It's been quite a while since I shared an update on my monthly resolutions, so I suppose the time has come to catch you up on what I've been doing...and not doing.
April Resolution: declutter my digital life. I talk about decluttering fairly regularly, because decluttering is something I do fairly regularly. I believe that cleaning, organizing, selling, donating, and trashing should be ongoing activities, rather than tasks to tackle once or twice a year. I also adhere to the "one in, one out" rule, in an attempt to keep only what we love, need, and/or use (or to quote planner-guru Emily Ley, "the best, your favorite, or necessary"). But from time to time, certain areas need a little extra attention: maybe one of the kids went through a growth spurt and their closet overflows with clothes a size too small, or maybe I accepted the fact that I don't enjoy camping and we no longer need to devote four shelves in our garage to storing camping tarps and dishes and toilet paper, or maybe I simply haven't had the time to delete old and duplicate photos from my computer. When this happens, I try to set devote an hour/day/week/month to that area so I can return it to its natural and comfortable state. This month I am cleaning out and organizing both my phone (contacts, photos, videos, notes, and apps) and my computer (downloads, documents, folders, and photos), in hopes that less digital clutter will translate to less mental clutter. 2/3 of the way through the month I'm about 1/3 of the way through my project...I've certainly made progress but I still have a long way to go!
March Resolution: well... Full disclosure: the first few months of this year have been tough. Not in a catastrophic way (no deaths, major illnesses, or financial crises, thank goodness), but in a mentally challenging, emotionally draining, "one paper cut isn't that bad but when you get one paper cut every day you start to feel like you have a huge, gaping wound" sort of way. I managed to get so caught up in all of my paper cuts that I actually forgot to make a March resolution. The month came and went and I didn't think about resolutions even a single time, so I guess that means March's resolution was to simply make it through the month. Which I did, so high five for that.
|Hallie's reenactment of 2019. She |
has a flair for the dramatic, this one...
February Resolution: take a vacation. How did it go? While my parents held down the fort, Tom and I took a short trip to celebrate our 15th anniversary. We had planned to spend about 48 hours and two nights away, but when we realized that TAMU doesn't recognize Presidents Day and Tom had to teach at 11am that morning, we returned home earlier than anticipated. We had a great time though, and hope that another similar trip makes its way onto the calendar later in the year.
January Resolution(s): first, write for at least one hour a day. This seemed like a silly resolution, since I consider myself a writer and all, but I needed to give myself permission to focus more on my work and less on other responsibilities. Second, complete Emily Ley's 2019 Simplicity Challenge, which is a series of one-a-day steps that can be accomplished in 15 minutes or less and together add up to achieving a more simplified life. How did they go?
I did reasonably well with my first resolution, though I would have done even better if January hadn't also contained the nearly-all-consuming Variety Show. I missed a few Saturdays and one Sunday and had to devote a couple of days' writing time to volunteer writing responsibilities (which didn't technically fall under the umbrella of work), but all in all my fingers stayed busy. I didn't do quite as well with my second resolution, at least initially. I have every intention of finishing all 31 challenges, but I intentionally postponed a few that for me will take more than the expected 15 minutes. You can find all of the daily challenges on the Simplified Instagram page (they're brightly colored and easy to spot among the other posts), but here are a few of my favorites:
- Detox your social media feeds. Follow inspirational accounts. Unfollow anyone draining.
- Dump out your purse. Throw away trash. Create a little bag of essentials.
- Create a birthday list of friends you'd like to reach out to on their special day. (You can update this list and use it year after year.)
- Clean the trash out of your car. Papers. Straws. Receipts.
- Start the habit of throwing a small load of laundry in every morning.
- Walk your house with a donate bag. Schedule a pick-up or drop it off as soon as the bag is full.
- Simplify your phone. Delete old contacts and unused apps. Refresh your lock screen.
- Put two things - just two - that make you happy on your bedside table. You should also have a lamp and a clock.
December's Resolution: read to my kids every night. I resolved to read to my kids every night last December as well; doing so seems to happen less and less as they get older and I wanted to "make" myself get back into the habit of snuggling up next to them and either reading to them or letting them read to me. I loved the precious moments we spent together - and losing ourselves in all of our Christmas books - so I brought this resolution back for a second round. How did it go? Reasonably well. I would estimate that Hallie and I read together two out of every three nights, and Will chose to join us for about half of those read-aloud sessions. As was my goal last year, I wanted to carry our reading momentum into January this year, and while we had trouble doing so in the evenings, Hallie and I found a new time and place to read together: in the afternoons (on the days she doesn't have dance) and in front of the fireplace. Perfection.
November's Resolution: write in my gratitude journal daily. Doing so has been my November resolution for the last few years, and because I love intentionally documenting one thing for which I am thankful every day between November 1st and Thanksgiving Day, I kept the tradition alive. How did it go? Quite well! I missed a couple of days as usual, but upon realizing I had done so, and because I remembered the days I accidentally skipped with relative clarity, I was able to go back and update my gratitude journal.
October Resolution: use what I have, specifically beauty and skincare products, makeup, cleaning and household products, and food in my pantry and freezer. I had so many freebies, sample-sized "gifts with purchase", and full-sized products purchased at the recommendation of others, and because I wanted to start streamlining what I buy and use in each of these categories, I decided the time had come to "use it or lose it". How did it go? Incredibly well! I used up multiple lotions, shampoos, conditioners, body washes, makeup and perfume samples, and chapsticks. I tossed lots of items that had reached the end of their lives or surpassed their expiration dates. And I donated a bag of unopened samples and set aside a box of assorted products for my next garage sale.
September Resolutions: sleep seven hours every night; play with my kids, husband, and friends; and manage my social media stress. How did it go? I did well at tallying seven hours of sleep a night - I think I only missed the mark three times, and none of these nights were because of simply staying up too late. Second, I did horribly at (officially) playing with my kids, husband, and friends because...I completely forgot about this resolution, which perfectly demonstrates why I can only have one resolution each month. I did play with the kids, go on a date with Tom, and go out for dinner and drinks with friends, but not once did any of these activities remind me that I had pledged to do more. And third, I did moderately well at managing social media stress. I unfollowed quite a few people and sources and sites that regularly made me feel worse rather than better, and I added a few to lift my spirits.
Did you resolve to change anything about yourself or your life this year? Last month? This coming month? How are those resolutions going?