I enter every year with lots of hope and little plans. I never set resolutions, because I know I’ll fail. I never say I will or won’t do something with the dawning of a new year, because to me, it’s just another day. There’s no reason that a single day over the course of a whole year must be the penultimate in Changing My Life.
But the truth is, I need to change my life. I need to kick myself into gear. It might sound funny, looking back over my year. It’s been a pretty epic year. Listen To Your Mother in May, starting this blog with ChicagoNow, writing and directing a play in October, homeschooling my oldest, attending conferences and camp, getting accepted for an anthology: So Glad They Told Me, and having my writing in Cosmo, Good Housekeeping, and Scary Mommy, as well as FTM Magazine and Chicago Parent. Not to mention the storytelling I've done, the connections I've made with other parents of trans kids and other bloggers, the growth I've made as a writer and as a person.
But its also been a pretty hard year. Depression, apathy, stress and struggles. I’ve cried a lot. I’ve lost a lot of sleep. I’ve gained a lot of weight. I’ve become a bit of a recluse.
I’m a task-oriented person: I set myself goals, I come up with a plan of action to attain those goals, and I do so. So inspired by Becoming Supermommy’s awesome yearly goals, I’m setting my own for 2016. Goals that I know, or at least think and hope, I can accomplish.
Goal 1: 365 Days of Writing
When I first read this goal, I thought, how on earth could I possibly write for 365 days of the year? Every single day, carving out the time to sit down and write. But then I realized, it doesn’t have to be a novel I’m writing, or even a paragraph. I recently read a post by Listing Beyond Forty, about a one line a day journal. I remember thinking, I can do a line. A line, who can’t do a line? So I’m going to put my money where my mouth is. I even started writing a line a day as of January 1st, and I got journals for both the kids. I’m going to try to write something positive and interesting about their days, one line each. Something they can have as a memento when they move into adulthood.
Goal 2: 350 Days of Maintaining an Absolute Minimum of Personal Hygiene
As any mother of young children who stays at home can attest (and maybe those that work out of the home too), maintaining personal hygiene is hard. Really hard. How many times have I thought about taking a shower, and one of the kids is hungry? Or wanted to brush my teeth, but I haven’t had a cup of coffee yet? Or needed to change my clothes from the day(s) before, but the laundry was waiting or dinner had to be made or I needed to get groceries or any other million tasks. So I think this is a good goal. Absolute Minimum: Brush teeth, brush hair, change clothes, apply deodorant. With that very low bar, I think I can manage. Maybe next year, I’ll add: Take a Shower.
Goal 3: 312 Days of Singing
I love the idea of this goal. Singing makes you feel good, enhances your mood, improves your posture, and helps your lungs grow and expand. Singing is good for you. I want to aim for 365 days of singing, but I feel like 365 days of anything (besides writing a line a day) is a big task to tackle. 6 days a week, I think, is a very admirable and obtainable goal.
Goal 4: 300 Days of Leaving the House
Big groan. I hate leaving the house, when it’s too cold. Or too hot. Or snowy. Or sunny. Or too windy. Or too rainy. I leave for groceries. I leave to take Jake to gym 3 times a week. I’m lucky if I make it out 4 days out of 7. Thank goodness for Amazon, or I’d be in trouble. But getting out is good for me and for the kids, and with our upcoming move, new community, new town, its time I forced myself to do it. 300 days seems like a lot, I really did want to reduce it, because that’s almost 6 out of 7 days a week. But I think it will prove to be good for me in the end.
Goal 5: 156 Days of House Getting Cleaned, At Least a Little
Okay, the idea of my house getting cleaned, at all, ever, seems ridiculous. But I do dishes almost daily, and that’s a little, right? And laundry, though it doesn’t always get folded and put away, it does get cleaned, at least twice to three times a week. 156 is only three days a week. Three days a week, I can manage that.
Goal 6: 156 Days of Exercise
This I need, so much. I need 365 days of exercise. I’ve become so sedentary and the sum total of my exercise usually involves running around after my almost three year old. So I love the idea of this goal, of actually obtaining this goal. Of maybe starting to feel better about myself, physically and mentally and emotionally. Oh, and 20 minute dance parties, in my book, now count as a day of exercise.
Goal 7: 30 Days of Spirituality
I had to veer from Lea’s original goal of observing Shabbat. She’s Jewish and I’m a Unitarian Universalist, and though I’d gladly observe Shabbat, I also don’t want to limit myself or my children to any one religion. I’ve also been terrible about attending any kind of service, but specifically attending a UU service. Only one in 2015, though admittedly, a life-changing one. And we lit the menorah for the last day of Hannukah at Lea’s house. But with 2016 upon me, I plan to be better. Whether we attend a UU service, a temple, a synagogue, or simply take a walk in the woods and reflect on life and death and the universe, I think that I can guarantee at least 30 days.
Goal 8: 12 Books
I love reading, but if I’ve read 12 books in the last 8 years, that’s a lot. Its terrible. But I always find something more interesting to do, when its time to sit down and read (like binge watching Downton Abbey before watching the new season). This year that changes. I want to read, I would love to make 36 books like Lea, but I think 12 will be difficult enough.
Goal 9: 12 Projects That Grow Me as a Person
I need to be specific about what a project means. Because I work from home, homeschool, tend to the household and care for two children, I don’t have a lot of extra time for big projects. Or much extracurricular at all. And if I do a project, its generally educationally related and involves my kids in some way. So, for 2016, I’m counting projects as Things that Grow Me as a Person. That would include things like: writing professionally, telling stories in the city, directing and/or writing a play, acting in a play, attending conferences, attending school board meetings to support transgender rights. Well, you get the picture. It would not include: fixing up around my house, building igloos for our unit on Inuit, or making our own edible play dough. Though those are great projects, I already do them, usually several times a week.
I love the idea of this goal so much. And looking back at 2015, I think I hit it. Listen to Your Mother, Writing and directing a play, getting accepted for an anthology due out in June 2016, having my writing in two magazines and several online publications. Overall, I think 2015 was a pretty epic year.
I plan to track my goals on a spreadsheet every day, picture included. I do best when I keep myself to task. And in my defense on New Year’s Day, I was sick and stranded in a hotel room (I didn’t count it as leaving the house, because I didn’t leave the hotel room).
2015 happened to me, in many wonderful and amazing and terrible, awful ways. 2016 will happen for me. I honestly don’t know how it will shake out. I don’t know what directions I’ll take or where I’ll end up, but I know with my goals firmly in place, my plan of action set, there’s no way I can fail.
Here’s to a great and wonderful New Year!
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