March

March Goals

whoa girl. My goals (slash focuses slash intentions) for this month came together practically faster than I could type. February seemed like a total whirlwind of snow and grey skies and a lot of homework and I think I just knew what I need from March. I want to stop letting stress get the best of me, I want to lock down my self-control, I want to start running again (!!!), I want to read more than I’ve been letting myself read lately, I want to take care of my body (dealing with a cold right now and honey it ain’t fun), I want to be outside on mild days in my new spring jacket, I want to get rid of more stuff out of my apartment, I want to take photos. (I wanna, I’m gonna).

How did my February goals go? Not bad, not bad. I failed pretty miserably at doing my morning page (I think I maybe did 9 days this month, tops) and yet I was really good at writing things out to work it out. Listening carefully remains on my mind – I hope I’m getting better at it. Having Kyle here was a hilarious reminder of this goal, we were constantly trying not to talk too much and listen to the other person (much love bro). I think we’ve solidified Girls night on Wednesdays, so that’s a plan I look forward to (because I get to see the moustache mug girl more often than in previous semesters), but I felt so stressed in February that making other plans was not a strong point. I didn’t choose reading. FOR SHAME. Okay. I did try new recipes (namely bibimbap and Korean-style potatoes) and they were amazing! Definitely will make again. And I think, I think I was brave this month. In some small ways.

I’m so excited for March (even though it will be busy and stressful). Bring it on.

February

February Goals

Here are my humble goals for February!

In February, I want to reach out to others. I want to initiate plans with my friends, especially the ones I don’t see very often. I want to try new recipes (baking and cooking!) and share the results. I’m continuing to plan my trip and trying to deal with all that comes with it, so I need to remind myself to be big and brave. I want to kickstart my creative life again, so I’ll be choosing to read books about creativity and doing my 750 Words every morning! Also, I want to hone in on my “be kind” goal from January and break it down to listening carefully, attentively, being fully present.

And how did my January goals go? Not bad, all things considered! I started to purge old, useless things I have around my house. I purged my hair (yay, short again!) and I love the result. I did a pretty good job of finding everyday beauty. The winter weather got me down a few times (when it was -42, for example, or when the entirety of downtown Montreal flooded – yes, literally flooded) but all in all I kept a grim smile on my face as much as possible. Even just recognizing how much I hate winter weather was enough to help me hate it a little less. Does that make sense? I did a fairly pathetic job of exercising at home (but did get very excited for the running season) – only a few sessions of yoga. Those were peaceful, at least. I did a pretty decent job of choosing reading, although many days I specifically chose not to read and watch crappy TV instead. At least I made a conscious choice at the time, even though in retrospect I wish I’d read instead! And finally: being kind. This is ongoing. I try. It sometimes slips my mind and I say something thoughtlessly, or am not as generous as I’d like, or am late for a rendez-vous. But it’s a process, and I try.

So far, I love this format of setting goals by the month. It really helps me re-adjust and refine my focus depending on what’s on my mind right now! Awesome.

January

January Goals

Keeping things super simple for January. As much as I love that this month feels like a fresh start, I also *strongly dislike* the weather (slush, snow, grey skies) that is so common at this time of year, especially in Montreal. So for January I decided to “reach deep” and try to stay positive during this month that can be trying at times (like earlier today, when I got splashed head to foot with slush by a car).

This month, I’ll be looking out for the beauty in the everyday, and sharing the photos on Instagram with the hashtag #everydaybeauty. My intention to not let the winter weather upset me is going to be put into practice with smiles, good music in my ears during wintery walks, and always dressing for the weather.  I want to create a simple practice of exercising at home, probably some combination of basics (pushups, situps, etc) and yoga. I have an urge to purge the junky stuff that I don’t need from my apartment, and get rid of all those pesky email newsletters! When in doubt, I want to choose to read over being on Facebook or Pinterest. And above all, I want to be kind. I want to forge stronger, lighter, happier connections with the people I love, do the right thing, and bite my tongue if I need to.

See? Simple. If they’re easy, though, is another story. Here goes nothing, January!

2013: Reach

Reach

This year, to wrap-up/look forward, I worked through Susannah Conway’s free Unravelling 2013 workbook. I really enjoy taking time to reflect on the year that’s passed and get giddy-excited about the year to come. (Note: I’ve done this with other workbooks, or just in a notebook of my own – it’s not the format that matters to me, it’s the act of actively looking forward that helps me most.)

My favourite exercise was choosing a word for 2013. I had read about having a guiding word for the year before (here and here) and I absolutely loved the idea. I’ve written before about having mantras or words to focus on while running and how much they help me to refocus. So having a word to try and center around this year makes total sense to me.

My word for 2013 is reach.

It’s a word that represents a lot of different things to me, and really captures the types of goals and intentions I have for 2013. I also love that it’s a word that implies autonomy – it’s up to me to reach up and out, it relies on me and my motivation. Reaching is self-driven: I can take it at my own pace, no pressure. Some meanings “reach” has for me, so far:

  • Reach, stretch, grow. Learn, practice, improve, read, try new things, say yes to things that scare and thrill me, say no to things that drain me.
  • Reach my potential. Ironically, I really want to stop ‘reaching’ in one sense of the word – I want to stop escaping into my phone, into social media, into the next big plan or idea. In 2013, I want to be more present. I want to be really in each moment and each experience. I want to let go of the desperate need to document every moment to share it with others, instead just letting myself live through it. I want to experience how wonderful something is while it’s happening, instead of realizing that it was special after it’s happened. I want to be more present and connected with the people I love. I want to reach my potential for health – continuing to eat better and exercise regularly. I want to take pride in the things I love to do. I want to notice the magic and beauty of my everyday life. I want to be grateful and fully love my life.
  • Reach out to others. Keep in touch with my family and far-off friends, more than I do currently. Plan more shared meals and coffee dates. Deepen my friendships. Ask for help, advice, wisdom.
  • Reach for the stars. Dream big. Stretch out of my comfort zone. Have a Great Safe Adventure. Make the impossible seem possible + plausible. Make it happen, all by myself. (I’m in the early stages of planning a great safe adventure in Europe for this summer/fall. It’s exhilarating and seems magical and distant and fantastical but bit by little bit I’m going to make it a reality.)

2013 already seems magic, and full of life, and bursting with happiness and possibility. It is also a picture that is slowly coming into focus but still holds a lot of mystery and things unknown. Which is why, this year, I’m moving away from setting big goals like I did for 2012. The scope of New Years Resolutions is much too wide for me in 2013. I don’t know where I’ll be in 6 months, so setting goals for the year feels wrong and pointless. It’s also true that for the last few years I’ve felt a bit restless and stuck, so setting creative goals to give me something positive and productive to focus on was extremely helpful and adaptive. Yet more and more, they are beginning to really feel arbitrary and constricting. I am happy with all the things I was able to create and achieve through setting lists of goals (and the joy of crossing things off my lists), but for the moment they don’t appeal to me.

In 2013, I’ll be giving myself a short list of goals or intentions each month. I think it will be good to have the flexibility, and to be able to include the things that are truly exciting for me each month. Normally, my intentions for the year get forgotten, because they can be vague and difficult to measure. But intentions are important, and I think by including some in each list of monthly goals, I’ll actually be able to focus on them and incorporate them into my life.

Here’s to 2013! Here’s to freedom, determination, happiness, beauty, good food, great friends, flexibility, lightness, being kind, stretching, adventures, and great big love. I love you, 2013.