Monday, January 4, 2016

Goal setting and checklists for the new year

With today being the first day back from the holidays, I am inspired to write through several goals I've been rolling around in my head.    

I've been very encouraged by Gretchen Rubin's books, and one of her quotations floats to the surface often:

"We manage what we monitor."

Many of the goals I have in mind have been goals in the past, but I am hoping that monitoring them and writing about them publicly will provide the accountability that this Obliger needs to make progress with truly desired goals.  It's easy to forget about these things in the everydayness of mom life.  A checklist in a high traffic area will keep my goals off the back burner!  Hopefully.  I did something similar to this when I was expecting my first child: eat my protein, do my exercises, et cetera, and I am proud to say it worked.

Take a reading break every day after lunch.  I have been doing this more often since it has really started to sink in that I need a break in the afternoon, too.  I may not be able to take a nap, but relaxing into a book is the next best thing.  It should coincide with my oldest's quiet time and the youngest's nap.

Be finished with school before lunch.  The day just flows more peacefully when we've started with school earlier and finish completely before lunch.  It's hard to restart school after a lunch break.  Someday, we will always have to restart after lunch and rest, but right now, the oldest is only in second grade.  Schoolwork can be done in a couple of hours.  If it's not, I need to reexamine what I we are doing.  This goal coincides nicely with the next one.

Start school at 9:00am.  Yeah, I know.  Homeschooling is nice because you don't have to have a schedule.  That's true.  But without outside accountability, I sometimes start later than I'd like.  Do I beat myself up for it?  No.  Do we still get work done?  Yeah.  I'd like a little more routine, and the kids do well with routine.  A few hard stops sprinkled throughout the day will help us out.  This looks like "this before that" not "reading at 9:00, writing at 9:15, math at 9:30."

Write for 30 minutes in the morning.  I don't know how this one's going to go, but I have to try and start somewhere.  I feel like I should say 60 minutes, but that seems like a lot.  Am I going to get up? Is my 2 year old going to get up with me? Anne Lamott wrote that you have to get your tush in the chair and just do it if you want to write; so, let's get this going.

Sit in stillness and pray for at least 5 minutes.  I used to do morning and evening prayer via the magazine Magnificat, but I fell off the wagon when I stopped purchasing the magazine.  I want to build up my intentional prayer life, but I am undecided about how to move forward.  This is a start.

Lights out at 10:00pm.  This means no reading, no iPhone, no laptop, and no Kindle.  No, no, no, no. And yes to more sleep!  I won't be able to get up for writing time if I don't go to bed at a decent time, not to mention I am a better mom when I sleep properly.

Put the iPhone down for the night no later than 9:00pm.  I feel like I should call this one even earlier, but let's be realistic.  If I put it down by 9:00pm, I would still have one hour of book reading before bed, and one hour of bed reading is like an oasis of time, is it not?  It's like time stretches in a thousand ways while my brain is locked into the words.  My being breathes again when I read a good book in bed after the kids are asleep (bless their souls).

Exercise for 30 minutes.  I don't know how to be specific about this one.  Walk outside?  I've tried that in the morning.  After rest time in the afternoon?  With a DVD?  Oh, gosh, I hate even writing about this!  But I know I need to do it for my mood, being inside a lot with the kids, and having the energy to work on these goals.  Still, I groan inwardly....I'll have to put a big star on the monitoring chart next to this one.  And highlight it.

Get at least 15 minutes of fresh air each day. Put on the big ugly coat and get outside! Throw hats and coats on the kids and get outside! Get out there before it gets dark! Game changer.

Wrestle with the middle child at least once a day.  That little dude's love language is physical touch for sure.  He loooooves to wrestle.

Read a book to the youngest child at least once a day.  Keep board books by the bed and read them to her before we nurse to sleep.  It is very easy for my oldest child to receive the most read aloud time with homeschool and all, and the middle child gets read aloud time at bedtime, at the least.  Little Miss Youngest misses out more than I'd like.

There are other things on my goal list, but these are the ones that seem easiest to monitor via the checklist strategy.  (Gretchen has a free blank 31 day printable for your goals, if you're interested. I had to print mine at 90% to get it all on one page.)  I begin today, Monday the 4th.

Has the new year inspired you to zone in on your goals?  Please share in the comments on the what and the how!  Happy 2016!


  1. I didn't know about Gretchin Rubin's printables! What a great chart! I need to print the parenting one!

  2. You have some great goals he here, Anne!So many resonate with me. Thanks for the link, I think I better commit some of my goals to paper,too.