Goals · mental health

March-ing On

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I can’t tell if February passes so quickly simply because it’s a short month, or also because it follows January, the longest month evvvver. Either way, here we are in March, where I always breathe a little internal sigh of relief.

Winter agitates me. I’ve been learning this the hard way over the past few years. I don’t really get depressed (this year I did, but it’s not common). For me, my anxiety just ramps up. I’m anxious about snow. I’m anxious about people having the stomach flu (hi, lifelong emetophobe over here!). I’m anxious about being anxious in all of the social situations that come up around the holidays. And for some reason, my body reacts worse to the cold than it does to excessive heat.

Once we turn the calendar to March, it’s like a light at the end of the tunnel. I can see spring on the horizon. We may still have snow and frigid weather, but it’s almost over. That’s part of the reason I always wanted a spring wedding – as much as I do love summer and fall, spring is refreshing and comforting to me. It doesn’t have the oppressive heat like summer does, but you can still enjoy being outside. Spring is like the Friday of seasons to me.

Unfortunately, I didn’t really tackle my main goal of setting schedules for myself this month, so I’m carrying it forward into March. The other big goal is to make a doctor’s appointment and get blood work done, because now it’s officially been Way Too Long since I’ve been to the doctor. My reward for making the doctor’s appointment will be to take the day off when I get my blood drawn – I’m not afraid of needles, necessarily, but I am freaked out by the process of drawing blood and often hyperventilate and get lightheaded. My doctor’s office does blood work on site and has appointments Friday mornings, so I promised myself once I get it on the calendar, I’ll take a vacation day and have a three-day weekend.

I did get a lot of small things done in February. There were some nagging to-do list items around the apartment, like reorganizing a few storage bins so that they make more sense and decluttering some clothes. I had friends over mid-month, which is always a nice kick in the ass to clean everything up. I finally mailed a donation box of some bras and toiletries to my local chapter of I Support The Girls, which is a great organization because they actually take gently-worn bras, and I had a ton.

I’m also enrolled in Reclamation, which is a 10-month program through Stratejoy that helps you examine yourself and your life, and February was our first month. I’m only a little bit behind (no surprises there), but it has been so helpful to be held accountable for taking time to focus on my thoughts and emotions, instead of just ignoring and numbing everything.

March always feels so bright to me, and so hopeful. I can’t wait to really get to work on making these improvements to my life.

What is your favorite season? Does winter stress you out too?

Goals

February Goals

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So apparently, the internet is very much done with January, which I do understand (and sympathize with) quite a bit. However, every new month gives me a twinge of that whole life-is-moving-too-fast feeling, despite my love of a fresh start. I’m working this year to live in the moment a little more, because right now I wish away the weeks for the weekends, wherein I mostly sleep and maybe do a little socializing, but am otherwise 100% lazy.

I wrote about this several years ago, but I live a very all-or-nothing life. I go to work and work hard all day long. Down time in the office makes me agitated, so I am always actively working on something. The problem is that I then come home with no energy left and I have no motivation to do anything except lump on the couch and scroll through social media until bedtime. I also refuse to get enough sleep during the week, constantly run late to work, and end up exhausted on Friday night. So what do my weekends entail? Making up my sleep deficit by snoozing until noon, feeling crappy about sleeping in, and still being mostly unproductive except for errands and chores.

The real solution to this problem, that I have avoided in many ways for many years, is routine. Sure, I have a bedtime routine and a pretty set time when that happens, but I don’t structure any other part of my days or weeks. That’s what results in coming home from work and crashing, or spending my weekends jumping on every little meaningless chore or task that distracts me from anything important. I “never have time” for reading, crafting, journaling, or anything that would enrich my life. (And yes, that’s in quotes because I am fully aware that it’s an excuse and that it’s up to me to make time for what’s important to me.)

For February, I want to develop a daily schedule for my weekdays and weekends. I feel like doing so will improve a lot of my bad habits and the things I complain about, like always running late and procrastinating until the last minute. My whole life feels like a game of catch-up, and it’s exhausting. Routines are key – if I put it on a schedule, I don’t have to remember or decide to do something; it’s just supposed to happen on this day at this time. This isn’t to say that I won’t allow for changes if I really feel terrible, or something last minute pops up. But I have to have something down on paper, because otherwise I don’t muster up enough energy to push myself to do things organically.

(As for January goals… they weren’t pretty. I got through half of the month with daily yoga, but I’m having on again, off again pain in my neck and I couldn’t decide if the yoga was helping or hurting. I took a few days off completely, then never really picked back up with it. Getting to work on time? That was a total bust. I have no idea what’s wrong with my brain, but when I tell myself what time I want to be there, I always run a half-hour late. I work enough hours to make up for it, but I’m just waiting on pins and needles for the day I actually get in serious trouble for it. Which is stupid, because I’m just creating more anxiety for myself.)

What are your goals for February? Are you glad January is over? Am I the only one who panics a little that a whole month is already gone?

Goals

Belated 2019 Goal Setting

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There is nothing more telling about where I am in life than a post about 2019 goals midway through January. I blame my January 8th birthday – it’s exactly one week after New Year’s Day, so I always continue that weird holiday “suspension of reality” until my birthday is over. Honestly, what’s really happening is that I am just continuing to live my life flying by the seat of my pants, which is a trend I actually hope to put a stop to this year.

Every January, I pick one word to live by along with a few supplementary words – called ways of being – that kind of jive with the main word. I discovered this ritual from Stratejoy and specifically Holiday Council, but I feel like it’s becoming more mainstream across the internet and social media. Having a word or a general theme is far less intimidating than setting specific many goals that may or may not pan out, especially for someone like myself who lacks discipline. It’s easier to refer back to a word, or a feeling, instead of a laundry list of to-dos.

That being said, here’s what I came up with for 2019.

My theme for the year is Discovery; my additional ways of being are to be truebe focused, be lightbe alive, and self-love.

I chose the word Discovery because, to be frank, I need to figure myself out. For too many years now, I have pushed everything inwards and opted for ignorance, hoping that I would wake up one day and ~magically~ function like a normal person. I kept avoiding the hard work, and now it’s caught up to me.

As I hinted at in my last post, my life post-wedding has been oddly unsettling. It has nothing to do with my marriage, but a lot to do with who I am as a person. Being “the bride” for so long and then suddenly having to let go of that role made me realize how much I tie my worth to what’s going on in my life – not having the wedding to talk about anymore left me feeling extremely empty and unseen. It’s making me want to rush into the next piece of my life (buying a house, having kids, possibly furthering my education) simply because of the attention it garners. I recognize how very unhealthy this is, which is why I need to find the time to really peel back all of my layers, get to know myself, and find out what will actually make me happy and satisfied. I feel like, if you asked me that today, I don’t have a real answer for you.

I do have some general goals this year that I need to map out a little more specifically, but again, I like setting intentions before the actual tasks. I want to read more books this year. I want to drink more water, exercise more, and actually schedule doctors appointments. I want to make more casual plans with friends, instead of waiting for big get-togethers or events, and I want to stop flaking out because of anxiety.

This month specifically, I’m setting two task-based goals: continue my daily at-home yoga practice, and get to work on time. The first one is pretty simple because I’ve already been doing it since last January. The latter seems straightforward, but is actually fairly difficult because it requires tweaking of my entire daily schedule. As you might expect, halfway through the month I am doing pretty well with daily yoga and… not so great with being at work on time. But I’ve still got half of the month to go, and I’m trying to remind myself that every day is a fresh start, not just the first day of the year/month/week.

What is your best trick for getting up in the mornings? I cannot seem to pry myself out of bed any earlier than absolutely necessary (seriously, I wake up for work 20 minutes before I leave), so if you’re up hours before work, tell me your secrets!

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?