2018 Goals

I spent a lot of time toward the end of 2017 thinking about what I wanted my goals for 2018 to be. 2017 was a crazy intense year. I’ve told a few people recently that I felt like I had about 800 balls in the air, and I dropped almost all of them at least once, and I’m slowly trying to pick up what is important. As we – hopefully – move toward a time of less necessary intensity, I’ve been wanting to be intentional about what my priorities and goals are, and I’ve come up with a few things.

  1. I want to try to cultivate peace and joy, both in my heart and in my home. First and foremost, I think this is a spiritual battle. I want to be more intentional about spending good time in my Bible and in prayer. I’ve started getting up earlier and doing a Beth Moore Bible study – just on my own – to help me stay in a pattern of doing that. Beyond that, I need to take some practical steps to enable peace and joy to flourish (like not over-committing myself to too many things). And I need to commit myself to examining my own heart throughout the day, practicing mindfulness and prayer and self-regulation, and I need to establish more patterns of treating every member of my family with respect, not yelling or expressing myself with sarcasm, even in my most frustrated moments. I think this is key to my growth as a person and as a wife and mom this year. 
  2. I want to rebuild our emergency savings fund. We basically wiped ourselves out financially to complete FangFang’s adoption at the end of 2016, and 2017 was such a crazy year with medical and travel expenses and just not having the mental or emotional energy to buckle down and commit to spending less money, so we pretty much just held steady financially. In 2018 we’d like to get back to a place of more financial security.
  3. I’d like to read 12 non-fiction books. I’ve been doing really well with keeping up with and enjoying some good fiction books lately. I read them on the Kindle app on my phone, which allows me to spend 2 minutes here or 5 minutes there reading as I’m able, which I so enjoy. But with non-fiction, I find that I am more thoughtful about what I’m reading if I read it in a paper copy, not a Kindle book, and I want to devote time and mental energy toward really integrating what I’m reading into my mind. That means I can’t just read it anywhere and everywhere and in 2-minute increments. But I am, at heart, a student and an intellectual. Matt and I are dorky people – it’s one reason we love homeschooling so much. I find that I feel more myself when I’m engaging with ideas, when I’m growing and learning. I want to make that a priority, reading and thinking on my own, and to that end, I’m making a goal of reading approximately 1 non-fiction book per month in 2018. And oh my goodness, I cannot wait to dig into this pile of books. I’ve started the first already, and it has been such an encouragement to my soul. 
  4. I’d like to get healthier. Exercise was sporadic, at best, for me in 2017, and I think my body feels the effects of that. And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that my metabolism isn’t what it used to be, and I’m needing to adjust to that. We remain committed to our pescetarian lifestyle and try to follow a fairly healthy, whole-foods, plant-based diet, but I think toward the end of the year, our meals tended more toward whole wheat carbohydrates and less toward vegetables, and I’d like to flip that around again. I’d also like to get a healthier amount of sleep – always a challenge with young kids 🙂 Overall, I’d just like to make progress toward being healthier.

Those are my top 4 personal goals for 2018. I’ll try to keep you posted here about how I’m doing in working on those, and I’d love to hear what your 2018 goals are!

New Routines?

For the past two days, I’ve gotten up at 6:30 in the morning. That may not seem significant to you, but we are night owls, and for the past 5+ years, Matt and I have generally stuck to a schedule of going to bed around midnight (or later) and getting up between 8:00 and 8:30, so pushing that back to a 6:30 wake up is a change for me!

I haven’t written about it much here, but I actually work (very) part time from home, and this week I started back to work with the goal of trying to do just 5-7 hours per week for this semester. Before Atticus’s arrival, I’d worked during the girls’ rest time in the afternoons, but now that he has joined our family and is still too little to really have a regular schedule, I knew that wasn’t always going to work. Matt and I talked about it, and we decided to try my working for an hour each night after the girls went to bed, and Matt would keep Atticus with him for that time. It was a great idea in theory, but we tried it Monday night and realized that the reality was going to be a different story. Evenings are Atticus’s fussiest time, and while Matt loves our little guy, the prospect of having his quality time with him be focused so heavily during the “witching hour” was not appealing. Plus, with Atticus continuing to refuse bottles, Matt is at a significant disadvantage as a caretaker and comforter due to his lack of breasts!

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Our rough experience on Monday night prompted me to propose that I try getting up early to get in my work time, and I set my alarm for 6:30 the next morning (and, somewhat surprisingly, actually got out of bed when it went off). Atticus has woken up hungry both yesterday and today during my work time, but even with taking a break to feed him, I’ve been able to eat breakfast, spend a little time reading my Bible and praying, and get in an hour of work each morning before 8:30.

Honestly, I kind of like it. Even though everyone else is maintaining their same sleep schedule, it has felt like our days have gotten off to better starts. I’ve accomplished more and am more ready to go by the time everyone else gets up, and our mornings as a whole have gone better, too.

The downside is pretty obvious, though. I am TIRED. I contemplated napping this afternoon if I could line up one of Atticus’s naps with the girls’ rest time, but alas, it didn’t work out that way.

That does seem like a small price to pay, though, for our whole family’s days to go better. There have been numerous times during the last couple months that I’ve thought of Paul describing his life as “being poured out as a drink offering” (Philippians 2:17 and 2 Timothy 4:6). Not that I’m really comparing my life to Paul’s – he endured heavy persecution, while I get to spend my days loving my favorite little kiddos. But the reality is still that the life of a mom is a life of dying to self – those precious babies remind you 24/7 that your life is no longer simply your own. Perhaps these early wake-up calls are simply the latest manifestation of that. But it is hard to get up…particularly since evenings after the girls are in bed are the times Matt and I use to catch up, and it’s so hard for me to cut those off to go to bed early.

We’ll see if we can still find time to connect and if I can maintain the self-discipline to get up that early and get my work done before the rest of the family gets up.

And I welcome any other suggestions anyone may have for getting in quality marriage time but also having a consistent time to study the Bible study and get work or other chores done while also still caring for little kiddos!