Many of us fall victim to getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and adulthood that we forget to take the time to get in touch with ourselves. There are so many “10 minute moments” in a day, but we very rarely use them to their fullest. Think about the number of times you take a quick break from life to scroll through social media, or to just sit and be alone. There’s nothing wrong with either of these things, but would something else make you even happier?
I personally am so quick to grab my phone and check Instagram whenever I have a minute or two of downtime. Then that minute or two turns into many more minutes. But when I really think about it, I’d feel better if I took the time to stretch and mediate instead. These can even be done in as little as five minutes and leave me with a much greater sense of satisfaction than any Instagram binge can. You could also go for a walk, read or write a blog post, pick up a craft, clean the bathroom, phone a friend, anything that makes you legitimately feel better.
I’m interested to hear how you would choose to fill a pocket of time. Let me know in the comments!
It’s not a secret that I’m a little less than happy with my current job. I try really hard to only communicate highlights with people that I don’t really know, and also to just focus on the things that make it good in conversation. I recognize the power of positive thinking, and the influence of our thinking on our memories. Although my day to day may be really challenging, I also want to look back on this year and think “WOW”. So how do I work towards WOW?
Every day I walk into work thinking “today can be different.” I used to use the word “will”, but honestly the disappointment and frustration that that led to was more harmful than good. I try to start each work day with a positive attitude. I also make a to-do list of both long-term (rolling) and short-term (daily-ish) goals that will help me to leave feeling satisfied. Put simply, rather than focusing on the things I cannot control, I focus on what I can control.
Even though other people still make the day challenging, and even though I feel like I’m simultaneously doing too much and not enough, when I look back on the past few months I really am happy with what I’ve chosen to do. The things that make me smile are a wide variety of moments, but they’re so worth it.
I’ve recently gotten back into Podcasts, specifically ones that are composed of short (under 20 minutes) episodes that come out more than once a week. It really got me thinking about working in “bite sized pieces” with my writing. This past year has been challenging in many ways. I’ve gotten my PhD, moved to a new state, gotten pregnant, among many other things. It has made writing and/or editing far less enjoyable for me than it used to be. Somehow, it was never unenjoyable enough to just walk away and forget about it. So here we are. Starting a new year, and a new decade, with a new plan. I’m starting out with a week’s worth of short posts that you can read quickly and easily that will hopefully also provide you with some motivation for your day.
As I’m sure you’re aware, February is Black History Month. Growing up, I think the biggest complaint that I heard was that we got the shortest month of the year. Before I really understood too much, I would just celebrate that we got a month. Although I still strongly believe in celebrating our 28 (and sometimes 29) days of the year, I’m coming to realize some far more important things. For one thing, we cannot just treat Black History Month as a look at the past. The things that happened last week, month, and year are just as important. We are constantly shaping our history, and we need to act accordingly.
On top of always shaping our history, in today’s day and age it seems like there is always someone (usually a white man), who does something racist, but is too afraid of the word “racist” to admit what they have done. This tells me that we should be focusing on the 1800s history, the 1960s history, the 1990s history, and the 2010s history more than ever. On the other hand, it seems like the ally network has grown, but what’s annoying is that allies aren’t saying anything that hasn’t already been said. It’s jut that now people seem willing to listen. I could harp on this, or I could just be happy that we have a voice.
Some people might find what I’m saying depressing, and I completely understand why. For me, I feel like it’s far more important to focus on the victories and use them as fuel to keep going. Nothing will make you work harder than trying to prove somebody else wrong. But nothing will make you work longer than knowing that what you are doing is making a difference.
Today is the very last day of January 2019. Can you believe that? I am honestly so surprised that this month has gone by so quickly! It’s important to check in with your new year goals every so often (more often early) so that you know how well you’re doing. It’s important to realize that you are either ahead or behind, particularly behind, before it’s too late. So, let’s recap my goals and how I’ve been working towards them so far.
- Lose weight. I have completed the first week’s worth of exercises for the PiYo/T25 hybrid calendar as of yesterday. The best part? My husband has been working out with me! I have explored many methods of accountability, and although I wouldn’t say that there was anything that didn’t work, there is nothing that compares to having my husband next to me. There is nobody I would rather high five at the end of a sweat session than that man. I’m also eating more vegetables, because that was lacking.
- Read 60 books this year. I am in the middle of books 4 and 5 of 2019, and I have to say that I am enjoying them. I’m close to finishing Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynne Barnes, and I’m casually listening to 11/22/63 by Stephen King on Audible. I am honestly really glad I’m starting the year on a long audiobook, because one of the subgoals was to read no more than 15 audiobooks, and ultimately I wanted to limit it to one a month if possible. But, I am a little behind my 5 books/month goal and I am hoping that I can at least finish one of these books before the weekend hits.
- Call my friends and family more often. This is quite possibly my biggest failure thus far of 2019. Insofar as I was supposed to call a friend yesterday but didn’t realize that yesterday was the day we agreed upon until today. I also have not been calling my parents or my in-laws as much as I wish I was. The good thing is that my husband is calling home more often (see how making aligned goals can be to your benefit?) so I’m hoping that his example will help me be great.
- Knit, knit, knit! Well, I finished the Ravenclaw scarf I had been working on, but I still need to finish weaving in the ends and backing it. I am working on a striped blanket for myself, gloves for a friend, a headband for the shop, and want to start more mug cozies. Essentially, I’m knitting but I’m not knitting as much as I told myself I would. I am putting in knitting time whenever I can and that’s rather nice!
How are you doing with your goals? Have you checked in lately? Is there anything you feel like you need to improve? Anything you feel like you’re doing an absolutely spectacular job of?
I was supposed to be doing a book review today, but I have basically not read anything this month. (Which is to say, I am right on track with my reading goal for the year but I’m behind where I expected to be). Thus far in 2019 I have read:
- One Pill Makes You Stronger by Jill Stegman (ARC, 2 stars)
- One Week of You by Lisa Williams Kline (ARC, 5 stars)
- Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy (4 stars)
Now, I theoretically could write a review about any one of these books. The problem is that none of them really stuck with me. I thought One Pill Makes You Stronger was mismarketed, and could have been good if it was actually a book written for somebody like me. I thought One Week of You was a great light love story, and I had a hard time putting it down, but once I was done I realized how thin it was. And Dumplin’ was great, but I watched the movie on Netflix before even putting the book on hold so all I could do the whole time was compare it to the movie. So you see, I’ve read all these books but none of them made me feel and thus, I am not writing a review this week and I am instead going to share with you my reading lists.
I made four “priority” reading lists for 2019.
- >4 stars on Goodreads
- Published in 2017
- Published in 2018
- Older than me (based on original publication date)
Of these, I am trying to work across the lists rather than down any single list. I am currently reading Little White Lies (Published in 2018), in large part because Bad on Paper Podcast is reviewing it this month and it was 100% my cup of tea! I also have Words on Bathroom Walls (Published in 2017) checked out from the library, so that’s next up on my list. Overall, I have a total of 8 of the books in my personal library, and although that wasn’t at all a motivator when making these lists, looking at them later makes me wonder what my subconscious may have been up to ;).
Although the actual book review won’t come until later (maybe next week, maybe further delays), I am curious as to how you make your reading lists. Do you strictly go based on book club reads, do you try to work through your to be read shelf, or something else entirely? Do you just walk through the library and pick out a cover that speaks to you? Whatever it is, I am dying to know! Drop me a note in the comments, and happy reading!