As I shared earlier, our pastor encouraged us to set goals for ourselves each month.
Now, everyone knows that January is the month of goal setting. So, obviously, I was inspired and ready to go with the New Year.
Unfortunately, my motivation took a big dip last month (like pretty much everyone else’s). Maybe it was the weather, or maybe it was because I had so much stuff going on in my personal life. Maybe I was born with it – or maybe it’s Maybelline. (No? I’ll see myself out.)
Still, I feel like I did pretty well overall. Here’s how I did, along with the new goals I’m creating for March.
1. Faith Life
Goal: Find a happiness devotional and follow it daily.
I actually did this one! I put a lot of research into finding a great devotional.
While the one I found isn’t necessarily a “happiness” devotional, it does meet the requirements I had in mind. I wanted a devotional that would help me stay focused on the good things in life rather than the negatives. Foster care adds a lot of stress and anxiety, and I really need to learn to filter that out.
Another foster parent shared a devotional that has helped her, and she and I often see eye-to-eye on things, so I thought I’d give it a try. It’s The Armor of God Bible study by Priscilla Shirer.
So far, I’m loving it. The workbook is around $18, and I didn’t realize you have to rent or purchase the videos separately, but it’s still not too expensive considering you only watch one video per week. I found a discount code that let me purchase the videos for about $4 each in HD, and you can also rent the whole bundle for $30.
I could also do the workbook without the videos, but I feel like they’re worth the money because Priscilla Shirer is such a good teacher.
Because I’m loving this study, my March goal is to follow it daily, and so far I’m staying on track.
March Faith Life Goal: Follow devotional daily.
2. Marriage Life
Goal: Weekly dates, even if we have to “date” at home.
Okay, so we didn’t manage to have weekly date nights, but we definitely had more date nights than we normally do – and by that I mean that we successfully had one date night in February, thanks to a local church that offers a “Parents Night Out” for foster parents.
I know one date night per month isn’t impressive to most of you, but please remember that we have a 19-month-old and a 6-month-old at home, so date nights are super difficult. I do, however, think they’re important, so I’m going to work harder on this one in March.
We’re going to start budgeting a little extra for a babysitter, and the goal is to have at least one “real” date night each month with a few other “at home” date nights too. I’ll let you know how it goes.
March Marriage Life Goal: Weekly dates!
3. Family Life
Goal: Spend time outdoors!
I feel like I did pretty well with this one, considering it rained almost every day in February.
Even if we were sick, I somehow managed to lug the babies outside for a few minutes of fresh air every time the rain finally let up for a bit last month.
There may have been one or two days when I just opened a window, but there were several days where we went outside, played on the slide, laid in the grass, and just enjoyed the spring-like weather. I consider that a win for February.
For March, I’m expanding the goal a bit. Instead of just spending time outdoors, I want to spend time outdoors as a family. I’m thinking maybe some weekend zoo trips or playground dates are in order, and I want my husband to tag along. He needs the fresh air, too, after all.
March Family Life Goal: More time outdoors together.
4. Office Life
Goal: Create work schedule for balance.
I failed at this one. There’s really no other way to say it; I just failed.
I did try to create a work schedule, but it’s just so flippin’ hard right now.
Even though my babies started daycare in November, they have yet to attend a full week. If they don’t get sick and have to stay at home at least one day, I still keep them home on Wednesday so they can rest up for the rest of the week. Otherwise, they’re super cranky. (In fact, the daycare sent them home the one Wednesday I didn’t keep them home anyway. Why? Because they were so cranky that the workers assumed they must be sick.)
I also typically pick my kids up fairly early from daycare, so I don’t get a lot of time to work during the day.
That means I work some odd hours. I might spend all day taking care of kids, then crunch some writing work in just before bed. And this blog isn’t all that I do for a living (mostly because it doesn’t make any money).
I primarily earn through freelance writing and editing work, which means I write roughly 20-25 hours a month. That may not sound like a lot, but that’s just writing. It doesn’t include the time I spend pitching ideas to clients, discussing those ideas, revising articles, editing other people’s work, catching up on bookkeeping, etc. It adds up quickly.
Also, I obviously wear a lot of hats these days, and it can be hard to juggle all the different tasks. But I’m working on it. So, while I’d love to finally create a work schedule, I just don’t think it’s going to happen any time soon.
Instead, I’d love to set up a dedicated work space for myself at home. That way, even if the kids are cranky and yelling, I can disappear to my office while my husband manages things for a bit – assuming he’s home, of course.
March Work Life Goal: Set up a work space.
5. Digital Life
Goal: No screens at dinner.
I’m not sure whether this one was a success or not.
I noticeably cut down on the amount of time I spent looking at my phone while I was eating. In fact, I made that a priority.
Towards the beginning of February, we also focused on eating dinner around the table, so there was no television either. But then things got kind of crazy. Honestly, there are very few nights I even remember sitting down to eat dinner at all over the last few weeks. We did a lot of “grab and go” type meals, and there were many nights we ate separately because our evening schedules were so hectic.
Overall, I think we spent less time looking at screens while we ate, but it was hardly the unhurried, relaxing dinner I’d hoped for when I made this goal.
Instead of sticking it out for another month, I think I’m going to create a new goal that focuses more on the spirit of the thing: I’d like to have more hands-on time with the people I love versus TV/movie time. That means more board games, puzzles, crafts, etc.
March Digital Life Goal: Balance screen time with hands-on time.
6. Ministry Life
Goal: Start leading a small group.
We started our small group a few weeks ago, and so far it’s going really well.
My friend and I are both new to leading a small group, so there’s been a bit of a learning curve, but we’re finally starting to feel more confident about leading each week.
I’ve been struggling to create my notes and finish my reading each week with time to spare, so I’m making a goal to focus on my small group preparation each Sunday. The group meets Wednesday night, so this should give us enough time to make any changes to our notes before we meet for discussion.
March Ministry Life Goal: Small group Sundays.
7. Financial Life
Goal: Focus on food budget. Cook!
I sort of accomplished this goal, but it wasn’t because I was so self-disciplined.
At the beginning of the month, I focused on our food budget quite a bit, and I did some meal planning and bought groceries. But then I just completely threw everything out the window and did what I needed to get by because evenings got kind of crazy.
My husband also worked both Saturday and Sunday of two different weekends this month, so it was really a hectic time for us.
Now, if you’re not familiar with these two things, lemme just explain something to you. Rick Bragg is a local author from Alabama (which is where I live). He writes about everything Southern, and this book is literally about his mama’s cooking, which is about as Southern as it gets. The Pioneer Woman is supposedly from Oklahoma, but her cooking style also appeals to Southerners like myself.
So, one night I’m reading the book, and the author mentions beans and cornbread. So, of course, I stick a bookmark to keep my place, tiptoe down the hall to the kitchen, and plop some beans to soak in a bowl right then. Did I mention it was midnight?
Anyway, the next day we had beans and cornbread with dinner. Then, Ree Drummond made potato soup, so of course I had to make potato soup, too. Finally, I read a chapter where Rick Bragg’s grandfather made homemade biscuits, sausage, and gravy for breakfast. Of course, the next morning, I had to make (frozen) biscuits, sausage, and gravy for breakfast too.
So, while I did cook more this month, I would say it was more from peer pressure than anything else. But whatever works, right?
Anyway, my financial goal for March is to work on our taxes. Borrinnnngggg. (But I still have several episodes of The Pioneer Woman left, so there may be some cooking happening, too.)
March Financial Goal: Taxes.
8. Social Life
Goal: Plan a girls night.
This was probably my lowest priority goal last month because I spent a lot of time with my friends in January.
Unfortunately, I haven’t spent much quality time with them this month, so it’s back on the list!
I desperately need a fun night with my friends, so I’ll be making some plans soon.
March Social Life Goal: Girls night!
9. Attitudinal Life
Goal: React before anger builds.
Yeah, I failed at this one, and I’m beginning to be okay with that.
So, one day last month one of our case workers called me four times before 7:30 a.m. She needed to know the bathing suit size for one of my kids. Because I have a lot of difficulty getting in touch with her and am also super cranky in the morning, I did not handle her incessant phone calls very well, especially because they woke me up.
So I let her know how unhappy I was. And I let her supervisor know that the communication needed to get a lot better. While it was something I definitely needed to address, I’m sure it seems like I overreacted to this one situation because, once again, I let the communication problem get out of hand before I finally snapped.
BUT…she and I have a good relationship going now, she emails me politely and only calls once, and she finally answered all of my questions I’ve been asking for the past year.
So, I guess I’m glad I finally addressed the issue, though I’m certain I could have done it more politely.
Because this issue actually stems from my desire to avoid any confrontation at all times, I’m going to work on that problem first. I really think all of it boils down to a lack of self-confidence on my part, so I’m hoping to address that this month. Wish me luck!
March Attitudinal Life Goal: Confidence challenge.
10. Creative Life
Goal: Spend 5 minutes creating daily.
I stopped doing this after about a week, and I think it’s because I lost interest. It was too vague of a goal.
I tried doodling in my notebook for a few days, and I practiced my piano a bit.
But then I started counting stupid things as “creative.” If I rearranged a few pillows, that was 5 minutes of creativity. Eventually, I just stopped doing it altogether.
So, for this month, I’m setting a goal to practice piano daily. So far, I’ve only managed to practice one day. But it’s only the 3rd, so hopefully that gets better.
March Creative Life Goal: Practice piano every day.
11. Travel Life
Goal: Explore Alabama.
Yeah…we didn’t really do this at all either.
I did travel to Huntsville one weekend, so maybe that counts? But we didn’t really explore anything other than my cousin’s front yard, and I had five kids with me, so I was a little distracted.
Though I’d love to keep attempting this goal in March, our weekends are already pretty full, so instead I’m going to attempt to book our vacation for the fall. Easy, right?
March Travel Life Goal: Book a vacation.
12. Physical Life
Goal: Drink more water and exercise daily.
I did really well with the water goal and really badly with the exercise goal.
I’m not sure if I exercised at all last month, unless you count chasing my dogs around the neighborhood. (If that counts, then I exercised a lot.)
I did, however, make a conscious effort to drink more water. I even kind of like water now, which is super weird for me to say since I’ve always been more of a sweet tea kind of gal.
For March, I’ll start smaller with the exercise goals and aim to do a plank every day. I have a bad back, and every doctor in the world has advised me to work on strengthening my core. So, here I go, doctors! I’m finally taking your advice. This means my sciatica and herniated discs should be all better by April, right? Right???
March Physical Life Goal: Plank daily.
I lost my motivation in February, but I am looking forward to getting back on track. I love transitional seasons, and spring is just around the corner.
Here’s hoping we get some pretty weather soon because sunshine and fresh air helps my energy levels a ton. Plus, my yard has almost become a pond at this point. I’ll catch back up with y’all in April!