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Saturday, June 15, 2013

2013 Resolutions: May Update and June Goals

This year, I am working on new resolutions each month and am using Gretchen Rubin's monthly resolution system to create and track behaviors that I hope will increase my overall happiness.

Ladybug MacroMay Update

Last month, my focus area was "Dreams".  Since it is difficult to set concrete resolutions in this area, I chose to continue to work on the goals and intentions I had initiated earlier in the year.  Here is a little reflection in each area:
  • Taking care of myself (Jan): I am undoubtedly taking better care of myself.  I continue to keep to morning and evening routines and I have a much lower level of stress overall than I did even a year ago, and considerably less stress than two or more years ago.
  • Fostering deeper relationships with my loved ones (Feb): I have spent more quality time with family and friends and continue to make plans.  Jason and I have kept up the good communication habits we started in February and it has resulted in less arguments and conflict overall.
  • Transitioning to my new job, which starts in August (Mar):  This has been one of the toughest changes, but also one with a lot of potential reward.  I was able to find closure at my old site and pack up and move my stuff out of my old classroom, which is the first major step in the physical movement from one job to another.
  • Practicing conscious eating habits (Apr): I continue to struggle in this area.  I am committed to being more conscious of not just what I eat but more importantly how much I eat - portion control.  I still have a tendency to say "I can just eat whatever, whenever!  Woo hoo!".  This is of course not true, even if everything I eat is vegan and gluten-free.  
Overall, I came to recognize last month that I want to continue to simplify my life and have systems and routines that reflect my intentions and help me spend my time and energy in a positive way.

I am also still working  to let go of perfection and of doing everything right.  It is very easy for me to see what I haven't yet achieved instead of recognizing the amazing things I have accomplished.  This is an ongoing struggle for me and one that keeps me from trying a lot of new things.

In taking time to focus on those intentions I have for my life, I am forced to realize that growth is imperfect and I can't just set goals and then check them off a list as complete.  I have to make slow progress, and sometimes fall back into old habits, but I can't give up on the intention of having a happier life.  I'm not going to be able to do everything right the first time and need to let go of the expectation that I should or will.

Clean DishesJune Goals

For June my focus area is "Home" and I have two goals in this area: to stick to a system of keeping the house clean and uncluttered, and to keep better track of how we spend our money.

I am not a naturally gifted housekeeper.  I have the ability to step over a mess on the floor or ignore dirty dishes in the sink for way longer than is necessary or appropriate.  I just never learned how to get organized to keep a house clean.

When I stumbled across The Flylady's cleaning system about 5 years ago, everything suddenly began to click.  Flylady recommends developing daily and weekly routines to tackle basic chores (like dishes, laundry, and vacuuming the floors), and dividing the house into zones with 1-2 rooms per zone to tackle larger cleaning projects (like wiping down kitchen cabinets or vacuuming the sofa).  There are 5 zones, so your whole house is pretty much cleaned in a 5 week cycle.

Like any habits, doing chores takes practice and commitment.  As I said, it does not naturally occur to me to do these things so I have to have a system to help me get stuff done.  Over the past five years I feel I have learned how to keep the house clean.  Now, it is just a matter of prioritizing my time so that necessary tasks get done.  Things like doing the dishes each night are still hard for me, just because I never developed the habit.  So this month, I am simply focusing on following the system I have developed to keep the house clean, with the goal of making these steps habits so that they become more subconscious behavior for me.

While I want chores to become second nature, I do not want to continue to have the same attitude toward spending money.  Money is really not all that important to me and not something that I highly value (hence my choice of occupation) so it is hard for me to pay attention to how it is used and spent.  It's just not that interesting to me.

A recent book I picked up by John Robbins, The New Good Life: Living Better Than Ever in an Age of Less, has really inspired me to take a closer look at our spending habits in relation to our quality of life.  This is something that has been on my mind for a while, since it is a common theme of many of the books and blogs I read about happiness and simple living.  But until now I have been hesitant to do the difficult work of really looking at how we spend our money and what that means about our priorities.  Only after we become aware of where our money is going, can we begin to align our spending habits with our priorities.  So this month, I am simply focusing on keeping track of where every dollar comes from and goes, with the intention of getting a clear picture of our overall spending habits.

Both of these goals, I hope, will help to create a happier and more harmonious home.

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