So... it's February! All I have been hearing everyone saying is that time is passing quicker than ever. I must agree, it has been moving at lightning speed. It seems like yesterday that I was looking ahead into January with a plan to instate new habits and routines and here we are one entire month later and I find myself already looking back.
In a previous post (see here), I committed to a set of specific goals that I established for myself to meet during the month of January. Below I highlight each objective I sought to attain along with the ultimate outcome.
Meditate 10 minutes each morning
Check. I am happy to share that I have consistently been meditating on a daily basis. In fact, I meditate between 15-20 minutes each morning instead of my original ten-minute target.
Read one book every two weeks
Check. I am thrilled to report that I have not only achieved this goal, but I doubled the outcome. In the month of January I read:
Greenwood: A Novel of a Family Tree in a Dying Forest by Michael Christie
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma
Acid for the Children: A Memoir by Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers
Reserve wine for weekends (which begin on Thursdays!)
Unaccomplished. Big fat ZERO here. I'm not sure why this was on my list to begin with. I have a feeling it had something to do with "dry January" being all over my social media feed. I will happily continue to allow myself to enjoy a glass or two of wine at the end of very long and action-packed days.
Watch one classic movie per week, alone
Unaccomplished. I think this was added to my list as a romanticized activity thinking that I would enjoy watching a movie mid-day by myself. I had fantasies of watching Casablanca or Breakfast at Tiffany's under the blankets on a Monday morning. The truth is, I watched one documentary and had very little patience to sit through a two-hour film on a weekday. I also really love watching movies as a family on the weekends and I learned that two movies a week are about all I can handle.
Sign up for a virtual personal growth/spiritual awakening type class, once per week
Check. I signed up for weekly classes that highlighted various new-age topics each week like auras, dream interpretations, kabbalah basics, and shamanism. Although I didn't pursue any of these topics more deeply, being introduced to a new way of thinking reminded me just how much I enjoy acquiring new knowledge and exposing myself to new perspectives and possibilities.
Spend 10 minutes each day on Duolingo, brushing up on my Italian which I haven't used since the Spring
Unaccomplished. I tried to stick to this. I really did. The first week of January I spent ten minutes each day on the app. Then, I'm not sure what happened. I just kind of forgot about this goal until looking back at it now. When planning ahead for February's goals, this won't make the list.
Take care of my roots
Check. I finally touched up my roots. Not that they were so bad, but they were there, and pre-pandemic they were always covered before they had a chance to peek their way out of my scalp. Now, that I have figured out how to take care of this matter on my own for under $15, I cannot imagine ever spending a couple of hundred dollars plus taxi fare on this service again.
For me, having my goals written out really helped me focus on achieving as many of them as possible. Although the goals I set for myself seemed very realistic at the time, in retrospect some were doomed to fail although looking back, I don't see the unfulfilled ones as failures at all. I learned from the unmet goals too ( while watching Pretty Woman on my own sounds fantastic, I really rather be doing something else during the day like hiking, walking along the coast, writing...) What I find really interesting is that the goals which were fulfilled were done so at a higher completion rate than initially targeted (i.e. reading four books in January versus two books). This realization has taught me that while there are some tasks we discard or ignore, the goals that truly resonate with us inspire us to give one hundred percent of our energy into attaining them, even surpassing what we hoped for. Meaning, it is crucial that we focus on aspirations that really, truly are meaningful to us. That being said, if we all took a pen and paper at the beginning of each month and listed a handful of goals we'd like to fulfill during the month ahead, how gratifying would it feel knowing that although we may not have met them all, we successfully accomplished even just a couple of our goals? Even more so, how wonderful would the realization be in knowing that the journey and process that we embark on to reach our goals will inevitably and perfectly lead us to new goals and accomplishments? By exploring new goals each month there is also an automatic default into a world of unexpected achievements that organically arise. My January goals led to new habits and routines I didn't set out to incorporate into my daily life yet through cause and effect, here they are!
New accomplishments that surprisingly sprouted when planting specific seeds for January:
1) I currently wake up at 5:00 am on weekdays. I prepare everyone's morning smoothies and soon after lock myself in a room where I meditate, journal, and watch an inspirational TED Talk/podcast. I realized that in order to fit everything I'd like into a day, I need to wake up earlier. I love my sleep more than anything but I have learned that I love my moments alert and productive even more.
2) I now incorporate a daily TED Talk on varying topics into my morning routine (this is a direct result of fulfilling last month's goal of signing up for a spiritual class once a week. Enrolling in those made me want to fill my brain with as many positively powerful messages each day).
3) I have begun to journal each morning jotting down anything from complete rambles to thoughts on precise questions that I pose to myself like "what are your biggest strengths? what are your biggest weaknesses? What would you do if today was your last day alive?" etc. If I want to be more aware, I need to practice more awareness and journaling helps me with that.
4) For the last three weeks, I have finally returned to the gym and have been working out on a daily basis. By 6:30 am I'm in the car and on the way to a sweat session. I put my body on hold for the first six months of our road trip. It's so exhilarating to challenge it again and feel my heart pounding through my chest reminding me with each beat how grateful I am to be alive.
5) I have stood my ground and let my husband and children know that no one is to call me or interrupt me before lunchtime unless it's urgent. Having focused, uninterrupted time to think, work, and manage my endless list of tasks has been lifesaving. Gone are the days when I serve everyone's every little need. My kids are now old enough to figure out how to make a snack on their own.
It is easy to let the clock tick and the days pass without even taking one deep breath. Can I ask you to PAUSE and join me in listing some realistic goals for yourself to focus on in February? If so, let me know you're on board, share your goals with me, and I'll touch base with you in a few weeks to celebrate your successes and also discuss which new routines and accomplishments emerged that were unexpected. Make sure to read my tips to help you get started. I look forward to hearing from you!