Goals

February.

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February is always a weird month for me. January, despite moving quickly for the first two weeks, slows wayyy down and seems never-ending. February always seems to show up out of nowhere.

February is also when I always start to feel the weight of reality stack back on my shoulders. After a carefree holiday season, there’s catch-up work to do in every realm of life. This year, work has been maddening, we are moving in less than two months, and I still have to get my feet wet with wedding planning. I’ve tempered this craziness with more reading, almost-daily yoga, and trying to reduce the amount of time I usually spend zoned-out in front of my computer. But I’m still overwhelmed.

Thankfully, work should slow down soon. We have had a series of daunting transitions one after the other: the original 45-store buyout, adding the new owner’s original six stores to our workload, buying another eight stores, and now transitioning the final store from my original employer. Every time I would feel somewhat under control, everything would wobble and fall over again, kind of like constantly rebuilding a house of cards. Now we have a controller who can get us organized, and (fingers crossed) we shouldn’t have any new additions for a little while, so we should be able get a handle on our procedures and workload.

Moving is only stressing me out in terms of anticipating it without actually being able to physically do anything yet. Things like that don’t sit well in my brain – until it’s time to take action, it will remain this pesky thought bubble that keeps floating through my conscious mind daily until I get to do something about it.

My hope for February is to feel a little more settled. To do that, I have a few goals:

  1. Get to work on time. Even with adjusting my hours to 9:30am to 6pm, my body still wants to sleep in absurdly late so that I barely arrive on time. I’m still trying to figure out the key to waking up earlier in the morning, because seriously, no matter how many alarms I set or even if I ask Erik to throw open the shades and wake me up, I go back to sleep until I have just enough time to get ready and bolt out the door.
  2. Tour wedding venues. After fighting about our guest list too many times (something I never expected to argue about!), we finally have a close-enough number that I was able to contact some places for their minimums, maximums, and availability. There are a few responses in my inbox already and I’m hoping to start scheduling visits. Once I have this one crucial piece squared away, I will feel so much better about wedding planning.
  3. Assemble my bridal party. I hemmed and hawed about who to pick but finally settled on my group of girls. I’m now in the process of creating bridesmaid “ask” gifts – which you can either love me or judge me for – and then I’m hoping to see all of them in person to ask them. This will take a little bit of schedule juggling, but it shouldn’t be too bad (and if I have to, I can always mail the boxes).
  4. Start packing our non-essentials. It will probably drive me completely insane to not pack anything until next month, so my goal is to drag things out of our closets and pack up things I don’t use daily (my books, our DVDs, my embarrassing collection of 3-wick Bath & Body Works candles, etc). I might also take things off of the walls and start packing away decorative knick knacks as well, even though bare walls make me super sad.
  5. Continue making my lunch at home and find healthy breakfast foods. I’m doing pretty well with bringing lunch from home, which is good for my body and my wallet. However, I’m still trying to work on breakfast. I’m usually not hungry in the morning so I need something small (like fruit or yogurt), but I don’t put the effort in to actually have those things ready at work.

The only good things about February are Valentine’s Day and that it’s a shorter month than usual. Once March comes around, I’ll hopefully feel a little more normal.

What are you looking forward to in February?

About Me · Goals

Step by step.

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When I was growing up, I loved all things that involved following instructions. I was the girl who got Lego sets and, after carefully organizing the pieces into piles based on color, size, and shape, would follow the instructions step-by-step. There was no desire to use my imagination – I was satisfied by having a completed structure that mimicked the one on the box.

I got a lot of craft kits as a kid, but again, they involved little creativity. My jam was ANYTHING color-by-number, whether that be coloring books, those plastic stained-glass sun catchers, or my favorite (and I hope someone else knows what I’m talking about): the paper sand art where you peeled each section to reveal a sticky background and covered it with the appropriate shade of sand. Man, I wonder if I can still get those at Michaels?

This also explains my adoration of baking and my general disinterest in cooking. (“Flavor to taste” is not a unit of measurement, thank you very much.)

In my adulthood (HAHA, what’s that?), I have found this to be an issue for the simple fact that life doesn’t come with instructions. Many of the responsibilities that we undertake as adults – budgeting, grocery shopping, wedding planning, etc. – don’t come with any guidelines. Sure, you can ask Google for the answers, but that isn’t always straightforward.

Same thing goes for goal-setting. See, if someone gave me a list of things I had to do along with how to do them, I’d be totally set. But coming up with that list myself? It’s a struggle.

This means my goals are usually not task-based. They’re abstract: drink more water, exercise more, read more, get on a better schedule. I don’t follow a budget, I just do my best to avoid impulse shopping and don’t buy things unless they’re absolutely necessary. Theoretically, I know I have to carve out time and create a schedule to complete these things… but I don’t. Because I have little practice in being creative, even when “being creative” means drafting a daily timeline of activities.

So, when you ask me what my goals are this year, this is my big one: make an attempt to organize my life. This means sitting down and physically writing in my planner what time to go to bed, what time to wake up, when to stop eating at night, and dedicating certain days or certain hours of the day to specific activities. In addition to that, I have a couple of actionable goals, some measured and some not:

  • Reading one book a month (my Goodreads goal is 15 books, because I’m ambitious and hope to read two books in three of those months)
  • Blogging once a week
  • Exercising daily, even if it’s just a little bit
  • Bring lunch to work whenever possible and cut down on Dunkin and Starbucks trips
  • Stop! Impulse! Shopping!

If I can force myself to sit and come up with a super detailed plan, as silly as that sounds, it might actually help me feel a little more in control of my life.

Do you love following instructions or do you approach everything with creativity?

About Me · Goals

Learning to be present.

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I’m a planner by nature.

Planning for and anticipating an event is part of the fun for me. Figuring out what outfit I’ll wear, what nail polish to pick (and always, stupidly, apply ten minutes before leaving), and what food to make are fun. Writing to-do lists and having a schedule of tasks leading up to an event help me channel my anxious energy. Always having something to do next lets me go on autopilot and never stop moving. Having an empty weekend, except the part where I get to sleep forever, makes me uncomfortable.

The problem I have is the lack of being present. I’m always thinking, what’s next? Right now I’m thinking of the ten things I have to do before bedtime, what I have to bring to my parents’ house tomorrow after work, and stressing about all of the unplanned details for my birthday party on Saturday. I’m not ‘here’ right now, mentally, and so I’m never relaxed until I fall asleep at night.

I do this at work, too. Our company went through a lot of changes this summer and there is always something to do, so I just go go go until the clock strikes 5:30. Usually I break for lunch, sometimes I don’t. Today I had to force myself to stop and make a cup of coffee at 2pm.

Being still is not my strength. Being still means the opportunity to actually think and process and feel things. Being busy numbs me from that, from the anxiety and the uncontrollable overthinking that pulls apart every insecurity and gives me fifty ways I’m a screwed up human. But that also seeps into the good things that I try to enjoy fully, but can’t. I won’t let myself sit and watch a movie with Erik, and sometimes it’s difficult to shut my brain off when I’m trying to enjoy the company of my friends. If you’re doing something to drown out the bad – something that is taking your focus away from reality – then it’s going to affect the good, too.

Born from all of that is my word for 2017, a word that I always brushed off and never paid attention to: intentional. Yeah, okay, I need to be more intentional. I need to “be here now,” blah blah blah. I always overlooked this word that’s everywhere. Until this year, when I was working on Holiday Council work, and it kept coming out of my pen in almost every prompt.

This year I will do my best to be intentional. To be present. To be here, now. Not in my head, not thinking about tomorrow or Saturday or next month’s calendar full of events. Not constantly hopping from one thing to the next thing to the next. Just where I am, right now, no matter where that happens to be.

Are you good at being present? Do you constantly think about the next things coming up on your agenda, or do you savor the moment? Any tips on staying in the moment?