Making Time for the Most Important People in My Life: My March Goals

As I said in my last post, the focus for this month’s personal challenge is “relationships.”

I share a lot on this blog about my relationship with my husband, some of my previous romantic relationships, and, in a couple of cases, how some of my friendships have changed (or faded away) over the years.  I’m not sure if they’re the kind of posts that people like to read, but I really enjoy writing them.  I like sharing these kinds of stories and thoughts, and I always feel so great after I spend some time writing and reflecting on my feelings.  These are also my favorite kinds of posts to read on other blogs, regardless of whether I can relate to what they’re saying.  Sometimes I just like to see how different or similar someone else’s life experiences are to my own.  (Or maybe I’m just nosy and want to read all about other people’s personal lives.)

The point is, I think and care a lot about my relationships with other people.  The problem is that as I get older, it seems to get more difficult to maintain a lot of these relationships.  We all have our own obligations: work, family, pets, hobbies … The list goes on and on.  And since a lot of my friends and family live far away, properly keeping in touch with everyone on a regular basis becomes even more difficult.

With that in mind, I’ve come up with a few simple goals for March to help strengthen my relationships with the most important people in my life.

March2015Goals

Image provided by Unsplash (unsplash.com) and edited by me.

My March 2015 Goals:

1.  Call/text friends more often.  I don’t love talking on the phone, but I’ll definitely at least call my friend Jennifer on her birthday this month.  I’ll also try to reach out to some of my other friends (probably via text) during the month to check in and catch up.

2.  Have at least one friend “date.”  I already have another Skype date lined up for later this month with the same friends I spent 6 hours Skyping with on Valentine’s Day (which, in my eyes, definitely counts), but I’ll probably also try to either set up a one-on-one dinner with a friend or plan a group thing with some of my friends after work one day.

3.  Have a date night with Eric.  We haven’t had a date night since the end of January, and I already have a restaurant in mind to try!

4.  Call my mom at least once during the month.  She and I text quite a bit, but we don’t always talk on the phone (mostly because it inevitably turns into a several hour long conversation, and we don’t always have time for that).  I haven’t called her in a while, though, so it’s probably time for one of those really long phone conversations.

5.  Continue going to yoga classes 2-3 times each week.  This is something I’ve been doing anyway, but it’s definitely important to work on my relationship with myself (and my health!) as well as my relationships with the other people in my life.

I haven’t been doing a great job sticking with my monthly goals lately, but I think I’ll be able to accomplish all of these.  I’m looking forward to spending more time with the people I care most about (even if it’s only via phone, text, or Skype!).

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Monthly Personal Challenge Link-up: February Results

Not Entirely Perfect

 

February is obviously always the shortest month of the year, but this year it seemed to pass by in the blink of an eye.  I thought I could cram a bunch of things into those 28 days, and I guess I sort of did … But some of my create goals suffered as a result.

I was actually really excited about all of my goals this month.  I was going to better myself by spending more time on some of my favorite hobbies.  I was optimistic that I’d do more in February than I did in January.

And then life happened.

I won’t say that I completely failed last month because I didn’t.  But I didn’t do as much as I wanted to.

To recap, my goals for February were:

1.  Create a blogging schedule for at least the next 2 months.

2.  Make an effort to write creatively at least once a week.

3.  Come up with a new way to list out the week’s meal plan (preferably making some sort of graphic using PicMonkey).

4.  Create an original recipe.

5.  Finish Eric’s very long overdue wedding anniversary present.

Here’s how I did:

1.  I didn’t even make an attempt to work on a blogging schedule.  I’m kind of pissed at myself for blowing off one of the more important things on the list, but I just wasn’t motivated to do it.  So I didn’t.

2.  I’ll give myself a pass on writing creatively at least once a week, even though I didn’t technically write much at all.  I spent a lot of February thinking about some of my ideas for novels, narrowing my focus, working through some character development, and laying out a couple of specific “scenes.”  I actually only wrote a couple of times (the rest was mostly making notes or working through things in my mind), but I feel like I deserve a pass since I was at least working on some creative writing projects.  All of the things I was doing were important (at least in my opinion) and are getting me in the right frame of mind to begin the process of piecing together a manuscript.

3.  I haven’t even bothered to make a meal plan in weeks, so my meal plan graphic didn’t happen.  I really need to get back in the habit of making meal plans.  When I don’t, we usually end up eating out a lot (or just eating random shit we find in our kitchen).  Not good.

4.  I’m going to give myself a pass on creating an original recipe even though I’m reluctant to do so.  The idea itself wasn’t completely novel (though I guess a lot of recipes are just variations of something else), and I used a recipe for a sauce I’ve made before (which was originally slightly adapted from another recipe).  However, I didn’t use a specific recipe for the overall meal, I used my own judgment when it came to measurements and types of ingredients, and the sauce was one I’ve never seen with these ingredients … So I’d say that’s something.  It’s a stretch, but it will do.  I’ll be posting it on the blog soon (probably next week for Tasty Tuesday).

5.  I’m about 95% done with my gift for Eric, so I’m going to give myself a pass on this as well.  I still can’t say what it is since he reads my blog, but I can say that all I have left to do is look it over to determine if any changes need to be made, make any necessary changes, and submit the order.  It took a lot of time, but the hard part is over.  I hope he likes it as much as I think he will!

As I said earlier, February was just okay for me.  I wish I’d completed all of my goals (especially the blogging schedule since that’s so important!) and that I’d done a little more creative writing (as opposed to spending so much time planning), but I wouldn’t say I completely failed.  I just didn’t do as well as I would have liked.

But now it’s time to move on.  This month’s theme is “relationships.”  I have a couple of goals in mind, but this post has already gotten long enough and, as I mentioned last month, I like separating my results from my new monthly goals.  I’m weird, I guess.

I’ll be back either tomorrow or Saturday with my goals for March.  I think this will be a good area for me to focus on because I’ve been pretty awful at keeping in touch with some of my friends lately.  It sucks, but unfortunately that’s what happens when your friends are scattered all over the country (one of my friends isn’t even living in the country right now … She’s in school in Europe, so it’s even more difficult to find a good time to talk to her).  Anyway, I’m excited to come up with some ways to strengthen the relationships I have with the people in my life (and maybe throw in something for my relationship with myself as well!).

The Worst Enemy To Creativity Is Self-Doubt: My February Goals

I keep saying that I really don’t like posting on the weekend, but I’ve been doing it a lot lately.  I guess sometimes it just works better with my schedule (especially if I haven’t been able to plan ahead and schedule posts throughout the week, which is definitely my preferred method of blogging).  I don’t have the kind of job that allows me time to blog, so I have to use whatever free time I have to write.  While I admittedly have quite a bit of free time right now, I’ve been using large chunks of it to go to the gym, cook slightly more time consuming meals, read, and spend time with Eric or friends.  And, if I’m being honest, I’ve also been using large chunks of my free time for less productive things, like watching Netflix and playing Trivia Crack.  This obviously doesn’t leave a lot of time for blogging (or writing creatively, for that matter).  When I started considering how I was using (or, in some cases, wasting) my time, I was able to decide what I wanted to focus on for this month’s “create” personal challenge.

Back Camera

I’m proud to say that I took this photo back in 2012 when I went to Seattle with a couple of my friends.  (And, believe it or not, this is an iPhone photo!)  I didn’t even have to edit it in any way (other than to add the incredibly appropriate quote and my blog’s name).  I don’t often take such great pictures, so I had to brag a little!

My February 2015 Goals:

1.  Create a blogging schedule for at least the next 2 months.  I’m listing this goal first because I think it’s a really important one to stick with.  (It helps that this was also one of my New Year’s resolutions, so it’s definitely something I want to work on!)  As is probably obvious from my frequent weekend posting (and my introduction paragraph in this post!), I haven’t been planning ahead very well.  I’ve basically just been posting whenever I have some quiet time to myself to put something together and, unfortunately, that hasn’t been happening that often lately.  I know everyone doesn’t work this way, but I can’t write if I’m around other people.  (The only exception is taking my laptop with me to a coffeeshop or Panera, but even then I sometimes find it difficult to concentrate.)  Since this is the case, I really need to start figuring out the best times to work on my blog, which days I want to post, and keep more detailed lists of post ideas to help me when I’m feeling uninspired.

2.  Make an effort to write creatively at least once a week.  This was also one of my New Year’s resolutions, and I’m sad to say that I haven’t been sticking with this at all.  It shouldn’t be that difficult to find at least an hour of time each week to sit down and work on a creative writing project (even if I only manage to get a few plot points organized or work on character development), but for some reason it has been.  I’m still not sure if I want to continue working on a novel I started a couple of years ago, or if I want to start something completely new … But I really need to start writing something.

3.  Come up with a new way to list out the week’s meal plan.  While we don’t always stick with a meal plan 100% each week, I always try to have some dinner ideas listed in a note on my computer in an effort to stay organized and avoid eating out multiple times because we can’t come up with something to make at home.  While it’s not a bad way to make a list, it’s kind of boring.  I’m not great with graphics, but I’d like to make something a little more fun using PicMonkey (my go-to site for photo editing and graphics for my blog).  If it looks nice enough, I may even start sharing our weekly meal plans.

4.  Create an original recipe.  This is yet another one of my New Year’s resolutions (well, I want to create at least 3 original recipes over the course of the year), and since this month’s personal challenge theme is “create,” it seemed like the perfect time to start chipping away at this goal.  I actually already have something in mind, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it actually turns out the way I want it to!

5.  My last goal for this month is something I can’t share right now because it’s a surprise for Eric and he reads my blog.  I’ll just say that it definitely fits with the “create” theme, and it’s a (very!) long overdue wedding anniversary gift.  (Yes, I know that’s sad … Our anniversary was November 9th and I still haven’t finished his gift.  I suck.)

I consider myself to be a pretty creative person, but it was kind of hard to come up with some goals for this month.  As I mentioned in Thursday’s post, I’m not a crafty, DIY kind of girl.  I think if I were, it might have been a little easier to come up with some projects for February.  I could have decided to paint a room or knit a scarf or work on a scrapbook (though scrapbooking is actually something I would like to eventually get into, especially after Eric and I start a family) … But, since most of my creativity is related to writing and cooking, I decided my best bet was to just incorporate those passions/talents into my goals.

Hopefully I’ll be able to make better use of my free time and accomplish all of these goals this month!

Monthly Personal Challenge Link-up: January Results

Not Entirely Perfect

 

I know that everyone says things like this, but I seriously can’t believe that January is already over.  The month just sort of flew by for me, and I think that will become very obvious as I share my monthly personal challenge results.

It’s ironic, really … The theme for January’s personal challenge was complete, yet I managed to only complete about 50% of my goals.  I’m kind of embarrassed that I did such a shitty job sticking with my goals last month.  And, honestly, I’m not sure why I couldn’t bring myself to complete everything (other than the fact that I sometimes have difficulty following through on personal projects, of course).  It wasn’t a particularly hectic month, and I feel like I had plenty of free time to finish these projects.  I just … Didn’t.

To recap, my original goals were as follows:

1.  Finish the 4 books on my January “to read” list in an effort to get a good start on completing my 50 book challenge this year.

2.  Write a review for each book I read and feature it on this blog.  Additionally, I wanted to start participating in at least one book-related link-up.

3.  Organize my blog’s Pinterest account.

4.  Update my “About Me” page on Divulge and Indulge.

I already mentioned that I only managed to cross about 50% of these things off my “to do” list, but I’ll discuss my results in a little more detail here:

1.  I’m happy to report that I actually finished 4 books in January and am currently working through book 5 of the year!  I’ve attempted the 50 book challenge numerous times in the past, but I’ve always failed.  I usually fall behind early on and really struggle to catch up, so this was actually very encouraging.

2.  I’ll call this goal complete even though it’s more like 50% complete.  I shared my thoughts on The End of Everything and The Dinner in this post, and also managed to finish part 2 of this goal by sharing my post in the Show Us Your Books! link-up.  I’ll be posting reviews for the other 2 books I read in January (as well as the book I’m reading now if I manage to finish it in the next few days) next week when the next Show Us Your Books! link-up rolls around.  Although I didn’t share a review for each book yet, I feel confident that I can mark this goal as “completed” since I have a deadline for finishing the rest of my January book reviews.

JanuaryBooks

These were the books I read last month.

3.  The Pinterest account organization was a big fat failure.  I logged into the account I created specifically for this blog exactly 1 time, stared blankly at the screen as I tried to determine exactly how I wanted it to look/what I wanted to share, and then promptly logged out, logged back into my personal Pinterest account, and started searching for recipes and cute outfits.  Clearly not my best effort.  This is something I’d really like to accomplish at some point this year, but I just wasn’t in the mood to work on it at all last month.

4.  When I posted my January goals, I kind of knew I wouldn’t be able to rewrite my “About Me” page.  It was by far the least time consuming goal on this list, but when I couldn’t immediately come up with at least a few things I wanted to share about myself and my blog, I knew it wasn’t going to happen.  It’s funny because I post random shit about myself and my life on this blog all the time, yet I find an actual introduction strangely difficult to write.  What do I want people to know about me if they’re checking out my blog for the first time?  What was my inspiration for creating this blog?  Why did I choose the name?  Why do I blog at all?  These are all great questions that I should probably be answering on my “About Me” page … But for some reason every time I try to rewrite it, everything comes out in a jumbled mess and I’m like, “Fuck it, I’m done.”  (And yes, I know that’s a winning attitude.)  This is also something that really needs to be done at some point this year (preferably within the next month or so), so hopefully I can figure out what I want to say soon.

As I said earlier, I’m kind of embarrassed that I wasn’t able to complete more of my goals last month.  I guess that just means I’ll have to work harder this month on my new goals!

Speaking of my February goals, I’ll be sharing those in a post either tomorrow or Saturday.  Since I started participating in this link-up, I’ve been writing separate posts for my results and my new goals.  I started doing this simply because it was more convenient (I didn’t have new goals in mind when I sat down to review the previous month, I didn’t have time to write a really long post, etc.), but I think I prefer to keep them separate.  (And, if I’m being honest, I don’t have my new goals completely figured out yet anyway.)

This month’s theme is “create.”  While I consider myself a pretty creative person in some aspects, I’m definitely not a DIY kind of girl.  (Sorry … There won’t be any amazing craft tutorials or anything like that.)  I really need to figure out what I should focus on, though, because I don’t want to set so many goals that I’ll never realistically be able to stick with them all.  I don’t want a repeat of this month, after all!

A Time to Focus and Complete: My January Goals

JanuaryGoals

Image provided by Unsplash (unsplash.com) and edited by me.

I can’t believe it … I’m posting something on a Saturday.

I planned to share my January personal challenge goals yesterday, but near the end of my yoga class I got a migraine from hell … So that didn’t happen.  (I honestly don’t even know how I managed to finish the class since I was completely dizzy and nauseous.  It was horrible.)  If you’ve never had a migraine, you’re lucky.  I get them fairly often, but last night’s was particularly nasty.  As soon as we got home from the gym, I took a couple of pills and laid in the dark on the living room floor with a pillow and blanket and slept for about 5 hours.  Thankfully my headache was gone when I woke up, but I wasn’t really in the mood to update my blog at 1:00 a.m. so I just ate a bowl of cereal (I didn’t eat dinner), got ready for bed, and then read until 3:30 a.m.

Today, though, I’m ready to talk about my goals for January.  As I mentioned on Thursday, the theme this month is “complete.”  As I also mentioned, I sometimes find it difficult to follow through on personal projects.  I’m hoping this month’s challenge is the kick in the ass I need to actually complete a few things!

My January 2015 Goals:

1.  In my New Year’s resolutions post, I talked about my desire to read 50 books this year.  So far I’ve finished one book and am more than halfway through a second, so I’m definitely on track.  (Though it’s only day 10 of the new year, so there’s still time for me to get behind.)  I decided that it might be beneficial to make a list of books to focus on each month, and I think this has actually helped me so far.  I don’t have to think about which book to read next for an entire month, and somehow that keeps me motivated to keep going.  My first goal, then, is to finish all 4 books on my January “to read” list.

JanuaryBooks

Here is a lovely picture of my January books. I really wanted to stack them in the order I’d be reading them, but size order just made more sense. I’ve already finished The End of Everything, and I’m currently working on The Dinner. The other books are actually rereads, so those should go pretty quickly.

2.  To go along with my first goal, I’d like to write a review for each book I read and feature it on this blog.  I’m already behind on this, but that’s okay … I’m sure I can catch up.  I know some of the bloggers I follow will occasionally have book related link-ups, so I’ll probably try to participate in at least one of those as well.  (Maybe this is actually a separate goal, but I’d probably be linking my review posts so it seemed to belong here.)  I’ll also probably be posting these reviews on Goodreads (I joined right before the new year).  If anyone reading this uses Goodreads, please feel free to send me a friend request (if that’s what it’s called on that site) … I signed up using my blog email: divulge.and.indulge@gmail.com.

3.  I’d like to work on organizing my blog Pinterest account.  I still haven’t done anything with it, and I’d really like to get it going.  My plan is to pin some images from my blog, but I’ll also be using it to save other recipes, inspiration, etc.

4.  Finally, I want to rewrite my “About Me” page.  I’m actually a little worried that I won’t be able to finish this by the end of the month despite the fact that it’s the least time consuming goal on this list.  It’s something that really needs to be done, though, so hopefully I can finally figure out what I want to say.

I realize that a lot of my January goals are basically repetitions of some of my New Year’s resolutions, but if I actually want to be able to proudly say, “I achieved all of my goals for 2015!” at the end of this year, I need to start early.  And, luckily for me, several of those resolutions fit perfectly with this month’s theme!

Monthly Personal Challenge Link-up: December Results

Not Entirely Perfect

I’m usually much more organized when it comes to writing up my monthly personal challenge results, but this time I completely forgot about it until I got home from work today.  This would normally be okay since I actually get home pretty early … Today, however, Eric and I had dinner plans with one of my friends who was in town for work (and who we hadn’t seen in over a year!).  So instead of working on a blog post, I decided to spend some time getting ready and then enjoyed my evening out.

After a great evening of laughing, crazy stories, and awesome Indian food, I’ve finally found the motivation to sit down and discuss the results of my December simplify challenge.

To be honest, it was pretty difficult to come up with a goal for December’s challenge.  December is such a crazy month for most people (myself included), and sometimes you really just can’t remove a bunch of shit from your calendar.  I felt like my goal for December was kind of lame, but it was really the only thing I could come up with.

In case you’ve forgotten (or you’re new to this blog), my December “making things easier on myself” goal was to simply not send out any Christmas cards.  I just wasn’t into it this year, and I really didn’t have the time or energy to write the kind of heartfelt messages I like to include in my cards.

I’m pretty sure I don’t have to tell you that this was one goal I had no trouble achieving.  And while I did feel a little sad that I didn’t bother to send any cards out when we started receiving some from friends and family, I was mostly just relieved.  We spent a lot of time in 2013 writing cards and addressing envelopes (you know, the shit that comes with getting married like sending invitations and thank you cards), so it was really nice to not deal with any of that in 2014.

I was going to try to come up with my January personal challenge goals this evening, but it’s getting late, I’m tired, and I have to be at work at 7:00 a.m. tomorrow.  So I’ll have to come back to this tomorrow (and, just a warning, it will probably be another late post since I have a yoga class in the evening).  I will say, though, that I’m excited to come up with some ideas because the theme is “complete.”  I often struggle with completing projects in my personal life (never in my professional life, though, thankfully!), so I think it will be fun to challenge myself.  I also think I’ll actually feel a real sense of accomplishment if I can stick with these goals, so hopefully January is a successful month for me!

December: Challenging Myself to Simplify Things (At Least a Little!)

DecemberChallenge2014

Image provided by Unsplash (unsplash.com) and edited by me.

I didn’t think it would be that difficult to come up with at least one goal to simplify my life this month, but it was.  There are some obligations that I just can’t say no to, gym classes I actually want to attend, and slightly more complex recipes I want to try.  Additionally, some of the things a normal person might be able to do to simplify his/her life during the holidays (like cutting back on some of the decorations) don’t really apply.  I know we’re going to sound like complete Scrooges, but Eric and I don’t decorate our place for Christmas.  At all.

So I’m not exaggerating when I say it was really tough to come up with a way to simplify things this month.  (But I guess that’s why it’s a “challenge.”)  After some thought, I’ve settled on a goal for December that’s definitely doable.

My December 2014 “Making Things Easier on Myself” Goal:

We don’t send Christmas cards out every year, but we have in the past.  I initially thought about doing it this year, but now that Christmas is quickly approaching, I’m not really into it.  If I take the time to send out a card, I like to also take the time to write a heartfelt message.  This year I just don’t feel like I have the time or the energy to write the type of message I’d want, and I refuse to send out a bunch of generic “Happy Holidays” cards.  (No offense to those who do that … It’s just not the way I like to do things.)  So this year there will be no Christmas cards sent out.  Maybe next year!

My goal this month is probably kind of a cop out, but whatever.  It’s something I can happily stick with that will reduce at least some of the stress that goes along with the holidays!