Okay, let’s get real for a minute: things are a bit of a mess right now. Whatever side of the political/social wall you are on (see what I did there?), I think we can all agree that the general climate in the United States has been a bit topsy-turvy for the past few months, and doesn’t seem to be getting better any time soon. Deep rifts have ruptured in some of the closest of families. The Unfriend button on Facebook has seen more action than all of the Spiderman reboots combined. And my general mentality has been, “Well, we’re all gonna die, so I might as well finish the bottle/eat the whole bag/adopt all the puppies.”
With all of this, I’ve had a bit of a hard time writing lately. At first I was angry and sad, and I wasn’t inspired to put any of my negative feelings or thoughts down on paper (internet?). Then when I started to collect myself and things began to settle a bit, I tried to write a blog about all of the things we still have that make humans happy, but after puppies and Beyoncé I ran out of ideas. Blergh.
So I turned inward, and I began to actively seek out new ways to better myself, educate myself, and basically live life a little more mindfully. My #Today2017 project has been really incredible for that (read up on it here https://pattimurin.blog/2016/12/31/please-make-it-2017-already/), and between that calendar and coffee, waking up each morning is borderline joyous.
When January 1st came around, New Year’s resolutions were on my mind. But since they’re borderline impossible to keep for an entire 365 days (seriously if you’ve kept one, you are literally a superhero), I decided to go about it a different way.
Each Sunday evening, I sit down with my planner (yes, I still use a paper agenda, thank you), and I write a list of Weekly Goals, with a very simple set of guidelines.
It can be as short or as long as I want.
I write this list with the intention and idea that there is absolutely no pressure or punishment if I don’t achieve all of them. There will be no self loathing involved in Weekly Goals.
The list can change weekly, or stay the same.
And at the end of each week, I reflect back on what came up that wasn’t included in my goals, and I make sure that I commend myself for those things as well.
What is a Weekly Goal, you ask? Well for example, this week’s list is:
Exercise 5 times
Publish a blog (check!)
Finish half of a non-fiction book
Finish 2 fiction books (I read A LOT)
Try a new class
Don’t flake on any plans
And that’s that! It’s all about simple health and happiness at the core. Previous and future weeks have and will include Goals such as: volunteer, disconnect for 24 hours from all technology, donate to Goodwill, make chili, etc. Make sense?
The reason that I’ve found it so easy to keep this up, week after week, is because once I decide what I want to do and write it down on the Weekly Goals list, I become responsible for myself. The only person I’m hurting by not doing these things is myself. But on the flipside, the more Goals I complete, the more people I will be helping. If I don’t publish this blog, fine. But if I do? The chance that I could inspire even one other human being makes it worth it. As soon as I physically write down “exercise 5 times,” I become my own guide. I become my own teacher. And I become my own biggest cheerleader.
As I said, if I get to the end of the week and I’ve only worked out two or three times instead of four or five, IT IS OKAY. Things happen, roadblocks come up, and we have to be flexible and forgiving with ourselves. But by writing it down on my Weekly Goals list, the probability that I will complete these things raises exponentially.
Singling out each week, one chunk of the year at a time, has made it much easier to live in the present, and to take life day by day. I find myself worrying less, my anxiety level has dropped from a 9 to about a 3, and every single day I have the ability to feel accomplished, should I so choose. I’m happier, healthier, and my self worth has grown. This is better than any New Years’ resolution I’ve ever made.
So give it a shot if you want! Do exactly what I do, or tweak the concept as much as you would like. Your Weekly Goals, your decision. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go work out.