October Goals

It’s the third day of October and I already feel like whatever I had planned for myself this month needs to be readjusted. Yesterday I had this great special day planned out just going to the big Barnes and Noble on the west side of Madison and spending hours browsing through books. I ended up going at least ten different stores first, rushing, stressed, and completely exhausted. After five minutes in the bookstore I realized I wasn’t in the right headspace to enjoy it, so I left. By evening, when there were still all these things I had wanted to do waiting for me, I honestly just felt sick and ready to drop. So I had to take a bit of a step back and reevaluate the goals I’d like to set this month to keep myself both sane and productive. And happy!

1. Stick to three!

I write out my to do list for the next day every night before I go to bed. I often add more things in the morning. Usually there are anywhere from 10-20 things I’d like to accomplish in a day. And, well, it’s impossible to do that much and do it well and still feel like a happy person by the end of the night. So I’m going to try out a slightly new system where I think long and hard before deciding on the top three things I want to get done every day. I will do those things first and I’ll do them to the best of my ability. And if I accomplish just those three things in a day, it will be enough. IT WILL BE ENOUGH. There will always by a million more things to do. But can you really enjoy life if all you’re doing is trying to check things off a list as fast as possible? I want to be genuinely honest with myself and my schedule that day before making my list and considering three things that truly are doable and will make me feel the most accomplished. Ideally I’d like my top priorities to be in three separate categories – like self care, home management, work, outside obligations, family relationships, etc. My goals today were to walk Annie for 45 minutes (it was tough to keep going today, but I did it!), clean the family room (because Greg keeps tripping over things and it always looks messy and it’s driving us both nuts), and write this blog post. I’m still going to add to my list beyond the three things, but the point is that all I NEED to do is the three. And then I can congratulate myself for a day well done. 🙂

2. Implement Writing Wednesdays

I’ve been struggling with how to give myself permission to write more. I know this isn’t really the case, but it feels like I always need to decide if I want to take my life in a sewing direction or a writing direction. Writing will give me more personal fulfillment, I know that. But it’s a long shot that I’ll ever make money from it. Sewing is enjoyable, but it’s not really my passion in life anymore. But it brings me a bit of income and the more I put into it the more money I make. Nobody is forcing this on me except myself, but I feel like if I want to keep staying home while my kids are at school, I need to at least be making a little bit of money while I do it! So sewing always feels like the priority. And lately it’s making me resentful. Anyway! I decided that to start with, I am giving myself full permission to write on Wednesdays. Not only permission, that is what I SHOULD be doing, every Wednesday. Blog posts, journal entries, short stories, letters, whatever. Wednesday will be my writing day. I’m also going to try not to schedule much else or run errands on Wednesdays, so I have as much home time as possible to actually make this happen.

3. Work 20+ hours a week, during the DAY

I feel like this might be a tough one. I’m already taking away Wednesdays, and I usually spend most of either Monday or Tuesday running errands, with at least one other day of random errands as well. I’ve definitely still been living on the high of being able TO run errands by myself again, after the long summer of never going anywhere because taking my kids with me was miserable. But it’s seriously time to buckle down and get into a better habit of staying home and focusing on making money rather than spending money! I want to get a lot more focused with all the holiday dolls and potential sales I have coming up in the next three months. I also want to try and go back to only working during the day. I should save things like laundry and house cleaning for the evenings when I can try and recruit the rest of my family to help out. I should start treating Heartstring Annie as my true job again, that needs to be done during the day. Because it IS my job and I’m allowed to make it a top priority.

4. Finish at least 3 nonfiction books

I have soooo many unread nonfiction books. I’m constantly finding more nonfiction books I want to read. And they all look incredible! But finding the time to sit down and actually read them is nearly impossible. I’m always so hooked on whatever fiction book I’m reading that it’s hard to pick up something else, no matter how enticing it is. But this is the month I’m going to do it!

5. Have a lot of fun!

Yes, I feel like I almost need to make this a full goal for myself every month or I get too caught up in the to dos and stress and never really enjoy myself. But October is my favorite month because it’s my birthday month! It’s my birthday week right now! I have a lot of special dinners planned with different people in the next week. I have a full weekend of potential activities that I get to force my family to go along with because “it’s my birthday!” The boys are going to a hotel with the grandparents next weekend so Greg and I can go on a fun date again. The next weekend I’m finally getting to DC to hang out with my best friend for four days. And the following weekend is trick or treating and our annual Halloween party. This is another month jam packed with opportunities for fun and memory making. I want to work really hard during the days so I can fully enjoy myself with every other part of my life this month!

That’s it for goals! I think they are all fully achievable. Hopefully I’ll be back here in four weeks to say I actually did everything on this list!

Quick September Goals Recap

September is almost over! I realize that nobody else probably cares about all these goals and intentions posts, but it really helps me to organize my thoughts at the beginning and end of every week and month to make the most of my time and live life with as much intention as possible. For awhile I was making goals by season, but every month holds so many different priorities that I’ve switched over to just focusing on each four week block at a time. So here’s a (hopefully) quick recap on how I feel like my September goals played out!

1. Get back to routine:
– Wake up by 5:30 and get ready right away
– Start each day with a quiet time and day organization
– Use any remaining time before 6:30 to do something for myself
– Focus on the boys and school stuff until it’s time to leave
– Walk them to school and walk extra with Annie
– Get to work by 9:00 and stay focused
– Focus on the boys between school pick up and dinner
– End each day with the bullet journal, tracking, and prepping the next day

I think I did a pretty great job with this one! I never have a problem waking up early and most days I was up around 5. I had enough time to shower and get out of the bathroom before Greg woke up. I wasn’t great about it on weekends, but every weekday I’d start with a quiet and devotional time and do a bit of prepping for the day in my bullet journal. And most days I used that remaining me time to read. There were a few days I chose to get a little bit of work done in that time, but I tried to stick with things that were purely for my own enjoyment. Getting back into the school day routine was easier than ever this year. I walked them every day, except the days they rode their bikes, and a few days it was raining. And with the exception of the rain days, I also walked Annie. Not always as long or as far as I would have liked, but more than just coming straight back home. I wasn’t particularly great at getting to work at 9 because there were just so many weird days and random errands I had to run. But I did try to be done with my random internet time by 9 every day so I could focus on actually accomplishing something. I made dinnertime prep a higher priority than I put it during the summer and tried to be more emotionally available to the boys, though most days they were with their friends during that stretch. And I ended almost every day doing a little bit of journaling. Some days time got away from me and I chose to go watch tv with Greg instead of making him wait any longer. But overall, I think the routine stuff was kind of a breeze! I LOVE fall when I can finally get back into the swing of everything. Summer is too chaotic and random.

2. Focus on working

I was not super successful with this. It was a busy month. It’s hard to work at home when there are always eight million other directions my mind and energy should and could be going. Ideally I wanted to average working about 6 hours a day. I did track it and it averaged to about 3.5 hours per weekday, though really it was like three days of no work at all a week and two days of super long full day and night spans. I’d really like to be more consistent, only work during the day, and find a bit more balance between everything. But…it takes time. I didn’t write it in my goals blog post, but I also wanted to create 30 dolls in September. I made 29. I sold 21. Not too bad, but I hope to be better in the future.

3. Take care of my body
– Walk Annie at least 30 minutes a day with an extra nighttime walk
– Do the Yoga with Adriene 14 day challenge
– Eat better

I think I did better this month. I’ve been thinking a lot harder about everything I put into my body. I don’t always make the best choices, but I’m much more conscious about what I’m eating. I’m trying to streamline my daytime meals and snacks so I’m not tempted to overindulge. I’m trying to make healthier meals at night so we’re not just throwing junky things together last minute. I have a potential diet plan I MIGHT sign up for, but I wanted to be a little more lenient on myself until after my birthday next week. I’m not sure I’m ready to commit to it yet. Anyway, I think I hit my walking goal most days. It’s pretty easy to get 30 minutes in. Those days were rough with the mosquitoes, though! I would have liked to have walked more and longer all of those days, but the bugs were horrific. And I totally failed at the yoga challenge. I did the first four days and then my ankles were so ridiculously sore that I could barely walk. I was also feeling really sick around day five from getting on the new blood pressure medicine and I just had to give it up. I like yoga – on occasion. Every day is too much for me. It’s definitely too much for my ankle still, seven months in.

4. Give Caden a great birthday month

I think I succeeded at this! We kept everything pretty low key this year, which really worked out. Trying to make things extravagant and super exciting never really goes over well with Caden. He likes to be home, he likes to do simple things. We had a nice small family birthday party, a very low energy video game friend birthday party, and a quiet real birthday split between playing games and going to a fall activities place. He seemed very happy with all of it.

5. Have fun!

Sometimes September really stresses me out. Oftentimes, actually. The boys are gone during the day, but they’re in horrific moods every night. I want to have great birthday parties for Caden, but it’s so stressful making sure the house is clean, the food is great, and everyone has a good time. And I’m often frustrated with myself for my inability to ever accomplish as much as I want to. But this time around – I really did have fun! I had my mini Chicago solo vacation with the added bonus of finding a great vintage market on the way, we had very low key birthday celebrations that didn’t really stress me out at all, Greg and I had a really great date night and picked out a reading chair that I’ve been wanting for like 15 years, I had a great time at Cranberry Fest with my weekends, and I kept my workload light enough that I still had lots of fun to just read, relax, and enjoy my life! Overall, it was a pretty great month!

September Goals

Happy September!

The calendar has turned, the kids have returned to school, and my heart is filled with joy! I can’t even tell you how much I struggle with summer and how much happier and free I feel in fall. I love my kids, but I’m a much better mom when I’m not with them 24 hours a day. I think they’re happier too, having a normalized routine, seeing their friends every day, using their brains and bodies for more than just laying around the house, eating three solid meals with a lot less random snacking, and feeling a greater sense of purpose in their own lives. I love the fresh beginnings, the cooling temperatures, and most of all – seven blessed hours at home to myself every day. I can breathe again and I love it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about goals now that the season has shifted and with what mindsets and intentions I want to carry with me into the fall. I was going to do an all-encompassing fall goals list, but I decided that September, October, and November are all so vastly different, I’m better off keeping these on a month by month basis. I do much better with short term goals that I can think about often and actually reach.

1. Get back to routine.

Easy enough, right!? I feel like with my own personal routines I’m pretty good at staying on task for 11 months of the year, and then August comes and everything slides away. I start sleeping in later, I stop persisting with Annie’s and my exercise routines, and I let meal planning and cooking really fall to the wayside. It’s hard to pick it all up again in full force come September. But I’m ready. The hardest part is going to be getting disciplined in the mornings. I never have much issue waking up early, but more often than not I end up wasting so much of my best mental energy just doing stupid things on my computer. Anyway, I’m going to write out what I’d like my ideal routine to look like. I think about 90% of school days should be able to follow this routine without much hiccup!

A. Wake up by 5:30 every day and take a shower immediately if it doesn’t interfere with Greg’s morning schedule. (I get way too lazy when I put it off until later in the morning.)

B. Start each morning downstairs with a quiet time, devotional, writing a short gratitude list, and going over my bullet journal – which I definitely want to be consistent about using again.

C. If there is any remaining time before the boys get up, use it to do something for myself. Read, exercise, bake, write, etc.

D. Fully focus on the boys from 6:30 until when we leave for school. If I’m not trying to multitask with work or the internet, I will be a much better mom in the limited time I have with them.

E. Walk them both to school and walk an extra 15-45 minutes with Annie before coming home. Never go on my computer until after this whole morning routine is done!

F. Get down to work by 9:00. Hopefully most days that means actually working! Otherwise if it’s an errand running day, don’t put it off. Just go and get it over with.

G. Pick the boys up from school and just focus on them and homework and dinner until after we’ve eaten.

I. End each evening going over my bullet journal, writing about the day, filling in my tracking stats, and preparing for the next day.

2. Focus on WORKING.

Summer is over! I have the great privilege of working for myself and taking any time off whenever I need it. But that doesn’t change the fact that people are relying on me and if I’m not producing enough dolls, I’m going to lose their interest. And their money! 🙂 I’ve given myself a lot of leeway over the summer, which I think is the right choice. But it’s time to stop coddling myself and just sit down and focus. Fall and Halloween dolls are always huge sellers and I’m definitely behind on where I should be at this time of year. So unless I have a grand excuse not to be, I’d ideally like to put in at least six hours a day for the rest of the month.

3. Take care of my body.

My high blood pressure at the doctor’s appointment the other day has been a bit of a wake up call. I often think of my being overweight as just being an inconvenience to finding clothes that fit and look good on me. When you realize that you actually have internal things going on that ARE NOT GOOD FOR YOU, it’s kind of eye opening. I mean, I’m not stupid and I realize I’m not exactly healthy. But it’s also been hard to put exercise first when I broke my ankle and couldn’t walk for three months and the following three months have still been filled with pain. But it needs to be a higher priority here on out. I have sub goals for this too!

A. Walk Annie for at least 30 minutes every morning and take a second afternoon or evening walk when time and mosquitoes allow it. (They are a NIGHTMARE right now.) Always bring earbuds wherever I go because it makes walking a lot more interesting and takes my attention off of how my ankle feels.

B. Do the Yoga with Adriene Commune 14 Day Challenge. In January, I did a 30 day yoga challenge with her videos and I actually rather liked it. There were days and poses that I absolutely hated, but there were other days when I realized how much better I would feel if I made this a regular practice in my life. My doctor is all about the yoga. My best friend is all about the yoga. I think it’s time to give it another shot. I don’t see this as something I’ll do every day of my life, but I think doing a 14 day challenge will help propel in the right direction to do it at least 2-3 times a week.

C. Eat better. Just plain eat better. Plan meals. Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Stop buying so much crappy food. Stop eating so many crappy snacks. Fill the fridge with healthy choices every single week. Drink a whole lot more water. Be a healthier person by making the healthier decisions.

4. Give Caden a great birthday month!

September is the start of birthday season in our family. Caden and I and at least half of our extended family has birthdays these last four months of the year. It gets a little crazy. (And expensive lol) But I think I have two good yet easy and manageable birthday parties planned for him now, as well as whatever he wants to do on his actual birthday. I still need to brainstorm some good gift ideas. But I’m on track for everything going well, I think! I’m not always the greatest at making people feel special, but I really hope he comes out of this birthday time feeling loved and important.

5. HAVE FUN!

The last few weeks have been very much about just surviving. Getting through life without losing my mind. I’m hoping September will be a lot more fun! It SHOULD be. But sometimes I let all the chaos overwhelm me and I can’t really enjoy anything. But starting with this weekend I’m going to a Popcast Live Show (CANNOT WAIT) and having a super mini vacation by myself. At the end of the month I have my beloved Cranberry Fest trip with my parents. I’m hoping to get to the awesome fall farmers markets as often as possible on the weeks in between. I’m hoping to reconnect with some friends after barely seeing or talking to anyone all summer. And I want to give myself a good amount of self care and fun excursions when I know I need them. It’s going to be great!