Goals: A Blueprint for Change

After reading a post at Lein’s Frugal Life in which she listed out her goals, I decided it would be good to actually put some goals in writing. Seeing what I am working towards on paper will probably help me to be more accountable. So here it goes.

Instead of lofty goals, I have written smaller goals I feel like I can achieve and get some momentum going for the more lofty ones. I don’t want to be overwhelmed  and quit so I’m only starting with a few.

1) Reeling in my temper.

In a previous postI wrote about my adult temper tantrums! I often feel that my anger is justified and often, without thinking, spew and rant and then later, feel really guilty for being a jerk. There is a story floating around the internet about a boy with a bad temper and his father’s solution. The father has the boy hammer a nail in the fence every time he loses his temper and then pull one out when he is able to hold his temper. Eventually he is able to control his temper and pull out all of the nails. However, he is made aware of the holes remaining in the fence.

Words in anger do leave emotional scars. I have read that eventually those wounds can  be healed and the scars can fade, but I’d really like to stop inflicting them. So, for the month of September I will open my tool box and start hammering….or not! I’m hoping that the thought of having to hammer a nail in my fence and leave a hole will make me take a breath and calm my emotions before spewing. I should also get back to my book Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses.

2) Complete my 52 Weeks of Thanks project:

I started this project in 2015 and made almost no progress……talk about procrastination!! I been blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life who have been loving or kind, who have inspired me or encouraged me, who have welcomed me and accepted me, and who have been there during good times and bad. I really want to express my gratitude to them and do so in writing. I started this project a long time ago and sent only one letter and have only just recently completed my 2nd letter. So starting in September, my goal is to send 1 written expression of gratitude a week for my remaining 50 weeks. I bet I can even use an app on my phone to help remind me.

3) Nutritional related goals

I love good food, but don’t especially like to cook. Living out in the sticks, doesn’t provide a lot of options when eating out or grocery shopping, so I wanted to learn to make healthy choices and cook simple meals that would benefit my family, my health, and my waistline. One goal was to meet with a nutritionist to get started. I have had my first of 4 consultations at Advice for Eating. My homework is to write down everything I eat for 3 days. I tell you, it’s a pretty sad list. Especially since I am making the transition from stay at home mom to working mom as the school year gets started. Let just say, the cupboard was almost bare. Fish sticks anyone??? I have also noticed that I need to drink more water. Some days the only liquid I consume is coffee, soda and the water I guzzle before bed because my body is screaming for it. I am very aware that if I don’t bring a lunch to work, I will pick up Taco Bell or Burger King – cheap and fast and not healthy at all. So for the month of September, I will increase my water intake and bring a lunch to work. More nutrition goals to come after my second consultation.

4) Write at least 2 blog posts a month.

I have about a dozen unfinished blog posts hanging out on my computer and making time to complete them is all I need. Sometimes I need time to do more research or just time to type it all out. I have time, I do. Unfortunately, its often wasted doing unproductive activities. (I’m working on that post for next time.) I would also like to start adding one of my own photos to each post, especially since photography was my outlet for so long. Beginning in September, I will carve out a chunk of time several times a week to finish these posts and maybe a chunk of time to set out with my camera.

5) Take even a short road trip once a month.

Oh, how I love a good road trip! I love the open road with “off the beaten path” stops along the way. Texas is vast and diverse in history and culture and climate so unlike my eating options in my small town, my big state is a cornucopia of opportunities for adventures on the road. My son’s current requests are The Bluebell Ice Cream Factory in Brenham and  The Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco. I’m ready to hit the road! As I write this I can almost hear crinkles of a roadmap – does anyone remember those days?

Please share your favorite road trip destinations!

6) Read the Bible again.

I love, love, love to read. I joined a family member and began a New Year’s resolution to read at least one book a month. I started out pacing myself pretty well and I have read 13 books since January. (Three of those are chapter books my son and I have read together. It’s been such fun re-reading books from my childhood.) Then things got crazy and I am now in the middle of 3 books and my Amazon wish list keeps growing. I am at a point of being overwhelmed trying to read them all. So what I would like to do is get back to just reading one book and make it “The Good Book.” Someone once told me they thought the Bible was boring. Having already read it once, I can tell you its got more drama than a whole season of The Real Housewives! This living book has provided me with guidance and understanding to so many of my big questions. YouVersion has a great app that will guide my reading journey. I also love the “P.O.W.E.R. tool” you can download over at Biblical Minimalism. I will be using this to track several of my goals.

I have been delighted to see how far this blog has reached all over the world and so curious to see what goals y’all (I’m a Texan!) are working to achieve.  Please share your goals and your progress.

Until next time, Be Well!

Coming soon: Waste Not Want Not: Time, Money, and Trash

Letting Go……

Many years ago, I began to let go of loads of material possessions that I no longer used. I have kept a steady pace and am now almost down to the basics (I still have some pretty substantial piles of paper that I am avoiding.) I am almost ready to enter a maintenance phase for stuff; however, I have realized I have only scratched the surface on letting go of what keeps me from fully experiencing joy.

I was recently listening to a podcast of the Minimalists where callers discussed what they had recently let go. I was expecting comments about letting go of clothing, collectibles, gadgets and maybe even sentimental items, but I was surprised as they spoke of non-material things like a toxic relationship, an unfulfilling job, and the need for affirmation.

I had not thought about decluttering my life of non-material things that bring me down, things that fracture relationships, things that keep me from living a very full and intentional life.

Ann Voskamp writes in her book, 1000 Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, states, “Humbly let go. Let go of trying to do, let go of trying to control….let go of my own way, let go of my own fears.” This made me think… what can I start to let go of in my life that will strengthen me, cultivate relationships, add value to my life, and increase the joy in my life.

Everyone has different obstacles and carries a different load but here are 4 things I want to focus on letting go….

    • Worry –  Like many people, I tend to worry about things I can’t change or control. This seems very counter productive because I could spend the time used up worrying to do things I can change and control. The serenity prayer, used in many 12 step programs sums this up! “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” When I have a firm grip on worry, I can’t open my hands to receive something amazing.
    • Selfish anger – This is when I find myself getting angry at my family when I have to do extra work, am inconvenienced or I don’t get my way (yes, I’m 47 and still find myself having some temper tantrums that would put a toddler to shame). The book, Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses has been especially helpful in helping me identify triggers (e.g., exhaustion, guilt, noise, backtalk, over-stimulation, etc.) and begin to overcome them. I love that the authors included a short prayer for each trigger.
    • Comparisons – Dr. Seuss said, “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive that is you-er than you!”  The Bible tells us that God had a purpose for each of us even before we were born. We all have a specific look, personality traits, and skills for a specific purpose. Rachel Hollis, in Girl, Wash Your Face, says,”We are doing pretty good – and pretty good is way better than trying to fake perfection any day of the week.” I don’t have to exhaust myself swimming upstream to try and fake a life planned for someone else because one is already planned for just me! You know, when I look around with gratitude at what I do have, it’s all pretty awesome.
    • Procrastination – Sometimes my procrastination is a product of another obstacle such as worry or comparisons. Many times I don’t move forward because I worry it will be too hard, it won’t be good enough or I might fail. I’m quoting Rachel Hollis again, “Every year you close a new chapter in your story. Please, please, please don’t write the same one seventy-five time and call it a life.” I can tell you that while I still struggle with procrastination, when I have been brave and worked toward a goal I have been pleasantly surprised with the outcome (my first publication!) or I have learned something valuable.

So I have my work cut out for me…..I need to release my grip on things I can’t change like the past and what other people think because I have a great life to live – mine! I need to move forward and focus on the things I can change….the future, how I react when things don’t go my way, and what I DO!!

I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions if you have found ways to let go of obstacles that hold you back.

Next up:  Setting goals!!