Realigning your goals in the wake of everything:

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The world has shut down, so maybe some of your goals have been moved to the back burner, after all, how are you supposed to have monthly goals when you can’t even tell me what day of the week it is?

Life happens, and it happens without our permission. We don’t have a say in the matter but we do have a say in how we react and how we adjust. I said in a previous post that I think both the “rise and grind” tactic and the “panic and do nothing” tactic aren’t healthy in this pandemic, and I stand by that. You shouldn’t be trying to be the next big thing, you should be focusing on small amounts of progress so you don’t fall behind and you should add on goals that are made just with your mental health in mind and nothing else.

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Creating goals for 2020 and reflecting on those from 2019:

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First, let’s look back at my goals for 2019. I got about half of them, and the ones not finished were about half done. I don’t know whether to consider that a success or not, but progress is progress and I had a really busy year, so it’s remarkable I got any of it done. Let’s break them down:

  • Plan a wonderful wedding fit for my upcoming marriage: I did it! And it was fabulous. It was honestly the best night of my life. You can see some pictures from it here.
  • More time of hobbies, less time online: Eh. Okay, so I spent less time online but it was because I was spending more time hanging out with friends (yay) and doing daily tasks that increased when I moved out and got married. I did spend time on hobbies, but I don’t know if I did more than in 2018, so I will call this one a half win.
  • Start barrel racing again: Things got really busy in the spring season, so I didn’t start going to races again, but I took all the necessary steps to start next season. I’ve been taking lessons and we’ve finally purchased a horse trailer.
  • Read more than 20 books: Check. I’ve read over forty books year, so I’d say I went above an beyond on this one. Audio books have drastically altered my reading progress, though I still love those paper books!
  • Buy a house: We did it! It’s beautiful and it feels like home. I’m so proud of it. We’ve gotten it all decorated and I’m so excited to come home to it at the end of the day!
  • Send birthday cards to everyone: I started out the year strong and I got birthday cards to people I saw in person. As for the rest… well I got all my wedding thank you notes out? That counts for something, right?
  • Pray more: I’m doing much better at this then I was at the start of the year, though I still have room for improvement.
  • Finish a novel: I didn’t, but I have been making progress on one after months of not writing at all. It feels good to break my writers block.

Now as for the coming year?

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The “FitBit” Method:

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I don’t have a Fitbit, but I know enough people who do to understand the drive towards getting in your daily steps. It’s a big deal to beat your friends or even beat yourself. It’s a fun easy way to motivate you to be more active. It’s a genius idea.

I found myself applying that logic lazily when I thought about reaching my social activity levels. The other morning I talked to my hairdresser while getting a cut, talked to a stranger in line for 30 minutes at the social security office, and I went and ate lunch with my mom. I had this brief image of a empty bar filling right up. I felt like I reached my mandatory social needs for the day, and that even if I did nothing else for the day I wouldn’t feel isolated.

We need to be active. We need to be social. These are parts of a healthy life. We also need to drink a certain amount of water, consume a certain amount of vitamins, earn a certain amount of money, do enough positive actions, and think enough positive thoughts. We have all these daily bars to fill, and we hardly ever think about it in those terms, but maybe we should.

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The role reminders play in self control:

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I’m trying to lose weight. Not a lot, but about ten pounds. I struggle with it because I don’t practice self control around food very well. Maybe it’s because I know I’m not that overweight. Maybe it’s because I like food too much. Whatever the reason, I failed at controlling myself for a week or two before I realized if I was going to do this I needed to find some sort of system to fix it.

I joined a Facebook group for weight loss support. I felt silly in it. People were trying to lose mass amount of weight and here I was trying to drop ten pounds. It seemed like maybe this wasn’t the place for me. But it was, not because I related to all the posts, in fact, a lot of them I don’t. It worked because I was constantly reminded of my goals, I was constantly reminded that I was trying to do this and I had decided that it mattered enough to me to join a group, or to comment.

I saw the posts when I logged on. I got notifications on my phone when people commented on something I had commented on.

Some people would argue that it was the support that I needed, but I haven’t made posts to have people support my journey. I’ve rather been supporting others. Dishing out support might be helpful, but it’s helpful in the same way giving your friend advice is helpful. It reminds you that you know what you’re supposed to be doing. You have all this knowledge, you just need to apply it! It’s simple if you get control over yourself.

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Little Fixes: Getting rid of my road rage made me a better person

 

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We all have little problems, problems that we sweep under the rug because they don’t seem to be a big deal, or we don’t see how changing them will change anything else. We try to tackle bigger things, and sometimes that works out for us, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes these items are to big to tackle all at once. Smaller problems also take time, but not in the same way, they take a week or two of constant reminder and discipline instead of months of it. But they change our lives too, sometimes in ways we wouldn’t think.

I recently was in terrible 5 o’clock traffic and got cut off by someone who almost missed their exit. I cursed under my breath something terribly unkind and had a moment of clarity were I realized that that action didn’t warrant that insult. I’ve cut people off in traffic before and it really wasn’t that big of a deal, because more often then not, it’s a mistake. This break through thought kept circling back around every time I muttered something unkind in traffic, and I started to realize just how often I was doing it.

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How to stay accountable: charting goals and health

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This past two years have been really crazy for me. I’m still getting treated for Lyme Disease, I got engaged, now I’m planning a wedding, and buying a house. A lot is happening, and when you add that onto the ever present task of bettering yourself, it’s easy to let things fall through the cracks. So I’ve been working on methods to stay on top of everything and I’m going to share the few things that have worked best for me.

Charting is something a lot of doctors suggest people with mental health problems do to track their moods and anxieties. I’ve had to do it for that in the past, luckily my mental health is pretty stable at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that charting hasn’t still been useful for my health overall. I’ve been using it to track progress with my lyme disease, as well as track what causes me to feel bad. For example, I’ve started creating a little list of things I’ve eaten that day in the corner of my planner, that way I can still see if gluten or sugar is effecting me like it used to (and I’m proud to say it’s not! It’s gotten a lot better).

I also have been using my planner to write down everything I’ve done that day, and I mean almost everything. I’m not just writing down appointments or lunch dates, I’m writing down whether or not I’ve walked the dog, what hobbies I did that day, whether or not I ate out for lunch. Having your day written down like that helps you track a lot of different things. It helps me track my energy levels in response to my lyme treatment, but it also helps me stay accountable for diving back into my hobbies.

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Creating goals for 2019 and reflecting on those from 2018:

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Looking back on my goals for 2018, I can say that I didn’t knock them all off my list, but that’s how it always goes, isn’t it? Maybe not, maybe you’re much better at this than I am. But I’m still proud of my half finished list, because a lot happened this year that wasn’t on my list, so I still feel like I came out ahead.

  • More time on hobbies, less time online: Check! But could use to do even better at this. I still spend too much time online.
  • Read the entire bible: Opps. I started strong and then faded out.
  • Be more aware of what I’m eating: Check! My diet has been so great this last year, really unrecognizable from 2017.
  • Being a better friend: Half check? I did better some months than others.
  • Read more than 30 books: I read about ten, but to be fair they were all over 600 pages. That counts, right??
  • Finish writing two novels: I finished one! Still not bad!
  • Wean myself off sleeping pills: Check, haven’t taken one in months!

Now for my upcoming goals for 2019:

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