3 Month Check-In

09 March 2019

 

I do not think I will continue the current theme of “monthly challenge” posts. At the beginning of the year, I made a list of goals that I hoped to accomplish and/or implement into my life throughout 2019. Some of these were year-long goals, and some of them were just things I hoped to give priority to at different points throughout the year. I thought a fun way to do this would be to approach it like a game, picking different goals on my list each month, and challenging myself to dive hard into it for those 30 days. But such a process has proven to be problematic, and sometimes detrimental to my success. Jumping each month to a new challenge, when I hadn’t mastered or incorporated the previous month’s challenge in a way I could be happy with, has been discouraging, and has made it difficult to focus on each new task. Each goal I added to my list is something I genuinely want to incorporate into my life, so I would like to give them the time and focus they require to become sustainable habits for me. Now this does not mean that I will not be working on some other goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year, just that I will incorporate them into my life and routine when the time is right for each goal. For now, I would like to give more attention to the goals I have already taken on.

So, being we are now past that three month mark, let’s take an honest look at how I have been doing with those different challenges.

Morning & Evening Routines

- Going to Bed and Waking up at Specific Times

I have always struggled with sleep. Even when I would attempt to go to bed at a certain time each night, I would toss and turning for hours before falling asleep, making it a real struggle to get out of bed, consistently, at any designated time. Even in the first few weeks, when I was sticking strictly to my routine, I would become more and more exhausted each day, because I was not getting enough sleep. This became quite discouraging, and before January ended, I had given up on the routine.

Having a routine is important, especially with sleep, for a person’s health. This was not a challenge I wanted to just let fall by the way-side. Now I’m tackling it again. I have rearranged the times and have found an alarm that forces me to walk to the other side of the house to turn it off. I am even stricter with my bed time, and have given myself a full eight hour sleep window, instead of the loose six to seven that I had before. It seems to be better, but I have only been at it for a few days, so I am cautiously optimistic.

-Reading One Book a Month

At some point I made a statement that my goal was to read one book a month, and I would achieve this by reading each night before bed. That definitely has not been happening. I have found that just before bed isn’t my most ideal time to read. I have done my best and most productive reading when I have been able to set aside larger chunks of time, usually in the middle of the day or earlier in the evening, specifically to reading. This way I can dive deeper into the story and don’t have a sharp time deadline as a distraction. But this isn’t a chunk of time I can devote daily, so it has happened only a few times throughout the month, making my reading pace much slower than expected (I have completed one and a half books in three months.) Reading at this pace seems to be a more enjoyable experience, however. Instead of reading because I feel like I have to meet a standard each day, I read when I want to, for how long I want to, and really have time to enjoy the experience. It is bringing the joy back to reading, and that seems more important than trying to hit some arbitrary number.

-Morning Pilates/Becoming More Active

I dropped the Pilates workouts in the morning when my morning routine became too difficult to maintain. It was challenging to stay motivated and accountable to myself each day and did not feel like I was getting much out of the activity. Quickly it became clear that I needed someone external to my household who would hold me accountable and teach me how to workout safely and effectively. In February I made the move and signed on with a personal trainer. I meet with the trainer one to two days a week and work out at home two to four days a week. I am also going for a walk/jog first thing in the morning, as part of my new morning force-my-butt-to-stay-out-of-bed routine. With my personal trainer, I have created a more specific meal plan that should better accommodate my fitness goals while embracing my low waste, mostly raw foods lifestyle. Win-win-win.

Shopping Ban

The shopping ban has probably been one of the biggest eye openers through this whole process. Mostly, I would say we have done pretty well staying away from the banned items on my list, with one or two exceptions. What is interesting is how we spend money in the approved purchases category. It would seem that we have become too comfortable being less than strategic in the areas where we make approved purchases. For example, spending way too much on groceries and going out to eat far too frequently, not shopping around for the best prices when getting repairs on things or replacements for lost or broken items, and my craft/sewing supplies. I have tracked expenses on projects before, but not as hard and consistently as I am now, and holy crap, this is an expensive hobby I have incorporated into my life. This has been a hard reminder on how important it is to be strategic with one’s hobbies.

It is probably also important to admit that yes, I apparently have issues with the frequency at which I purchase “fast coffee”, (aka, too often) and it is probably, most definitely, a thing worth banning for a while.

Writing Daily & Maintaining a Blog

Writing daily has proven to be an unrealistic task for me. Instead of focusing an hour here and an hour there on different tasks, to complete four or five tasks in a day, I have found that I do much better setting aside a day to just one or two main tasks, focusing on those tasks for longer periods without interruption. This has led to writing only one or two days a week, but I will spend most of the day writing, instead of trying to focus on writing for just an hour or two each day. The blog has posted new content every Tuesday since the beginning of the year, so I would consider this shift to be a rather successful one.

Photography Taking & Editing

The blog photos are no longer being taken and edited on my smartphone. Instead, they are being taken on an actual DSLR camera, and edited in Photoshop. I still have a lot to learn in the taking and editing department, my composition could use a little work, but I am allowing this to be a gradual process. My goal is to learn something new with each photo taken, and each edit done.

 

BONUS

Being More Charitable

I have been more active in researching and giving to charities, making donations one of our priorities each paycheck. At Emerald City Comic Con, I stumbled upon a running club charity organization who I plan to be active with through the rest of the year which I will discuss in a post soon to come.

Here is a list of some of my other favourite charities/organizations

Projects for Good | Compassion in World Farming | The Nature Conservancy | 1 Million Women | Lighting The Path | Dress a Girl Around The World | Operation Supply Drop | Unbreaking America | The Global Goals

Playing a Tabletop RPG “Consistently”

My group has been consistently playing a tabletop RPG campaign, using the Open Legends system. We can only meet one, maybe two, days a month, for three or four hour sessions. We hope eventually the sessions will be more frequent, ideally weekly, but let’s be honest with ourselves, we’re all adults with very different schedules and very different priorities. For now, once a month is still consistency if it happens EVERY month.

There have been some wins, but there are areas that still need work to be successful. It is important I take on these goals wholeheartedly and give them a true fighting chance to thrive. I haven’t been able to give all my tasks that kind of attention. So I am taking this opportunity to step back, reevaluate, and approach things from a different angle, at my own speed.