As much as I identify as a planner, I never used to be into creating personal goals and New Year resolutions. But, I gave it a try at the start of 2019 and kept it simple. I had goals to drink so many ounces of water a day, cut out evening snacks, and other small steps to lead to healthier life choices. On the whole, I stuck to the plan and am happy with the results.
I wanted to build on my momentum, so at the start of 2020 I created seven personal goals and put them in my planner. I thought about what I wanted to do outside of work that would bring me personal fulfillment that relates to myself and my family. (My professional goals are a separate list.)
Again, I kept them simple or fun. I actually want to do these, not challenge myself so much I get disappointed or feel guilty for breaking them. Here are the goals and my progress so far.
- Take a family trip to Florida – On the books, as long as this coronavirus business doesn’t get more out of hand.
- Read 25 books – I’m 18 books in already. I’ve cut out a lot of wasted time scrolling online (goodbye, Reddit app!) to read instead and “magically” found the time to devour books. I’ll probably up this goal to 50 later on, if I feel like it.
- Donate a set amount of money to charity – This is a fun one! Our family has been discussing what efforts we want to support but haven’t made any final decisions yet.
- Go on at least 25 dates with my husband, with at least four of them being to new locations – We are at least seven dates in already, mostly to restaurants. We both work from home on Wednesdays and make lunch a date by going out to eat. So far, we have tried a new Italian restaurant nearby and visited The VOID (an immersive virtual reality experience). Side note, Matt loved The VOID. I was less impressed because it was short and expensive.
- Complete two home projects – No progress here yet. At the very least, I want to remodel our half bath and stain our deck.
- Complete a 5K race – I have a couple of race options for May. I just need to pick one and register, then I know I’ll train and actually do it. I need a goal to work toward or it will never happen. I’m not super interested in running or exercising in general, but I’m a fan of being healthy.
- Floss daily – I have a daily habit tracker (shown above) hanging in my bathroom to remind me to floss. The visual cue is essential or I’d totally forget. I’ve only missed a few days so far!
I review these goals about once a month, just to see how I’m doing and whether I want to focus on any of them for the month. For instance, this month I know I need to actually register for a race and start training. I haven’t run a mile in ages! It should be interesting….
I was able to get a lot of reading time in this February, so I was able to finish six books. Here’s a “tweet’s worth” of a review for each. I haven’t included the novels I’ve been reading to the kids. I love that they’re getting to the age that we can read chapter books together!
The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty was an interesting read. I recommend it. It explores the lives of multiple woman dealing with different types of grief that end up having their lives intertwine.
Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris is about a journalist who makes a choice that has him questioning his morals. It was less thought provoking than I thought it would be and more like a Hollywood movie. It was good for what it was, but didn’t match my initial expectation. I wanted more.
Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck was perfectly timed given my work stress last month. It focused on shifting your thinking. In short, everyone has problems, so find ones you enjoy solving. I’m glad I read it.
Juliet’s School of Possibilities by Laura Vanderkam. This novella is a fictional narrative of how to use your time constructively and in a way you find fulfilling. It was a quick read, but given my knowledge of Vanderkam’s work on time tracking, not new content. It’s a good introduction to Vanderkam.
I found Breathe In, Cash Out by Madeleine Henry to be a fun read. It was exactly what I was expecting. It felt a bit like The Devil Wears Prada, but in banking instead of fashion. I could relate a bit to the consulting work, but thankfully I have never had the same amount of stress, hours, and expectations at my job.
Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book is Talking to Strangers. It was not my favorite of his work. It focuses on how it’s not always easy to tell if someone is being truthful. Everyone’s experiences are different and frame their view of the world and their reactions to events. I’m onboard with that notion but didn’t find the book compelling.
Please share if you’ve read any good books lately! I’m always looking to add to my to-read list.
Photo credit: Photo by Alice Hampson on Unsplash
I’ve been making reading a priority for the past few months, which basically means I’ve switched out TV time for reading time. I’ve always been a reader, and it’s nice to get back to it in earnest. One of the benefits to being a reader with young kids is that it’s a hobby that I can do with them around. And, I like to tell myself that I’m setting a good example for the kids too. I talk with the kids about the books I’m reading, what I’m learning, and why I like to read so much. Of course, we also spend a good amount of time reading as a family each day as well.
I read seven books in January, and here’s a spoiler-free rundown of my favorites.
- Station Eleven: In short, this story explores what happens on Earth when a pandemic kills most of the population. In hindsight, my timing for reading this book isn’t great. I read it just before the Coronavirus was all over the news. The story has stuck with me, but I’m more attracted to the situations and experiences shared in the story rather than the plot itself. The storyline was just okay. I thought there was more potential in the storyline than what was explored by the author toward the end of the book.
- Atomic Habits: I had this on my holds list at the library for ages, and it finally became available in January. The author James Clear explores ways to make tiny, atomic changes to your life that can have a significant impact over time. By following the author’s advice, you can shape the life you want. I liked the concepts covered, like habit stacking where you pair a new habit you want to start with a habit you already do. For instance, if you want to mediate each day, do it every day after you’ve brewed your morning coffee. The author explains various psychological concepts, like positive and negative reinforcement, and details how you can use these concepts to shape your habits. It was an interesting book, but the concepts were not new to me. Many of the techniques shared are ones I already practice, but it is a good book that I would recommend to others. I’ll note though that I was a bit annoyed that you have to subscribe to the author’s newsletter to get bonus chapters, which felt like a ripoff and gimmick for the author to get more newsletter subscriptions. I’m glad I didn’t purchase this book.
- So You Want to Talk About Race: Ijeoma Oluo’s book was enlightening, especially for me as a white woman. Oluo details in plain language various racial-based issues in today’s society. She reveals the complexity of many situations, like Black Lives Matter and police brutality. I didn’t always agree 100% with her perspective in all situations. However, I understood her point of view, learned a lot, and gained a greater appreciation on the difficulties of making improvements, particularly without systemic change.
In February, it looks like my holds on The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck and Sold on a Monday will be available to me through my local library. I always have a long holds list. I’m looking forward to reading more this month!
Photo Credit: Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash