Monday, March 5, 2018

March Forward

If you recall, this year I began tackling my New Year's Resolutions in September. I also decided to choose one resolution each month, rather than choosing one or two resolutions to attempt - and at which to most likely fail - over the course of the year. With only 30 days devoted to each resolution, my goals have been and will continue to be small, measureable, and empowering. Smaller goals are more attainable, which increases the chance of success. Measureable goals are more manageable, which once again increases the chance of success. And empowering goals are more inspirational, which…you guessed it…increases the chance of success.

I went with a slightly different kind of resolution for March, one that takes me out of my comfort zone but the time for which feels right. Here are the details on that resolution, as well as an update on resolutions past:

March's Resolution: participate in some form of activism every day. I've reached the end of my rope with regard to a number of political and social issues, and I feel that the time has come for me act. I want and need to do something.

A couple of weeks ago I read a shared-by-a-friend, shared-by-a-cousin (or something like that) Facebook post in which the author made an interesting point about activism. She talked about how many of us become so overwhelmed when we think about making a difference - because we assume that to have an impact we have to "go big or go home" - that we end up doing nothing. I fall squarely in this camp.

She went on to add that her new motto is to start small, believing that eventually the small things add up to make a significant impact. This mentality is exactly what drove my resolutions shift this year, so I decided March would be the perfect time to take my own first steps - to March Forward, if you will - toward becoming a more engaged citizen and in support of the causes in which I believe.

I don't have all of the details ironed out, yet I know that little - perhaps even none - of what I do will find its way to social media. I'll share an update in my April resolutions post, but I don't have plans to personally try to persuade those who believe differently than I do to change their minds; instead I want to make donations, contact my representatives, write letters, ask questions, and listen more.

February's Resolution: clean out all of my kitchen cabinets and drawers. After cleaning out and paring down the contents of my closets in January, my kitchen cabinets and drawers suddenly felt agitatingly disorganized and unnecessarily full. I expect that my friends and I will hold a joint garage sale in May, so it made sense to tackle clutter in January and February. The result? A moderate success! I cleaned out and reorganized all my cabinets, but didn't get to the pantry...sounds like a good project for spring break, doesn't it?

January's Resolution: clean out all of our closets. My goal was to take care of the kids' closets with them before they went back to school, and then tackle the rest of the closets throughout the last three weeks of the month. The result? A moderate success, but there remains work to be done! I started off strong at the beginning of January, but getting sick meant I made absolutely no progress throughout the last two weeks of the month. I thoroughly cleaned out both kids' closets, the linen/guest bathroom closet, the front hall closet, the playroom closet, and my half of the master closet. Months later, Tom's closet still remains...getting him to sort through and/or organize anything is a challenge, partially because he has little free time and partially because he doesn't see the value in this kind of project.

December's Resolution: read to my kids every night. My goal was to sit on the side of their beds - or better yet, snuggle up next to them - and either read to them or let them read to me. The result? A moderate success on paper, an overwhelming success in reality! I read to Hallie almost every night, and to Will about every other night. We missed a few evenings because of late-night activities like Snowmageddon 2017, Nutcracker performances, Christmas parties, a birthday sleepover, and travel, and a couple of times Will opted to read his own book rather than join Hallie and me. December worked perfectly for this resolution as our evenings held fewer commitments, and I truly hope I can carry this resolution into January - when our regular evening activities begin again - and protect this precious time together. Months later we don't read together every evening, but we definitely sit down with a book more often now than before our December resolution. I find that it helps to choose a book that everyone - me included - can't wait to get back to (we're reading Wonder right now) and to leave the book in a visible place so we're regularly reminded that reading time is calling.

November's Resolution: write in my gratitude journal daily. My goal was to document at least one thing for which I was thankful every day between November 1st and November 23rd (Thanksgiving Day). The result? A moderate success! I missed a couple of days but realized fairly quickly I had done so; I remembered the days I had accidentally skipped with enough clarity to go back and update my gratitude journal. Months later I don't keep a regular gratitude journal (I only commit to keeping one - at least officially - in November), but I try to use my High Five for Friday posts the same way I would use a gratitude journal.

October's Resolution: drink more water. My goal was to down at least two full water bottles every day. The result? A complete disaster! I probably met my goal only one day a week. I do a great job of drinking water during the summer, but for some reason my school year schedule doesn't have the same triggers as my summer schedule to remind me to drink water. Months later I still struggle with this resolution. I have tried everything I can think of to remember to stay better hydrated (and to make water more appealing), but I only succeed about a third of the time.

September's Resolution: turn off the light by 11:30pm on school nights and by 12:00am (midnight) on weekends. My goal was to get at least seven hours of sleep a night, and to settle into a peaceful schedule of falling asleep and waking up that would continue through the school year. The result? A complete success! Not one cheat day. Months later I still adhere to these bedtimes, and while I wish I could bump them 15-30 minutes earlier (I've tried and thus far it doesn't work), I'm happy that I get a solid seven hours of sleep most nights. Well, I get a solid seven hours of sleep on nights Tux doesn't have to go outside to use the restroom or need extra love at 4am.

What have you resolved to change about yourself and/or your life this year? How are those resolutions going?

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