From Goals to Action Plans

Planning for 2016

January 13, 2016

What does the beginning of your new year look like? Is it a period of recollection and reflection or is it a burst of energy? Perhaps something between the two or a little of both. My goals and resolutions for this year seem modest but daunting at the same time. In November, my 10-year old son told me that I needed to be more chillaxin’ (chilling and relaxing, not worrying about anything) and he's right. It's been front of mind since we had that conversation and, typical for me, I've been worrying about how I can achieve a state of not worrying…

With all of this in mind, last week my family and I created inspiration/vision boards for 2016. (Secretly, I was hoping to recycle a few large stacks of magazines while engaged in this activity - success on that count!)

The four of us sat on the floor on the living room -- under the glow of the Christmas tree-- cutting and ripping and rearranging and creating until the recurring themes for each of our boards really began to shake out. As you can see in the photo below, mine was filled with faces of women: playing, dancing, laughing, being silly and filled with delight, bliss, joy, and euphoria - BEING IN THE MOMENT, chillaxin', and generally "not worrying." I included slogans such as capture the moment, rock out, shake it up, enjoy more face time, and let it glow.

Clearly, I want to do more creating this year and have more fun. I am a work-a-holic and find it very very difficult to stop working and to just be in the moment.

I turned this vision board into a set of themes and then turned those into action items:

  • Lower stress and Increase focus by meditating, walking, writing, listening to music, reading, and having a cleaner house
  • Spend more quality face time with family and friends

  • Be in the moment and experience joy/bliss/awe/wonder through photography, writing, playing games, laughing more, making a bucket list and working off of it throughout the year

  • Routinely de-clutter and clear spaces to create the physical and mental space for joy, calmness, and peace of mind

  • Support my local community through work on local boards, buying local, and supporting local organizations

  • Do more creative work - specifically: writing, photography, and knitting

  • Improve physical well-being through healthier eating, more walking, and increasing strength and flexibility

The next step was to work these into my daily and weekly routines - to schedule time to make sure I did all that I had set out to do.

The first items to go onto my calendar are always sleep and work. I almost always get 8 hours of sleep each night and I take it very seriously. I schedule it first and often go to bed at 8pm on weeknights. When I don't sleep well, everyone pays the price so my family is generally pretty supportive of my 8pm bedtime.

Work: it's strange to talk about "work" because I am never not working and this is a large part of the challenge of being in the moment. There is my official work related to my official university position and then there is the work related to this blog and work related to my board memberships. Housework, yard work, etc. For me, life has become all work and no, or very little, play. The challenge is to create play that is not actually more work because I actually really really enjoy work and I often find it fun but not relaxing and never "chillaxin'".

So, after I entered sleep and official Work onto my weekly calendar, I was left with 62 hours for everything else and I needed to schedule some unscheduled/spontaneous/be in the moment time. I realized that I need to incorporate some of my walking, writing, reading into my daily commute and also during my work day. Although I'm a big extrovert, I do some of my best thinking while writing and walking around - especially AFTER a great brainstorming meeting. That means getting more intentional about scheduling mental processing time after my meetings for walking and writing - easier said than done but I will try!

I also realized that family and friends are relegated to the end of the day and the weekends - we really need to get into the 21st century with this work/life scheduling stuff! I also have monthly board meetings - two are mid-day conference calls (these are the boards comprised of working women) and two are weeknights (community boards). Luckily, one of these is on the same night as my son's violin lessons. In light of all of this, I decided to commit to the following - I will try to make the last 90 minutes of my weekdays with my family a space of chillaxin’- that is going to be a struggle but I am committed to making it work. If you have recommendations on how to make dinner, homework, and daily check-in a more spontaneous and less worrisome space, I am all ears!

Wish me luck on being in the moment. I’ll try to write more and share more here on my progress. What are your resolutions? What is your process for reflecting on the prior year and planning for the next?



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