Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Good Time for Goals

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As fall rolls around and the school year starts again, it seems like a great time for setting goals.  For me, realistically, my life revolves on a August to August basis much more than it does January to January.

I listened to an amazing podcast today on goal setting and with all of the planning and working I've been doing to structure my days with the kids all in school all day, it seemed like a really good time to look at the goals I set in January and see what needs to be fixed, updated or improved.  So, I looked back and discovered...that I didn't set any goals for the year.

I did set a few goals to accomplish by the end of February and I accomplished three of the four.

This is kind of a shock.

Still, it seems like now is as good a time as any to set some goals--not just for 2014, per se, but for the 2014-2015 school year.  Then we'll have a few summer goals and it will begin again.

I just have to stop right here and say how freeing it is to not feel a need to set goals in January!  I feel liberated!  (You can be, too!)

As I'm thinking about goals, I have to share some of the amazing tips from today's podcast, though you really ought to listen to the whole thing.

1. Don't set a ba-zillion goals.

I'm getting better at this as time goes on, but author, Kat Lee, insists that you cap your goals at 4.  And don't be ashamed if you just do one goal at a time.  She made an awesome point that once you've accomplished that goal, you can totally set another.

2. Be prayerful. 

She suggests reading, journalling, praying, assessing the past year for a week to solidify goals.  And even then, as directed by the Spirit, you can totally change, remove or improve your goal.

3. Set up SMART goals.  

I can't say that I was familiar with the acronym, but I was with the concepts.  Goals should be...

(You can see these and get a cool free printable for Goal Setting here.)

4. Write your goal as an affirmation. 

I have long know that goals need to be positive and written in the present tense. But writing your goals as an affirmation?  This was a paradigm shift for me and perhaps the most exciting thing about goal setting that I learned in Kat's podcast.

5. Write the your goal-affirmation regularly.

I think Kat said that she rewrites her goals once a week. You could totally do it daily. The cool thing is, not only will writing the goal keep it at the forefront of your mind, but it also allows you to evaluate the goal and change it as needed.  This way, the goal serves you instead of you feeling beaten by the goal.

(I think this tip came from Kat's podcast on goals Part 2. Don't yell at me if it's not in Part 1.)

I'm ready now!  Off to write two goals.  I think that's a good place to start.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

It's hard being new

We have had a lot of children move into our ward in the recent past.  It is truly an answer to prayers.  As we watched our ward age and our youth dwindle, we prayed for more youth and primary children to move in.  And they have!  But it's not easy being new.

Today in Primary the pain of no friends, not knowing anyone's name, and wishing you could just go back home was too much for one girl and the tears spilled over.

I took her to the hall and hugged her and let her tell me how hard it is.  And I just agreed.  It's hard.  Even though we have lived in our ward and our house for 12 years, I remember like it was yesterday how hard it was to be new.

The first couple of weeks in Relief Society were OK.  But I needed and wanted friends who were also young moms.  I spotted where they sat--together on the right side of the room.  So the next week, I sat on the right.  All the young moms came in and sat on the left.  In fact, no one else even sat on my row.

The next week I sat on the left and all the young moms sat together on the right.

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I gave up hoping anyone my age/situation would sit with me and sat in the middle of the middle section in the Relief Society room.  Thankfully, some people sat on my row, but the closest they got was three seats away.  I felt like I had leprosy.  "Why," I wondered, "would no one sit by me?"

The next week I tried not to get to Relief Society so early.  I went to the bathroom after Sunday School and hoped that I could sit by someone even if no one would sit by me.

When I came in the Relief Society room, I smiled.  I said hello.  I sat down on the back row, since the back row was always, always full. The women I had greeted moved away.   And I wasn't sitting within 5 seats of anyone else.  Just like our Primary child, I looked in my lap and started to tear up.  I planned an escape to the bathroom, where I didn't know how long I would stay there or what I would do next.

Just then, a woman sat down right next to me.  The seat exactly to my left.  She said hi and asked me how I was doing.  We chatted a little and I managed to keep the tears from spilling over, at least mostly.

I was flooded with such relief that I didn't have to be alone anymore.  Her name is Karen Martinez and shortly after, she was assigned as my visiting teacher.  I cannot express the encouragement and hope I received from this new friend.

Even as I write, the tears spill over remembering the pain of newness and the gratitude when I'd finally found a friend.

Tonight I'll be praying for one Primary child in particular and hoping that the girls around her will be her friend.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

What I'd been waiting for wasn't what I expected

The first week of the 2014-2015 school year is in the books.  And my baby, Beck, is in first grade.  While I love having my kids home for holidays, Christmas and summer vacation, I do relish some alone time.  And I have my particular ambitions.

Also, I hate the preschool/kindergarten-almost-in-school-but-not-quite thing.  That thing that I have been doing for the last 4 years.

It is this moment that I have dreamed about--when everyone is in school all day.  I had such grand plans of what I'd accomplish during this time.

1. Work part time.
2. PTA (why not start off as Pres of the Junior High)
3. Get more exercise
4. More diligent scripture study and religious studies
5. Get organized
6. Remodel my house
7. Writing
8. Doing fun activities with friends
9. Family history
10. Temple work

It's an ambitious list, to be sure, but I'd have 6 hours alone each day, right?

The first shock came by way of the realization that no, I don't have six hours.  With Emma gone early and home early with high school, the big boys at the junior high, and the little kids 16 minutes away at our city's very best elementary school, I have between 4-5 hours at most.  Plus mega carpooling.

I still can't quite figure out how to make our afternoons work.  And despite having the goal of being done with everything at 2:00pm I've learned, to my shock, that I can't fit it all in.  I just can't.

And I'm back to a familiar place where I realize that something's gotta give.

I keep thinking, "I'll just spend an hour and map out my week."  Then the list I have to map seems depressing.  And I'm bummed about the things that don't make the cut. And I wonder why I'm doing so much. And my week doesn't get mapped.  And I *know* I'm not be as productive as I should.

The answer I come back to is, "I must get up earlier."  But I have arthritis.  And my husband works late moderately often.  And even when he's home at dinner time, we don't really have *us* time until the kids are in bed.  Which is often after 10pm.  And it's nice to decompress and talk and so what if we don't get to bed until 11:30.  Or 12:00.  Or 12:30.  But going to bed late makes it impossible to get up early.  I need 8 hours and regardless of when I go to bed, I've got to be upright and in the kitchen by 7:15 so I can visit and give a proper send off to my eldest.

So I'll readjust.  Scratch a few things off my list.  And think, "Maybe I can do it all next year when I'm not PTA Pres."