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.
First of all, I’d like to ask you a very important question.
How in the heck is it already November???
This something that always hits me right around Halloween every year. The hours of the day seem to speed up. The hands of time making their way around the face of my kitchen clock in record speed. Scarcity threatens to consume me – not enough sleep, not enough hours in the day, not enough time to catch up or get ahead. The to-do list starts spiraling out of my control.
It’s an important time of the year for me to bring my focus back to basics. To recalibrate. Breathe. Start simple. Pause. Find the best perspective. Start again. Trust the process.
The past month there were a lot of uncontrollables tugging me in the opposite direction of my intentions.
Traveling is one of my very favorite opportunities. We try to take advantage of adventures every chance we get. This past month we ventured away from home on two separate occasions. Once to accompany Paul to the mountains for a work conference and another time (just the boys and I) to celebrate the 90th birthday party of my dear Great Aunt. It is a blessing to have the option to travel, especially as a family, and we feel that it is always worth the challenge of doing so with toddlers. But let it be said… that challenge is legit! Between towing all the things they need, the unpredictability of almost everything, and juggling their routines as best as we can with consideration for big needs/emotions in small beings – it can be exhausting. It takes a lot of flexibility and a lot of patience. All around.
In addition to traveling quite a bit, unfortunately every single one of us also got sick this month. It started simply enough. First Noah had some tummy troubles, then Niko got a cold which was accompanied by teething and made him pretty miserable. On the last leg of our first trip Paul had a full day run in with food poisoning. And finally, I caught the tail end of Niko’s cold. It has been keeping me down for the better part of 2.5 weeks now. Nothing like being under the weather to give you a grand appreciation for your health. But the past few days I think we’ve finally turned the corner (fingers crossed) and everyone seems to be back on the way to wellness.
With that being said, I give partial credit for some lack of follow through this month to travel and illness.
Before I started writing this post I spent some time wondering whether you might be reading these goals from month to month and thinking – “gosh, this woman just can’t seem to get it together.” My inner critic started gnawing at me. Why keep this up if you haven’t had very many successes to share. What’s the point of putting all of your failure out there for everyone to see every month. How is anyone supposed to be motivated or inspired by this process when you can’t seem to get it done. What is the point of all of this?
I spent an extra day hashing it out with Elvira (that’s what I’ve named my inner critic) before remembering that the POINT is the process. Not perfection. Especially not perfection. For all my failings or lack of awarded gold stars, I have been in awe of how this experience has influenced my intentions over the past several months. Every goal has brought me it’s own version of a gold star. And each month has guided me towards a version of myself that I am incredibly proud of. There has been a ton of room for improvement. But there has also been a ton of achievement. I’m continually inspired to keep goal-setting and I hope you will continue to find me doing so in a way that embraces grace and acceptance.
So without further ado, here is my October review.
A review of how last month’s goals went:
Start the #Last90days Challenge
It is incredible how much accountability can come from taping a challenge “tracker” to your refrigerator. I’ve never done anything like this before (the taping to the fridge part) and I found it strangely motivating. Paul and I decided to try the Five to Thrive goals for the month of October together. I’m not sure how he plans to continue but I am definitely gonna keep it up through the end of the year.
Five to Thrive (created by Rachel Hollis – author of Girl, Wash Your Face)
- Wake up (an hour) earlier than usual
- Move your body for at least 30 minutes daily
- Drink more water
- Eliminate an unhealthy food from your diet
- Practice daily gratitude by writing down what you are grateful for every day
My best category of the five was gratitude. And my worst was a tie between waking up early and moving my body/exercising. Again, traveling and being sick definitely slowed me down in both of these areas. I chose to rest and recoup over making myself get up and moving. But I was very aware of my daily desire to do those things which makes me feel good and inspired going forward. Especially the active part. I recognize I need to find other ways to integrate being active in my week besides tennis and soccer.
I could always drink more water. That is a constant struggle for me. And my attempts to indulge in only “one treat per day” worked fairly well until the Halloween candy sabotaged my efforts. Heading into November I will continue to work on improving my weaker areas of this challenge and keep my fingers crossed that the 5 seemingly simple things will become more habit for me than challenge.
Get on the floor and play
At our house we call Noah the “master negotiator” because he is famous for being able to bargain “5 more minutes” out of almost anyone. This was a really rewarding goal for me this past month because it meant saying “yes” more than I realize I have allowed myself to in the past. And I found it to be really fun for me too. Play is the internal rhythm of childhood. It is one of the best liberating lessons young children have to offer us as adults.
Participate in (a modified version of) “Blogtober”
Wah wah wah. This was not one of my finer moments in goal-setting success. Unfortunately it was a larger leap than I was ready to commit to. However, despite my struggles with consistency here, I assure you, I am extremely motivated. And while I did not manage to meet this goal, I did several other things this month to get back in the groove with my blogging priorities.
I signed up for a six-week Intensive Writing course that I hope will get me on the path of a better writing routine as well as help me generate some personal creative inspiration. And I started a new book called Wild Words: Rituals, Routines, and Rhythms for Braving the Writer’s Path by Nicole Gulotta that is deemed “a guide for the next generation of writers – self-care rituals, creativity-generating rhythms, and personalized strategies for embracing a creative life.” It sounds like exactly what I need and so far I’m loving it.
I am so thankful to every single person who has supported me in this blogging adventure and I hope you know how meaningful it is to me that you are here. Please don’t give up on me! I have every intention to keep showing up here and I truly believe I will find my rhythm within this space
1. Find ways to better utilize the brief windows of time that occur in my day to day
I’m sure there is a way to monitor how many times we mindlessly pick up our phones throughout the day. But figuring out how to do that would require me picking up my phone. And one thing will probably lead to another and before I know it, I’ll be mindlessly scrolling. This is inevitably how more minutes of my day are lost to the abyss than I’d like to admit.
When I was a young girl I was never a fan of doing the dishes. Truth be told, this is still my LEAST favorite chore of all time. I would hem and haw around how many dishes there were and how long it would take me to do it and how much I despised the chore. My mama would say “you could already be done with them in the time you’ve spent complaining about it.”
Curse those moments when we realize our mother’s have been telling us the things we need to hear since we were young. I am confident that there are more moments in my day-to-day that I can better utilize. It makes me wonder how many of them I spend mindlessly scrolling. Or how many I spend complaining to myself about how many things I have to do or what I need to add to my to-do list or actually writing out another to-do list when in reality, I could have knocked out a few things if I would just DO SOMETHING.
I’ve been telling myself that it is very difficult for me to find time to write, and thus, to blog. But I think this brings me back to this idea of scarcity that I mentioned at the beginning of this blog. Never enough time. Not enough head space. No time to myself. The truth is – there are only so many hours in a day. And while mine are very full, I believe if I pay attention I can start taking better advantage of the brief windows that do present themselves.
Why this is a November goal: I want to be able to seize opportunity when it presents itself. Spend less time wallowing in the scarcity of those windows and stop mindlessly wasting them.
Action plan: Be more deliberate. Find rhythms in my day to day that will help me uncover the windows of time. Be aware of the mindless traps I tend to fall in to. Put down the phone. Just do the dishes.
2. Go Shopping (for myself!)
My wardrobe is in a dire state these days. Over the summer I discovered a few staple pieces that I truly loved and felt confident wearing. But as the cooler weather has arrived, I find myself stuck for what to wear every time I get ready to leave the house. I’ve fallen out of love with the brands I once swore by. I no longer know what my “size” is and often feel incredibly self-conscious with the way clothes seem to fit my body now.
Why this is a November goal: I want to feel confident and comfortable. And I want to be able to get dressed for any variety of different occasions without having to spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to find the right look. The last few years have been a hot mess of maternity wear, post-pregnancy weight fluctuations, etc. I have really tried to get rid of what doesn’t fit well or that I don’t love but that hasn’t left me with much.
Action plan: When I see someone wearing something that I admire, ask them about it (my sister does this and it’s so smart!). Set aside time to go out shopping without boys in tow so I can really enjoy my time and not feel rushed. Make a list of what staples I need and work off the list. Have fun.
3. Read for at least 30 minutes daily
I love reading. The list of books I want to read is longer than I can keep up with. I’m in two book clubs (one is a virtual book club that I started earlier this year!) and always try to read both books selected from month to month. Audiobooks have been a saving grace for me since my boys were born. Listening while I’m in the shower, folding clothes, driving, or cleaning up after they go to bed has really been a good way to decompress. Yet as autumn has rolled in and the weather has turned colder, I find myself longing to curl up with an actual book. And it is certainly a better pre-bedtime ritual than Netflix.
Why this is a November goal: Self-care! Creating space for myself in a busy time of the year. Indulging in one of my favorite pastimes. Maybe I will champion through some of the books on my list!
Action plan: Initiate “reading time” every day with my boys where we all sit down and reads independently. This may not work really well with them being so young but it’s a habit I would like to start early. I think it’s good for them to see me enjoying reading and for us to have down time like this as a family. Carry a book with me anywhere I go. Utilize Bookly (the app my sister recommended in our cultivating connection interview) to set reminders and track my reading daily.
I’ll be back next month to update you on how well I kept up with these November goals. And to share my new December goals. Wish me luck!
What are your November Goals? I’d love to hear – leave a comment below!