the internet: I've got much bigger concerns than grocery carts and what's going into my mouth.

The heart of the matter: as a Christian, I'm more concerned about what's coming out of my mouth.

Here's what I've been thinking about recently.

Jesus called the crowds to him and said: "Listen and understand, What goes into a man's mouth does not make him 'unclean,' but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him 'unclean.; -Matthew 15:11, NIV

What goes into a mouth doesn't make a person unclean?

But, I think, what about cancer? Isn't there proof that we're just feeding inexplicable diseases and foreign growths with the bad, unhealthy foods we eat?

What about overeating? What about gluttony? Isn't that a huge problem in the American church today? There's no way that's 'clean.'

Then my mind goes a whole different direction. What about the dirt and grime off those donkeys Jesus seems to always be riding? Or, shudder, the lack of modern toilet paper in Bible times?  Gag.

I'm no Bible scholar, but I do own and read a NIV Study Bible.  According to the notes at the bottom of the page, Jesus here was addressing the Jewish rabbi's meticulous rules and regulations that were interpretations and applications of the law of Moses. My study Bible explains that these traditions were kept orally until about the year 200 A.D. when they were recorded in the Mishnah, which is a text that is revered in Judaism today (thank you, Google).

The tradition in question here was the fact that Jesus' disciples didn't wash their hands before eating. (Possibly relevant? Jesus had just fed 5,000 people using fives loaves and two fish the chapter before.)

So, the problem going into the mouth is an early concept of germs? Or just plain dirt?

Whatever it is, it doesn't matter as much as the output.

Jesus asked them, "Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.' For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man 'unclean'; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him 'unclean.' v. 16-20


Ok, last confession: my output-from-the-mouth sucks. The words I have used recently have been somewhere between a face-palm and a foot-in-mouth almost every day.  I think I've apologized for rudely snapping at my husband every day in the last week, probably longer.  I know that I've been brisk with my family members.

I haven't murdered, committed adultery, stolen anything, or even lied, but, jeez, I've been far from that "little Christ" ideal that Christians are probably supposed to be like. I'm a work in progress.

Am I still concerned about what goes into my grocery cart and therefore into my mouth? Yes. I have an ethical problem with much that is found on grocery cart shelves, and I have a lot more to say about that.

But, the heart is so much more: grace, mercy, love, JOY! abounding and slowly growing in every are of my so-called Christian life.  I have a lot to say about that too.

I try. SO HARD. Many of you do too. So, I pray, like a child, mimicking a translation of a prayer spoken two millenniums years ago: Your kingdom come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. I take my frustrated fists, turn my palms upward, and open my hands up a little bit, and write a blog post.