2014 Goals

I’m not the greatest goal-setter but I’m improving. I thought that calling these items goals might make more sense than habits. I’d like to make them habits, but how do I know if I’ve succeeded unless I create a specific goal to accomplish? So, I changed the wording a bit to something simple that I’ll know if I do it or not. I think in order to create a habit, you have to have a goal first, and then after accomplishing that goal consistently, it will become a habit. Some are still not too clear, like “singing throughout the day”, but I don’t know how to assign a quantity to that, so I’m gonna let it be and I’ll know if we do it or not 🙂 I’ll print out this list too and put it somewhere I can see frequently.

  1. Minimize belongings by donating at least one item or bag of items per month.
  2. Improve morning routine by going to bed consistently by 10pm and waking by 6am.
  3. Take a walk or do some activity outside most days.
  4. Read at least 2 fiction books instead of just nonfiction all the time.
  5. Create a musical environment for Eva by singing throughout the day.
  6. Drink green tea or hot water with lemon most mornings before breakfast.
  7. Practice my guitar at least 2 times per week.
  8. Focus on a healthy delivery of baby #2 by stretching and relaxing to prepare for birth.
  9. Create meals that center around vegetables and good protein.
  10. Focus on family activities with my husband’s interests in mind like tennis and exploring the city.
  11. Focus on my blessings and giving more to others at church and compassion.com.
  12. Consistent exercise focusing on weight bearing exercise about 30 min 3 times a week.

12 Habits for 2014

I have never in my life made new year’s resolutions. I have tried to develop new habits and of course grow in areas of my life, but never with starting in the new year or anything, so I thought I should start reflecting more on my life on a yearly basis and set out some habits I’d like to cultivate. I thought I’d try one new habit a month in order to give myself time to actually make it into a habit and we’ll see how it goes. I might change these if I find something else I’d rather do or if a particular habit just isn’t what I thought it would be. We are moving hopefully this month and I’ve moved many times, so I know the feeling you get when you move. At least for me, I think it’s exciting to move to a new place, it feels like you have a new start. You can sorta reinvent little parts of yourself, at least you can reinvent your surroundings which really do affect you as a person. So, with that idea in mind, my January habit will be something I’ve already been doing but want to continue doing.

  • January: Regularly donate and minimize belongings. I want to make it a goal or habit to donate some items at least once a month. So, that could include just 1 item, or a bag of items. I’ve been doing this for months, in preparation to move, since we hope to not have a lot of clutter in our new place. But, I want to make it a habit monthly to just clean out things that aren’t needed or used. If we buy new clothes, we should donate some old clothes. If Eva is given new toys, we can donate old toys, etc. This will be easy for January as we’re moving and getting into another life routine at our new place.
  • February: Wake up earlier. This is a big one. This will be hard for me. I am the world’s worst morning person. Ever. My husband wakes up every day, without an alarm clock, at the crack of dawn instantaneously with a smile on his face and vigor to start the day. What is wrong with him? I would love to be like that. But, I’m not. I don’t know if it’s because I have hypothyroidism, maybe that makes me more tired, or if it’s just my personality type or maybe I’m just lazy, but I’d like to work on this area. When I wake up, I feel like I’m in the bottom of a black, dark, pit that I must climb out of. And it takes me a while to climb out of that pit. So, why not start that ascent earlier, so that I can be awake and joyful sooner before Eva wakes up? Yes, that is my goal. Right now, I don’t really sleep in, because I have a toddler, but my wake times range between 6am and 8:30, depending on when Eva wakes up. I have excuses for not waking up before her, like the bathroom is in her room and I couldn’t possibly wake up without using the bathroom immediately and I can’t do that because I’d have to go into her room, yadda yadda, whatever. The real reason is that it’s hard and I feel too tired. So, I’d like to make it a habit to go to bed at 10pm every night and get up at 6am, regardless of when Eva gets up. I’ll write more about how I’ll create a morning routine to go through that might help make this into a habit, but this description is getting long, so I’ll move on.
  • March: Go outside everyday. Yes, this sounds weird. I’m not a hermit or anything, but I work from home and I live in Michigan where it is absolutely freezing during the winter. I’m not a huge fan of snow. (Why do I live here?) And sometimes I do stay inside all day long. I don’t like shopping more than once a week, so if I don’t have plans with friends or some other appointment, sometimes I’m more content to just work inside and play with Eva and look out the window but not venture out into the blizzard type weather conditions. It’s much easier during warmer weather, so maybe I’m picking the wrong month to do this habit, but actually in Michigan it’s still really cold even up until April. So, this goal will involve at least taking a walk outside once a day if I don’t have somewhere else to go. The sunshine and fresh air and talking to neighbors is healthy. Our new place will be in a great place to walk. We’ll be about 2 miles to downtown. I wouldn’t walk there in the winter, but for sure in the spring.
  • April: Read fiction books. I almost never read fiction books, no novels, no mysteries. I love to read, but I’m always reading nonfiction. I want to read about how to do something or why something works this way. I feel like if I put the time into reading, I want to change my life with it. Those are all noble ideas, but reading fiction is also beneficial. I remember very clearly the last fiction novel I read, probably because I hadn’t read one in years. I read Wuthering Heights again last year. I was totally immersed in it and I read the whole book in a week every night before bed. As a child, I read fiction constantly. I loved fairy tales and read all of the Brother’s Grimm Fairytales and a Wrinkle in Time multiple times. I guess when I got older, I felt like I didn’t have time for stories. Of course I read stories to Eva all day long, but I think it would be advantageous for me to pick up a novel every once in a while and read just for enjoyment and to spark creativity and inspiration. I don’t know how to put a number on this goal, so I’ll just say that if I read 1 or 2 fiction books in the entire next year, I will have succeeded. Simple enough.
  • May: Create music with Eva. I do this regularly now, but my inspiration ebbs and flows and one week we might do music every day, then the next week do nothing, so I want to put it on this list to make sure I keep this as a regular rich part of Eva’s environment. I love music. I play the piano and some guitar and love to sing and I’d love for her to develop in those areas too. We go to a Music Together class, which I love, and it’s fun to make music with a group of other moms and kids.
  • June: Drink tea and/or lemon with hot water each morning. This will be part of that morning routine I wrote about earlier. I love coffee but I stopped drinking it a while ago when we were trying to get pregnant and then now of course with being pregnant I don’t even desire it anymore. But, it’s so healthy to drink something warm in the mornings. Lemon juice with hot water helps digestion and is a great first food in your belly in the morning. I love the process of making tea. Maybe because I’m so cold all the time, I just love hot water, haha. I bought this electric kettle a while ago but I’ve been saving it for our new place, so I’m looking forward to using that instead of a regular kettle that takes a long time to boil and makes a loud noise and the temp isn’t able to be regulated like this electric kettle. It’s hard to split these habits up into each month, because I probably will start doing this in February with that early wake up habit, but I’ll keep this list somewhere I can look at and just try to continue the habits throughout the year and see if they will stick with me.
  • July: Practice my guitar more. I go through stages where I’ll play the guitar a lot for a few days, and then forget about it for weeks. It doesn’t help with learning because you have to develop callouses on your fingers in order to play, so if I don’t play a while, the callouses go away and my fingers hurt when I start up again. I won’t have a piano when we move so I’ll want to use my guitar to play music with Eva, besides using her baby instruments.
  • August: Have a baby! Oh yeah, I’m supposed to have a baby in August! Hopefully I will focus on preparation for labor and taking care of myself with all the habits in the previous months 🙂
  • September: Center our meals around vegetables. I have some different ideas of how to do this. I could prepare a large salad for us to eat before every meal, then eat a smaller amount of the main meal, or I could learn to create more meals with vegetables as the main food item and meat as a garnish, which is easy with soups or stews and would save us money if we ate less meat overall.
  • October: Do more activities that my husband likes to do. Like walking around downtown and talking to random people and playing tennis. Danail is a pretty good tennis player and I am pretty miserable at all sports, unless I’m running straight ahead, then I do alright. If I have to move in certain directions, it just doesn’t turn out well. Well, by this time, I will hopefully have a newborn baby and probably won’t be playing any tennis, so maybe I should change that to watch him play tennis more.
  • November: Focus on my blessings and giving more to others. We give to our church and we sponsor a child through Compassion International but I’d like to look for some other ways to give in different ways.
  • December: Consistent exercise. I have to throw this one in here. Everyone lists exercise as a new year’s resolution, but I do need to keep it on my list to prioritize. This will also be part of the morning routine that I’ll write about in another post.

Wow, that was hard to choose 12 things to work on next year. The most important one that will affect the others is to get up earlier and complete a successful morning routine. I have other goals with my devotional and prayer life but they will also go under this morning time, so I’ll expand on those later. The next step I will do is to take this same list and quantify it in some way so I know what exactly is my goal for each item, if I haven’t done that already.

2013 in Review

What happened in our life in 2013? It’s hard to remember so I scanned through my photos from the past year and read some random descriptions, which reminded me of some things that happened:

  • Our baby girl grew a year older. (She’ll be 2 in 14 days!)
  • We decided to buy our first home. (Still waiting to close this month.)
  • We found out that baby #2 is on the way.
  • Eva learned to walk, talk and sing.
  • Danail’s family visited from Bulgaria in May.
  • Eva was a ladybug for Halloween.
  • Had many fun play-dates with our friends.
  • I donated my wedding dress and a ton of other things to “minimize” our belongings.
  • Eva was given a small piano for Christmas from her grandparents.
  • I started this new blog!

I’m sure other more exciting things happened, but that’s all I can come up with for now.

 

Happy New Year & Habits for 2014

Happy New Year’s Eve from Michigan! It is snowing and very cold out and we plan to get a pizza from Whole Foods and just have a nice time together as a family at home. Yesterday, I cooked a large meal and it was too much work and made me not want to cook for a week. That doesn’t usually happen but I’m incredibly exhausted at this stage of pregnancy so I’m happy for a break.

I’ve never been one to make New Year’s resolutions, but I think I’m going to try something this year. Instead of resolutions, I think I might make a list of 12 habits that I’d like to cultivate in my life in the next year. And I’ll work on just one habit a month. It takes a while to develop a new habit and it should be easier to just focus on one simple item at a time. I have a few in mind, but haven’t chose them all yet. I’ll update under a new category I’ll call Personal Growth. It might be hard to start off with a new habit in January since we are moving, so I’ll pick something simple for that month.