Hello! Welcome to another post in my monthly goal-setting series. In case you are new here, for the remainder of the year I have decided to set three specific goals for myself each month. My objective is to be more intentional (my word of the year!) in my day-to-day life. This series is designed to share those goals with you as well as to provide me with more monthly accountability.
If I’m being completely honest, I admit it feels like I dropped the ball on most of my August goals. The end of the summer was pretty hectic and perhaps I just didn’t make the most enjoyable goals. Maybe it was a combination of things. A friend asked if doing these monthly goals felt like a burden or if I found the process motivating.
Despite my overall lack of follow through in August, I truly believe it has been very motiving for me. There is something about knowing they are out here so others can read them. Setting a time frame around each of them has made me feel more accountable and kept them on my mind. So far I think this is a great way for me to feel productive and build new habits for myself.
A review of how last month’s goals went:
Start and practice a daily evening ritual (including a set bedtime!)
I will give myself partial credit for this one. The first week I was very diligent about creating a routine. Shutting off all screens (tv, laptop, phone) by 10pm, heading upstairs to wash/moisturize my face, brush my teeth, and read in bed for about 30 minutes before turning the lights out. I didn’t stay up past 11pm which was a big improvement for me.
The rest of the month didn’t include much of the skin-care “ritual” part of my plans but I did manage to make it to bed by 10:30 or 11pm most nights and I opted to read before going to sleep instead of playing around on my phone which was awesome. Overall, I’ll count that as a win. I hope to keep the momentum going on this because getting more sleep has a remarkable influence on my overall mood. And having more time to read daily has been awesome self-care for me as well.
A new Instagram friend offered the suggestion of setting the bedtime feature on my iPhone. It allowed me to program a bedtime and a wake time daily, set a bedtime reminder alert (and turns my phone to a do not disturb mode when enabled), and has very pleasant options to set as a waking alarm. Once I started utilizing this tool, it made a big difference for me. I highly recommend it for you Apple users that are looking for ideas to help get on track to better bedtime/wake time rituals.
Initiate a weekly “Power Hour”
This goal proved the hardest for me for accountability. I can’t say exactly why. It is rather difficult to get engaged in any kind of major organizational project with the boys underfoot. They tend to wreak complete havoc on anything of this sort! And I definitely felt overwhelmed every time I decided I was going to start. Of all of the areas I listed that I wanted to organize/purge, I only accomplished one of them. The pantry (see below for before and after). Overall, I am not satisfied with how much I missed the mark on this goal.
The kid’s books, the family games closet, and the art/china/linen closet are still a hot mess. I’m hoping that being on the cusp of autumn will get me motivated to get those areas done soon. Typically I swap the kids books around seasonally so perhaps Autumn will get me energized to doing that. Here’s hoping I’ll find the enthusiasm to knock the rest of these areas out before the holidays are upon us. Wishful thinking never hurt anyone.
Be intentionally active 3x weekly
There were several positives around me setting this goal last month. I believe that it served to challenge me to do the following things:
- Every week I did play tennis like I aimed to do. In fact, I registered again with the city rec program to play 3x a week this upcoming Fall (starting in early September).
- I signed up for a co-ed soccer team and played the first game (but had to miss the next few due to scheduling conflicts). It went pretty well and I can’t wait for the next one!
- Actually dragged myself to several pilates classes at the YMCA. I surprisingly enjoyed each of them – plan to go more regularly this upcoming month!
- I used my calendar to plan out my activity from week to week. This made a big difference for me. It kept me focused. And though I didn’t make it 3x every week, I feel like I will continue to utilize this going forward for prioritizing activities for myself.
I didn’t exactly meet this goal throughout the month. But I was more motivated and I do believe it inspired me to get out and be more active. In fact, one morning I was NOT FEELING IT. It was rainy out, I woke up with a headache, and I wanted to lounge around in my pjs and drink hot coffee. I did not want to drag myself out anywhere (much less to work out). Yet still I felt committed to this goal. I got up and begrudgingly went to the Y for a pilates class at 11am.
Apparently I forgot to check the schedule. Turns out that there was no pilates class that morning at 11am. Doh!
Instead of calling it (trust me, I was verrrry close to doing that), I looked up another Y a few miles away. Sure enough, they had an 11:30am class. If I hurried AND if I could find parking nearby, I decided it could be worth a try. Not only did I make it with more than enough time to spare, but there was an open parking spot right out front. With an hour of paid parking already on the meter. I felt like it was meant to be. And after it was such a fiasco, it felt like even more of an accomplishment. The satisfying feeling of being accountable to myself in that situation, even when I didn’t really feel like following through, was extremely motivating for me.
1. Weekly Meal Planning on Sundays
We eat fairly healthy as a family in general. But one thing is certain, the level of how healthy is directly related to how well-planned our meals are. Even before we had kids, Paul and I used to do a lot of meal-planning. We both love to cook and try new recipes together. At one point I even had a meal-planning excel spreadsheet. My organization was next level back in the day!
But when we don’t have a plan, oftentimes dinner ends up being something fast/easy that gets thrown together. Now that we have the boys to feed, that looks like frozen chicken nuggets or mac-n-cheese more than I’d like to admit. I don’t mean that in a judgmental way – heck, my kids LOVE it and it’s a great go-to for us. But when it becomes a go-to throughout the week or we end up being so hungry we order take out more than once in a week, I feel drawn to getting more organized about meal planning.
Our lives are so much less stressful and easier to shop/prep/cook for when we have an plan for what we want to eat throughout the week.
Why this is a September goal: I’ve had an off-again, on-again relationship with meal planning. I think it’s time to get more serious about it.
Action plan: Set aside time on Sundays to create a plan based on what the week ahead looks like for our family. Pull out some favorite cookbooks for inspiration. Choose a few themes with the family. Maybe reinstitute soup and salad night, meatless Mondays, or something the kids can get involved in helping with.
2. Morning “Me” Time Routine
I set the August goal of a regular bedtime routine because I dreamt of being well-rested enough to wake up in the mornings before my family. Now that I have started going to bed at a more reasonable hour (or trying to for the most part!), it is time to finally start pursing some morning “me” time.
It has been particularly difficult for me before now for a variety of reasons. Mainly sleep deprivation, the boys’ sleep/wake schedules, nursing my youngest, and lack of personal will-power. But on days that I do wake before the rest of the household, I find such pleasure in the peace in those early minutes of my day. I love being able to enjoy the calm before the storm! This is a goal I have been eager to initiate for a LONG time. I am really excited about it.
Why this is a September goal: Because it’s finally a good time for me to try and do this!!
Action plan: Wake up 30 minutes to an hour before my family. Enjoy my cup of coffee (without having to reheat it 10x throughout the day!). Choose to do something for myself – reading, writing, perhaps some yoga or an early walk around the neighborhood. Maybe fold a load of laundry in peace. Get the kids breakfast started before they come downstairs hangry and wild.
3. Create an Autumn Bucket List for our family & start checking things off this month
Autumn is BY FAR my favorite season of the year. There are so many things I love about it. I am so excited to sit down as a family and make a bucket list of everything we want to do together to embrace this time of year. Paul and I did this a few years ago and it was so much fun. I can’t wait to get working on this one!
Why this is a September goal: Paul texted me about this earlier this weekend and I thought – what a FUN goal idea!
Action plan: Brainstorm ideas as a family. Find a fun way to creatively display our ideas (maybe something like Kelle Hampton does for her bucket lists). Plan several specific activities to check off this month – backyard tent camping, first of autumn-inspired art project, eat dinner out on the patio, etc.
I’ll be back next month to update you on how well I kept up with these September goals. And to share my new October goals. Wish me luck!
What are your September Goals? I’d love to hear – leave a comment below!