Hello! Welcome to another goals post for my monthly goal-setting series. If this is your first visit here, thanks for joining me! Back in July of 2019 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! Now I’m here with my February goals because I want to keep going strong! This series is designed to share those goals with you as well as to provide me with more monthly accountability.
“February is the border between winter and spring”― Terri Guillemets, “Years”
I almost feel like it is a little cliche to mention how long January has felt this year. It seems like that sentiment is everywhere. I have seen a lot of funny memes that say things like, “it literally feels like January 74th” and “January was a tough year, but we made it.” Another one said “we’re 5 months into 2020, but somehow it’s still January!” It may have something to do with how fast time flew between Thanksgiving and Christmas this past season. Or maybe scientists have it right with the dopamine clock hypothesis, which they say, explains why January last forever.
Yesterday when I pulled up to my house after a morning out with the boys, I noticed that the daffodils are blooming in our yard. We haven’t had any snow here yet this winter and tomorrow it is predicted to be 70+ degrees outside. While I realize that the seasons don’t officially change until March 19th, I can’t help but feel like January has been long enough to summon the Spring. And while it really freaks me out to wonder what this means in terms of global warming, I don’t hate the energy that Spring seems to carry in it’s hand-basket.
This past month was a pretty productive one (once I finally decided to stick with FOCUS as my word of the year!).
I managed to read a couple of books – The Giver of the Stars by Jojo Moyes and Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan. The weather allowed me to take a handful of tennis lessons and I kept up with my physical therapy sessions for my posture. Paul and I found time to catch up with a handful of friends we have been meaning to spend time with. We also took a cooking class together for date night and learned how to make chocolate mousse. I finally ordered our holiday cards (but still have to mail most of them out – doh!). And I’ve been writing a lot more lately.
But there are also several things I did not manage to do as much of as I would usually like. There wasn’t a single day that I pulled out my DSLR camera. I’ve been in a real photography slump lately. And I only visited the gym one time all month. Fighting the masses of well-intended people trying to stay committed to their New Years resolutions about their fitness has never been my cup of tea.
Well that, and I really just hate going to the gym.
As I started planing my February goals, I got a little giddy thinking about how much I actually love February. After all, one of my favorite humans was born this month, three years ago. Also, I didn’t realize until yesterday that this is a Leap Year. And as I filled out my hard-copy calendar for the month ahead, I found myself doodling little hearts everywhere and thinking about how lucky I am to have SO MUCH LOVE in my life. It was a great way to kick off the new month.
A quick review of my January goals:
Choose a Word of the Year & Organize my Resolutions
Hooray! My first goal of the year was a success! In case you missed it, I wrote a whole blog post about choosing my word for 2020. It wasn’t the easiest process for me. I spent a lot of time deliberating and needed a good amount of encouragement from a few close friends. I decided on the word FOCUS and so far it has proven to be exactly the right choice for me.
Leaning into that word has already helped me organize my resolutions for the upcoming year in more manageable ways. Paul and I spent time focusing on specific categories we want to target in 2020. This was much more productive than creating an endless list of random resolutions like I have in the past.
We mapped our resolutions out accordingly and set realistic ways to fulfill them. We didn’t choose more than 1-2 things in each category to keep them more attainable. It was an enjoyable bonding experience that we both came away from feeling motivated and inspired.
Buy a new bra & underwear
We had friends drop by earlier this week for an impromptu visit. They got a good laugh about how I had “buy bra” on the dry-erase board (on our refrigerator). It seemed like such a simple task but ironically took a little more effort to check off than it should have. A few weeks ago I set off to the mall fully anticipating completing this goal. I drove about half-way there before realizing it was a Saturday, and that everyone and their mother was probably at the mall that day. I’m not a big fan of shopping to begin with. So going on a day when I would most likely find myself waiting in lines to use a dressing room and to pay did not sound appealing.
I turned around and headed back home, task unaccomplished.
Then the next day I tried to go, I realized I still had the rooftop cargo box attached on my car from our recent family trip so wouldn’t be able to get onto the parking deck at the mall anyway! Fortunately Paul was home to help me out. The very next day I was able to check it off my list. And as luck would have it, I actually got a few coupons in the mail the day before I finally did go so that ended up saving me quite a bit of money!
Start a newsletter for my blog
This goal was a semi-flop for January. My intentions to write my first monthly newsletter were a fail. However, I did manage to set up a welcome letter to new subscribers which I have been needing to do for a long time! Now when you enter your email into the subscribe today box on my home page – you’ll actually receive a welcome letter AND get signed up for the monthly newsletters. This goal will be rolled over into February and I fully expect to get it done ASAP. I have brainstormed ideas on what I want to include already so it shouldn’t be that hard to do. Stay tuned! And if you haven’t signed up yet – look for this image (below) to get on the list!
My February Goals
1. Tackle 3 nagging tasks every (week) day
By now you may already know that I consider myself a major procrastinating perfectionist. There is a long and continuously growing list of things I procrastinate on a daily basis. Some more important than others. All of which need to be taken care of.
For example? Well I already told you the bit about our holiday cards not going out yet. And I didn’t take our Christmas tree down until two weeks ago. I have been avoiding the dentist for several months – time to get that appointment taken care of (I’m not a fan of the dentist). A box of maternity clothes that I need to put up in the attic has been hanging out on my bedroom floor since last summer. I’ve got a baby gift to mail a friend (whose baby was born in October). And there are still a couple of places that I have yet to update my married name from my maiden name. I’m totally embarrassed to admit these things but hey – that’s what accountability is about, right?
Why this is a February goal? Like I said, I am embarrassed to admit how long I’ve let some of these things get away from me. When I put them off, often I think it’s because I don’t have time to deal with them (or they aren’t a priority). But then they end up taking so much head space. I carry around the burden of remembering them which is ultimately stressing me out way more than just doing them in the first place. Plus, I need to put on my big-girl pants and just get it done.
Action plan: Make a master list of these things (I’ve got one started already) and start adding them a few at a time to my daily to-do lists. Cross those suckers off the master list as I go so I can really see my progress. Bask in the feelings of accomplishment.
2. Use a Habit-tracker to get to bed earlier (and wake up earlier)
This past summer I made goals to create a daily evening ritual (including a set bedtime!) and morning “Me” time routines but did not end up being very successful at either. Lately I’ve been wondering why this process seems to be so difficult for me. In fact, last week I even wrote a blog post about it. There are are so many reasons that I want to make a better habit of these things. Primarily, my own health (more sleep) and wellness (self-care). But also, my sanity!
Why this is a February goal? When I am well-rested and carve out “me-time” it definitely brings out my best self every day. I know it gives me the energy I need to handle stress and challenging situations more gracefully. I find myself less irritable, less likely to forget things, and more motivated to be productive. I’ve set these goals before and I want to improve in these areas so I’m going to try again this month!
Action plan: Be more specific about this goal this time around. I plan to get in bed each night (with occasional exceptions) between 10:30 and 11pm. And I plan to wake up before my family between 6am and 6:30am each morning. I will use my habit tracker to keep up with my success and progress in the month of February. I’ll share the end results on here next month in my goals post. *how’s that for accountability!?
3. Cook with my kids
Lately Noah has been showing a lot of interest in helping in the kitchen. He regularly asks to “help” me cook breakfast or for us to make specific things like waffles, smoothies, or cookies. Paul and I both really love cooking so it’s exciting for us that he seems to be interested in something we both feel so passionate about. Niko is still a little young but he eagerly follows his brother’s enthusiasm into the kitchen on most occasions.
We definitely don’t include them as much as they would like (or as much as we want to!) because, lets be honest, it’s a lot more work than it is “help” to have them there. I’m often rushing around, trying to get a meal prepped in time to keep us on our regular schedule. It takes some serious consideration to think of age-appropriate tasks in which they can participate. Noah makes a fairly good sous chef but it’s not like I can just hand over a paring knife to my toddler! Oh and the messes that get made on the rare occasions I do invite them to join in? You better believe – those are always epic.
It feels so much easier to do any of this sans kiddos under foot.
Why this is a February goal? I have distinct memories of baking with my grandmother when I was young. Her, gently coaching me on how to gather tiny bits of dough into mini-rolls. The way her face would light up at my eagerness. How important I always felt as she tasked me with a variety of different things to do as we worked side by side. I want all of these things for my kids. The opportunity to learn new skills, feel proud of their ability to help, and a chance to experience my pride and joy in them while spending time together doing something I love. I’s also love to help them learn the connection between cooking healthy foods and eating those foods!
Action plan: Try to include *at least* one kid-cooking-friendly meal into our plans each week. Take time in advance to think about ways to make it easier to include them. Say YES to waffles, smoothies, and cookies. Slow down and enjoy the process more. Bask in their delight.
I’ll be back next month to update you on how well I kept up with these February goals. And to share my upcoming goals for March!
What are your February goals? I’d love to hear – leave a comment below!