I’ve never shied away from a New Year’s resolution. Or a one-word theme. Or a calendar of any kind. But I’ve also been too sleep-deprived in the past six years to see a whole year ahead. Usually, I make a list of goals for the year, but by June I’ve lost it and forgotten the whole deal. I’ve seldom held myself accountable to the overzealous January version of me.
I’m facing 2019 differently.
This time, I’m armed with my first bullet journal, ready to track my daily, monthly, seasonal, and yearly goals. As a mother who gets called to help with crucial and trivial needs with the same intensity, I need a small silent space that is all mine and mostly uninterrupted. I need a place to track what I otherwise forget — moods, motivation, progress, shopping and cleaning habits. I suspect these are cyclical and therefore predictable, but if I can finally pin them down, then I can adjust my expectations to match. For now, I have outlined as many parts of the year as I can see ahead.
After considering many words that felt weighty and doomed to fail: Play, Intentional, Home, Listen, Perspective, I heard someone say “here.” And I realized that it’s all I need. It’s foolproof because it’s not retrospective. This word, which can be spelled either “here” or “hear,” is meant to wake me up wherever and whenever I am. And to remind me to hear those little voices around me when I am tempted to tune them out.
For every day, I only have two goals: one is professional, and one is personal. Each month the goals will change. I can’t now know what I’ll need to focus on day-to-day in February. My personal daily goal is to take a walk every day in January. I failed on day 1, just to keep it real. But I am keeping a calendar by the front door and every day I walk I get to put a sticker on it.
My professional goal is to work on my writing project daily. Ditto with the failure and ditto with the sticker.
Every week, I would like to take myself out on a date. This seems super indulgent right now, but every mom needs a date with herself once a week.
Monthly goals are where the money’s at. In January I want to walk. In February I want to try meditating every day for a month. But in March… who knows? One month I would like to not buy anything. Every month I plan to watch a classic movie — I loved doing this last year — and read a book on pedagogy. Monthly goals seem wonderfully limited and therefore pretty carefree. I can do most anything for a month.
The newest insight I’ve gotten from sleeping is that a year is a long time. Instead of making goals that are supposed to last, why not think seasonally? In the RGV winter, I want to take night walks with my kids, play the piano, and make a lot of vegan chili. I’m not sure about the Spring yet — cleaning? — but in the summer I want to BBQ, swim, and do puzzles. In the fall I tend to get more energy so I might be up for organizing and planning again. Thinking seasonally takes me off the hook of major commitments.
I am in the middle of creating a list of 19 for 2019. These are not resolutions, they are happy events that I would like to take place. They include items like “dance with the kids” and “take a sign language class.” Last year I completed 14 of my 18 for 2018. Sign language got transferred to 2019. But I did cook a complicated dish as well as take my guitar down. These are supposed to be easy and fun.