If you came here looking for a list of of all the self-improvement items that I’m going to focus on in 2018, I’ve got bad news for you. You won’t find it here. Sorry, my friend. Sure, this post is about #goals at the core, but I’m just going to go ahead and say it: This is not another resolution post.
**Quick rewind** Last year I wrote about How to Make Resolutions That Stick, which is a great read for if you did make resolutions. I’d like to tell you that, as the writer of it, I was a model example of sticking with my resolutions. There was some really killer advice in there, after all. But, the truth is that I was kind of the worst at taking my own words of wisdom. In fact, I ended the year as a floundering fish trying to stay afloat while wondering, “Er…what were they, again?”
Beep Boop Beep Boop **Back to present day 2018** I’ve read the goals and motivating thoughts of all my favorite reads from across the web, and have been very impressed with the goal setting that seems to be flowing like a luscious waterfall from Motivation Mountain. Okay. You guys are all really fricking fabulous and I’m in awe of you. Truly. Also, total side note, but I think I was accidentally left off the memo on how to get to said mountain, because I’m a bit lost. But okay, yea, here we are. You’re there, and I’m here, and it’s all good. I’ll just, like, Waze my way over soon and we can dive in together?
In the meantime, I’ve got to tell you, I’m feeling a bit…I don’t know…de-motivated from resolutions. Mainly because I’ve made them every year, and every year they’ve turned out to be the result of added stress and anxiety because I haven’t been able to keep them for more than a few months.
You’d like examples, yes? Let’s analyze last year’s below.
- Spend a minimum of 20 minutes of uninterrupted, one-on-one time with my kids every day.
- 2018 Emily: Looking back, this was the most important resolution I had, and was actually one that I did great with! But it was less about “Oh I have to do this because it was a resolution that I wrote down”, and more because I just really adore those girls and can’t get enough of them.
- After the baby is born, run for at least 30 minutes, 3 days a week. Complete a half marathon by October 2017.
- 2018 Emily: Lololol. First of all, you can’t work out for 6 weeks after having a baby. Which I then effectively took and used as my excuse for not working out for the rest of the year. For real, all of you who can find it in you to work out while juggling a full time job and kids deserve…something great. I can’t think of what right now, but you deserve something great. Also, when do you do it? 5 am?! Because of the…(actual guess)…350 days I set the alarm to wake up and run, I chose “snooze” 350 times. (<3 you, sleep.)
- Read at least one book every month.
- 2018 Emily: Still on book #2. I’m on page 240, and have fallen asleep after a few pages while reading it for basically the whole year. Isn’t that awful? It makes me sad, because I love reading. And as someone who wants to continue to get better at writing, reading is super important.
- Spend a minimum of 5 hours a week writing for Isn’t That Charming.
- 2018 Emily: Some weeks, I over-achieved. Others, I fell short. I think you can tell which was a good and bad week, depending on the amount of posts that went live here. Overall, though, I’m proud of keeping the lights on here and continuing to produce content for this wonderful creative outlet that I love.
- Travel to 3 places I’ve never been to before.
- 2018 Emily: When I wrote this, I meant countries. Or at least new states. In reality, I didn’t not make this goal, but I also didn’t make it, either. New places I went to included Zion National Park, Salt Lake City, the Salt Lake Flats, Bryce Canyon (all the same trip) and Huntington Beach. By general definition I accomplished this resolution. But by my definition, I didn’t.
- Respond to texts and calls within an hour of receiving them.
- 2018 Emily: Okay fiiiine. No one is really calling or texting me that much to where I actually feel like I can’t respond to the large volume. (Unless you count the crazy spammers who try and get me to give them my credit card information. WHY DO YOU EXIST?!) This one was more about me being generally terrible with my phone. I have gotten better at this, but am still pretty 50/50 when it comes to my response time. Working on it!
So…not terrible. But, not excellent. Here’s the thing, though. It’s not like I’m this lazy person who just couldn’t muster up the energy. I tried! I still try. I set my alarm every night with the intentions to wake up and work out. I go to bed early and try to read, yet always fall asleep. (ACTUAL LIGHT BULB MOMENT I JUST HAD WHILE WRITING THIS: Perhaps I need a little more sleep than the average person? Filing this under things to consider.)
Sleep needs or not, it seems that real life tends to get in the way. There’s a lot going on. Not to make excuses…but really, there’s a lot going on. Not just for me. For all of us. Life is busy.
I also personally have found that the very tactical goals I’ve put in place in the past tend to shift as the year progresses. What was once a key priority in January (i.e. “Travel all the places I can!”) becomes less of one mid-year (i.e. “Save all the money I can because holy s@*$ two kids is way more expensive than I thought.)
So instead of keeping up with what was once a priority in the beginning of the year, when expectations and motivations were high, I’ve found that I tend to switch gears and focus on the now. The more necessary. The present. What needs to get done today, for my family and in life, before I focus on the ideal or exceptional version of me?
See what I mean?So, here we are. Hey-yo 2018, you really snuck up on me.
I’ve decided that I’m not doing that whole song and dance again this year. Putting that added pressure on myself feels kind of…mean? Unnecessary? Silly? All of the above.
Resolutions are notoriously filled with lists of aspirations to help you be your best self. Which is truly a noble and very good thing to focus on! But their downfall is that they don’t focus on what you are already doing well. And, if you make too many (Side note: I always make too many because flaws), you really do tend to set yourself up for disappointment. Like I said, life is unpredictable and will always get in the way. But, that’s not always bad! I’m learning that flexibility is a really important thing. We put so much pressure on ourselves to do these pie-in-the-sky resolutions and be this perfect version of ourselves, when in reality, perhaps we’re not as bad of a version of ourselves as we may think.
I’m sure it’s where I’m at in life right now. I actually love resolutions, and look forward to both making them and hearing what others are year over year. Even now.
But, for me, this year feels different. It feels like I could use a little break from them.Instead, I’m picking a key phrase to keep top of mind this year for motivation when I need it. And, I’m doing something that my sister Mandy suggested: Start, stop, continue.
My phrase to keep top of mind is: Work hard, be nice, stay present. If I can go to bed every night and know that I tried my best at whatever endeavor I committed myself to that day (whether work, being with the girls, blogging, or even leisures like travel), was a kind and good person to those who I encountered, and stayed in the moment throughout it all, I will consider that a great, successful day.
To stay present, I’m going to start to really, truly simplify things more. I keep talking about how life is so busy and it’s hard to keep up and blah blah blah blah blah, but nothing is changing. Enough. Donezo. This is the year I start to make a change. This is the year I prioritize simplification, not just in my days, but in my life.
I’m going to stop taking myself too seriously. (This means you should hold me to the same standard, mmmkay?) Life is fun. I want to live it that way, which starts with my mindset. It’s time to joke, play, laugh, and smile more. I feel like my inner self is a hyper tween who loves Bieber, but I hold her back sometimes because I have this silly perception that adulting means being buttoned up every minute. I’m really weird, you guys. I’m sure you know that already, but I feel the need to say it, and honestly I think that’s one of the most interesting parts about me. So I’m going to embrace that more.
This also means that I need to stop taking all my responsibilities too seriously as well. If I fall short of all I wanted to get done in a day, that’s okay. There will be tomorrow. Perhaps I don’t reply to a work email within 10 minutes of receiving it. No sweat, I’ll get to it later. Maybe I fall short at getting a post up on a day I had planned. If you’re a follower here, I know you understand and will stick with me regardless. (LOVE YOU.) So I post a photo on Instagram and it doesn’t get as many “likes” as I’d hoped. I mean really, can I get a “Who the F cares?!” (Side note: All of us bloggers need to get a grip on reality and get over that silly hold up.) Other stops include swearing, and buying a coconut-milk latte for every day of the week that ends in “y”, but I digress.
I’m going to continue to prioritize my family, and happiness, in each and every way I can. This one is super clear and simple. I feel like those statements are somewhat vague, and they’re not exactly measurable (2017 Emily would have shaken her head. I’ve turned into such a rebel), but I’m okay with that. They will likely mean different things at different times of the year, but in general I think if I stick with those key notions, 2018 will be amazing.
I’m sure you’ve sensed that there’s a lot going on right now, both personally and with this blog. You’re right. There’s lots on my mind and in the works. Lots of goodness across the board, and I have no doubt that 2018 will be filled with great things to come. Things and ideas that I’m not able to share with you yet, but I will soon, I promise! In the meantime, I’ll be doing my best to keep my non-resolution mindset top of mind.
Also, really….should I try to run a half marathon this year? 😉
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