On Mundane, Practical Resolutions and Making Them Happen.

Every new year I sit down and write a lengthy list of goals. Last year I did it stream of consciousness style on a Google doc. Most years past I’ve used a notebook to jot things down. Neither are a bad way to do it, and it’s always nice to read back through to see what I was working on last year.

But I’ve become a bit more methodical (in my old age) and typed up a big numbered list on google docs this year. 32 things! Eek! But I have to tell They’re not all hard. You might even look at it as part to do list, part list of goals. For example, one is “clean out my closet”, another is “repaint the back porch floor”, and “teach Charlie to ride a bike”. These are just (kind of mundane) tasks that really do need to be done and I can cross them off and not think about them again for a good long while. But others need a bit more doing. Things such as “run 6 miles without rest” and “read 80 books” and “find inspiration, but stop mindless scrolling”. This is all fine and good to say those things, but how do you get there? 

So this year, I took my list, and under each item I added “HOW?” And then I jotted down some notes for each.

How am I going to make sure that I make it to a yoga class each week? I need to communicate with my husband to see what night works with his schedule. I sent him a text to see for this week and went ahead and signed up for the class this week. Done

How am I going to make sure that we potty train Luke? Well I know that this summer would be ideal. If we do it in June then we’ll have a nice long chunk of time that we’re off school and we can just be home and near the potty. I wrote it in all caps in my planner.

How am I going to make sure not to buy any clothes new for me or the boys this year? I’m going to pick a day to thrift each week after school. 

If it helps you to see exactly what it looks like in my document, here are a couple:


  1. Do Duolingo every day.
    1. How?
      1. Pick a specific time and stay consistent.
      2. Set a reminder on my phone.
  2. Read 80 books.
    1. How?
      1. Aim for 2 books a week.
      2. Have books on hand at all times to read. Utilize audiobooks and e-books when needed. I should be able to read 2 books every week. This would be 104 books. This is something I do most weeks. Read before bed, audiobooks at school during shelving and on runs. 
      3. Post monthly reading posts on emetamily.com to summarize and help keep track. 
      4. Continue posting weekly reviews on instagram on Mondays to stay motivated.
      5. Continue placing holds and making weekly library stops.

And how to make sure I keep up with it all for the year? Well, I took a look at all of my goals and then I wrote a separate little list at the bottom of my document:

– Things to fit into every day: Workouts, Cooking, Meditate, Reading, Duolingo, Playing with the boys, etc.
– Things to fit into the week: Yoga, Library visit, Baking, Weekly Dates, etc.
– Things to fit into the month: Friend Dinners, cocktails with my sister, etc.
– Things to fit into my year: Knit a sweater, have our ceilings redone, sign the boys up for sports, power wash the house, etc.

This really helps me visualize when/how I’m going to get these things done. Is it reasonable? I already know it is because I’ve taken a look at my schedule and scheduled things in. Every day I’m going to do five minutes of Duolingo right when I wake up. I’m going to meditate for ten minutes right before I get in the shower every night. I’m going to a yoga session at 7:30pm tomorrow night. I read 70 books this year at a pretty leisurely pace, so I should be able to read 80 this year. We had a guy come yesterday to give us a quote for our ceilings and he’s going to begin work in the middle of the month. I’m going to ask my dad to paint the porch floor when they visit for the month of February. Boom. I’ve already made progress.

Really the only thing to do next is to form the habits. Dig in and stick to them. Stop being lazy, and really get nitty gritty with the details. Set an alarm on your phone every month “monthly check in!!” to hold yourself accountable. That’s the way to make sure you get stuff done. Just hold yourself to it. Don’t rely on someone to nag you. Make it your goal to keep your promises to yourself and just make it happen.

I remember when I started trying to figure out how to work, and be a mom, and still do things for myself. I was feeling very overwhelmed, so I wrote up a little schedule “An Ideal Week”. I wrote down all the half hours in the day and days of the week, and I filled in what I would ideally be doing each day at that time for an entire week. From 5:30-7pm I wanted to put my phone away and have family dinner and play with my kids. At 5am I wanted to be up and wanted to eat my breakfast, drink my coffee and be alone before I had to start getting ready for the day. On Sunday nights I wanted to have a check in with my husband on what his week is going to look like. And those are the things that to this day I do! That’s something you might try if you’re struggling with figuring out how to have time to do more for yourself and for your family. We all have the same amount of time in the day. We just all use it in different ways.

I also do think that my Making Every Day Special document that I made a few years ago might be helpful if you’re struggling to form home habits (like doing laundry every day, or celebrating minor and major holidays).

One thought on “On Mundane, Practical Resolutions and Making Them Happen.

  1. Three cheers for monthly reading posts! You recommended most of the fiction books I read last year through your round ups.

    I love a new list of goals in the New Year. And seasonally. And monthly. And weekly. It’s a good rhythm. I’ve found intentionally thinking about how to accomplish a task is almost as important as implementing.

    I love your corner of the internet Emily. It’s always sunny here, in a refreshingly honest way. I lift my glass of wine in your direction! Happy New Year!

    Like

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