Hello! Welcome to another goals post for my monthly goal-setting series. If this is your first visit here, thanks for joining me! About a year ago I decided to start setting three specific goals for myself each month. My objective was to be more intentional (my 2019 word of the year) in my day-to-day life. It turned out to be such a great experience! I’m back with my August goals and hoping to keep this momentum going! This series is designed to share those goals with you as well as to provide me with more monthly accountability.
“August rain: the best of the summer gone,
and the new fall not yet born.
The odd uneven time.”
― Sylvia Plath
Gosh, can you believe it’s August already?? I’m kind of in shock to be completely honest – it has really snuck up on me. In fact, that it is already the end of the first week in August feels almost impossible to believe. Does that mean it’s almost autumn already?! I’m sure to elicit some groans with that question, but I can’t help myself. I love autumn so so much (not in a pumpkin-spiced latte kind of way – no offense if that’s your jam… but I’m more of a leaves changing, sweater wearing, sitting by the fire-pit in the evenings kind of autumn-lover). As for now, I’m not in a hurry to rush the end of summer though.
I’m still hoping for August to hold space for more magical summer memories to offset the quarantine summertime blues of 2020.
Right this minute I am sitting here in the living room listening to the static of the baby monitor and Paul practicing his guitar out on the front porch. He’s headed into a string of overnight shifts at work so we’ve been soaking up all of our time with him this evening. Friday nights are family nights for us and we try to make them extra special. Today has been a very fulfilling and positive energy day overall (family night always helps with this!) – though life still feels like a roller coaster most days.
This week we finally made the difficult decision not to send our kids back to preschool this upcoming semester. It was a choice we decided for a variety of reasons, the most important of which being that it’s simply the best course for our family at this time. We have struggled from early on to find the right answers for us as a family in regard to social distancing vs. full quarantining vs. limited selective interaction with close friends/family. Having to make the choice about school was just one more added layer of complicated emotional stress this pandemic has laid on thick.
I’ve had several conversations with friends over these tough educational decisions for our children this upcoming year. I know I am not alone in how heavily this has weighed on us. It seems there is really not one right decision and another wrong. I’ve been reminded of being back in nursing school when so many test questions required us to “choose the best correct answer” out of multiple correct choices.
Only this time it was more like “choose the least bad answer” out of all less than ideal choices.
It’s been rough, though I know we are incredibly blessed to even have these kinds of options. Everyone I know has been struggling in some way or another with the overwhelming challenges and changes this pandemic has wreaked on our lives. I miss Target and coffee shops and going out to eat and playing soccer on Monday nights and taking the kids to the playground. Most of all, I miss our family and friends terribly. These are hard times in different ways for all of us. I count our blessings regularly and hold tight to gratitude. It always helps keep things in perspective for me.
Now for a quick review of my July goals:
>>Diversify my Bookshelves and my #TBR list
Last month I wanted to make a more intentional effort to further diversify my reading list. My bookshelves were not as diverse as I wanted them to be. I asked around and got some wonderful recommendations. Here is a stack of some new additions to my #tbr list and bookshelf. I’m almost finished with The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett (which I feel confident to recommend so far!) and plan on diving into An American Marriage next. Do you have other suggestions for me to add? I’d love to hear them – drop me a comment below!!
>>Start Listening to Podcasts
So this one was a struggle for me and I still haven’t discovered a Podcast that I can’t live without. But I did find some really good ones. Some of the ones I enjoyed trying out this month were:
- The Wild Words Podcast with Nicole Gulotta *creativity
- The Unpublished Podcast with Amie McNee *creativity
- Convos with Kelsey with Kelsey Dietz *communication
- The MILF Podcast with Jennifer Tracy *motherhood/creativity
- Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard *messiness of being human
I’m going to keep listening and exploring. I’ve found if I have to choose between podcasts and audiobooks for everyday listening, I choose the latter. However, I really enjoyed finding specific episodes that enticed me from the podcasts listed above and I feel compelled to listen more on a “in the mood” basis!
>> Get back into Blogging!
So setting some realistic goals for blogging more (and offering them up to you for additional accountability) didn’t work out as well for me as I hoped. Apparently one hour each week day proved to be biting off more than I could chew. While I did manage to post a few times, it wasn’t what I was aiming for and I for SURE didn’t keep up with the hour daily during the week. This month I’ve decided to break this goal down even further to make it more attainable for myself and I will continue to work towards being more consistent in this space and showing up for myself and YOU better.
Here are the posts I shared in July in case you missed any of them:
- Firecrackers, fireflies, and family – 4th of July, 2020
- On Writing and Remembering
- On Writing with Purpose
My August Goals 2020
1. Getting organized for the second half of the year
There was a brief period after college that I dated a guy named Mike Daily, coincidentally at the same time that my middle sister was dating a guy with the last name “Weekly.” My youngest sister, who is well known for her quick wit, suggested how “cool” it would be if she happened to find someone with the last name “Monthly” and then we could all “get married to them and be the calendar sisters!”
Ironically, while we didn’t end up with coordinating last names, we have all grown up to be women who thrive best with meticulous coordination and organization of our calendars. The true irony for me though, lies in the reality of our life as a medical family. Paul’s ER work schedule is incredibly demanding and never the same from day to day or week to week.
Our family calendar is highly chaotic and inconsistent.
I know this is only going to get crazier as our kids get older and their activities increase between school, friends, and extracurriculars. While life in quarantine has offered a LOT less “scheduling” to juggle, it still remains that we have a lot of coordination to keep up with.
I have been really excited about getting my new Golden Coil planner that I was able to customize exactly how I wanted! This is the second year I have ordered from Golden Coil and let me tell you… I LOVE it. I’ve spent years trying to find the “perfect” planner and I have tried so many different brands (1Canoe2 and Day Designer) that are almost the perfect fit but just not exactly what I need to keep this medical family circus organized and coordinated.
Why is this one of my August goals? There are a lot of variables to keep up with in our lives between Paul’s work schedule, my part-time work, meetings, date nights, misc. appointments, trips, birthdays, my blog and newsletter goals and to-dos, virtual book clubs and game nights. Our lives are chaotic but getting organized as much as we can benefits all of us, especially me.
Action plan: I’m planning to create a content calendar for my blog and newsletter for August. Map out Paul’s August schedule and fill in birthdays and other events that we already have planned (lake trip mid-month!!). Keep my planner current and organized while beginning to fill in anything I can for the remaining half of the year to get ahead!
2. Saturday adventures with my boys
A few weeks ago I decided to take the boys out adventuring on our Saturday morning together. We’ve been stuck inside the house feeling like there aren’t many places for us to go because of covid-19 but I realize I hadn’t been very creative in thinking of what we CAN do during this time. Now, the heat has been hell-bent against us most days (did I mention being excited for autumn!?) and since anything I’ve come up so far is outdoor-contingent, that definitely limits our adventuring in some regards.
If we leave the house early enough though, we’ve been lucky to beat the heat and the crowds in most instances. So I’m making this one of my August goals because I think it is so important for all three of us. These few little morning trips we’ve made have done wonders for our mood and spirits. The kids are thrilled to get out of the house and try something new. A change of scenery offers all kinds of opportunities for learning and fun.
Why is this one of my August goals? Because I love adventures and so often I have the kids on my own over the weekends so getting out and about helps break up our day. Adventuring gets them excited and offers us all a chance to take in some fresh air, sunshine, and some new scenery. An all-over win-win!
Action plan: Do some research on other places we can adventure! Pack a picnic cooler, some battery-operated fans (bc dang the heat!), water bottles, sunscreen, and a spare change of clothes and get out early on Saturday mornings to check out some fun! Also, TAKE MORE PHOTOS!
3. Implement some S.M.A.R.T. daily goals to combat my procrastination
I’ve been doing some difficult introspective work on my procrastination lately and fears I have that are associated with it – really trying to gain clarity around “why” I procrastinate like I do. I’ve been working on some S.M.A.R.T. daily goals for myself to do a better job at showing up for myself and to begin rebuilding trust in myself directly related to these detrimental habits.
Smart goals are defined as those that are:
I am learning that can’t show up for others like I truly want to until I learn to do so for myself first. I’ve gotten to a pretty low place with my procrastination lately and I have lost so much faith in my own word to myself. It is super discouraging and makes me feel shitty to admit but in the spirit of self-compassion, I’m learning to understand where it comes from and how to forgive myself and hold space to do better.
My handful of S.M.A.R.T. daily goals that I’m starting with:
- be in bed by 11:30pm
- spend at least 15 min on my blog
- write 100 creative words
- read at least 5 pages of one of my books
- continue morning pages
I wanted to make each one of these way bigger/better – like aiming for 10pm bedtime, 500 words a day, reading for 30 min, and working on my blog for an hour daily but then I was like…. slow up there, I need to start smart. Gain some traction and then raise the bar once I trust myself to show up.
I have had an entire newsletter finished since mid-July (with the exception of the small welcome section) and for a variety of reasons I have not hit send. It’s as though procrastination has become not only a self-fulfilling prophecy, but also has become a sort of creative self-sabotage. I’m trying to practice being vulnerable and comfortable in “the messy middle” of this creative life I want to lead so that’s what I wanted to share with all of you.
Why is this one of my August goals? This introspective work has shown me that I need to show myself some self-compassion first and then gently lead myself toward honoring my own art.
Action plan: Use my awesome habit tracker notebook (on sale now for only $4) to keep up with my progress over the month of August. Re-evaluate at month’s end and see if there is room to raise the bar from there. Celebrate my successes!
I’ll be back next month to update you on how well I kept up with these August goals. And to share my upcoming goals for September!
What are your August goals? I’d love to hear – please drop any you’d like to share in the comment section below!