2014: How’d it go?

 

 

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Yep, that picture pretty much sums up my feelings on the subject….

 

Sometimes I almost feel a rebellious impulse to not go through the goal-setting process of an approaching New Year. Then I remember how habitual I am by nature and I know that I will never change and improve unless I make a planned and persistent effort to do so. So here we go with my first phase.

Reflection Time! I usually do this every 3-4 months to see how I’m doing, where I need to revise things and perhaps be more specific or realistic in my expectations. The end of the year I like to take a whole look at the year though and see how I’ve done with my goals.

This year, like most;), did not go exactly as planned but I think I did make significant progress in many of my goals. If you’d like to see a detailed outline of my 2014 goals you can see the  post on my 2014 Life Cleanse Outline.

The good. I think I did a fairly good job with the health and fitness part of my goals at the beginning of the year. I did my Food Cleanse and also had cleaned  up my diet to the point that I felt I was eating the right things and in the right way for my body. Also, I had a fitness routine that was challenging and got to the point that I felt I was back into the physical shape I wanted to be at, actually I surpassed my expectations in this aspect.

More good. I do feel I made considerable progress with my emotional and spiritual goals. I did become better at studying and feel I have improved my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I now have moved my devotional time to mornings too which has made a significant difference in my day as a whole. I also feel that I came to several conclusions and realizations about myself as I strived to find the “roots” to my vices. I believe this will help me significantly as I make new goals for the upcoming year.

The bad. I did not do as well with my record keeping as I would have liked. This is so important for me as I’ve noticed I make progress more quickly, consistently, and permanently when I’m journaling that progress. I tended just to write when I was struggling, more as a way to vent. While not bad in and of itself, I did not usually write my solutions or progress in the struggles. The majority of my reasoning for keeping a journal is for my descendants and I don’t want to seem like a pessimist!

More bad. I also did not progress much in breaking my habit of going until I can’t go anymore. I know that this is a major stumbling block to my stress levels and thus the atmosphere in our home. I am just TOO task oriented in general and do not stop to smell the roses and enjoy the moments as I need to.

The downright ugly. As I mentioned earlier, I did a good job with my health and fitness “at the beginning of the year.” Basically by the end July you would never have known I even cared about such things! I tried really hard to stay faithful to my cleaner eating habits but as the morning sickness ensued I realized that my stomach just cannot handle the same foods when pregnant as they can normally. It took me until I was throwing up blood to realize that I just have to listen to my body and readjust. Unfortunately, I’ve taken up some pretty bad eating habits that I’ll have to straighten out again this year.

More ugly. I don’t know that I’ve ever done so little exercise during a pregnancy. I also don’t remember ever being this consistently exhausted in my previous pregnancies. Not to mention my varicose veins that rival my Grandmother’s (no joke, I checked when we visited in October) Yes, I usually take a 2-4 month break from anything routine or challenging during my sickest months, but I usually pick things back up and get back into a low-impact regular exercise routine by the end of my pregnancies. I have done some exercise and I of course have 4 young children to go and do with and for so I’m not sedentary but Wow….I am feeling the out-of-shape-ness coming on strong. I know this will make it more difficult to get back into a routine, I’m just hoping that underneath the layer of blubber I still have the muscle tone I worked so hard for at the beginning of the year.

Another thing I’ve realized during this reflection time is that when outlining my goals I separate them into my own, family, couple, and homeschooling. I think this year I’m going to still do that but see how I can integrate them more so as to better synthesize the process and hopefully make more progress that way.

So that’s where I stand at the end of this year. I’m in the process of re-evaluating and will post my goals for the upcoming year soon! In the meantime I hope you are all enjoying the festivities and spending some quality time with loved ones!

Stay tuned:)

 

 

Routines and Schedules

I am a routine person. I also like schedules. I would define a routine as a plan and method for doing something. A schedule is the timing for doing that something. From how I organize my day to how I put on makeup. I like to study out the task, find what I think is the best way to accomplish it both in timing and method and then repeat it in the same way every time I do that task. Some family and friends tease me about being a bit OCD and when under stress I wouldn’t argue with that label. But the majority of the time I’m pretty even-keeled. However, I do prefer routines and schedules for several reasons:

  1. Efficiency and Effectiveness: when you need to do something, having a plan for your timing and method makes it easier and generally you will do it better and in less time.
  2. Memory: I just do not remember things as well as I used to, but for my routines and schedules they become habits so I can do them with little or no thought.
  3. Stress: when you have a plan, especially ones that have become habitual, it lessons worry and anxiety because you know that thing will be taken care of and most likely in the best way possible.

I’ve seen the benefit of having routines and schedules especially after becoming a wife, then mother, and now a homeschooling mother. When I was just taking care of myself I did have many routines and schedules because I liked to be efficient. Once I married, I saw how melding myself and my life with another person would create new but even more important routines and schedules so that we could accomplish our goals as a team. Then when children started joining our family routines and schedules became not only a source of accomplishment but I began to see them as more of a necessity.

Kids sleep, eat, learn, and interact better when they have people and things that they can count on. Routines and Schedules create security and free up their minds for learning and growing rather than anxiety and worry.

After several years of homeschooling I’ve seen routines and schedules as even more of a necessity. Now they help me fit in the many tasks and responsibilities that are necessary to keep our family progressing towards our goals. While preparing for a new school year I always try to create a list of the things I feel need to be accomplished and how I feel is the best way to accomplish it, both in regards to schooling and family life. I also create a schedule of what I think will work best. Then I try to plan things out even more detailed on a monthly and weekly and daily basis, in that order.

Do we always follow these plans and routines and schedules? No, of course not. There are bumps in everyone’s lives and also sometimes things/changes or needs will come up that I had not thought of, or anticipated. In our family I have seen a pattern of about every three months needing to revamp a few things or sometimes completely some of our routines and schedules. But if you begin with a plan outlined it is much easier to revamp than if your coming from ground zero/clueless.

Are there any downfalls to routines and schedules? I think so. Here are the ones that I’ve found I need to watch out for:

  1. Flexibility: if you are so concentrated on accomplishing things in a certain way and in a certain amount of time that you cannot stop to smell the roses, listen to your spouse/child, take an opportunity that is even better for you and/or your family in the long run, then you have become the slave rather than the master.
  2. Needs: if you are too set on doing things in a certain way at a certain time then you may miss signals in yourself and others that perhaps this isn’t the best way or best time to do that thing. For instance, one thing I do not do on a “schedule” is feed my babies. We do have routines and they usually find their own “schedule” but I do not time feedings, I feed them when they are hungry.

Despite the possible drawbacks I am still very much an advocate of having a plan. Routines and schedules help you accomplish what you need and want to in (usually) the best way possible and help you avoid worry. Also, in terms of family life they provide a calmer and more secure environment so that families can flourish rather than just survive.