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! I’m back with my May goals and going strong! This series is designed to share those goals with you as well as to provide me with more monthly accountability.
As someone who sees myself as an enduring optimist, I really loved this quote. But gosh it sure has been hard to endure and stay optimistic when times have been as crazy as they have been the past few months. Spring 2020 has certainly been one for the history books. Between March 1st and today, life has been about as unpredictable as I could imagine.
I have to admit, I’m not usually one that does well with uncertainty. Being prepared and being able to plan for things gives me a sense of security. I thrive best when I can anticipate the events of our lives laid out organized on the command center calendar on our refrigerator. So far we have already had to cross four fun trips off of that calendar. Paul keeps asking me what I want to do for my birthday (later this month!). I just haven’t been able to get excited about it yet. I definitely want to remember that we are not “stuck” at home, but rather “safe” at home – but missing out on exciting stuff still feels like a bummer.
May always feels like a hopeful month for me.
A month of adventures and personal growth. The time of year where nature starts bursting at the seams with new life and beauty. As my birthday month and almost the halfway point in a year, I tend to find momentum in May to dream up new dreams and goals for myself. But in the spirit of starting small and easing back into goal-setting (in a time where “just showing up” and survival is still very much on the top of my daily priority list), I don’t want to set my aim too high. This month I’m setting goals that will infuse more light, connection, and joy to my days. Because those are things we could all use more of right now.
A (belated) review of my goals from March:
In case you missed it, I skipped setting goals in April and wrote a letter instead…
>>Daily Creative Writing
I had really great momentum in the first half of March until a few days in to us deciding to self-quarantine for social distancing. Then I completely fell off the wagon. My survival mode at the beginning of this whole pandemic did not allow me the headspace to write in a fulfilling way. Nor did I find I had the energy or enthusiasm for it even on a routine level. I tried to start a “quarantine journal” of sorts but even that required more from me emotionally than I had to offer.
There were definitely a few shining moments that I got thoughts down. In fact, in the beginning of March I was doing pretty really well. The 40-days of writing the everyday creative challenge was so inspiring to me. I found several of the prompts really sparked me creatively (like this one). But then life as we know it flipped upside down and my daily writing practice came crashing down around me along with everything else.
It’s worth noting that since mid April I have started flexing my creative writing muscles again gently.
I found a way to start small with a Haiku challenge that helped me pick up gradually where I left off. Writing about every day stuff with less pressure was really therapeutic in a strange way. I had fun with it and even wrote a few that I really like! And since then, I have been writing again almost every morning.
>>Tackle the chaos of my bedroom
Yikes, this one I am embarrassed to update on because if you look today, you wouldn’t believe I ever worked on it. I did do some work on this in March, though not in its entirety. And I did solicit Paul’s help like I had planned, which was great. Together we knocked out a TON of stuff I had been procrastinating. He helped me swap winter/spring clothing out. I packed up and organized our outgrown baby clothes and we put them in the attic (hopeful for an opportunity to use them again in our future).
I put the spring duvet on our bed which spruced the room up a bit. We didn’t get the furniture hauled away. I didn’t get the Christmas stuff boxed up completely yet. And unfortunately the donations we wanted to make haven’t been dropped off yet since covid-19 has had us on lockdown. I actually intended to do before/after pics for everyone but I forgot the to do the after pics. And now it doesn’t really look like we did much. Bottom line is… we still have work to do on this.
>> Participate in a 21-day Food, Fitness, Friends Reboot Online Course
This reboot was really great and is part of what helped keep me on a healthier track since we started quarantining. There are lots of reasons I fall into unhealthy patterns. Stress and anxiety are the biggest reasons for me. The past 1.5 months was not short on either of those things. When my emotions get overwhelming, oftentimes I go down a rabbit hole of comfort-eating, staying up too late at night binge-watching TV shows, and end up feeling too tired to move my body during the day. I don’t prioritize space for self-care and basically I find myself seeking refuge day to day in survival mode.
My course experience would have been totally different under different circumstances. I think it helped me stay in a better mindset about my overall health through some difficult times. One weekend Heidi sent a FFF Reboot assignment to find a way to spark some joy for ourselves. I was not feeling very joyful that particular day and didn’t have the energy to give it much attention. However, a couple of days later I realized how far I’d really fallen into a funk from the emotional rollercoaster of life during a pandemic. When I get in a funk, my motivation is usually the first thing to go. Thinking back on that assignment really helped me recognize where I was mentally. And it motivated me to pull myself up again.
My May 2020 Goals
1. Find the light
On evenings when the weather is agreeable, I try to take the boys out for a walk around the block after dinner. The light is so incredible just before dusk and it always a refreshing break in our evening routine. Something about the fresh air and physical movement really improves our vibe before the bedtime hustle. Tonight, after some joyful puddle jumping, we were walking back home and the boys started up a hill. Noah reached out to grab Niko’s hand. The light was dancing across their backs and time stood still for a brief moment. In that pause, I thought – there is so much beauty in every ordinary day.
Last month, the creative community I am a part of did a blog hop called Go Where the Light Is. Participants shared a series of photos that told a story on their personal blogs. For those of you who haven’t heard of a blog hop before (I hadn’t until recently) – it’s such a cool concept. Each individual blog post ends by linking to another one to create a collection of themed posts. This one was so beautiful and inspiring, I decided to make this a goal of mine for May.
Why is this a May goal? I’ve been leaving my DLSR camera out in plain sight and still haven’t been picking it up enough lately. I love capturing the beauty in the ordinary moments of our lives. Freezing them in time. It’s such a simple way to delight in how the light touches everything every day, no matter how dark the times may feel.
Action plan: Make a study out of finding the light. Be intentional about picking up my camera at least 3x a week to capture our ordinary beautiful life. Create a blog post to share some those photos with you before the end of the month.
2. Send more snail mail
Connection is so important right now. I’ve felt so isolated and lonely for my friends and family. I’m so thankful for technology that allow us opportunities to connect through FaceTime, Zoom, and Viber. I can’t even imagine what a global pandemic would have been like 20 years ago when we paid exorbitant prices for long distance calls. Most days I lean pretty heavily into text messaging or email for the majority of my engagement with others. While those are easy, quick, and thoughtful ways to connect, they lack something of a more meaningful and intimate quality.
I will always have a soft spot for a handwritten note.
There isn’t much that triggers an emotional connection for me on the same level as a really thoughtful card or letter. The time and energy to write out something like that may not be much, but the recipient feels the effort in a more meaningful way. When I discover REAL mail has been delivered, I get giddy – like a little kid at Christmas. I absolutely love getting snail mail and in turn, I also love sending it. Some of my most prized possessions are cards and letters I have received over the years.
Why is this a May goal? May is a great time for me to send snail mail because it’s a month full of birthdays! Add in Mother’s Day and I have more than enough reasons to send a handful of cards out this month! Sending cards brings me so much joy. It really gives me an opportunity to slow down in the midst of our fast-paced lives and pour some love onto my friends and family.
Action plan: Mail 2-3 cards a week throughout the month. Use some of the awesome options I have collected in my stationary box from 1canoe2 (my favorite card illustration company!).
3. Keep Reading
Reading has always been one of my very favorite hobbies. It is also one of the easiest ways I’ve found to enjoy a little self-care. Now that the weather is warmer, you can often find me lounging in a chair in the backyard beside the fire pit reading my latest book club selection after the kids go to bed. The categories that interest me are so varying. I’m always reading more than one book at a time – that way I can pick up whatever I’m reading that most suits my mood in a moment! Right now I’m loving inspirational books that have the creative potential to encourage personal-growth and insight.
Why is this a May goal? It brings me so much joy. AND I have a ton of books I need to finish so I can start some new ones! My to-read list is always growing!
Action plan: Read before bed. Listen to audiobooks when I’m tidying up in the evenings or folding laundry. Strategically place books around the house so there is always one nearby for me to pick up at a moment’s opportunity.
I’ll be back next month to update you on how well I kept up with these May goals. And to share my upcoming goals for June!
What are your May goals? I’d love to hear – leave a comment below!