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Showing posts with label goals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label goals. Show all posts

Monday, April 4, 2016

15 for 30 goals check in

Today I celebrate my 31st birthday, and WOW does it feel crazy to type that. I remember when my older cousins turned 30 and complained about how old they felt, and now I'm as old as they were when they said that! And even though I'm a year older than 30 and have a baby, I still feel pretty young. It's like my grandma told me once: she still felt like the same person she was when she was 18. She had aged on the outside, but on the inside she still felt like the same person. Age is a funny thing. 

Last year I set 15 goals for myself. Here's how I did with them. 

1. Spend time in the garden (community and porch) - check

Before we moved from Milwaukee in November, I spent some time on the front porch and the community garden with Baby T. Not as much as I expected to, but it was something. 

2. Keep up with regular low impact exercise - check 

Being a stay at home and living in a place with a milder winter has made exercising a lot easier. I go walking regularly and started doing a stroller boot camp. Which is much more a boot camp than a stroller class. 

3. Get back to roller derby - nope

Moving away from Milwaukee made this difficult. I probably could have found a way to do roller derby in St. Louis, but I haven't had the motivation to look into it. I sure do miss it though. 

4. Bake something new - check

I made some delicious ice cream sandwiches for a dinner party. It wasn't difficult, but it was new, so it counts. 

5. Complete one big painting project - working on it! more to come on this

6. Try a new craft - not really

I've been doing more ink drawings, but I don't think that's what I really meant when I wrote this goal. 

7. Try oil paints - nope

I didn't have access to oil paints, but I recently found out a friend has some and wants to paint together. Maybe by this time next year, I'll have overcome my fear of oils!

8. Take the baby to St. Louis, Portland, and one other place - check

We travelled all over with Baby T! We went to Portland twice, Michigan, St. Louis, and then back up to Milwaukee after we moved back to St. Louis. 

9. Embrace motherhood - check (I think?) 

You can judge for yourself based on my "thoughts on motherhood" posts. 

10. Complete 52 week photography challenge - nope

11. Make some baby photo albums - nope. I really need to get on this one. 

12. Go on regular dates with Paul - check 

I think we get out pretty regularly for being new parents. We've been to the movies, out to dinner, and even to an adult birthday party! We are basically the hippest. 

13. Be kind to myself - check 

The kindest thing I've done for myself is allowing myself to be a stay at home mom after we moved to St. Louis. I felt a panic every time I thought about finding a new job, and I felt so happy and complete spending time with my baby guy. I listened to myself (and Paul listened to me too), and I decided to spend some time at home. Though money is tight, it's been a wonderful thing for our family. 

14. Play and dance - check

If it makes Baby T smile, I pretty much do it. So yes, lots of playing and dancing happened this year. 

15. Start a family tradition - check

On Sundays we like to go to mass then go out to lunch. We usually pick a different "ethnic" restaurant to try out. It's been fun to have that time and to explore St. Louis together. We also started making lumpia (Filipino egg rolls) for special holidays. 

And there you have it. My 31st year of life. For my 32nd year, I'd like to focus on being healthier. I love Michael Pollan and eating for the environment and taking care of my body, but I don't actually do it. I think that I eat mostly plants like Michael Pollan suggests, but the reality is that I eat mostly carbs. Eating healthy nowadays almost feels counter cultural, so I don't completely blame myself for falling into bad eating habits. But hopefully this time next year, my eating habits will look at least a little different from what they do now. It's not just for me that I do this but for my husband and my little baby guy. Life is so good with them, I want to be able to enjoy it for a long time to come. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

my new year's resolution

March 2 seems like a great day to share my New Year's resolution for 2016.  Blame it on lack of sleep or all the time spent chasing a little baby guy around, but I'm honestly just happy I'm managing to share it with you at all!  

Ironically, this has been the longest I've stuck to a resolution in quite some time.  I'll give some credit to the tracking tool I purchased from Elise Joy.  For $4 I downloaded the tracking sheet and could print it as many times as I wanted.  Now, could I have just made one myself?  Absolutely.  But there was something about making a tiny investment in the tracker that made me want to stick to my commitment a little more.  Plus I saw that someone last year had colored their circles in with different markers and that made me want to do it too. 

I've committed to sketching, drawing, or doodling fifteen minutes a day for every day in 2016.  So far I've missed only one day had three other days where I sketched, just not for the full fifteen minutes.  Most days I draw for longer than fifteen minutes, but I never "require" myself to do it too long so that it always seems manageable with everything else I have going on.  

In January I copied Lisa Congdon's sketchbook pages and threw in random original drawings like the one above.  In February I copied Mirdinara's sketchbook which was much harder and not nearly as enjoyable.  But I stuck with it all month and practiced a style that was out of my comfort zone which is what I've been hoping to do as an artist for some time.  
The hardest part of art for me is usually practicing and this resolution has finally helped me work on that.  Plus it's a great way to relax in the evenings, and I feel like I'm "accomplishing" something completely unrelated to being a mom or wife.  I've come to realize that I need something that is mine alone so that I can be a better person for my family and friends. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

finding joy in tidying (final check in)

While enjoying delicious curry a couple weeks ago, I dumped a bunch of sauce on our computer keyboard.  And then half the keys stopped working.  <groan>  While the computer is being repaired, I recycled an old photo.  Thanks for understanding my necessary awkward blogger move. 
It's been a little over a month since I read the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and began to organize our apartment.  I didn't finish everything within my allotted month (didn't really expect to), but I made really great progress.  Our apartment feels lighter, it stays cleaner, and I enjoy spending time in it even more.  My mind feels less cluttered in our house.  

I've been continuing to clean stuff out, but I lost a lot of my momentum when I got to the tougher things.  Papers were exhausting to go through, I realized I have a big emotional attachment to lots of my old mixed cds, and things just stopped feeling straight forward to clean out.  But I found this list of stuff to get rid of and that has been helpful for making a game plan for the rest of the apartment.  

Here's the final list of things I cleaned out/organized during my month of cleaning: 

- All my clothes (in closets, dresser drawers, and storage under my bed)
- My accessories, jewelry, shoes, jackets
- Our pens 
- Our towels and linens
- All of our books (including cookbooks)
- Some papers (including all my financial, student loan, and medical papers)
- Front closet 
- Pantry
- Tea
- Movies
- Art supplies (what a task!)
- Night stand 
- Dishes and serving stuff 

Marie Kondo says that you should clean stuff out in a specific order: clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous, photos/memorabilia.  I learned in this challenge that "miscellaneous" is way too big of a category, and if you don't have a list of things to go through in a specific order it's really easy to get stuck and give up.  She has some things in her miscellaneous category, just not enough for me.  Because as this challenge taught me, I have waaaaay too much stuff!!  

A few other thoughts about tidying up since my last update: 

- Embarrassingly I noticed that I have duplicates of some things because I bought things I already had at home.  I just didn't remember I had them because I have too much!  How unnecessary.  I'm hoping that keeping things organized will help me remember what I have so I don't buy and consume unnecessarily.  

- I realized I had a similar problem with grocery shopping.  I would buy things we already had, then waste one thing or sometimes even both because I didn't have a plan for using them.  This challenge has surprisingly lead to less food waste, more effective grocery shopping, a better meal plan, and using stuff from our pantry.   

- One challenge of getting rid of stuff is actually getting it out the door.  I had gone through some stuff before Theo was born, and it's still sitting in a box in our basement waiting to be donated.  With this month's challenge, I've been more intentional about following through on tasks liking dropping clothes off at the shelter.  If I hadn't, boxes of donations would probably be gathering dust for another year until they just ended up in the garbage - or just as bad - coming with us to our next apartment. 

- Our house is staying cleaner (other than the donation boxes hanging out in random places).  My clothes are staying organized, and my bedroom and bathroom are actually less cluttered because i don't let my dirty clothes pile up.  Our mail also doesn't pile up as badly.  Overall our apartment just feels more awesome. 

 If these posts have inspired you to clean up your own space, yippee!  My recommendation is to have a game plan and to tackle your stuff in a specific order.  Set aside an average of thirty minutes a day for at least several weeks.  This helped me tremendously.  I don't think I would have made as much progress as I did, and I don't think my changes would have stuck if I had just done a little here and there.  Committing to it as a project was a big part of my success.  And finally, don't be afraid to just jump in.  The work I've put in as paid off ten fold in the level of enjoyment I experience in our house.  

Good luck!  And thanks for reading!

More reading: Finding joy in tidying up (first post), Tidying check in #1

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

tidying check in (number 1)

“Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.”

I am very proud to be checking in for the first time about my September tidying project.  Proud because (1) I'm actually checking in and (2) because I'm making great progress.  This week I cleaned out/organized the following:

- all of our books (even those hiding under our guest bed)
- some papers (including all my financial, student loan, and medical papers)
- front closet 
- pantry
- tea

The papers are taking forever because I'm a bit of a pack rat when it comes to keeping paper mementoes and what I'll call "art inspiration."  I'm working on organizing all of my art inspiration papers, the cards I've kept over the years, and my photos in one space.  I haven't decided if I'll return to these at the end of the project (mementoes and photos are supposed to be tackled last) or if I'll try to go through more of them this week.   

Next up: 
Finishing my papers.  This will still take a while, but it's been so worth the time I've put into organizing.  I've been dumping papers into boxes for years - which means that I have boxes that accumulate lots of crap besides the papers, and I really have no idea what's in any of these boxes.  Now I'll know where things are and actually be able to access them when I need something.  

If I finish all the papers this week then I'll move onto the miscellaneous stuff: CDs, DVDs, skin care, makeup, accessories, valuables, electrical equipment and appliances.

Some reflections on the process thus far:

- I'm already tidying our house more.  I'm putting basic things (like my clothes, jackets, Theo's stuff) back where they belong right away.  This helps our space feel lighter even though the tidying project isn't finished.  I'm also maintaining a clean house a little better - mostly because I spend less time tidying since I'm doing it in small chunks every day.

- I like sitting in our living room more now.  Do you have room "problem spots" that automatically draw your attention to them over and over and over again?  I had about a dozen, and I finally fixed them.  I dusted, vacuumed, put away clutter that had accumulated, and organized our books.  I like looking at all the books on our entertainment center - I know they all bring me joy (or bring Paul joy).

- After cleaning out my clothes, I love looking at our bedroom closet, and I find I'm wearing a wider variety of clothes.  Thinking about what clothes gave me joy was a little tricky at times, but it was ultimately a successful tool for judging what to keep.  It was tricky because being   twelve weeks out from labor means I'm in between maternity clothes and my old "skinny" clothes.  Being reminded that I couldn't quite fit into my old clothes did not really elicit feelings of joy, but I'm hopeful that the stuff I decided to keep will keep fitting better and better.

- Putting my house in order has inspired me to check a lot of things off my old to do list.  (I find productivity usually leads to more productivity.)  I dropped off all our donations from the things we've decided to give away.  I asked a friend to fix a lot of my broken jewelry (post on this coming next week!).  AND I've started putting all my financial records and accounts in order.  It feels amazing!!

- Lastly, I've been thinking a lot about the connection between living simply, having fewer possessions, and environmental stewardship.  My tidying kick is appropriately happening at the same time that I'm developing an environmental retreat at work.  I've been realizing a lot of our environmental problems come from our consumer culture, and I'm seeing that getting rid of things that don't spark joy is a great reset for the need to consume.  I see how much I already have that I enjoy (and how much I have that I don't), and it has helped ease my need to buy more.  For example, I see how many beautiful clothes I own, and literally being able to see them better now has helped me be more creative with how I use them -- limiting my need for adding to my wardrobe and consuming more.  

I'm realizing this whole tidying process is a marathon, and I'm trying to keep my energy going.  When starting this, I really wasn't thinking about how many things we own and how many things I would have to go through and organize.  It's just further inspiration to keep simplifying and letting go so we have less to keep in order in the future.   

Saturday, September 5, 2015

finding joy in tidying up

One of the happiest years of my life was my year serving in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (it was also one of the hardest, but that's another story).  A big contributor to that happiness was having a tidy, organized house to come home to at the end of the night.  I was living in Syracuse, so all my belongings for the year had been shipped to me - and that coupled with the desire to live simply helped me drastically reduce the amount of stuff I had.  Consequently it was the first time I had ever consistently had a clean room, and it was the lightest I ever felt.  I experienced what it was like to let my living come before my stuff.  The only problem was that when I went back home after my year was over, I was confronted with all my possessions I had left behind.  Gradually these unessential possessions got mixed in with my essential ones, and I was weighed down once again.  

I kept remembering that experience while listening to The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  It was a quick listen for an audio book (about five hours), and it really hit home for me.  Author Marie Kondo, a lifelong/obsessive tidier, has a really simple approach to cleaning up your home.  First, keep only the things in your home that bring you joy.  Second, find a place for every single thing in your home to stay.  She claims if you go through every single item in your house one time asking yourself the simple question "does this bring me joy?", you'll be able to permanently put your house in order.  Sounds like a lot of work but also pretty tempting right? 

She says tidying begins with discarding (anything that doesn't bring you joy) -- and to tidy in the right  order as quickly as possible.  The order: clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous, photos/memorabilia.  She recommends going category by category and being pretty ruthless if you don't feel a sense of joy (or at least a sense of very good function in the case of things in the kitchen/bathroom/office).  

I loved how simple and profound this approach is.  I also loved some of these other thoughts of hers.  Would you rather your house be for living or for storage?  It's unnatural to own things that don't bring us joy and that we don't really need.  And one of my favorites -- gifts served their purpose when you first received them (by showing you the gift giver's care for you), it's ok to let the gifts go if you don't use them.   

Marie Kondo talks about how inanimate objects have feelings and you should wish them well on their journey when giving them away - kind of kooky.  I also thought she sounded crazy when talking about storing clothes vertically in your drawers, but I decided to give it a try and it turns out it works really well!  Picking out my clothes is so much simpler and more enjoyable since I can see everything in my drawer at a glance. 

Marie Kondo is a little over the top (I mean she tidies for a living!), but her message was spot on for me.  Listening to this book has inspired me to really clean out and tidy up our apartment - to try to permanently find that light feeling in our living space.  Our little baby Theo is already rolling on his side and looks ready to start running any day, so I know my days to deep clean are limited.  Plus, what better way to teach our son about simplicity than to bring him up in a house that has less stuff?  

Thus, I am dedicating the month of September to cleaning out the house!!!  I started, last week, and I can already feel a difference in the apartment.  Visually it doesn't seem like a lot yet since it's been stuff that's mostly stored away, but that light feeling from my service year is slowly returning.  

This past week I cleaned out/went through/organized the following: 
- All my clothes (in closets, dresser drawers, and storage under my bed)
- My accessories, jewelry, shoes, jackets
- Our pens (super simple, but it feels great to know I only have pens I like writing with in the house)
- Our towels and linens

I've already given away about ten trash bags full of stuff.  It felt amazing loading that stuff up and dropping it off.  I just can't believe how much more clutter and stuff we still have with ten trash bags out of the house.  It's crazy just how much stuff a space can hold.  

I'm coupling this month of cleaning with another challenge of sorts I've been wanting to do for a few years.  I'll be taking a daily photo of our apartment and posting my favorites here.  It doesn't take much effort, and I thought it would be fun to document the transformation of our living space.  My initial favorites are in this post.  

Next up in my organizing project are our household books and papers.  I'm hoping I can post an update next week saying that I've made really good progress in this area.  The key for me so far has been doing a little bit every day and having an idea of what I'll be working on for the next few days so I don't lose momentum.  

I'm hoping to post weekly updates and one final summary of the project at the end of the month.  I have about 50% confidence in myself that I'll stick to that posting schedule with little baby Theo taking my attention :)  

Have you caught the Marie Kondo tidying bug?  Think you have anything that could use decluttering?  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

15 (goals) for 30

I mentioned last week that I would be sharing my goals for my 30th year (31st year? I have no idea how this works).  I've scaled down the number of goals and the scope of my goals compared to years past.  I knew I would feel slightly off if I started a year without setting some new goals, but I also didn't want to overwhelm myself in my first year as a mom.

I decided on these fifteen goals and am calling it my 15 for 30 list.  (Paul and I play cribbage and a lot of times I'll get mixed up with scoring and say things like "15 for 30" instead of "15 for 2" or however you correctly announce points in cribbage.)

In writing this list, I thought ahead to next April 4th when I know I'll appreciate being able to say that I met most of my goals.  It'll be a year when my biggest accomplishments - keeping our baby alive and becoming a mom - won't be as tangible because they're not something you can really check off a goal list.  I have a feeling this list will give me that extra pat on the back boost I'll probably need after a challenging, wonderful year.  The other thing inspiring this list is that I want to hold on to a few things that bring me joy in my current pre-baby life.  I want to keep accomplishing things that have nothing to do with the baby but everything to do with continuing my personal development and ultimately making me a better person and parent. 

My 15 for 30 List

1. Spend time in the garden (community and porch)
2. Keep up with regular low impact exercise  
3. Get back to roller derby
4. Bake something new
5. Complete one big painting project
6. Try a new craft
7. Try oil paints
8. Take the baby to St. Louis, Portland, and one other place
9. Embrace motherhood
10. Complete 52 week photography challenge
11. Make some baby photo albums
12. Go on regular dates with Paul
13. Be kind to myself
14. Play and dance
15. Start a family tradition

I am so excited about this list and so excited to experience these things/check them off.  The goals are simple, attainable, a bit challenging, and should be fun and enjoyable. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

30 before 30 (update)

In anticipation of celebrating my 30th birthday this Saturday, I revisited my 30 before 30 list last week.  You can do a quick scan down and see I didn't even check a third of my goals off my list.  A friend and I joked that 8 or 12 before 30 had just as nice a ring to it as 30 before 30 does.  At least that's what we'll tell ourselves.
So why did I accomplish so few of the goals I set for myself last April?  I think the big reason is that I simply got distracted.  Distracted by two major things and three kind of major things. Kind of major thing #1: deciding to travel to Iceland in September.  Kind of major thing #2: travelling to several cities in November to present on my Jesuit martyr paintings.  Kind of major thing #3: my artist in residence at Marquette and painting James Foley.  Major thing #1: a job/career change (and everything that went with that).  Major thing #2: getting pregnant (and everything that goes with that).   
Travelling to Iceland ensured that most of my other travel for the year would be very limited.  Travelling and presenting in November took a lot of my focus for the months of October and November - limiting travel time and time to do other simpler things from my list.  My artist in residence cancelled out the other major paintings I wanted to do.  The job/career change took a lot of my time, energy, and focus from about June to March - for reals.  And pregnancy...well pregnancy changed a whole lot of things and shifted a lot of my priorities. 
I say all of that more to myself than anyone else to make me feel a little better when looking at such an unfulfilled goal list.  The truth is that it was really hard to predict in April 2014 what my life would look like in April 2015.  I just didn't imagine the wonderful opportunities that would come my way this year.  I write goal lists in part to help give my life meaning and focus.  And sometimes life just takes on meaning on its own, and I've learned that it works out much better to get myself and my expectations out of the way when this happens. 
As I write this post and go through all the things that I did do this year, I'm totally fine with only checking 8 goals off my list.  I had a wonderful 29th year, and I'm so grateful that I'll that came my way.  I'll do another goal list for this next year, but they will be extremely paired down goals - in number as well as in scope.  I'll share those next week. 
Here are the goals I set out to achieve before my 30th birthday along with links if I wrote blog posts to go along with them. 
1. Finish decorating the apartment

2. Take a French class/do something French (kissing doesn’t count)

3. Read 5 classic books I never got around to reading (from list of 50 books I want to read)

4. Buy a magazine subscription

5. Camp on a beach

6. Stay the night in a yurt

7. Close Wolski’s (for real)

8. Make a go to recipe book

9. Update my blog (for real)

10. Make my own ice cream flavor

11. 30 days apartment photos

12. Fill sketchbook

13. Photo albums: wedding, Europe, Papa 

14. Hike Ice Age Trail (We hiked this right before my morning sickness hit!  Looking at these pictures makes me feel a little nauseas!)

15. Do a weekend getaway out of the Wisconsin travel book

16. Visit a new state

17. Save for retirement

18. Read news habitually

19. Host a dress up party

20. Learn to make a fancy dessert (like macarons or truffles) 

21. Do the big paintings (Romero and Fr. Greg)

22. Organize my files!!

23. Create a garden oasis on our front porch

24. Do something irresponsible (like get a tattoo)

25. Go to the zoo

26. Travel to New Orleans

27. Dip my toes in Lake Superior 

28. Visit a state park

29. Fly a kite

30. Make a fancy dinner
Thanks for reading! 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

four simple goals review (2014)

This year, I split my 2014 new years resolutions/goals into small monthly goals.  Four each month, each designed to be completed in a 28/30/31 day period.  I fell off the wagon at the end of the year, but I really enjoyed these little goals this year.  Today I'm sharing a post about how I did and what I learned from my goals this year.  You'll notice I started the goal challenge in February but made some retroactive goals for January.  After my monthly recap I have a summary of the goals I accomplished through this challenge + lessons learned.  


If I would have made a list for January it would have included: sign up for a roller derby bootcamp (check!), make homemade ice cream (check!), plan a trip (check!), and finish all my 101 goals (complete un-check!). 

Limit my Facebook visits to once a day: kind of.  Limited but not to once a day.  Plan my garden: check.  Take an overnight trip with Paul: check (went to Madison for Valentine's Day).   Decorate for the season: check. I added some cute winter/Valentine's Day decorations to our apartment.  

Edit and print five photos: check.  Monthlong Apartment Therapy Cure: Nowhere close to finishing this.  But I did make a list of things I want to work on in our apartment, so it was worth putting on my goal list just for getting that list made.  Purchase and start seeds: Done and done. Read a book: Nope.  Instead I painted (and played derby and cooked and walked the dogs and planned my garden).  I find I go in waves of either reading a lot or creating a lot.  I can't seem to do both at the same time. 

Finish the paintings: painted but didn't finish anything.  Make time for quiet: yes.  Organize the art room: not really.  Daily stretching: not really. (I almost didn't post a review of this month because I was embarrassed that I didn't officially check anything off, but I decided that posting this would help me to stay accountable to myself.)  

Ride my bike: Yes. I realized I was getting to the end of the month and hadn't ridden anywhere yet so I road my bike to the end of the driveway and back to my garage.  Create a food budget: We took some great steps towards getting our food spending and usage in check.  Make a photo album: I picked a lot of the photos I wanted for my wedding album, but I just didn't have the energy to make a whole album.  Miles challenge: Yes, I finished all 30 skating miles and my 30 walking/running miles!  

Travel healthy: I was out of town for 9/30 days this month, and I found having this goal in the back of my mind was helpful for keeping myself healthy.  Plan garden recipes: I bought an A to Z vegetable recipe book through my CSA which has been helping me come up with creative ways to cook all the veggies coming from the CSA, the garden, and the farmers market. Upload photos: Big fail!  After setting this goal, I promptly changed my mind and began working on something else.  Be present: This is one of those areas I'll always be working to improve at.  There were a few times this month when I purposely hid my phone away, ignored chores, and postponed other responsibilities so I could just sit and be.   

I gave my best at roller derby, and I passed my 101 level WFTDA skills test!  This was a huge accomplishment for me because I really had to push myself to skate faster and with greater skill than I had done before.  Launch blog update: check!  I'm really, really happy with how it looks, and I feel like it reflects my style much better than my last blog design. Send photos to friends: fail.  Take time for myself: check.   I was also really proud of how I took time for myself in the midst of a very busy and very stressful month.  There's a line in one of my favorite Youtube meditation videos that says "the world will not come to an end because you are taking time for yourself."  This thought has stayed with me and has shifted the way I think about productivity.  


It's harder to say what I would have done this month since it was already five months ago, and I forgot to do a goal list with the craziness of transitioning from one full time job to two part time jobs.  But I have a feeling the list would have included something about starting my new job and wearing a pair of sassy high heels that I never feel quite confident enough to wear.  The start to my new job went smoothly and I rocked the heels!  

Buy new glasses: nope.  5k training: I hit an unexpected road block with this goal.  I started having a lot of pain in my left knee whenever I bent my leg (pretty much all the time).  I went to see a physical therapist and was given some simple exercises that corrected my alignment and very quickly minimized the pain.  Raise money for AFSP: check!  Close Wolski's: I had a day all scheduled to close Wolski's.  I had picked a Sunday evening, thinking that it would let me close Wolski's and get to sleep at a reasonable time.  And then I called them to confirm their Sunday hours.  And they said they close at 2 am.  2 am!!  Who can stay up that late???  Not this girl.  Closing Wolski's may eventually happen, but it's going to be on some night where I'm already feeling a little crazy - and I definitely do not have to work in the morning.   

Start the painting: Nope, was too busy.  Prepare the talks: I gave about eight talks in five cities about these paintings I completed in college.  And I succeeded in putting most of the talks together this month.  Find joy in Autumn: I did this through the Instagram challenge I put together (and then never got around to posting the winners.  Oops).  Journal often: nope. 


This is the month I fell off the wagon.  Well technically I fell off the wagon sometime in October because I never did a check in post on my October goals.  But this was the month that I wasn't able to set goals.  If I had, they probably would have included making it to all my intended travel destinations (Chicago, Syracuse, Kansas City, and DC), to be gentle with myself, and to give my best at my presentations.  I'm proud to say I did all three of these.  


Another month I wasn't on top of things to make a goal list.  Since I'm still in the month of December, I don't feel as silly setting a few simple goals for myself.  They would be/are send Christmas cards (in progress), start exercising again, get a haircut, and get a pedicure.  Three out of the four are complete!  

SUMMARY: the goals I completed this year!!

January: sign up for roller derby boot camp, make home made ice cream, plan a trip
February: limit Facebook visits, plan my garden, decorate for the season, take an overnight trip with paul
March: edit and print five photos, purchase and start seeds
April: make time for quiet, (more) daily stretching
May: ride my bike, create a food budget, complete miles challenge (30 in 30 days)
June: travel healthy, be present
July: give my best at roller derby (passed skills test!), launch blog update, take time for myself
August: start new job, wear the fun shoes  
September: raise money for AFSP
October: prepare the (painting) talks, find joy in autumn 
November: survive travel, give my best at the talks
December: send chrismas cards, start exercising, haircut, pedicure

This year, I created a four simple goals list for 8/12 months and retroactively created lists for the last 4/12 months.  Most goals were something I thought of just before the beginning of the month, not things that I had intended to do since January 2014.  

A little over half way through the year, I realized that most months I only achieved one to two goals, good months I achieved three, fantastic months (February and probably December) I got all four.  So why do I did keep doing this challenge if I wasn't 100% successful at achieving my goals each month? 

For one, I love setting goals.  It works well for me as a fun way to be productive.  Two, I think reaching 25-75% of my goals is better than reaching 0% of goals I don't set for myself.  Happily, every month of this year I did something that I wouldn't have if I didn't try making myself accountable by posting about in on the blog.  It's pretty neat to see all those simple goals I did this year because of this challenge.  

And what about all those goals that I didn't check off my list?  Sometimes the uncompleted goals were things that I still really wanted to do and were added to next month's (unpublished) list.  Sometimes I realized the uncompleted goals were things that I just didn't actually want to do.  Things (like closing Wolski's) that sounded fun while writing my list but in reality I didn't actually feel like doing.

Through this challenge I became more gentle with myself with achieving goals.  In the past I would be really hard on myself if I didn't achieve everything on my list.  I felt unaccomplished, unfinished.  But this challenge helped me start to learn that progress is better than perfection, something I hope to continue next year.    

In 2015 I'll be doing two more traditional goals: exercising and painting daily.  I'm using this fantastic goal tracker from Elise Blaha to keep myself motivated.  I love that the tracker helps you see the overall progress you're making towards your goals -- even if you may fall off track here and there.  My plan is to still post monthly updates of my progress since that seemed to help me this year.  I'll also be posting pictures on Instagram from my (hopefully) daily walks.  You can follow along with the hashtag #walkitout2015.  

What are your goals for 2015?  How will you achieve them?  

Monday, October 6, 2014

october four simple goals

Each month I'll be sharing four simple goals on the blog.  You can join along by making your own four simple goals for the month - things that you might not do if you didn't commit to it, but not anything that feels overwhelming or that can't get done in a 28/30/31 day period.  You can also use my monthly image (below) on your own blog if you'd like, just link back to here and share a link to your blog below in the comments section so I can check it out! 

This month feels like it's going to be one of my favorites of the year.  Fall is in full swing, the colors are beautiful, and things feel cozy.  We've been listening to more music around our apartment, a lot of First Aid Kit and .  We've got some fun simple things planned for the month like having a Great Pumpkin night, a canning workshop, and a concert in Chicago. 

It's also the calm before the storm.  Next month I'll be travelling to five cities to do presentations on paintings I did a few years ago.  I am super excited, but I know that November will be crazy.  And then we'll go right into Christmas season.  So I'm looking forward to soaking things up this month and making extra time to relax before the craziness begins. 

1. Start the painting: Because my talks next month are about paintings I did seven years ago, one question I inevitably will be asked is "what have you been painting lately?"  I've painted little things in the past few years, but I haven't undertaken anything as big as the painting project I'll be speaking about.  I've had an idea for another large portrait, and I'd like to start it this month so I can answer honestly that I have something cool in the works. 

2. Prepare the talks: this is not actually a simple goal.  But it's going to occupy so much of my time this month that I wanted to "get credit" for it.  I'll be giving about eight talks in five cities about these paintings I completed in college.  And this is the month I put everything together.  No small task, but I think it will be enjoyable. 

3. Find joy in Autumn: I have been loving this theme for my Instagram challenge.  There's already 80 photos on the feed!!  I love the photos that have been posted, and they've been really inspiring to me.  I want to keep this great feeling going and take time to enjoy all the little things I love about this season. 

4. Journal often: Journaling helps me be present, slow down, and recognize little gifts and joys in my life that I otherwise might miss.  This is actually a simple goal :)

What's on your goal list for this month? 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

september goals check in

Before telling you how I did with my goals this month, I wanted to share a bit of how I've enjoyed doing the monthly four simple goals challenge this year.  For new readers: each month I set four simple goals for myself then recap my experience at the end of the month.  My challenges are inspired by the fabulous Elsie of A Beautiful Mess.  

I've realized that most months I will only achieve one to two goals, good months I'll achieve three, fantastic months I'll get all four.  So why do I keep doing this if I'm not achieving 100% of the goals I set for myself?  For one, I love setting goals.  It works well for me as a fun way to be productive.  Two, I think reaching 25-75% of my goals is better than reaching 0% of goals I don't set for myself.  Every month I end up getting at least something done that I wouldn't have if I didn't try making myself accountable by posting about in on the blog.  

So what about all those goals that I don't check off my list?  Sometimes it's something that I still really want to do and it gets added to next month's (unpublished) list.  Sometimes I realize it's something that I just don't actually want to do - it sounds fun while writing my list but in reality I don't actually feel like doing it.  

Maybe at the end of the year I'll do a round up post with all the goals that I actually accomplished this year.  Could be fun to see the outcome of this challenge.  And now, this month's recap.    

1. Buy new glasses: Didn't end up doing the online ordering like I thought I was going to, but I did find out I could buy glasses from Costco for a reduced price.  I'll be doing that (hopefully) soon!

2. 5k training: I hit an unexpected road block with this goal (see -- always need to be flexible with your goal setting and achievement!).  I realized the hard way that my alignment while squating and running was not right.  I started having a lot of pain in my left knee whenever I bent my leg (pretty much all the time).  I was really brave and went to see a physical therapist and was given some simple exercises that corrected my alignment and very quickly minimized the pain.  It wasn't in time for 5k training, but it will allow me to do more 5k training in the future because I'm taking better care of my muscles and joints.  

3. Raise money for AFSP: I am proud to say that I've been doing pretty well with this.  Paul and I will be walking in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention next weekend, and together we've raised a few hundred dollars.  We'll be walking for a family member and a friend, and we're hopeful our efforts will help the prevention of suicide.  

4. Close Wolski's: I had a day all scheduled to close Wolski's.  I had picked a Sunday evening, thinking that it would let me close Wolski's and get to sleep at a reasonable time.  And then I called them to confirm their Sunday hours.  And they said they close at 2 am.  2 am!!  Who can stay up that late???  Not this girl.  Closing Wolski's may eventually happen, but it's going to be on some night where I'm already feeling a little crazy - and I definitely do not have to work in the morning.