balance · goals · parenting

Tired + Tired

It’s mid-January, and I have never failed at my new year’s resolutions so quickly before.

However, this time – TOTALLY not my fault. It’s not about procrastination or laziness or motivation, not at all!  It’s all about my kids.

Baby J.J. isn’t sleeping through the night yet. He’s 4 months old and it’s to be expected. BUT NOW. My Edgar – my two-year-old precious A plus amazing sleeper – has started having sleep struggles.

WTF.

That means Tamara and I just shifted from getting a solid 4 to 5 hours of sleep per night, while the other dealt with Baby J.J. – to now NO ONE IN THE HOUSE GETTING ANY SLEEP EVER.

I am still so so happy and grateful for my little family. The big picture is beautiful and blessed.

The little picture, though? The little picture is a tiny thumbnail photo of a family of four, totally exhausted and cranky and struggling. (With the exception of Baby J.J., who is developmentally appropriately able to function on his consistent diet of 2.5 hour naps throughout the day.)

Prior to the new year, I decided that I couldn’t wait until J.J. was sleeping through the night to start maintaining my focus on exercise, meditation, recovery, and writing. I recommitted to prioritizing my self-care and my goals despite my current life circumstances.

And yes – this still needs to be true. If my word of the year is NOW, then I have to do this stuff NOW and not later.

When I get overwhelmed, I think about this: If I can write now, I can write anytime. When I think about my goals for the year, my writing is one of my main priorities. And, while things could definitely get harder, I am pretty tired and have limited time – so really, if I can blog regularly and get some fiction writing done right now, even if it’s the bare minimum, then just imagine what I can get done when I start to actually have time and energy!  For me, the most important thing right now is ROUTINE – rhythm and routine. If I can get some kind of routine happening now, with two kids under three, a full-time job, and no sleep – well, it’d be a miracle. The kind of miracle you get when you work your butt off.  

goals

Word Of The Year

During the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, I spent a lot of time writing about thoughts, intentions, and goals for 2019. There’s a post with my birthday thoughts (including resolutions about TV time and writing), a post with my list of intentions for the year, and a post with my January writing goals, which is a new ritual I am hoping to maintain this year.

This is typical for me, to make a bunch of different goals in different places. I’m an all-over-the-place kind of person, even when it comes to making resolutions about meditation and being present. And on New Year’s Day, I thought of a way that I could tie all of my resolutions together so that they were easier to remember and achieve: choosing a Word of the Year.

When you choose a Word of the Year, you pick a word that represents your focus for the year. The word can connect all the different resolutions you’re making for yourself, or it can be more abstract. I’ve heard people choose a lot of different words: Health. Story. Present. Family. Love. Serenity.

I’ve chosen a Word of the Year in the past, but I don’t think I’ve ever maintained my focus on that word throughout an entire year. And I don’t know if I will this year, either! But one of my hopes for 2019 is that I’ll be able to use playful + peaceful as a place where I can check in on my progress toward various goals, and I figure that may work for my Word of the Year focus as well.

My word of the year for 2019 is NOW. For me, this word will help me to focus in on what my priorities are without having to check my list of intentions three times a day. Each of the goals and resolutions I’ve written about for 2019 can be represented by NOW in a specific way.

  1. Be here NOW. Live in the now – don’t get caught up in the past or the future. Slow down, and be present and mindful. This also ties into two of my more practical goals: decreasing TV time and docking my phone while I’m at home with my family.
  2. Embrace the NOW. I want to express gratitude for everything that’s happening in my life at this moment. I don’t want to wait for a new house, a new job, or a new baby to come along so that I can be happy. I want to look around and realize that I’m happy right NOW. On a related note – I also want to regulate my social media diet. And social media is the mortal enemy of the present moment, always urging us to compare and contrast and feel left out or less than.
  3. Do it NOW. You cannot wait any longer to write your novel, or to exercise, or to make meditation a priority. The time is now. Related: don’t procrastinate the things on your to-do list. GET THEM DONE.

I love this word; I’m excited about the possibilities, about how the word can grow and change and evolve as the year progresses.

balance · goals

Rhythm & Routine (January 2019)

RHYTHM and ROUTINE. These words are music to my soul.

I love adventure and spontaneity, but I also love a good routine. For me, it’s easiest to maintain a habit if I do it every day – if it becomes part of my routine.

If you’re a semi-regular reader, then you know that my blogging schedule has been way off since my second son J.J. came home to us in early September.

A trick I am going to use to get back in the blogging rhythm is having a loose theme for each month. VERY LOOSE. Not every post will match the theme, and the themes might trickle into the next month if I find I have a lot to write about.

My theme for January 2019 is those two magic words: rhythm and routine. I’ll write a lot about new habits, weekly and monthly goals, and rituals and routines I am trying to establish throughout my life.

I got really excited when I came up with the idea of having a monthly blogging theme. It reminds me a little of a Gretchen Rubin happiness project – making small resolutions each month related to a theme. But it’s not exactly that. I’m not making resolutions – just using a theme to center my writing and to help me decide what to write about. I’m not going to list the themes now – they’ll be a little surprise every month.

A new year is a great time for a fresh look at ways to make life more rhythmic, to simplify. I feel excited and energized and ready to start.

 

goals

New Year, Old Kerriann

It’s 2019, and this is the season when all of us are evaluating the last year of our lives and thinking about making resolutions for the new year.

This year, I’ve written a list of intentions for myself, but it’s nothing new – everything on the list is an intention that I have set previously.

Thinking about the year ahead, I realized that I’m not really resolving to do anything new. I have goals for the year, and I have new habits I want to implement, including checking on my writing progress monthly, taking photos to use on the blog, and (maybe? someday? finally?) using my phone less.

But really? Life is good, and I’ve been feeling more like myself than I have in years.

I think when we’re setting intentions for a new year, we’re not usually trying to be different. We’re resolving to be more like our truest and best selves. We are making a commitment to start the year off fresh, being the best possible version of ourselves that we can be.

This year, I want to eat healthy, spend less, and write more. I want to do more of the things that make me Kerriann and less of the things that distract me from being myself and living life the way I’d like to live it.

It might all be semantics – resolutions, goals, habits, intentions. They’re all in the same family – changes we want to make to maximize our happiness or our productivity.

But for me, this year, I mostly feel like I want to stop getting in my own way; I want to allow myself to be the person I am in my very best and most present moments.

Cheers, 2019. Can’t wait to see what you’ve got.

goals · writing

January 2019: Monthly Writing Goals

I’m going to try something new this year.

I am going to get really specific about my goals for my writing.

My hope is that using SMART goals will help me to make more progress and/or to take notice when I am not making progress so that I can regroup.

Here are my goals for January 2019:

  1. Write every day. Average 7,000 words per week. Spend at least 4 of the 7 writing sessions working on the novel.
  2. Get back on track with blogging weekly or biweekly. (My realistic goal is every Tuesday; my ambitious goal is every Tuesday and Saturday.)
  3. Decide which novel you want to focus on by the end of the month.

Here are my big goals for 2019:

  1. Finish a draft of a novel by the end of June.
  2. Finish a GOOD draft of a novel by the end of December.
  3. Maintain weekly or biweekly blogging.

I am planning to use my “All The Things” posts on the last day of the month to keep track of how I’m doing with regard to my monthly goals.

Fingers crossed – hoping that this will help me to make some real progress!

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goals

My Birthday Thoughts

It’s my birthday!

Every year on my birthday, Tamara and I go to a coffee shop for some conversation, writing, and reading over coffee.

This coffee date has changed greatly since Edgar was born in 2016, and this year was even trickier with two little ones to chase around. Yet the tradition stands.

During my birthday coffee date, I like to reflect, and I like to write.  A birthday is a great day to think about where things are at in my life and where I’d like things to be. I find that on my birthday, I can usually maintain a really healthy and optimistic perspective; I don’t beat myself up for my shortcomings, and I don’t cry over regrets. I just think, and hope, and make plans for the future.

These days, things in my life are pretty great – adorable kids, wonderful wife, good job – and the things that aren’t great (lack of sleep, no time to write) are temporary.

These are my birthday thoughts about my current state of affairs:

1. I can’t wait for Baby J.J. to start sleeping through the night to get back into my writing routine. We’re nowhere close to that happening, and if writing is my priority, then it needs to happen now. Same for meditation, exercise, and overall self-care.

2. Lately, I spend a lot of time zoning out on Netflix. I do it while I’m feeding Jonas, or when I’m wiped out at the end of the day, or I’ll have it in the background while I do dishes or fold laundry. This has to stop. I’d much rather use this time for writing. I may not be able to sit down and do any deep work, but I can jot down a blog post or reread a draft. Or I can just daydream about a novel or a story. I don’t have much time for writing or thinking; I want to make the most of the time I have.

3. I need to get specific about my goals for writing. My specific goal for 2019 is to finish a good draft of a novel. One of my big plans for 2019 is to start setting monthly writing goals so that I can keep myself on track.

This week has been really magical. For the first time in a long time, I’ve been feeling inspired and the creative energy has been flowing. I have so many ideas, for everything from blog posts to children’s books to novels. AND I have so many ideas for ways to make everyday life smoother and more efficient. I feel incredibly grateful for this creative flow – it’s not something that switches on and off automatically so I appreciate the flow when it comes.

Thanks to Tamara, Edgar, J.J., and my extended family, today has been a wonderful day. I’m grateful for family, love, and the creative flow. Here’s hoping I can stay in this flow as the new year approaches!

goals · self-care

Set An Intention For Your Day

I am a person who is constantly making resolutions. I am a person who is often found looking for books in the Self-Improvement/Personal Growth sections of either the library or my local bookstore. I am a person who sets many intentions about ways to be a better/best version of myself.

This can be overwhelming.

On New Year’s Day 2018, I set several intentions: I wanted to meditate; to write more; to practice self-care rather than angsting; and to be intentional with my actions, my words, my choices.

These are all in line with the person I want to be, but they’re pretty broad. What do I focus on, from day to day? Do I read about mindfulness? Do I meditate? Do I write? Do I try to make really intentional choices about how I spend my time, either on my own or with my family?

The answer is ALL OF THE ABOVE. And this is where I get overwhelmed. Because how do I focus on everything that’s important to me, all at once?

I can’t. And that’s what got me started thinking about setting an intention for my day.

I like the idea of choosing a word or a resolution and focusing on it for a set period of time.  In the past, I’ve done this via a happiness project. (See more info on Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project and check out her monthly resolutions chart here!) I find it helpful to focus on one thing at a time, especially when life is hectic. And life is definitely hectic lately!

Right at this moment, when I think about setting an intention for my day tomorrow, the one that’s drifting to the forefront is this: Be well. 

I feel a little unwell these past few days. My exercise routine has been abandoned (oh, newborn life), and that always throws me off. I don’t have a novel on my nightstand; that feels weird, too. Most importantly, my diet has been all out of whack this week.

When things get busy, I have a hard time remembering to take care of myself. Even the basics, like showering and drinking water, are neglected.  I think that’s why the idea of wellness appeals to me at the moment. I want to slow down and consider my choices; I want to think about what choice would help me feel the most whole and healthy and well.  

I don’t know if I’ll stick with this intention setting. It’s a tough time to commit to a new habit, especially when I’m not even maintaining the regular habits! We’ll see. For now – my intention is to focus on wellness all day tomorrow. Wish me luck!