Saturday, November 30, 2013

this hasn't gotten any simpler

So since April I've been trying to get a handle on my to do list. It's been a bit hit-and-miss but ultimately it's improved. I think I'm getting better at prioritizing what's really important.

April was also a bit of a turning point for my career. More recently, I've been working to leave the office on time and get home earlier.

Since January I've been trying to understand my mental state (I should re-read this more often) to better understand when I'm upset or out of sorts why and how to remedy.

A few weeks ago we reset our budget right after canceling a bunch of services, finally planning beyond just the month-to-month, but also taking a quarterly and yearly look at where we're going. The unexpected medical and car replacement played havoc, especially to our charitable giving, but with a yearly plan, we can aim to get back back to where we'd like.

I've almost reached my goal weight. And I'll be there soon enough.

I've really reduced the number of feeds I've been following and been clearing anything older than a week, until recently when I've been clearing it each night - if I didn't get to it that day, it must not have been important.

I've spent less time on social media. It wasn't so much intentional, it just kind of happened. But I'm fine with it.

What hasn't really happened is my goal of simplifying. I've written over 400 blog posts already this year, my backlog of magazines grows, I don't own less *stuff* and my garage and our family room is no less cluttered. I haven't taken more opportunities to be artistic and I haven't been as consistent in my reading as I'd liked. I have not done nearly enough for my faith either.

And at the moment I'm sick with a lingering cold that's just been maddeningly frustrating. But, almost all of my Christmas shopping is done, save for stocking stuffers. I only have one person to shop for, but usually that's a lot more stressful for me and a lot less done at this point.

So, am I still doing the wrong stuff? Or keeping the wrong stuff? Or is it just that at this stage in my life "simplicity" is simply not an option? Too little time, too many things outside my control, or maybe my goals in contrast with those of the rest of my family?

At this point, I'm not sure. But I'm also not ready to throw in the towel. I don't like the chaos and I'm not sure I can embrace it. But what I can do is be a little more intentional on my focus. I've been able to simplify some areas of my life, it's time to be more intentional about the future.

Like everyone, the new year seems like a nice time to reinvent and reinvigorate, but usually it's right after Christmas and we're tired and our intentions don't necessarily play out. I'm reminded of a phrase I learned in tenth-grade French from M. Brunneau:
L'enfer est pavé de bonnes intentions.
Or, literally, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. That is, resolutions without teeth are meaningless.

So once again I find myself looking to the business world for how I want to approach this next year:

1. My intentions must be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Yes, I'm thinking abou creating some SMART goals for myself. Geeky, nerdy, whatever, they're mine and not yours, so let me have them.

2. I can't be aiming to wrap up anything in December.

I'm going to spend December thinking about what I want my goals to be, but I'm going to plan them as 9-month goals, so they're done by the end of September. That aligns with how we re-wrote our budget so next year I can plan the budget and goals together for any home improvement projects we want to get underway.

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