Yearly goals really set the tone for the entire year for me. I need to be working toward something or else I sink into the despair of futility, knowing that every item of clothing I wash will become soiled, every boy I bathe will get dirty, every meal I cook will be complained about and one way or another, end up in the city sewers. Goals are my way to get satisfaction from doing jobs that are not cyclical- that actually have a finished product.
I always aim high with the intent that a 50% completion is a job well done, and that even attempting is better than wasting my whole year watching sub-par super-hero flicks on Netflix and not having anything to show for all the thousands of hours I could have done something, anything useful.
2017 will be a good year. I have some exciting goals with very modest and realistic action plans. There’s a good possibility that I’ll achieve higher than my usual 50%.
#1- Lose 30 Pounds. I’ve been meeting with the nutritionist at my gym and have a really solid plan which is doable and comfortable. My calorie goal is about 2100, with at least 150g of protein and 7-14 veggies a day, and staying relatively low-carb. I’m very comfortable eating this way and can maintain it indefinitely. We will have a well-planned cheat meal once a week at a nice restaurant, and even get dessert if we’ve been on point all week.
#2- Compete in a power-lifting meet. I already have a two hour daily gym habit, so training for a meet is just a good way to keep me organised and have something exciting to work toward. I love lifting heavy and I love to feel strong! I have a handful of training sessions already purchased and will be training with a successful competitor. The meet is in December so I’ll have plenty of time to finish recuperating after giving birth in June and to train up.
#3-Finish the last three units of my EdX religion course “World Religions Through Their Scriptures”. Last year, I completed the introductory unit, Christianity, and Islam. I still have Hinduism, Judaism, and Buddhism to complete.
#4- Spend the year studying Buddhism. I want to read some of the main scriptural texts (Dhammaphada) as well as some books by important teachers (Beyond Religion- Dalai Lama, The Myth of Freedom- Chogyam Trungpa, “Cutting Through Spiritual Materialsim- Chogyam Trungpa), memoirs of important Buddhists, explore http://fpmt.org/, watch some documentaries, etc. I have a list of great sources. I can spend my free time in the evenings studying Buddhism and working through my EdX class while Doug plays his Xbox, and that way we can spend “shoulder to shoulder time” doing our own activities together.
#5- Learn to meditate and practice mindfulness. I want to focus on improving empathy toward others. I feel like I’m so overwhelmed and over-stimulated with my own life that if I can learn to calm my mind, I’ll be better prepared to reach out to others. I can read some books about meditation, and some will overlap with #4, and I can practice in the afternoons while the kids are sleeping and the house is quiet. I will find some books and other resources, and use http://audiodharma.org/ for help.
#6- Start volunteering a the local refugee center once a month. Because I have young kids at home, my schedule is limited, but I should be able to devote an evening a month to do whatever they need me to. My first task is to call and set up an appointment, and have them do a background check on me.
#7- Learn basic Spanish. This goal is long overdue, considering I live in a city where a third of the population are Spanish speakers. Most of our refugees come from Mexico, Central and South America, so my value as a volunteer with the refugee center will increase as I increase my Spanish skills. I have a couple of fun language learning apps, as well as a text book and work book from Doug’s Spanish class in college. Doug speaks fluent Spanish and he seems willing to let me practice on him. I can study Spanish while I eat meals and while I do my cardio at the gym, and any other time I can fit it in.
#8- Make music a daily part of my life. Last year, I was so focused on reading 100 books that I spent all my free time reading and listening to audio books. By the end of the year, I really missed listening to music and playing music. This isn’t a good year to make a concrete goal of instrument practice, but if I can at least listen to music every day, that will keep me happy. I can listen to Pandora or music I own on my shower speaker when I get ready every day, and while I fold laundry and to housework.
#9- Keep my house cleaner and baby-safe. Eli will be crawling any day now, and my once-a-week vacuuming isn’t quite going to cut it for baby-safety. I have a checklist app that has weekly rotating household duties that I will use. I also will do my best to make it through a monthly full-house organizing checklist, doing on average one job a day, but allowing myself to do more when I have energy and less when I’m busy.
#10- Post on my blog monthly. Because the nature of my blog is just a public brain-dump, I could write about anything from goal updates to poetry to parenting stories to philosophy. I want to make sure I’m getting at least a little writing practice in each month. Ideally, I would write a little in my daily journal and do writing exercises every day. This year, one post a month may be the best I can do. I will probably write on Sundays, which are supposed to be my day off.
Each of my goals has a detailed action plan, which includes resources and when each thing will fit in my schedule many of the goals overlap with one another, so what looks like 10 goals really boils down to a few tasks each day. A sample daily goal schedule is as follows:
6:30 wake up, mom duties
8:00 healthy breakfast (#1) and practice Spanish while I eat (#7)
8:30 drive to gym, listen to music (#8)
9:00 work out, practice Spanish during cardio (#7) and listen to music (#8), lift weights (#2, #1)
11:00 drive home, listen to music (#8)
11:30 healthy lunch (#1), work on religion classes (#3, #4)
12:00 mom duties, cleaning duties (#9)
1:00 rest, meditate (#5)
2:00 cleaning duties (#9)
3:00 mom duties
4:00 dinner prep (#1)
5:00 eat a healthy dinner (#1)
6:00 play with kids
7:30 play an instrument (#8), read something Buddhist (#4,5,6)
9:00 watch a show with Doug, have a healthy snack (#1)
10:00 read and go to bed, relaxation meditation (#5)
It seems very complicated, except that this is already my daily routine. The only change is that I’m listening to music instead of audio books, and my reading time is devoted to learning Spanish and Buddhism instead of books like last year. With so much overlap of goals and knowing that my daily schedule is already a habit for me, I think I have a good chance of achieving most of my goals this year.