Last year I set a goal to write two posts each month, and as of 12/30/2013, I’m on the verge of not meeting my target.
Any person with a blog will tell you two posts a month isn’t exactly a strong showing. I had to alter this goal a bit too, originally I had this set at every-other-week, but unable to achieve the pace, I didn’t abandon it altogether, but changed it to two per month instead.
Next year, perhaps the goal will be 3?
I have lots of excuses this month, primarily the fact that December happened, where we all tend to get sucked into the holiday void: end-of-school year events, holiday shopping, spending time with visiting relatives. The kid is home from school, and just being “off” the typical schedule does it every time.
But the clock is ticking…and I want to end the year on plan!
Setting goals, or Resolutions, at the New Year.
We all love to do this, don’t we?
I personally like the term goal setting, because a goal sounds like something you can work towards. Where a Resolution sounds much more definite. To resolve something. To be resolute. I tend to shy away from any declaration of intent without wiggle-room. Nothing in my life ever seems to get resolved. And even if it did, some new problem would likely unravel in its place. Because that’s what the life of an adult, a parent is all about. For instance, you won’t find me saying something like I WILL exercise every day for ONE hour. Or I WILL NOT drink wine during the work week, or I WILL drink eight glasses of water each day. Or I WILL sleep 8 hours each night.
While these are all admirable changes people make to live a healthier life, this wish list is one bound to fail very, very quickly…
Because sometimes I only have 30 minutes for a workout.
And sometimes I just want a glass of wine on a Monday night.
And honestly, I find it painful to drink that much water and I’m too lazy to keep track anyway.
And it’s really hard to go to bed early every night when my child doesn’t even get to bed until 9. We all need time to ourselves.
Nobody is perfect. According to Journal of Clinical Psychology Study, only 8% of New Years Resolutions are actually achieved.
By setting goals to work towards, I can feel confident even if it takes awhile, I’ll achieve some level of benefit along the way, just by trying, and by declaring very publicly, to all of you, this is my intent. But because I don’t expect 100% resolution, I won’t feel the need to abandon them in disgust when I can’t keep up….
So here’s what I’m thinking for 2014 :
For my Health: Continue to make formal exercise part of each day, but focus on quality rather than time spent. I feel like I have been on auto-pilot these past 6 months with exercise, and have experienced a bit of an off-season. But I have a new fitness challenge (p90x3) that I can do at home, is not time-consuming but should keep me moving every day and interested because it’s something different and should be a challenge.
Where I really need improvement is sleep. I don’t get enough. At least a few nights per week, when my husband decides he wants to turn on a war movie or some uninspiring TV show where I know I’ll fall asleep on the couch, or be compelled to play online Scrabble throughout, I’ll pro-actively go to bed instead.
And sadly, I have enough evidence that sugar after dinner interrupts my sleep, so dessert will be the exception, not the rule in the coming year.
I’ll also keep up my role of Chief Health Officer on the family level, ensuring everyone else stays active and eats well most of the time. I do need to work on honing my skills as a cheerleader, but without being too preachy.
For my Family: Over Thanksgiving, when we were visiting my brother and sister-in-law and niece and nephew, we tried one little experiment: on Thanksgiving day, devices had to be put away. From the second we woke up, until about 11 am, we spent most of our time answering questions about what was allowed and what wasn’t. We finally just gave up; at least the kids were actively engaging with each other while on their devices…
I’ll have to get buy-in from my husband on this, but while home, I have noticed we aren’t much better. We need to set some device limits to get the attention back on each other. Tom, if you are reading this? We can talk about it tonight…
For my extended Family: Be a better Sister, Aunt and Daughter. I thought when I stopped working outside the home I’d miraculously get better at correspondence. But guess what? I’m still horrible with remembering birthdays and calling and keeping in touch. It’s because I’m disorganized with basically everything except my workouts and my son, and I am not much of a phone talker. But this year, I will set up a reminder system and you will all see an improvement!
For my Girlfriends: Where are all of you??! We are all stuck in a void, being moms and prioritizing everything else.
But making time for each other? That’s what keeps us sane. I have been thinking a lot about the Four-burner stove story detailed by David Sedaris. Where each burner represents a priority.
And how so many of us turn off that friendship burner in lieu of everything else. Thanks Jen at and yadda yadda yadda..I made alliyah, for alerting me to this concept earlier this year. I’m here if you are, and maybe I won’t chat for hours on the phone, but will be in touch and hope to see you all in person this year! I want to keep that burner going for years and years and years…
For Personal Improvement: A few years ago, I went on this kick where I forced myself to try activities I thought I would always dislike. I wrote about that here. This was a great motivator, because I found out I truly didn’t dislike many of these activities, I was just either too lazy or unmotivated to work at learning something new. Over the last few months I took my eye off this target, but want to bring it back.
I’m going to start by taking my friend Lynn’s watercolor class, anyone want to join me?
I’m going to ski more with my son this winter.
And after visiting with my step-daughter Brooke and her husband Wilson, I realized I really should learn Spanish. Wilson is from Ecuador, and while I don’t think I need to be fluent, there is no reason in the world that I should not at least attempt to learn some of the language. I stopped myself mid-sentence as I explained “But I don’t speak Spanish…” and thought to myself, this excuse does not fly, it’s never too late to learn…
Writing has been great for me, and I’m proud even if I’m not as prolific with my posts as others, this has been a great discipline to keep me focused throughout the year. Being “fit” to me does not just define what physical shape I’m in. It defines whether I’m a fit parent. A fit friend. Being fit can define happiness, and satisfaction. It’s a general state of being. And reflecting here every few weeks helps me see if I’m on the right track.
Whether I can make it to 3 posts per month next year? I’ll think about it…
Goal setting experts will probably say there are way too many items on this list.
But I’ll keep them all there anyway, because they are all items I aspire to achieve.
I’m not expecting 100%, just progress…
Because these are goals remember, do not call them Resolutions!
And by the way, writing this post? I just met my 2013 target…
Do you set goals each year? How do you judge success? Do you have a tough time keeping them top-of-mind? Would love to hear your stories and input! And Happy New Year!
Yay you did it! This is a great post. It’s soooo ambitious. I like the differentiation between goals and resolutions and I really like your idea about trying the things you don’t do, or don’t like, or think you can’t do. I’m going to have to give that some thought myself. I tried learning to drive standard this fall but after five (costly) lessons it was clear to me that I definitely hate it and I definitely have a mental block about being able to do it. But at least I tried. I’ve also taken Spanish lessons twice, several years apart, and then have forgotten most of it again in between. I should maybe think about taking that up again. Or maybe not. One of my goals might be about doing less rather than more more more!
Thanks for this food for thought. I’m off now to consider my goals…
Silverleaf, from what you mentioned, I’m thinking you are right, less might be more in your case. I think whatever goals we have as goals, they should add more substance and satisfaction to our life, in some way, whether it’s optimal health, or better family time, or makes you a happier, saner person day-to-day, as opposed to being a chore. Maybe that was the issue with the manual-transmission lessons :). Thanks so much for your comment and your awesome support! Look forward to more of that on both ends in the next year!
So right! Funny I had to start thinking of goals before I realized it was better for me to do less. Your goals are great and really something to aspire to. Maybe they will also give you some good ideas for posts as the year unfolds.
Thank YOU for the awesome support. It’s always great to hear from you.
I don’t set yearly goals, usually, but do set goals as I see a need for them. One general goal of mine is also to get better sleep. It will be harder when the little one is here, but I will do my best with what I have. In the meantime, I will be focusing on slowing down and establishing calming routines well enough that they’re nearly ingrained by the time the baby arrives. We’ll see! I am excited to see, to be sure.
Deborah, thanks so much for your comment. What is it about us moms, and sleep? I find I need that morning time to myself, get up super-early, drink that cup of coffee and need to unwind, but stay up later than I should to be w/the hubby…so hard to win. A definite challenge with a little boy and a new baby…I hope to hear how you are work through everything as you go!
It’s a good list. Sleeping more will make a big difference in your energy level and motivation. I sleep 8-10 hours every night and couldn’t function at the speed I do without it.
I tend to make a list every year under money, friends, travel, health, etc. and haven’t done it for a few years. In 2013 I took up golf (to force myself to try something new, which is a sport my husband loves. and it turned out I play decently) which was the choice instead of learning German…I took a colored pencil drawing class in Sept. 2010 which I loved and should head back for more. Your watercolor class sounds great.
Try Spanish. I speak it and and it’s much easier than French.
Thanks so much for your comment! I’m glad you liked Golf–I did that with fly fishing for the past few years too. My hubby is a ff junkie, and I FINALLY tried it after resisting for 10+ years and LOVE it. I’m not quite self-sufficient yet but will work on that as an ongoing training in the spring. Now to find out the best way to learn Spanish…..should be fun!
I stunned Jose last summer by announcing we were heading to the driving range. He was so happy. If I’d hated it, that would have been sad, but I quite like it. He gave me golf shoes for Xmas this year. It’s nice to be able to share a husband’s passion (beyond the obvious.)
I love this story….Happy Golfing this year! You may be quite a force our competition for him this year w/your new shoes!
The shoes are gorgeous. I was amazed. They do feel different.
I am very impressed you met your blog writing goal. I don’t think I have ever successfully met one. I like your idea of setting goals you can work toward instead of absolute requirements that you will surely fail.
On to 2014!
Brad, thanks so much for your comment and for being a great reader throughout my little experiment! I appreciate that so much! Ok, so maybe you can set one?? How about something easy? Sit for 5 min. a day and think? Read an extra book? Try yoga (didn’t you say you were interested in that once?). Anyway, if you can make a quick no-brainer goal that you can’t possibly fail at, perhaps you’ll gain a little extra confidence in that area. Happy New Year!!!
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