Today is Day 175 of 365 in 2015. By next week, next Wednesday to be exact, this year will literally be half over. In keeping with a theme of my year, I wanted to do a mid-year progress report with some goals I have set for myself.
Then, I got more specific and wrote out some big picture goals as well as some actionable steps to achieving them.
I had three over-arching goals for the year. Here they are again:
- forming good habits and routines (self-care, family care, spiritual care & household duties)
- writing (like it’s my job)
- simplicity (less commitments, less stuff, etc.)
Forming good habits and routines…
I plan to take better care of me. I’d like to do a simple update on the ways in which I attempt to do that. For me, my goal is to be better about getting outside more to exercise, getting dressed in something presentable even if I don’t have plans to leave the house, and limiting sweets and grains in my diet. I am also planning a monthly “something” just for me ( a trip, a girls’ night, an outing of some sort).
I plan to continue being a committed teacher to the kids. I want to stay focused on their overall learning and academic, spiritual and emotional growth. One goal I have is to focus more on each of our children individually. I want to spend more time cultivating each of Thomas, Mae and Kate’s unique interests, gifts and personalities. Ryan and I are planning at least a once-a-month date night for every month of the 2015 year. I am also planning a monthly “Book Report” post and I plan to list the books that I read as well as the one’s my kids read. We heart books around here. I’ll add Ryan’s too if he’s up for it.
This is an area where I have had some clarity over the past few months. I think I have finally come to realize that I can very easily have a tendency to mistake the work (ministry) I do on behalf of Christ as a replacement on the time I spend WITH him. My goal is to take on less in terms of official titles and responsibilities outside of my home as I have come to realize that I often allow the busyness, stresses and administrative components of those responsibilities to overshadow a heart and attitude of worship and reverence for the time I spend reading my Bible.
Over the past several years it has been important to me to keep our house fairly clean and “company ready.” Our children are finally at ages where this is even possible. One of my greatest passions is opening our home to show hospitality to others. I’ll keep tidying, I’ll keep candles burning and yummy food in the kitchen and hope to continue the practice of entertaining friends and family in our home. (We have a new-to-us dining room table and I plan to write a post about that in a few days!) I will also keep “apprenticing” the three young people in this home and continue to find more ways to pass the torch of some of the household chores. I’ve said for years, my goal as a home maker is to eventually work myself out of a job. I think I hear the couch and some bonbons calling.
Writing like it’s my job…
This goal is somewhat difficult for me to write about here publicly. Dreams always sound so ridiculous when you say them out loud. But that’s okay. I’ll keep this one a bit closer to my heart for the time being. I have been busy. I have been up early and up late. My fingers have been dancing on the the keyboard in a very intense and determined fashion. I have a goal. I have an outline. I have chapter titles. I have a word-count that is climbing daily. I have a time-table for finishing, for researching and proposing and submitting. That’s all I will say for now. But I am making it public, and making it happen. 2015 I am coming for you.
Blame it on the Army or constant moving but I am continually evaluating the state of our belongings. I’ll just say that Ryan and I are almost to our one year Dave Ramsey anniversary. We have made some serious progress and changes this past year. And we want to keep moving in the right direction. One of the most significant behavior modifications we have made is truly understanding the difference between our “needs” and our “wants.” We still have a way to go and occasionally give into our urges for “stuff.” But we hope to continue better habits. For me, in particular, it boils down to contentment. I look around my life and think (often) that if I never bought another thing for myself or my house, I would still have an abundance of material possessions.
To be honest, one area of my own weakness, is spending too much time (and thereby, money) at Target and Marshall’s. It is mindless and since I don’t drink alcohol or smoke or gamble or have any other “real” vices, I enjoy treasure hunting at stores like these. I usually leave those places with something I “need” for the house or my closet. But I don’t NEED any of that. There are days that I even feel like finding good deals there or bringing home just one more home decor item or one more pair of shoes or a cute shirt or purse has become an idol in my heart.
In 2015, I am going to pair my self-care goal of getting dressed for the day with my goal of simplicity by wearing the clothes I already have. At least through the remainder of the winter I am vowing to not buy another clothing or accessory item for myself. I’ll re-evaluate this again in late March when spring is here. If possible, I’d love to keep going through all of the seasons. I plan to report here periodically on how this is going. The same goes for more stuff around the house. We have lived here six months and we have the house like we want it and it is adequately furnished. I will not transfer this shopping into more school related purchases, more kids clothing items, more gadgets.
Today, I’m checking in with myself as a means for accountability. Folks, the year is half over. If we have fallen off the wagon in any area of our goal reaching, now is the time to pick ourselves back up and keep riding into the sunset that is 2016.
So far this year, I have learned that big things happen one day at a time! Reaching our goals is the sum total of many hours, many minutes, and many days of just putting in the work. Developing good habits, tracking those habits, and continuing to put one foot in front of the other.
I have learned the importance of making and taking the proper means necessary to be a better me. That’s included reading lots of great books, adopting and keeping alive (11!!!!) house plants, taking a monthly mom-sabbath of some sort, exercising almost every day and eating right. I’ve also begun the practice of keeping up with what I’ve learned each month.
At month six of 2015, Ryan and I have had six (count them, six) date nights, I’ve continued to document a monthly chore/skill I want to teach our children, and we have completed another successful year of homeschooling.
In the area of spiritual care, I believe this has been the greatest area of growth for me. I have finally for the first time in my entire life, felt the guilt of pleasing others begin to fade and vanish. I’ve identified my strengths. I have realized very clearly where my time and talents need to be invested and I have learned the power of rest and saying no! I am learning the importance of replacing the ideas of busyness, stress and “responsibility” with the joys of calling, prioritizing, and being in the driver’s seat of my own life, not what other people may expect of me, or more accurately, what I-think-other-people-think-or-expect-of-me. Also. Yoga.
As far as household duties, this area just seems to happen organically. We all live here, but I’m helping to train the kids to take over their own responsibilities. As far as hospitality, we have had a revolving door of overnight house guests, dinner guests, prayer groups, playdates, LEGO camps, and fun. Again, this hasn’t felt forced; it’s just our way of life. Chores, gardens, plants, candles, keeping the house tidy and the meals warm and tasty is all part and parcel of life at the Wood Hacienda.
One of my biggest, most tangible goals for 2015 was a writing goal. Yes, yes, I wrote and published a book and I am so happy about that, proud of that accomplishment, and honored to be hearing from several people who have read and enjoyed it (and maybe cried most of the way through it).
But what I am even more happy about is the daily discipline of coming to this blog space several times each week. I am writing for myself. I am tracking and updating things that are important to me. I’m about the habit, the practice, and the art of writing so much more so than the product of a book. I’ve also enjoyed adding a regular feature where I share more about my passion for reading.
I did a really great job, I’d say from January until about mid-April with this goal of simplicity. Then the month of May (as it usually does) just comes in like a force and what has been simple and calm all of a sudden becomes crazy. The opposite of simplicity for me is FUSSY. I’ve readjusted again and reset some summer goals that are more true to this idea that less is more, rest trumps frazzled, and I already have everything that I need. Taking time every few months to evaluate my passions and address my priorities allows me to keep the main thing the main thing, or allows me to major in the majors. (Gosh, so many clichés.)
My wish is that we’d all keep on keeping on during this year. Maybe the steam of New Year’s Resolutions has left the building. Maybe you are like me and you’re just ready to relax and chill this summer. I find that taking a few hours here and there to reflect on how far you’ve come and brainstorm about where you want to go and how you’ll get there in the remaining months of the year will go a long way toward helping you reach your goals. You won’t look up and think, “Where did this year go?” You’ll end December and realize you’re in the end zone!
Have you abandoned any of your goals this year? Need to hit the reset button? Or have you hit all of your marks you set for yourself. I’d love to hear from you and hear about your successes, hacks for getting it right, and what you do to encourage yourself along the way.