Doing something a little different this year to help me focus. Last year I made no real goals and I didn't give myself a word for 2015. I went in with the idea to make the year about improving myself but didn't really give myself a way to measure that. Near the end of 2015, I asked myself if I could give 2015 a word what would it be? The first word that came to mind was disappointment. At the end of the year I didn't feel I had grown in any area of my life. I still hadn't finished editing a novel - I had started editing 2 but that was it. I had made a list of projects I liked to complete and had it as a separate page on this blog (it will be changing to my 2016 goals soon) but every time I updated projects I did complete or books I had read, I thought about all the other things I had planned to do in 2015 and felt like a failure. My ambitions were too big and unrealistic with the time I could spare.
When I read Sarah's post on Imagined Landscapes about a Goal Along I really liked the idea of breaking goals down into steps for each month or even each week. And it's only for the first four months of the year. If at the end of April I don't feel this is working for me, I don't need to make goals for the next 4 months, I can do something else.
But I'm going to give this a try. Sarah suggested picking 3-5 areas that we'd like to focus on and then break those areas down into monthly goals to help keep ourselves accountable. Right now, most of the discussion is in her ravelry group but if you aren't on ravelry (and you don't need to be a knitter to participate), she will have posts on her blog that you can read and comment on as well. I'm going to start with weekly Goal Along blog posts on Mondays. Once the kids return to school each week, I find Monday is my day to regroup. I look back on what I did the week before and what I need or want to do in the week ahead.
Here are the four areas I have decided to work on for the first four months of 2016.
This seems like an obvious one. For a couple years now I have talked about wanting to be a writer. First I need to change how I think of myself. I don't want to be a writer, I am a writer. Second, I need to finish editing a novel and get it out into the world. My writing goal is to finish editing a novel and also work on polishing and submitting some poetry. Here is how I will break it down.
January - edit 4-5 chapters a week
February - reread novel, make notes about what needs to be added or taken away and fix it. Continue to edit spelling/ grammar, etc... as I read.
March - look for a few readers to read the current draft and give me comments in return.
April - finish making edits so it is ready to be sent out to agents/ publishers
Weekly - revise 3 poems
Monthly - send out 3 submissions
It's no secret I love to create. I knit, I quilt, I crochet. We are fairly certain that we are moving the summer of 2017 so a big part of my crafting this year is stash busting my yarn and fabric. I've done really well not buying fabric the last couple years as I do a lot more knitting than quilting now but the yarn stash keeps growing. Here are my crafty goals.
More selfish knitting. Of the 11 pairs of socks I knit last year, I gave 7 away. My sock drawer is in desperate need of more socks.
January - is all about finishing WIP's like the socks for my SIL above that were suppose to be for Christmas (oops). Other WIP's to finish are a pair of socks for myself (first sock is done), Pi Shawl, Mystery KAL shawl, Minecraft Creeper afghan for my son's birthday (has a deadline of the 22nd)
February - finish Thermal Tunic for myself. After knitting 4 sweaters and a cardigan as Christmas presents, I started this one at the end of December as a selfish knit that I can't realistically try to finish in January.
March - another pair of socks for myself and a cowl for me too.
April - to be decided.
January - mini quilt that is a birthday gift
- lap quilt that is a birthday gift
February - finish snowman face quilt
March - finish Cuzco quilt
April - a quilt for Floyd (our toddler who turns 3 beginning of May)
Food for Floyd
For Christmas, Floyd was gifted a set of play dishes. Since he is our last, I didn't want to spend money buying him a play kitchen so I painted 2 boxes to give him an oven, stove, fridge, sink and cupboard. He really likes washing and drying his dishes. He loves playing with his kitchen but has no food. This is just a short term goal but I wanted to remember that I need to do it.
January - make 2-3 different foods for Floyd each week
February - evaluate if he needs/ wants more.
One of the things I did last year but didn't share here or with anyone until the end of the year, was how much I was doing yoga and exercising at home. I felt very self conscious about it. I bought myself a couple sets of hand weights and have a secret pinterest board where I pin different workouts and yoga routines. I don't know why I hid it. Both are good things for me. It is the only goal last year that I found a good way to keep myself accountable. I printed off a free calendar and marked the days I did yoga or exercised.
Here is the calendar. When I think I didn't do yoga at all the year before and that I can't remember the last I time I purposely exercised it's not bad. When the kids were home in the summer I definitely did less and I gave myself a break in December so I had more time for gift making. You might be able to read my totals at the end of the year - I did yoga 53 times and exercised 65 times. The Mondays where I did both is due to the new yoga class my friend and I started going to last fall. It's the best/hardest yoga class I've ever done and it leaves us dripping in sweat (it's not hot yoga, just a Vinyasa flow class). I figure if I sweat like that, it also counts as a workout.
I will continue to focus on eating better this year. I have tried to give up pop completely in the past but always end up failing. I need to allow it as a treat and not feel bad about it. Here is how my health goals break down.
Yoga - 2-3 times a week
Exercise - 3-4 times a week
Pop - no more than 1can a week
I think I need consistency so I am not aiming to increase the number of times I do yoga/ exercise but that they become a regular part of my life.
I enjoy blogging but it's a lot of work. I don't know if people who don't write blogs realize how much time this takes. Today's post is unusually long and I've already spent over two hours on it. Last year is the most I have ever blogged. I have a second blog I write that is just about our family for all our relatives in Canada that's just over 10 years old now. Between the two I wrote over 200 blog posts last year. I was able to schedule some blog posts in 2015 but I need to get better at that. I also find I get blog fatigue quickly. I want to post but don't have the energy to do it. I had been doing a post every Sunday where I shared links to interesting things I have found on the internet during the past week but it became stressful to find stuff and have the post up Sunday morning. I might bring it back in some way because I do enjoy sharing but I burned out doing it every week.
Again I think consistency is key and doing regular, slightly predictable posts would be good.
Weekly - 1 post about WIP's (if I have several yarn and fabric WIP's, this could be broken into 2 separate posts.)
- 1 post with finishes (if I have any to share)
- Monday post about Goal Along
Monthly - write up 1 tutorial/ pattern and have it free on my blog
- blog post about what I read each month
January - update Goal page
February - add icons on sidebar that link to twitter/ pinterest/ etc...
March - ?
April - ?
Okay, I think that's it for Goals.
In the title of this post I mentioned that I had a word for 2016. As I wrote this post, I was thinking I should change my word to Focus, but it doesn't feel right. My word for 2016 is...
I want to take the pressure off myself this year and enjoy life. If I don't make any of my goals, I need that to be okay. It isn't really a big deal if I knit another 6 pairs of socks for myself this year. It would be nice but not the end of the world if I don't. In the past I have gotten too down on myself for not completing goals and that doesn't help me or my family. Just saying the word Be to myself when I start to feel stressed, relaxes me. My shoulders drop down, even though I didn't realize they were up.
My real goal for 2016? I don't want to feel like the year was a disappointment at the end of it. When I look back on 2016 in December I want to feel that I did my best. I was kind to myself when I needed it and loved my family. Everything else ... will just Be.