March goals and a February update

I wanted to quickly check-in with my monthly goals. I have to be honest and say that I have no idea where February went. It was a blur. I’m giving myself a little grace for the month of February. Eating on the go, spending most evenings away from home and only managing to fit Insanity in a few times makes me happy to see a new month come.

If you’re new, here’s a quick recap:
Instead of resolutions, I decided to set monthly goals for 2013. Goals that are specific and measurable. I used Stephen Covey’s Big Rocks idea as my foundation. You can see the post from January and a further explanation here.

For a quick recap these were the things I deemed to be my big rocks:

  • Faith
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Work
  • Health
  • Mental/Intellectual Growth

Here’s a list of goals for March, I’m going to be a little harder on myself and require a little more:

  • Continue to read Jesus Calling and study my Sunday school lesson with Allen.
  • Stay home more during the week, say “no” to some things when it takes us away in the evenings.
  • Still sending snail mail, it has become one of my favorite things to do.
  • I failed on arriving 20 minutes early for work each day, I’m going to make it my goal again this month.
  • Insanity each day that I’m home. I’ll be in Dallas for a few days and I’m giving myself a pass, but for the others? No excuses.
  • Read two more books this month.

And a few specific things I’d like to see accomplished this month:

  • Clean out pictures on my computer and back up to a site and external hard drive. 
  • Blog each week day this month.
  • Finalize all of BK’s birthday plans, complete projects for the party by the end of the month.

checking-in: January grades and February goals

Instead of resolutions, I decided to set monthly goals for 2013. Goals that are specific and measurable. I used Stephen Covey’s Big Rocks idea as my foundation. You can see the post from January and a further explanation here.

For a quick recap these were the things I deemed to be my big rocks:

  • Faith
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Work
  • Health
  • Mental/Intellectual Growth

Then, I set several goals for the month of January. The important thing about goals is that they are specific and measurable. It’s easy to say, I want to be healthier this year, but it’s important to plan out how I can reach that goal. To make it easy, I set one goal for each of my “big rocks.” These are my actual goals from January and I’m going to play teacher for a minute and assess these areas:

  1. Read my Jesus Calling devotional every morning. B. The one area I should receive an A++ on, I definitely fell short. The bottom line? I have to get up earlier and set aside some serious time in the Word. 
  2. Eat dinner as a family each night we are home during the month. A. I feel like we’ve eaten at home more in the past month than we did the last 3 months combined. It’s been so nice, I’ve stuck to a meal-plan and we’ve spent so much more time at home. 
  3. Send two pieces of snail mail to friends. A. Granted, I didn’t actually put the two pieces of the mail in the mailbox until yesterday, it was actually accomplished and that is the important part. 
  4. Make sure everything is ready for the next day before I leave my classroom each afternoon. A. Can we talk about how much better my school days have gone? Such a great investment of time. 
  5. Drink at least 1 liter of water each day. B. I really started to do well a week or two into the month. Now, I’m drinking at least two and no diet Coke’s. 
  6. Read one book this month. A. I read Quitter by Jon Acuff.
  7. Revisit these goals in one months time. A. Here I am, right on time. 

I didn’t set any of those goals as a measure of stamina. I don’t need to see how many days in a row I can drink a liter of water or keep score of how many times we actually ate dinner at home. I set these goals to enhance our life, to help better manage my time, to make sure that I’m making time for the things that matter most. I won’t abandon those goals in February, you’ll actually see that most of them remain the same. Little by little, I’ll build upon these goals until they become priorities, just like they should have been all along.

I have to say that I have felt more together and less rushed this month. I lost weight, my house is cleaner and more organized than ever, and I feel like the amount of quality time spent together (with my family) has increased significantly.

February Goals:

  1. Read my Jesus Calling devotional every morning and complete the weekly Sunday school lesson with Allen during the week.
  2. Eat dinner as a family each night we are home during the month.
  3. Send 1 piece of snail mail each Friday.
  4. I’ll still be making sure that I get everything in my classroom ready the day before but I’m also setting a goal to arrive 20 minutes early each morning.
  5. Drink more water and commit to the Insanity workout program.
  6. Read two books this month.
  7. Revisit these goals in one months time.

Here’s to another month, a fresh start and bigger goals.

 

New Year’s Resolutions, an overhaul

Like many other Americans, I always feel the need to make some sort of commitment to a “better me” when the last week of December rolls around. And I get it, I really do. Time is an excellent concept because it divides our life into measurable units. Here I am, again, one day left in 2012 and I can’t help but feel the familiar pressure that a new year brings. I could write myself a list, I could put it on the refrigerator and eventually cover it up with some new piece of artwork that Braylen brings home from school. I could skip the New Year’s resolution hype altogether, continue onward with the status quo. But, I won’t do either of those. This year, I’m approaching the resolution phenomenon with a better plan and a meaningful commitment to myself. A commitment to make this year, a year of refocus, my year of getting it together. 

I cringe when someone asks, how I manage to do it all. I smile politely, but deep down I know, I’m just playing a really good part. I forget to send birthday cards, I overcommit and leave little room for the people who really matter, I feel like I’m always in a hurry. Always rushing myself, rarely planning ahead. Waiting until the last minute. Gathering up a ton of worry in my head about things to come, making to-do lists and leaving them undone. And for awhile I thought, everyone must feel this way. 

But the truth is, I do this to myself. I overcommit and spread myself so thin that I’m unable to give any aspect of my life my full attention. There is a simple solution though, it comes with learning to commit to things that really matter. It comes with recognizing that I can’t say yes to something, if it means I’ll have to say no to the people who need me. Ultimately, it means my social calendar will be a little less crowded in the upcoming year.

In August, I sat through a three-day training on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, there is such a wealth of knowledge in that book. One of the most eye-opening concepts during that training was the “big rocks” visual. The seemingly simple concept, if you have a jar and fill it with sand and gravel (small, trivial things that we allow to steal our time) first, your big rocks (the most important areas of our life) won’t fit. But, if you take that same jar and fill it with big rocks first, the sand and gravel all find a space amongst the big rocks in the jar. Everything fits. If we put the important things first in our life, we will have time for everything else. It seems silly, but in life if we don’t schedule time for our most important things, they tend to be left out.

Here is a video, I found on YouTube that provides an excellent example. I promise it’s worth your time.

This year, I made a list of the “big rocks” in my life. Things I need to focus on each and every day. My goal for the new year is to set measurable monthly goals that coincide with these “big rocks.”

  • Faith
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Work
  • Health
  • Mental/Intellectual Growth
Then, I set several goals for the month of January. The important thing about goals is that they are specific and measurable. It’s easy to say, I want to be healthier this year, but it’s important to plan out how I can reach that goal. To make it easy, I set one goal for each of my “big rocks.”
  1. Read my Jesus Calling devotional every morning.
  2. Eat dinner as a family each night we are home during the month.
  3. Send two pieces of snail mail to friends.
  4. Make sure everything is ready for the next day before I leave my classroom each afternoon.
  5. Drink at least 1 liter of water each day.
  6. Read one book this month.
  7. Revisit these goals in one months time.
Here’s to an improved 2013, to not waiting until the last minute to get important things accomplished, to spending time with the people who matter most.
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