Family Walking

About One Step Forward

2020 and the months afterwards left many people overwhelmed. Whether you’re struggling with damaged relationships, confidence in your parenting, or even financial instability, making changes to your life can feel overwhelming. Many people try to make huge changes to their life all at once, and are burned out when they can’t see it through. Others feel that they can’t make any big changes, so they don’t make any changes at all. One Step Forward is an initiative from The Family Project and Stone and Taney county churches to help families take one small step forward. In the journey of life, small steps can add up to sustainable growth. 

 

This checklist can help you identify small, meaningful changes you can make in several areas of your life. The checklist format will help you stay accountable. Feel free to print this list and keep it on your refrigerator or desk, or simply keep it on your phone for reference anytime!

 

You don’t need to commit to all of the changes in this list to make progress. Pick a few that feel important to your current stage of life, and practice making changes one step at a time.

 

In addition to the checklist, there is a series of events planned in your area to help you take one step forward! The events are free and focus on a wide range of topics, from fun and recreation to financial literacy and improving your parenting skills.

One Step Forward: Romantic Relationships

  • Each day, compliment your significant other at least once. Instead of focusing on the same old things, get creative! Think of the things that make them unique.

  • A daily six-second embrace. This could be a hug or a kiss. Research shows that a six second embrace is long enough to release oxytocin into the bloodstream. Oxytocin is the chemical that gives us a feeling of connection and intimacy!

  • It’s easy to focus on what your significant other is not doing. Each day, tell your partner something you noticed they did right. Did they take out the garbage? Tell them you noticed! Made breakfast for the kids? Thank them!

  • Accept an apology from your significant other. Are you harboring resentment over a past squabble? When your significant other asks for forgiveness, practice granting it to them! Your relationship will experience increased trust and peace.

 

One Step Forward: Friends and Family Relationships

  • Next time you cook, make a little extra and share it with a friend or neighbor. We often reserve giving someone a meal for when they have a baby or undergo a medical procedure. But sharing food with someone is one of the easiest ways to show someone you care, and you can do it anytime!

  • Are there any relationships where you need to ask for forgiveness? Even if the wrongdoing was mutual, taking the first step towards restoration by asking the other person for forgiveness for your part in the situation will take a weight off your shoulders, and help you take one step towards healthier relationships.

  • Go to coffee with one new person. As we get older, our circle of friends often gets smaller. Finding solid friends in adulthood is difficult. Start small and ask one new person for a casual hang-out.

 

One Step Forward: Parenting

  • Each day, find a unique way to encourage your child. Notice how hard they’re trying in school, how their art skills have improved, or when they are kind to a sibling, and encourage them in their effort.

  • Make an effort to understand your child’s emotions, and help them talk about it! Next time your child is having an outburst, take a moment to ask them some simple questions. How are you feeling right now? Are you feeling tired, scared, or left out? Helping your child learn language to explain their feelings can help prevent confusion and help them become emotionally intelligent communicators!

  • Each week, choose at least one dinner to eat together with no screen time. The habit of time together around the table can help you connect to your kids in meaningful ways!

 

One Step Forward: Financial Health

  • Create a budget spreadsheet or download and set up a budgeting app. When we’ve let our finances slide into chaos, it can be intimidating to start looking at our spending under a microscope. A simple budget can be the first step forward in getting back on track.

  • Next time you want to make a purchase, wait 24 hours. It’s so easy to plug an item into the Amazon search bar and click purchase! Next time you find yourself making an impulse purchase, leave the item in your cart for 24 hours before you decide.

  • When we’re in the midst of a financial struggle, it’s easy to think it will always be that way. Each day, take some time to picture a financial future where you are thriving. Bringing hopefulness back into your mindset can help you feel inspired to make the right choices in the moment.

 

One Step Forward: Mental Health

  • Learn a breathing exercise. If you feel overwhelmed by anxiety, stress, or depression, taking a few deep breaths can help you feel grounded. There are many effective breathing exercises, but the simplest is to breathe in slowly and deeply for three seconds, hold for a second or two, and then breathe out slowly and deeply for three seconds. 

  • Emotions are information. While you shouldn’t make decisions based on your emotions alone, learning to study your emotions and understand what they are telling you about your body, relationships, and mindset, can revolutionize your mental health. Next time you are feeling a difficult emotion like anger or sadness, take some time to dig and really think through why you are experiencing that emotion. Do you need to set a boundary in a relationship? Carve out time to rest? Take responsibility for a mistake? Emotions can point you towards actions you need to take. 

  • Book a first appointment for therapy. Therapy can benefit anyone! You don’t need to be facing a major crisis or trauma to benefit from seeing a therapist. If you’ve got lingering hangups in your mental health you’d like to address, take a deep breath and book that first therapy appointment.