Monday, June 4, 2018

Wrapping Up Resolutions (With a Bow, of Course)

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.

This picture makes me feel peacefully present...
I also decided not to set monthly resolutions in June, July, and August, but to instead set one general (which I realize goes against my "measurable" requirement for the other nine months' resolutions) resolution for the entire summer: to be as present as possible with my kids. They have grown so much this year, and I feel the clock - that one that counts down the years, the weeks, the minutes until they leave - ticking in my heart and my soul and every ounce of my being so strongly that sometimes I can barely breathe.

BE PRESENT. This summer, presence is the present I will give to them and to myself.

May's Resolution: cut down on the grump. I took full responsibility for the state in which I found myself at the end of last month, so I also took responsibility for digging myself out of that hole. I worked on recognizing when to literally and figuratively walk away, and on thinking more carefully about what my responses to conflict and frustration would mean for my own mental health. I also worked on "letting go" of what didn't affect me or my immediate family. The result? A reasonable success! Of course I still felt sad, mad, and frustrated from time to time, but when struck by those feelings I tried to get to the root of them quickly, hash out whether or not there was anything I could - or should - do to improve the situation and/or my mental state, and come up with a plan to move forward. I did my best to keep a positive attitude, and more than once I walked away from toxic conversations...but I can also think of at least one time when I should have handled a circumstance differently. There's always room for improvement!

April's Resolution: don't use my phone - specifically email, Facebook, or Instagram - to wake up in the morning. Like many people, my phone does double duty as my alarm clock. Also like many people, after my alarm went off, I would pick up my phone and pop onto social media to find out what had gone down since 11pm the night before. I couldn't have cared less about social media's overnight report; I would only check my phone because doing so kept me from dozing back off. So I resolved to just GET UP when my alarm went off, and to check my phone only for text messages that had to do with getting the kids to school in the morning. The result? An overwhelming success! Until the last two weeks of this month, however, when getting out of bed became SO MUCH HARDER. I feel noticeably more alert and happier at the start of my day when I don't check my phone, so I know I will once again tackle this resolution now that the school year has come to an end.

March's Resolution: participate in some form of activism every day. I had reached the end of my rope with regard to a number of political and social issues, and felt the time had come for me act. In the past I had become so overwhelmed when I thought about making a difference that I ended up doing nothing, so I decided to start small, believing that the small things would eventually add up to make a significant impact. This mentality is exactly what drove my resolutions shift this year, so March seemed the perfect time to take my own first steps toward becoming a more engaged citizen and in support of the causes in which I believe. The result? A moderate success. Months later, I'm doing my best to stay connected and engaged but this resolution still overwhelms me and I still feel a bit disheartened. 

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. Months later, I haven't gotten to the drawers and the pantry...but sounds like a good project for spring break summer 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, I finally tackled Tom's closet. We had to replace our water heater, which is in the attic up above Tom's side of the closet, so we had to move all of his clothes and shoes. Though he didn't enjoy it, I made him go through everything before I would put/let him put his belongings back.

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 and to leave the book in a visible place so we're regularly reminded that reading time is calling. Any recommendations for a good book - that would appeal to both a n 11-year-old boy and a nine-year-old girl - to read aloud this summer?

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, but I tend to do better during the summer so I have high hopes for my hydration throughout the next three months!

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 keep trying and thus far it doesn't work), I'm happy to 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.

How did your school year resolutions go? What are your summer resolutions?

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