Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Wrapping Resolutions

For the second year in a row, I started my New Year's Resolutions in September and with the intent to tackle one resolution each month, rather than following the more traditional route of starting January 1st and attempting one or two resolutions over the course of the year. I gave "themed" resolutions a try during the first month, but quickly learned that I need more flexibility than the category system could provide and went back to choosing resolutions as they come to me and according to what I need to work on as each new month rolls around.

As the school year came to a close, so too did my "resolutions year" - I don't usually make summer resolutions, at least not in the same way I make school year resolutions. I do, however, have a few things I hope to take on this June and August. (We're on the road in July so I take that month out of the mix.)

First up, I plan to tackle one small area of the house that needs a deep clean or substantial organization each week. I clean and organize regularly, but let's be honest, sometimes I let the health and beauty products pile up on the bathroom counter, the dust and toys collect around the bathtub, or the clutter build up in the closets for far too long. During week #1, I addressed the playroom closet. I took everything out, wiped down the shelves, vacuumed and mopped the floor, set aside lots of toys and costumes to donate/sell, and put everything back as neatly as possible. During week #2, I addressed my vanity, the cabinets, and the bathtub in the master bathroom using basically the same process: everything out, everything cleaned, only what we need put back. During week #3, I addressed the cabinets in my half bathroom and laundry room, following the same series of steps. I haven't selected which area to deal with this week, but I know that next week's project(s) will involve the kids' rooms, since they'll both be gone for at least a few of the days. 😉
Playroom closet before #1
Playroom closet before #2
Playroom closet after 😍
The pile of stuff to donate/sell/relocate to another room (excluding the
dust buster) I pulled from my bathroom cabinets. This doesn't include
trash, expired meds, and all of rags I used to wipe everything down. 😩 

Second, I'm trying as hard as I can to take care of back-to-school tasks - purchasing binders and absolutely necessary school supplies, sports physicals and paperwork, allergy paperwork, asthma paperwork, epi-pen and inhaler prescription refills, new shoes, etc. - before we travel up north. This year the kids go back to school almost a full week earlier than they have in Augusts past, which means the amount of time I have to accomplish all of this - if I wait until we return from Wisconsin - will be less than what I'm used to having. I hope that working a little harder in June will make August a little less challenging.

And now, a recap of the year!

May Resolution: well... I compare May to riding a bull: I grabbed on, said a little prayer, and didn't let go until the ride - er, the month - had come to an end. My only resolutions were to enjoy the end of elementary school (for Hallie) and put on a respectable intermediate school dance (for Will), and I think I accomplished both with only a few tears shed along the way.

April Resolution: declutter my digital life. I wanted to clean out and organize both my phone (contacts, photos, videos, notes, and apps) and my computer (downloads, documents, folders, and photos), in hopes that less digital clutter would translate to less mental clutter. How did it go? I made substantial progress, but I still have work to do, especially when it comes to the photos on my computer.

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.

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).

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?

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