First Month Check-in

We’ve come to the end of the first month of this new year. The year still feels new-ish, despite some lingering difficulties from 2020. And it’s a good time to check in with our goals and expectations for 2021. (Notice I didn’t use the word resolutions. Goals sound more hopeful, don’t you think?)

Did you set some goals — general or specific, long or short-term, written down or mentally noted — at the beginning of this year? How’re you doing with them? I’m not here to judge, believe me. Instead, I encourage you to ask yourself that question. And if you didn’t set any goals, it’s not too late, you know. Never is. Like I’ve said before, just make them realistic and achievable.

One of my goals is to create new garden beds before this year’s planting season, complete with rodent-proofing. After several design attempts and pricing quotes, I’ve settled on building them myself (with some much appreciated help). The wood has been purchased, other supplies will be purchased soon, and construction will begin in my daughter’s garage (since that’s where the saw is. 🙂 ) It feels good to take steps toward the final goal. Each step is an accomplishment in itself.

I’ve also made progress on some of my writing goals already (although a few have been put off until after the garden beds are built). Today also marks the end of Storystorm, hosted by Tara Lazar, a realized goal of mine in which I had to come up with a picture book idea every day for the month of January. Challenging! And another goal is to create a collage using a new (to me) painting technique. Again, I’ve taken steps in the direction of this goal. (See the photo above.) It’s been fun, stretching my creative muscles! And it’s been a great distraction on cold, snowy days.

Setting goals and reaching for them is worth the effort. However, life is a process, and sometimes goals need to be revisited, adjusted, and refined. That’s ok.  But I encourage you to care for yourself, and those around you, by living with purpose, setting goals and taking daily or weekly steps toward them. Every small accomplishment can be satisfying. And if you’ve taken steps toward one of your 2021 goals, give yourself credit. Celebrate your success. And have a happy new year!

Happy New Year!?

Most of us can’t wait to slam the 2020 door shut and open a new door into 2021. But, before you put your hand on that 2021 knob, it may be a good idea to reflect on your expectations for the new year.

The easiest way to bottom out by March is to set your goals and expectations higher than even Wonder Woman or Superman have a right to fly. Be kinder to yourself than that.

The pandemic that put a major damper on 2020 is not over. It’ll be months before enough of us have taken the vaccine and developed an immunity. And many of us have suffered losses — of our social lives, of jobs, of income, of loved ones. There’s a lot of grief going around. So, be kinder to others, too.

Expect a slow journey back to whatever you want your new normal to be. If you can help someone else recover, then reach out. Instead of expecting everything to work out for you and your life in 2021, be a part of things working out for someone else. Let’s make 2021 a year of lifting each other up.

And if you really want to make some New Year’s resolutions, make them achievable. Keep them simple and specific. Instead of I want to lose 20 lbs., how about I’m going to choose a healthier snack at 3 o’clock each afternoon. Make a small change and develop a new habit that’ll bring you closer to your bigger goal. Instead of I’m going to go to the gym everyday after work, or I’m going to start running every morning, try I’m going to take a fifteen minute walk on Mondays. Making a simple, achievable resolution may sound too easy, but how many Mondays do you think it’ll take before that fifteen minute walk becomes a true habit? Try it. Maybe by March, you’ll be adding resolutions, instead of giving up on them.

OK. Ready to turn that knob now and open a new door? Go for it.

And have a happier new year!

Peace. 🙂

Gratitude Spiral: Day 358

Today, I’m grateful for hope.

It comes in a variety of sizes. There’s the hope that wakes up with me in the morning, looking forward to a new day. There’s the hope to attain some level of success as I map out my goals. And there’s the momentous hope for a better future for all, and the hope that I can do my part in it.

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 96

Today, I’m grateful for the opportunity to set goals and dream dreams.

Every so often, it’s good to step back and reflect on where we are in our lives, in our careers, in reaching for our dreams, and in traveling on our spiritual paths. We assess and then we look forward, daring to plan and to set goals. Even to dream. Lent seems to be a good time for this level of reflection and, for that, I’m grateful.

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 70

Today, I’m grateful for my “to-do” list.

We don’t always see those lists as good, but really, they are. A “to-do” list signals purpose and function in our daily life. Our lives are richer for all the goals, plans, and responsibilities we embrace. And making a list can help us focus our aim a bit.

What are you grateful for today?

P.S. Wondering what a Gratitude Spiral is? Find the answer here.