Monday, April 2, 2018

Quarterly Goals 2018, #2

This is my second year choosing and attempting to successfully accomplish quarterly goals, and I am truly in love with the way it has changed my life. I haven't always shared all of my goals here - but breaking things down into bite-sized, measurable pieces has really helped me stay on track and keep my motivation levels boosted.

And the fear of having to report failure in such a public way here doesn't hurt either.

So, without further ado ...


SPIRITUAL:
Last Quarter's Goal: Practice my rosary daily. PASS - sortof.

Next Quarter's Goal: Keep up with my daily devotionals and continue to increase my trust in God's plan for my life.

Last quarter's goal was to keep up with my rosary, because the rosary practice helped me find time to sit quiet with God. The repetition of the prayer pattern helped me quiet my mind so that I could get out of the noise of my thoughts and into the peace of God, which isn't always easy for me. But about halfway through the quarter, I realized the rosary wasn't working as well for me anymore, and it had become something of a chore, which is never a good way to approach God - so I switched up my methods and found a great devotional to follow along with. In the weeks since, I like to think I've found my way a little closer to God, and it has been really cool to follow His guidance in choosing subsequent devotionals.

He's been using the devotionals I'm reading to speak to me about trusting Him when my life is in turmoil, and I've been working hard to remind myself of all the times God has stepped into work things out for me in my life. As everything is currently changing and growing, I'm struggling with this, so it has been really good to have God show me so many reminders of His provision. In the coming quarter, my goal is just to keep reading and soaking up whatever it is He wants me to see.


PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT:
Last Quarter's Goal: Listen to a personal development podcast daily. PASS.

Next Quarter's Goal: Continue listening to at least one personal development podcast daily.

Making a point each day to listen to some sort of personal development or business growth podcast every day is slowly changing so many things. I like to listen to them when I'm preparing for my day, letting great coaches like Brendon BurchardChalene Johnson, and Andrea Owen inspire me with their energy to improve myself and my life. This habit has made a huge difference in my ability to stay positive when everything looks challenging, and while I don't always have time or energy to implement everything I hear, I love the way these podcasts encourage me to always keep looking outside the box and believe in the possibility of my dreams. Which is why, in the second quarter of 2018, I'll be keeping up this habit of listening to a podcast every day - opening my heart to the growth and change they inspire.


HEALTH:
Last Quarter's Goal #1: Drink 75 ounces of water every day. FAIL.
Last Quarter's Goal #2: Remember to take my Prilosec daily. PASS.
Last Quarter's Goal #3: Bring back intermittent fasting 3x weekly. PASS - mostly.

Next Quarter's Goal #1: Drink 75 ounces of water every day.
Next Quarter's Goal #2: Remember to take my meds daily.
Next Quarter's Goal #3: Continue intermittent fasting 3x weekly.

I still need to work on my water intake in a huge way. I feel healthier, sleep better, and have more energy when I'm well hydrated, but it seems like when I'm stressed or tired, the last thing I want is to sit down and guzzle water. I need to get better about making sure it's a habit I don't fall out of though, because in the first quarter I only managed 75 ounces 29 times, and this is not nearly enough. In the second quarter, I'll be working on hitting 75 daily, but to be honest I'll be happy if I can just do better moving forward.

Intermittent fasting has been a major blessing for me, too - when I'm fasting I have so much more focus and so much more time! My water intake is better, my pain levels are better, my digestion is better, and I feel all-around healthier. (And yes, I did lose some weight, though that wasn't the goal.) Moving forward, I'm going to keep fasting 3 days a week.

In the meantime, I'll still be working on taking my Prilosec without forgetting - and thank goodness for my habit tracker app, otherwise I'd probably alternate between taking it too many times because I forgot I took it, and being in miserable constant pain because I thought I took it and I didn't. I'm also taking something for high blood pressure now, and I've finally broken down and decided to try Zoloft to help manage my PTSD and PMDD symptoms. But none of it works if I forget to take my meds, so my health goals this quarter are just to keep up with it as successfully as I have been.

(Need some extra help coping with things, too? Mental health medication is something I've avoided for a long time, even choosing a therapist over a full psychiatrist specifically to avoid pressure to use chemical intervention. Now that I've taken the step of adding medication to my coping arsenal, I only wish I hadn't waited so long to ask for help. If you'd like to skip straight to finding a psychiatrist who can help you find the best way to manage your circumstances, be sure to see this BetterHelp article on finding a suitable, affordable, and conveniently accessible psychiatrist online.)


ROMANCE:
Last Quarter's Goal: N/A
Next Quarter's Goal: Still N/A

My life is in so much uproar right now that if I were to meet someone, he'd end up working harder than he should probably have to in order to fit himself into my life. With the move coming, issues with the girls, financial stuff changing and adjusting in ways that aren't always good, and my own mental health stuff, I'm juggling a lot and not sure I'd have what it takes to juggle a man on top of everything else.

That being said, my heart is open to the idea of encountering just the right person - it would be nice to be facing life's ups and downs knowing someone's got my back, and that they trust me to have theirs too. He'd just have to have a strong back, I guess.

While I'm waiting for that to come along, I've been working on learning more about myself and what I want in a relationship, as well as what I don't want. I've been learning more about how to tell the difference before I get myself in too deep too - learning to connect my mind and my heart so they aren't always going in separate directions. If you want in on that sort of thing, or if you're in a relationship already and just want it to improve in some way, definitely check out Regain.Us. I've been loving the advice articles on this site as a way to learn and prepare myself for when I'm no longer single (you guys, I'm going to be an amazing partner to my next partner, I'm just saying), but it's also a great place to find actual relationship counseling that's affordable, easy to access, and totally unintimidating.


FAMILY:
Last Quarter's Goal #1: Plan one fun family outing a week. PASS.
Last Quarter's Goal #2: Secret family goal. PASS.

Next Quarter's Goal #1: Continue to make fun time with the girls a priority with some sort of outing or focused hangout time every week - and keep making the coming move an adventure they can be excited about.
Next Quarter's Goal #2: Secret family goal - same as last time.

We actually didn't do that bad on the outings - we didn't exactly make it out every week, but we ended up going on 10 outings throughout the first quarter of 2018, which amazed me to realize because I felt sure I hadn't done nearly enough on this goal. The weather was bitterly cold a lot, Eden had surgery, and we've had other stuff going on - but 10 outings in 13 weeks isn't so bad. This is another reason I love using an app to track things like this; it helps me get a truly realistic look at what I'm doing (or not doing).

I also did well with my secret goal, and I'm pretty proud of that because it wasn't really a goal I wanted to set - it was something I did because I knew I should. I'm glad I did so well with it, and my secret family goal for this quarter is to keep maintaining what I've been doing there.


BUSINESS/CAREER:
Last Quarter's Goal: Reread Fighting For Freedom and take notes to prep for SFFF. PASS.

Next Quarter's Goal: Write at least 10,000 words on SFFF.

This quarter was pretty hectic for me with so much going on in the background of my life - I spent way too much time stressed, which is understandable but not at all healthy. It's why I ended up having to "give in" as mentioned above and start taking Zoloft despite my almost desperate desire not to use mental health medications (no shame, obviously, just personal issues and fears around this method). All that to say this: I didn't get this goal done until it was quite literally the last minute.

Still, I got it done, I'm proud of that, and now I'm ready to move forward with writing Still Fighting For Freedom, the sequel to Fighting For Freedom. This book and its story are incredibly close to my heart, incredibly difficult to immerse myself in, and very challenging to feel as I'm writing - but I believe it's an important story to tell and I think that while I have obviously not been emotionally ready for this one in the past, I am ready now. In the coming quarter, I plan to write at least the first 10,000 words of this book, making solid progress toward finally telling the next part of this story.


FINANCE:
Last Quarter's Goal #1: 1500 page views a month. PASS.
Last Quarter's Goal #2: Secret book sales goal. PASS.

Next Quarter's Goal #1:  2000 page views a month.
Next Quarter's Goal #2: Secret book sales goal.

These goals both went well - not only were they met and surpassed, but a few times they were even doubled or tripled in the first quarter. This gives me a lot of faith in the possibilities for the second quarter, but I'm still keeping both of my new goals as realistic as possible with increases that should be attainable in a mostly-organic way. The idea here is to build slow growth that will snowball on itself over time, giving my family more financial possibility while still allowing me the energy to write and create rather than sell and market.


FUN/RECREATION:
Last Quarter's Goal #1: Secret self-care goal. FAIL.
Last Quarter's Goal #2: Read at least one book every month. PASS.

Next Quarter's Goal #1: Do better with my secret self-care goal this time.
Next Quarter's Goal #2: Read four books.

My secret goal was a fail not because I didn't do it at all or forgot about it entirely - but it's a fail because even though I kept it in mind and worked on improving it, I didn't do as well as I had wanted to. I'm torn on this one; I'm proud of myself for improving, but disappointed because I didn't improve enough. In the second quarter, I'll be working on this goal again, with the hope of improving even more.

As for the reading goal, I did read at least one book each month in the first quarter of 2018.

  • Love Only Once, by Johanna Lindsey. I reread this book in January: it was the first romance novel I ever read, and is the reason I fell so in love with the genre in general. It's such a sweet story, the characters made me fall completely in love, and the family dynamic of Lindsey's Malory clan is a huge part of why I so loved the idea of writing my own family with the Kingsleys.
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey. (February) I liked this one but didn't love it - I will say I was inspired by Tina's journey and the way she helped pioneer a place for women in comedy, though.
  • The Next Always, by Nora Roberts. (February) This was a great story, and I loved the way the characters interacted with each other. I loved the single-mom aspect, the bad guy, the heroism of the love interest - and yes, even the ghost.
  • Same Time Next Year, by Debbie Macomber. I love Debbie Macomber in general, but this one didn't do it for me. I wish it had - I so loved the idea and the concept! I just couldn't connect to the characters.
  • See Me, by Nicholas Sparks. (March) This was a great read! I loved the characters and how the interacted, I loved the realism of their thoughts and their dialogue. I loved the bits of foreshadowing. The almost insta-love was a bit much for me, but I loved the story of the hero in this book and how his growth allowed him to overcome so much.
In the second quarter of 2018, my goal is to read four books - I may or may not read more, but keeping myself at a solid 20 minutes a day (or so) seems like it would work perfectly, not only for my personal routine but also for my reading speed and my desire to keep nurturing my love of stories.



SOCIAL:
Last Quarter's Goal: Follow less than 95 accounts on Twitter/Instagram, and keep paring down the "noise" on my FB newsfeed. HALF/HALF.

Next Quarter's Goal: Tell someone I'm thankful for them daily.

I did narrow down the accounts I'm following on Twitter and Instagram, which made it more pleasurable for me to use social media in general, especially on those platforms. I like that keeping my follows low means I'm making sure I see the content that most relates to me - and I also like that this makes interacting with the content I see more of a fun thing and less of a chore. Which is nice because while my posts are preplanned and automatically posted, my interaction on any social media platform is always and will always be authentically me, showing up in person. This is why making sure I only like/follow content that actually interests me is so important, and I love having a more strategically chosen list of follows.

I wasn't nearly as successful on Facebook though - I did unfollow/unlike some pages that I no longer care for, and I've even unfollowed/unfriended people I no longer feel well-suited with. Still, my feeds are still super cluttered with content I don't care about, so I'm still working on this.

That being said, my social goal for this second quarter is to tell someone I'm thankful for them every day. This will be an organic thing, guided by whoever God places on my heart that day or whoever I happen to be naturally feeling blessed by. But I want to make more of a point of telling the people who matter to me that I'm thankful for what they bring to my life.


So ... if you've been following along with the PASS/FAIL ratio, we're at 10 passes and 2 fails not counting the half/half on the social media goal, which means this first quarter of 2018 counts as a success. I'm proud of having hit so many of these goals, and super thrilled with the way all this goal-setting and goal-hitting has started to change my life in other ways. Momentum, indeed.

Moving forward, I'm also going to be changing a few things here on the blog, both to accommodate the changes in my personal schedule as well as certain changes in my interests. I'm dropping the alliterative daily titles/themes from my posts, which I hope will open the blog up to a little more freedom content-wise.

What are you working on in your life? Do you set quarterly goals - or goals at all? If so, what goal is heaviest on your heart right now, and what are you doing to accomplish it?


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NOTE: This post is a partnership with BetterHelp.com, in conjunction with my love of their site and content combined with their love of giving people a better, more personalized way of accessing quality mental healthcare. All thoughts, opinions, and ideas expressed in this post are my own - and as you know, I would never recommend any site, service or product I didn't authentically love.

SECOND NOTE: This post is also in partnership with Regain.Us, both because I love their content and because their love of giving couples a better, more personalized way to nurture thriving relationships is something I think everyone needs. As always, all thoughts, opinions, and ideas expressed in this post are my own - and I would never recommend any site, service or product I didn't authentically love.

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