"In all of living have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured!"
~ Gordon B. Hinckley

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Don't Give in to the Mental Phantoms

I found this splendid quote on someone's facebook status in my newsfeed just now. I'm am VERY guilty of spending my time and energy worrying about "what if's". Just let go of it :)

"Are you worried? Do you have many "what if" thoughts? You are identified with your mind, which is projecting itself into an imaginary future situation and creating fear. There is no way that you can cope with such a situation, because it doesn't exist. It's a mental phantom. - Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

Progress Evaluation #1 :)

It's time for my first New Year's Resolution progress evaluation!

Goal #1: Draw closer to my Savior, strengthen my relationship with my Heavenly Father, and grow stronger in my personal testimony.

Plan #1: Set aside more time for scripture study, study with Preach My Gospel, and study for a predetermined length of time a day and number of pages and log it.

How did I do?: Well, I haven't logged anything, I haven't finished reading the New Testament (my scripture study goal from 2012) so I haven't started using Preach My Gospel regularly, I haven't decided on a length of time or number of pages yet, and I'm still not setting aside nearly as much time as I want to for scripture study. Not incredible progress in the plan section; however, I do feel like I've made progress on my goal. I also gave a talk in church this past Sunday and spent a good deal of time studying and preparing for it (including using Preach My Gospel), and I've been listening to some really great talks about Joseph Smith with Trevor. So I'd say my compliance with my plan could pretty much only improve from here, but I still think I've made some good progress toward my end goal despite that :)

Goal #2: Take better care of my wonderful body by eating better.

Plan #2: Make and take 5 pre-packed healthy lunches a month, have 1 pre-planned healthy dinner a week, and 1 food log day a week, and keep track of them all on a checklist.

How did I do?: Yikes. I still haven't make a checklist, and I'm not doing so great on eating better. I'm sure I've made a pre-planned healthy dinner, and 5 pre-packed healthy lunches this month, but I haven't kept track so it doesn't count. And I sure haven't done any food log days! It's a good thing there are still 8 more days this month for me to make at least some progress on this one!

Goal #3: Take better care of my body by exercising more.

Plan #3: 2 hours of exercise each week. 30 minutes needs to be cardio, and a ballet or yoga class only counts as 30 minutes of exercise.

How did I do?: There's room for improvement, but I actually did something notable for this one! Yay! Me and Trevor took "before" pictures of our abs and arms on January 30th, and since then I've been trying to do pushups, crunches, and sometimes planks every night. A little 10-minute workout isn't much, but it's becoming a habit, aaaaaaand I've been super good at documenting it! I've only done it 10 of the past 21 days, but still, that's 275 pushups and 1165 crunches so far! I've only gone to ballet 3 times this month thanks to the way scheduling has worked out plus not feeling good and all that jazz, I've done 1 20-minute yoga video, and I haven't done any cardio. Room for improvement? Big yes. Good progress though? Definitely :)

Goal #4: Project downsize and organize.

Plan #4: 4 boxes and 10 throw/give aways per month.

How did I do?: Um. I got zip so far. But the month is not yet over! There's still time to get through 4 boxes and give some stuff away, I just need to get on it!

Goal #5: Clean house maintenance.

Plan #5: Have a cleaning chart, and have 15 successfully checked off days per month.

How did I do?: Still no chart. And there aren't 15 days left, so this one for sure won't get completed this month. I have had some good cleaning/chores days, but none are documented. Gotta get this started!

Goal #6: Increase in creativity and learning!

Plan #6: Do one project a month and blog about it.

How did I do?: I did a project! Me and Trevor made a stop-motion video for a date and uploaded it onto youtube! I haven't blogged about it yet, but I'm super close to actually achieving one of my goals 100% this month! yay!

Goal #7: Report on my progress

Plan #7: On the last or first day of the month, report on my progress.

How did I do?: Well, it's only the 21st and I've already reported my mid-month progress. So I'd say I'm doing pretty good on this one!

I'm thinking I've got my work cut out for me for this last week of the month! There's a lot to get done, and a lot of room for improvement for next month! I was really hoping to have made better progress, but I am pretty proud of myself for even making it this far, not gonna lie. The fact that I actually wrote out my goals and came up with plans for them in the first place is pretty good for me! And realizing how far short of the mark I am right now is giving me some good incentive :) I'd say probably the most important thing for me to accomplish before the end of this month is to get my checklists made so I can start off next month on the right foot! Onward and Upward!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

New Goals for a New Year!

(Ok, so I guess that title is a bit misleading. Some of my goals for this year are actually old goals...just with new resolve :)

My theme for this year's resolutions:

"A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline." ~ Harvey MacKay

As I've said many many times before, I'm a dreamer, and not necessarily a doer. Which leads to many happy thoughts, but not a lot of growth. It also leads to deteriorating talents, a messy house, disorganization, frustration, and wasted potential. None of those are things I want for myself!

This year I'm trying something new. I have a LOT of dreams I want to achieve, so I'm going to make my list of all the things I want to do this year, and make monthly check-points (a plan and a deadline!). A length of time that I want to spend working on a goal, or a certain mile-stone I want to pass. Small stuff like that to keep my long-term goals in my mind, and keep me progressing towards them without that whole feeling of guilt and failure that accompanies the realization that where I want to be is so far away from where I am now. So basically, the ultimate goal that I'm trying to achieve this year is progress towards my dreams!

So, what are these dreams, and how do I plan on progressing towards them?

1) First, and most importantly, I want to draw closer to my Savior, strengthen my relationship with my Heavenly Father, and grow stronger in my personal testimony of the Gospel. And I want to go a step further and be more prepared to share what I know with other people. I'm not talking about shoving my religion and ideas down everyone's throat; I just mean that I want to be able to clearly express what I believe, and why I believe it.

The Plan: I'm going to be more diligent at setting aside time to devote to personal scripture study, and I'm going to study with Preach My Gospel as a guide! This goal is hard to quantify, so I'm going to measure it by logging the time I spend studying, and setting a certain number of pages in Preach My Gospel to get through each month. The specific month-to-month goals are yet to be determined.

2) I want to take better care of my wonderful body by eating better! You are what you eat. No wonder I'm so sweet :) And no wonder I'm not especially healthy! I don't plan to diet; I know better than that. I'd just fail in a heartbeat. What I want to do is get away from the tendency to eat junk as comfort food, or because I'm bored, or because I'm hungry and don't feel like taking the time to make something worth eating so I just eat junk because it's handy. I also need to be better at staying hydrated!

The Plan: The main things I want to accomplish are to drink more water, eat more fruits and veggies, eat less junk, and develop a healthier mentality about eating. I don't usually think too much about what I eat while I'm eating, but if I sit down after and look at what I did (and didn't) eat, I'm usually disgusted with myself. A daily food log will be too easy for me to fail at, so I'm going to keep a food log one rotating day a week. I can do that. Small steps. Included in that food log will be things that I wanted to eat, but realized were poor choices and avoided by choosing something better :) Also, I want to put more planning into preparing food, so when the hunger strikes, healthy choices are just as handy as junk choices. So each month I want to have a print-out I can put on the inside of one of the kitchen cabinet doors. That way I'll have it right where the food is, and I can keep a tally and see my progress, and have it there to remind me when I'm about to make food choices :) The print out will have boxes to check off for 5 pre-packed healthy lunches a month, 1 pre-planned healthy dinner a week, and 1 food log day a week. Once I get good at remembering to log things, and good at eating better, I'll increase the monthly goals :)

3) Take better care of my body by exercising more! My current level of exercise is like, about one 90-minute ballet class every other week. My sedentary desk-job life is far short of the recommended 30 minutes a day! And my cardio is so bad that I can hardly make it through ballet sometimes. Working on eating better will definitely help, but I'll still feel and be better if I exercise more. Much more.

The Plan: 2 hours of exercise a week! That's 30 minutes a day with Sundays off, and two days of forgetting/slacking forgiven :) The catches: if I go to ballet, it only counts as 30 minutes (maybe 60 if it's an especially hard class), at least one of those 30 minutes needs to be cardio (jogging, jumping, working out with Trevor, etc.), and a full yoga class only counts as 30 minutes. This one is going to be hard, but it will be worth it! And it will probably have the most visible results :)

4) Project downsize and organize. I have been meaning to do this for YEARS! Literally, YEARS! And instead, I just keep getting more and more stuff, and not having anywhere to put it because I'm so unorganized, and then it ends up being an even bigger mess, and then I find more stuff that I like, and now I'm drowning in great stuff that I'm not even using, and it's not doing anyone any good either! And it makes my house feel icky and cluttered. I'm on my way to becoming a first-class hoarder someday.

The Plan: Some of the main reasons I think I have been failing at this up until this point are that I have a hard time getting rid of things (I'm afraid I'll need them sometime, and I hate to get rid of things that I paid good money for or have memories attached to), I have so much stuff that I don't have enough places to put everything, and the thought of fixing the two previous problems is so unbelievably daunting that I just give up and keep collecting more stuff and leaving it out everywhere. I'm going to tackle this problem 1 box at a time. We've already started getting ready to make progress on this by reorganizing our rooms to have space for more stuff. 4 boxes, and 10 give-away/throw-aways a month is the plan. A 'box' means going through a box of junk and organizing it and putting it away, taking a bunch of stuff that's not in a box and organizing it into one, or getting rid of a box of junk, and the 10 items can be included if I get rid of a whole box of stuff.

5) Clean house maintenance. It's pretty self-explanatory. It's easy to let housework go when no one comes over and sees it, and when the mess can easily sit around for another day without immediate consequences. It makes for a less-than-ideal environment though, and it's time to change it!

The Plan: We started a cleaning chart awhile ago, but after a few missed days, it got abandoned. This year, when I do my monthly check up on the progress of my goals, I want to have at least 15 days of successful job completion!

6) Increase in creativity and learning! This is actually a pretty big category with a ton of sub-categories, but I want the first 5 goals to have the bulk of the focus since they are my big ones. The underlying drive for this large category is my need to create and be artistic! I want to do things and have something to show for it! Something that's mine. The first 5 goals are good life skills and will do wonders to my overall well-being and happiness, but this sixth goal will help me find that real fulfillment that I want (different from the fulfillment that comes from religion, family relationships, etc.). I don't want to be just another nice good little Mormon girl who manages to be reasonably healthy and a decent homemaker; I want to be a me :) 

The Plan: Do one project a month, and blog about it. The number of hours and skill level required can vary, even if it's a huge flop it still counts. The plan is just to keep trying and growing and learning! Examples of acceptable projects: sew or alter an article of clothing, learn a new song on the piano, choreograph something, learn a new way to do my hair, make some cutesy decorated dessert or something, enroll in a photography class, finish reading a book, blog regularly for the entire month, do some pinterest craft, make a fun video with my Trevor, learn how to use my new photo and video editing software and come up with a notable finished product,...the options are endless! And at the end of the year, I'll have 12 creations and learning experiences to my name :)

7) Report on my progress!! There's nothing like a bit of accountability to bring out the best in me.

The Plan: On the last of the month (or first of the next month) I will total up my successes for each goal, and post about it. That way it will be easier to keep my goals fresh in my mind and see my progress :)

So, now that I've sorted out these dreams, and moved them to category 'goals'...it's already February. But never fear! The year is still young! And now there's just all the more room for improvement this next month!