31 Days to an Intentional Life

31 Days to an Intentional Life | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

Happy October, friends! Can you believe it’s a new month already?! When I think of October, I think of leaves changing colors, sweaters and boots, hot apple cider and hay rides. {I also think of Christmas music– my dad starts listening to Christmas music every year on October 1st! 🙂 } This October is going to be a little different here on the blog, though. While I’m sure I won’t be able to resist throwing in some festive seasonal projects here and there, my main focus will be something else altogether.

You see, lately life has felt pretty chaotic around here. The Cs are back in school, which they are loving, but it brings a whole new dimension to our family. Kindergarten has brought more homework, paperwork, and extra events than I ever imagined, and balancing work, policies, and information from two different schools has been a little overwhelming. Our family is about to undergo another pretty major change in October that I’ll talk about at a later time, and that will be an adjustment for everyone as well. {I’m not pregnant! Don’t go starting any rumors! 😉 }

31 Days to an Intentional Life | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

When things get busy around here, instead of turning to proven systems, my natural instinct is to just wing it, attending to whichever “emergency” is demanding the most attention at the moment. The house gets put on the back burner and is usually a chaotic mess. I sleep way less than I should. Exercise becomes non-existent. And when all of these things combine, I’m less productive anyway because I’m tired, unorganized, worn down, and over-stressed.

So in October I want to go back to basics. I want to get back to the habits and routines that I know work for our family. I want to be more intentional about how we use our time and our money our gifts and talents– everything. I want to refocus, recharge, and re-prioritize. And I want to invite you along for the ride! My blogging schedule over the next month might be a little different than normal. I won’t be posting every day– I think that would add stress rather than remove it, and I only want to post when I have something worthwhile to share– but I will be popping in whenever I have progress to report or new ideas to put out there. That may end up being different than my typical “every other day” posts, so we’ll see how it goes.

Hopefully by the end of the month, though, I’ll be able to talk about ways we were able to…

  • eliminate chaos
  • restore order
  • manage our time
  • build better habits
  • cut the clutter
  • simplify life
  • organize our home
  • have less of what we don’t need, more of what we do
  • live a life that reflects our priorities

31 Days to an Intentional Life | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

{Photo: Photography by JoLynne}

Now because I am type A and love rules, I’ve set up a few guidelines for myself that I’m aiming to follow this month. That being said, I do not fully expect to be doing all of them perfectly on the first day. The purpose of this month is to change habits and develop new routines, and that doesn’t happen all at once. I’m hoping, though, that by the end of the month, I will be doing most, if not all, of these things consistently.


1. Plan for the month at the beginning of the month, the week at the beginning of the week, and the day at the beginning of the day.

I’m going to take the first part of the month to set some goals and outline the things that I would like to accomplish during October. Then using that list as my guide, I will sit down at the beginning of each week and map out a more specific plan for working on those goals each week. Finally, each evening I will use a time blocking printable to help me decide what I’ll spend my time on each day. It sounds like a lot of planning, but I know the more I am goal-focused and have a plan in mind, the more I will accomplish. I will talk more about these planning times as the month goes on.

2. Stick to a morning and evening routine.

I am a firm believer that the beginning and ending of each day are crucial for setting a person up for success for the rest of their day. I will be sharing my morning and evening routines and my plan for putting them into action during the month.

3. Work on one new habit with the kids each week.

There are several habits that seem to go by the wayside when we get busy. My natural instinct is to start doing everything for the Cs because it’s faster and it will get done the way I want it, but that doesn’t teach them anything and it will be a detriment to me and to them in the long run. Each week we will be working on creating one simple habit for them that will hopefully help keep the house running a little more smoothly.

4. Sleep for at least 7 hours each night.

Another thing that tends to get neglected when we get busy is sleep. Though burning the midnight oil seems like a good idea at the time, I always end up being sluggish and accomplishing less the next day, which really defeats the purpose. More sleep will lead to more energy, which means I will be more productive!

5. Don’t let a bad day {or week} get you off track. Leave the past in the past, and get right back on track as soon as possible.

Please tell me I’m not the only one that falls into this one! It’s like when you’re on a diet and decide to give in and have that one cookie. Then you think, “Well, I already messed up. I might as well blow it for the rest of the day.” No! Things happen, life happens, all my plans will not work out perfectly no matter how much time I spend making them. That doesn’t mean that I get to chuck it all and revert back to my unsuccessful “fly by the seat of my pants” method again. It means I live and learn and get back on track!


Whew! So is anybody with me? If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed and like your life could use a little order in the midst of the chaos, stick around! Hopefully I’ll be able to give you some tools and tips this month that can help with that. And I’m learning right along with you, so I’m sure I’ll be sharing some successes as well as failures and hopefully we can all learn from one another!

I’ll be updating this post with links to the other posts in this series, so you may want to pin it if you’re interested in following along. Get ready to be more intentional this month!

Other posts in this series:

Introduction- 31 Days to an Intentional Life {You are here!}

Part 1- Intentional Living: Setting Goals {with free printable!}

Part 2- My Secret to Getting Things Done and Accomplishing Goals

Part 3- How My Morning Routine Changed Everything

Part 4- Sometimes Life Happens

Part 5- My Evening Routine: A Work in Progress

Part 6- My Cleaning Plan: The Struggle Is Real

Part 7- 10 Simple Habits that Will Help You Stay Organized

Part 8- The Month in Review

Delightful Sign Off


  1. Denise Ross says:

    Hi Abby
    Sounds a great idea. I’ve been slowing down a bit and de stressing myself and hopefully my family too by removing and endeavouring to slow the pace of our life a bit. Not so much multitasking because too many things happening at once stresses me big time, and I’m not a nice person when I’m stressed. Tasking the time to stop and talk to my kids and husband and properly listen to them rather than rushing about NSF not really listening to them. I always wanted the. To come to me with everything but if I don’t listen to the stuff that is small to me but big to them they won’t come to me when it really matters. This was a thing I read a little while back and it really convicted me.
    I’ll stand In Support of what you’re doing and enjoy and support you in your intentional journey this month.
    Hugs and blessings

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, Denise! Great outlook! Hope you’re having a wonderful day!

      ~Abby =)

  2. Karen @ a house full of sunshine says:

    Ooh, I so need this!! Looking forward to following along with your journey this month, Abby! I think you’re amazing!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, friend! Hope you are having a wonderful week! <3

      ~Abby =)

  3. Jamie@milestohomestead.com says:

    That sounds great! I could definitely use a lesson or two on living intentionally.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Me too! Hopefully we can all figure it out together this month! 🙂 Hope you have a great day, Jamie!

      ~Abby =)

  4. Sounds like a good plan, Abby! Hope it goes well! I am all for the getting at least 7 hours of sleep at night! With my kids now getting up at 6 a.m. for middle school and with a night owl husband who rarely goes to sleep before midnight, I am one tired mom this year! The schedule just gets harder when the kids get older. Now that my kids are in middle school, there are after-school events and sports, etc. Hope you acclimate well to the kindergarten schedule!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I know it! I have had the “power through” mentality, just staying up until I get everything accomplished. It is definitely wearing on me and I am getting less done during the day, so it’s time for a change! 🙂 Hope you have a great day, Lauren!

      ~Abby =)

  5. Nicole @ simply Nicole says:

    Oh I so need to do this as well. I was just telling my co-worker yesterday that I feel so overwhelmed lately. I spend 9 hours at work everyday and by the time I get home, the last thing I feel like doing is cleaning, doing laundry, prepping blog posts, etc. I need to figure out a new routine that works for me!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      That is a lot! Hopefully we can figure out this whole time and organization thing together! 🙂 Have a great day, Nicole!

      ~Abby =)

  6. This sounds great and a perfect time of the year to get a calm home before the storm of the holidays ( my favorite time of the year ). I have three kids at 2 different schools , 3 kids with very busy hockey schedules at three different arenas, I feel like we are about to start living out of our mini van . We have had pneumonia, and a flu bug that commonly happens once school restarts and today is suddenly Oct 1. Sept was a blur and I’d like to enjoy my year even with a busy schedule, if I can create a sense of order and calm with my family I think we will all benefit from routine, good sleeps and a sane mother . Looking forward to this Abby 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Oh girl, you are certainly managing a lot! I hear it only will get busier as my little guys get older, so maybe if I can figure out a system that works now, we can nip it in the bud. 🙂 Hope you’re having a great day!

      ~Abby =)

  7. I am so excited about this series! We are also trying to figure out new routines, etc around our house since I have gone back to work full time and we have two kids at two different daycares for a few months!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      That sounds like a lot! My hat goes off to you mommies who work outside the home full time! You rock! Hopefully we’ll all be able to make it through this together! 🙂

      ~Abby =)

  8. Jessi Fearon says:

    Oh I need this! This last 5 days has been crazy!! This could not have come at a better time. Thank you so much Abby for your awesomeness!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I hear ya with the crazy! I need this as much for me, lol! Hope you’re having a wonderful day, friend!

      ~Abby =)

  9. Carrie @ Curly Crafty Mom says:

    I agree with you!! School, homework and after school activities can be SO time consuming and draining. I am just enjoying this last year where only one of my kids has homework as Autumn will have it too next year (UGH!). I try to limit the kids to two activities each, but even THAT can be a lot at times! I do plan my week out, I make a to do list for EVERY day and what I want to get done on that day. I work really hard at crossing those items off each day and I don’t put too many items on the list, so I know I can get them done. I do also have a cushion day each week, to where if I don’t get something done (say a kid gets sick), I have that cushion day… if it is a really bad week, I just start over the next week. I also agree somex it is easier to just do things for the kids… it is quicker. I have been helping my daughter get dressed in the morning and she used to (or sometimes) does it on her own. I need to stop that!! lol!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Ooh I love the idea of a “cushion day”! I have a tendency to overpack my time– I always think I can get more done than what’s realistic! So a cushion day would definitely help with that. Have a great day, Carrie!

      ~Abby =)

  10. Misti @ Practical Happyness says:

    Hi, Abby! It’s been a while! This post is very well timed for me- this whole moving overseas thing can really turn a family upside down! I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things (blogging especially!) and I bet this series will really help keep me motivated!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Misti! How have you been, girl?! Moving overseas? That is so exciting! I can’t wait to hear all about your new adventure! Have a wonderful day!

      ~Abby =)

  11. Michelle P says:


    First of all, October is waaaay too early to be listening to Christmas music. 😉

    Second, you are so darn adorable! You have a very beautiful family.

    I love the ideas you laid out. I like how you broke it down into manageable goals. I can’t wait to keep up with the blog this month!!


    1. justagirlabby says:

      Lol! There’s a story behind that. Apparently Christmas music was the only type my dad could listen to and still focus on studying, and he figured that out on October 1st so it’s been a tradition ever since! 🙂 Thank you so much for your sweet comment! Have a wonderful day!

      ~Abby =)

  12. Ok, I love this way too much. I have been feeling so overwhelmed lately, so this is exactly what I needed! I love the idea of working on 1 new habit a week – it sounds much more manageable than trying to tackle everything at once 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I hear you! That is usually my downfall– I try to do everything at once and then I fail at all of it! Baby steps, baby steps… 🙂 Have a great day, Alli!

      ~Abby =)

  13. Amanda @ dwellinginhappiness says:

    Ohh your series couldn’t have started at a better time! I was just telling my hubby that I need to really start organizing my time and our lives better! Though Jade isn’t in school yet, I still find I have no time and by the end of the day, instead of crossing things off my to-do list, it gets longer! Can’t wait to follow along and read your great tips as well as successes!

  14. This is BRILLIANT Abby! And your timing couldn’t be better! Life has been pretty overwhelming around here too these last couple of months and I’m definitely looking forward to following with you on this journey! Thank you!!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I hear ya, Kristi! I kind of had some time off this summer, but once the Cs went back to school, it became nuts! Hopefully we can all figure it out together! 🙂

      ~Abby =)

  15. Oh my gosh I am so excited for this series! Can’t wait Abby!


    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks for coming along for the ride, Kate! Have a great day!

      ~Abby =)

  16. Selene Galindo says:

    Good tips and guidelines, Abby! I especially like the one about keeping a morning and evening routine as it’s something I definitely need to work on. Thanks!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, friend! We’ll see if I can stick to them… 😉 Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  17. I’m with you on the starting to live intentionally! I only have one kid (who is in school) but I feel like there is not enough time in the day to get things done! Take some time and take care of you too! 🙂 I am looking forward to reading what you have to share!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yes! That’s exactly what I’m feeling like too! Hopefully we can all figure it out together! Have a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  18. Laila (@FrontRowMama) says:

    This is so timely! I was just thinking about this morning as I feel like there’s a bit of chaos in my life. I really want to create a plan that I can stick to. Thanks for sharing this, Abby!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yay! I hope it’s helpful! I definitely need to do something to get the madness under control, lol! Have a great day, Laila!

      ~Abby =)

  19. I really enjoyed reading this blogpost. As a matter of fact your whole blog is super amazing (no exaggeration)

    Many of your blog posts have helped me alot. Keep up the great work you are doing GIRL!!!!

  20. aysuntaylor says:

    Thank you Abby for this blog post. I MUST use these guidelines for 2016 as I prepare to move to another level in my life and my business

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