Well, I took two months off from monthly and weekly goals as an experiment and I think it’s time to get back to them. I’m undecided if it was a good thing or not. I like having intentions in the back of my mind as I go about my days because it helps me to make better choices. But if the goals feel too overwhelming, then I feel, well, overwhelmed. But even without goals, I’ve really been flailing these last two months. So if I’m going to be overwhelmed either way, I might as well have those grounding intentions to get me back on track.
I think the key to setting goals for myself is to limit it to only a few, choose things that I definitely feel like I can achieve, and pick things that will genuinely give me a better life. I’m taking a break this year from trying to be “successful.” Even productive, if I’m honest. I want to be HAPPY. I want to be healthy. I want to feel full of joy and warmth, not on the brink of tears and desperate to escape my life. So I thought hard about what I want my March to look like and only wrote out goals that will help me achieve that happier life.
1. Go through my social media accounts and unfollow anything that brings me down. In turn, seek out accounts that will genuinely inspire me and help me on my journey.
I’ve realized recently how happy I am when I see a pretty and concise instagram post that promotes body positivity or taking care of yourself mentally. I’ve also noticed in the last year how some “inspirational” accounts only make me feel like a failure. I need to find and follow only the ones that help ME. I want to clean up the messages that flow into me every time I’m scrolling through my phone and save a collection of quotes and images that will inspire me on the hard days.
2. Go out on (at least) two days with Greg. Out of the house.
Between bad weather, so many illnesses, and Shepard having basketball two nights a week, we have not been having very regular date nights lately. And when we do have them, we stay home for logical reasons like the fridge is overflowing with leftovers and we need to eat them. There’s nothing wrong with at home date nights, but Greg and I seem to connect so much better when we’re outside of our regular environment. I want to make it a bigger priority.
3. Plan and carry out (at least) one special day over spring break to do something fun with the boys.
We have a full week of spring break this year, which is pretty rare for Columbus (especially since we ALSO have an Easter break, which is usually our “spring break.”) I know my kids and I know they’re really just going to want to stay home and play games all week. And sometimes I’m okay with that because it means I can still carry on with sewing and reading and everything else I need to take care of. But I hate to see an entire week go by with nothing to show for me. I want to make GOOD MEMORIES. So we need to think of something. I asked them today what they would want to do and they couldn’t say play games. They both answered “buy games.” Sigh. It’ll be a challenge, but we’ll come up with something.
4. Also plan and carry out one special day during spring break FOR ME.
The one thing I have been most desperately craving the last few months is time to myself. Ideally, time to myself at home, but it’s hard to kick three people out of the house when they have no desire to ever go anywhere or do anything. So I’ll think of something I can do for myself out of the house. For a whole day. I’d love to do a whole day AND night, but that might be pushing it. I do have a one night getaway to Milwaukee planned in April, but it’d be so nice to have something sooner to look forward to. It’d help me get through these hard days that seem to never end.
5. Do one nice thing for myself every day.
This is one of my therapy goals. Because even though I’d love to keep relying on escape to ignore my problems, that’s not a realistic option most of the time. So I’m supposed to be finding things every single day to treat myself well, to nurture myself, to nourish my body or soul. I have a specific notebook I just cracked open to record what I pick each day so I can report back at the end of the month. The tricky thing about this goal is that it needs to be something that genuinely feels like a treat that specific day. Like, reading for example – I do it every day and I will never go a day without it. It’s an essential part of who I am. But will you find me reading at 10am on a weekday? Very unlikely. But if we have another string of days with kids home sick and I feel like I’m going to absolutely lose my mind? Reading at 10am and ditching whatever productive activity I had planned would be a treat. Same with exercise. I’m trying to do it every day no matter what. But today, when it finally warmed up, I took Annie for an extra long walk down one of my favorite streets that I very rarely actually walk down. It doesn’t need be elaborate, it just needs to feel like something special I’m giving myself. And the real key – paying attention to my choices so I’m more aware of how much better it makes me feel.
I’m not writing it out as specific goals, but in the last few weeks I’ve really been focusing on a list of things that I want to do every single day, no matter what, because I know they’ll help me. Reading worthwhile nonfiction in the mornings, journaling, exercising, making wholesome meals, taking a nap if I didn’t get enough sleep the night before (who does?!), and meditating in the afternoons before everyone else gets home from school and work. Just doing those activities every day has been keeping me pretty busy. I’m not getting a whole lot of work done. But in this season, I just have to believe it’s the right thing for me to focus on. I’m tired of battling this cloud of depression and losing. It’s time to fight back and this is what’s going to help me.