Goals // Week 01: There Is Time Enough

This week will the first time in months that I will return to something like my old full-time work schedule. I have been eager for a return to a time of more interesting and fulfilling work, but I expect the reality will remind me was days just like these, only longer and more tiring. Still, anything to break up the monotony. Anything just to feel normal again.

This week will also be the first test of the daily habits I’ve worked hard to establish over the last few months of half work days and half work weeks. It was easy then to meditate, to read, to write, to drink enough water and get enough sleep, but from now on the life/work balance will be tipped back the other way. I’m anticipating less time to myself and a lot more stress to manage. I’m expecting good habits to fall by the wayside and bad habits making troubling returns….if I let them.

This week it will take focus and willpower to keep moving through the to-do lists and the assigned tasks, but more than that, it will take a little self-compassion. It will take encouraging and believing in myself and making this space safe to fail in. No more shaming and blaming. Instead, there will be nothing but praise, patience, and pep talks.

This week I will:

Read the introduction and chapter one of Poor People’s Movements: Why They Succeed, How They Fail by Frances Fox Piven. On a whim last month I joined a book club and according to an email I received last week, it turns out I’m actually expected to read the material and join a discussion in a little under two weeks from today. Bonus: Finish the current chapter of The Second Sex.

Meditate every morning. Cultivating a meditation practice is one of the very few resolutions I have made that are expected to be daily habits . I’ve done great so far and I’d like to keep it up through the end of the week. I have set my morning alarm 30 minutes earlier; I have reminders in my phone, and if it doesn’t get done first thing in the morning, it must be the last thing I do before bed.

Stay hydrated. Last month a few of my lab results came back with troubling numbers regarding my kidneys. I have been struggling with dehydration for months and now that I am finally seeing some healing, it’s important I give my body the best chance by drinking a lot more water and laying off the sugary sports drinks that have become a habit.

Fill in a page of my journal and update my planner every day. My journal and my planner are two out of the four keys to my success in 2021. The third is sitting in my office chair and the fourth is setting a timer. I’m easing into the productivity shifts and the start is simply writing down what I think and what I want to do about what I think.

Finish week two of Social Psychology on Coursera. I enrolled into an irrational number of courses last month in an attempt to take advantage of free certificate offers in subjects I’d long been interested in. Immediately upon looking at the number of lectures, reading requirements, and assignments, I felt overwhelmed found it impossible to even begin. This week I’m going to begin by taking each in 20 and 30 minute chunks at a time for as long as it takes until I’m done.

This week I will not get discouraged. There is time for the things you want to do, you only have to find it. It’s in the little breaks and the small moments between this task and the next. It’s in the space you give to too much TV, to the games on your phone, to social media and sleeping in. There is time enough to do a little every day and you have to let that be enough.

The theme of 2021 is slow and steady. Keep in your mind a vision of yourself 12 months from now all that might change and how far you might find yourself from where you stand now if you were to take just one small step every day. The step need not be perfect. It need not even be right. It only has to be forward. It only has to be done.


Photo by Daniel J. Schwarz on Unsplash

Goals // Week 53: Set the Tone

This week is a transition week. It’ll begin with the last days of the current year and end with the first days of the next. That means not only wrapping up, letting go, and forgiving the last 366 days of failures, disappointments, and losses, but then finding ways to hope again, to try again, and to keep trying long after the calendar date flips over.

So, this week will set the tone for the year, but it does not define it. It’s good for moral to hit the new year running but if your first steps falter, you need only keep putting one foot in front of the other to find your balance and your way again.

This week is simply a place to begin.

As for me, this week is a “practice week”. It is my first attempt to stick to establish boundaries and stick close to the schedule I’ve laid out for myself—no excuses! I’ve got each day’s tasks written out and notebooks for recording the day’s thoughts and activities. I’ve given myself space and permission to adjust as needed. All I ask is that an effort is made.

This week I will:

Use my notebooks. Last year I tried taking the digital route for my to do list and logbook but both quickly became unwieldy and I spent more time tweaking the look rather than marking off items. This year I bought a simple Moleskine 2021 daily planner that leaves little room for customization and between it, my journal, and my pocket notebook there is little more to do but think, write, and record.

Get my steps in. The over indulgences of the holiday season are catching up and it’s best to head them off now with exercise and mindful eating before bad habits are established. I’d much rather be moving my body outdoors, but the weather outside this week will not be conducive to jogs through the neighborhood, so I have to be motivated to pull the treadmill out instead. The goal is small, just one quick mile after work every day.

Start my 365 Headspace meditation journey. I suppose I should technically start this on the 1st of the new year, but I like starting beginning at the beginning of the week and anyway a few days to practice and work out any kinks before the official start couldn’t hurt. I’ve set my alarm half an hour earlier to make time to to focus on breath and body and start each day centered and present.

Write just a little. It’s been hard the last few months since I’ve lost my “creativity room” but last week I brough my old office chair up to the kitchen and commandeered a corner of the table to use as a writing space. One of 2021’s themes is going to be “a little every day” and I think 300 words a day (not including my usual Journal posts) toward this blog post—or a book perhaps?—is a good place to start and to keep moving from.

Read 20 pages of a book a day. Just like with writing, I’ve found it hard to get in the mood or stay focused long enough to read for any significant length of time. I fell short of my 2020 reading goal (though I did better than any year before so I’m counting it a success) and one thing I learned was that even a few pages a day will get me further and keep me much more motivated than trying to read 50, 100, or more and falling into a hole of guilt and apathy when I fail.

This week I will not forget that I deserve to take breaks and time to claim as my own. Work is not the most important nor the most immediate part of my life anymore, and I should not guilty for that.

My time is not just valuable to me, but actually of use too. Time spent doing things outside of work and labor is not time wasted, and there are more ways than one to be productive. I am productive when I am with my family, when I am writing, when I am watering my plants, and when I am resting. These and many more are all more worthy and worthwhile ways to spend my time than through labor. I am not defined but what I do for a living; I am defined by what I do to feel alive.

This is my focus.


Photo by Katie Doherty on Unsplash

Goals // Week 50: Start Small

This week will be another condensed one. The district I work for has decided to continue with 100% remote learning at least through the new year so though I’m still expected to work there is little to do and the hours are greatly reduced. I’m not complaining at all. I still get paid and there are many more hours I get to claim as my own.

So, this week I’m going to take some steps toward returning to my old life. My new medication and treatment plan are working wonders, and with the addition of a myriad of supplements, I hope to only go on improving more and more.

The sudden influx of energy makes me feel as if my mind has been rebooted, reformatted, and my whole perspective realigned. I am no longer forced to focus solely on the body. I now have the luxury of problem solving, planning, reflection, and abstract contemplation. I can think again.

This week I’d like to put that energy and focus to good use. This week I’d like to start small and write one thing, read one thing, and plan for one project in the future. I’m not expecting anything big. If that one thing is only a sentence, a chapter, or a line in the calendar, I’ll count the week as a success.

This week I will:

Meditate every morning. Some months ago, I embarked on a journey to cultivate a daily meditation habit. I’d been doing well, managing to wake up early every morning for weeks to fit in 10 minutes of breath and body, but as my illness got worse my mornings became too difficult to expect more than the bare minimum before work. Now that I am feeling better and waking up easily with the alarm again, it’s time to get back to the basics before I start the “Headspace 365” course in the new year.

Read before bed every night. I’ve been doing really well making time each day for a few pages, but this week I’d like to set some more specific goals. I’m on book ## of my Penguin Little Black Classics, and I’d like to finish the 50 pages before Friday. I’m also slowly working my way through Simone de Beauvoir’s tome, The Second Sex. I don’t expect to finish it anytime soon, but I’d like to find myself 100 pages ahead of where I am at today come the weekend.

Go for a walk. I’ve set reminders on my phone through the first part of the week to make sure I get outside and enjoy the weather. I’m sure the sun and that warmth will do wonders for my mood and go a long way toward helping me heal. The second part of the week won’t be as conducive to outside activities, but I’ve recently acquired a treadmill and though it will have to be indoors, the act of getting up and moving my body is a good idea no matter where I am.

Write one long form blog post. I have a writing schedule kind of mapped out, all I need now is a list of topics and I can start writing more regularly. I’d like to try this week to get 500 or 1000 words down toward a blog post. I miss the kind of blogging I used to do when I first started, and I’ve been trying for a long time to find my way back. This week I just have to spend a little time every day organizing some thoughts, then muster the courage to finish and hit publish.

Write for me. A few weeks ago, I dug out my old Moleskine journal. I hadn’t written in it since before the pandemic, and trying to find a way to begin again felt impossible. How can I wrap up the last 10 months of my life and then get on as if I have been documenting my thoughts this whole time? The reality is, I can’. I have to move on and begin again, no matter how ugly or strange it may look or feel.

This week I won’t let the pandemic, or worries about the future get me down. There is no particular anxiety or fear I can point to or solve, but instead a general cloud of uncertainty and frustration that leaves me despondent and evermore irritable. I’m no longer happy at home or work because hardly anything is in my control and what is doesn’t seem to matter much.

But I’ve realized more is in my control than I could see because I was stuck in an old way of thinking about the world and work. I’m angry and a bit afraid when I have to work and that makes me give up on my projects and tasks before I’ve begun, but this week I will start by accepting this reality and instead of trying to do the same work I always have I’ll find new projects and ways to thrive and succeed.

And when I’m not at work, which has been a lot more time than in the pre-pandemic days, I won’t wallow in what could be and isn’t, what I want and can’t have, or where I wish I was and can’t be. I’m going to keep this list and my priorities close and hand and heart and spend the hours doing what I know will make me proud comes the week’s end.


Photo by Bailey Zindel on Unsplash

Goals // Week 41: A Hard Sell

This week is already long, and it’s only just hit noon on Monday. The problem this time isn’t having too much to do, quite the opposite actually. I had planned, or prepared anyway for an agenda scheduled to the brim but the powers that be many pay grades above have decided to move their pawns to another strategy and I must adjust, rearrange, and put off that preparation for a future week unforeseen.

So, this week I’m scrambling. I’m working to find other things to do, to dig up old forgotten projects, and to make myself at the least appear useful.

It might be easier if my mind wasn’t already focused on next week. For the first time I am taking fall break off and spending the week with family visiting from out of state. I’ve been looking forward to this visit and this time away for months, and that leaves this week looking bleak in comparison with my expectations of the next.

I’m bored already and my usual passion for my work seems to wane as the hours pass and I get closer to time I will get to call my own. This week is going to be hard to sell to myself, but I do have to get through it and I should find a way to enjoy it.

This week I will:

Meditate every morning. I’ve renewed this goal every week for over a month now, and every week I fail to return to the practice. This week I want to examine exactly why I am so avoidant. What is it in me that is getting in the way of doing this thing that I know benefits me at nearly every level from my anxiety, to my relationships, to my focus? Why do I deny myself this opportunity to improve my quality of life?

Spend more time at my desk. I did well last week making a little more time for writing and for exploring my ideas last week and this week all I want to do is carve out just a little more. It helps that I have been able to leave work a bit earlier than I used too but I still need to spend a little less time in the livingroom or scrolling social media and more time typing away at a few ideas and problems working their way around my brain.

Write an analog journal entry every night. Last week I started carrying three notebooks with me, two of which have already gotten extensive use, but the journal still sits untouched since at least last January. THis week I’d like to revive this private writing space and express those things that can only be expressed far from the judgement of other human beings.

Read a little every day. I’m falling further behind again and losing all the progress gained just one week ago. In my defense, reading is much harder to do when fatigue is laying in wait to drag you to dreamland the moment you stop moving and get comfortable. This week I’m going to utilize my lunch hour at work, when I’m not so tired and can retain more of what I’m taking in.

Write a newsletter. I’ve been working my way through the Science of Well-Being course on Coursera for some time now but have been stuck at week seven where the assignment is to commit to a habit change or two for four weeks straight. Many of the ideas presented are habits I’ve long incorporated into my daily practice, but looking at them in terms of what I have needed lately, I’ve decided that building social connections is the area I need to work on the most.

Since the pandemic started I have struggled more than ever to maintain my personal relationships. I have let long stretches of time pass between speaking to my friends and family. I have grown more introverted and private. I have isolated myself and fallen into a loneliness that’s grown too easy to live with. Besides reaching out to those close to me, I on being more vulnerable and accessible to strangers as well. Sending out a digital letter to the few followers I have seems a little more personal and, I hope, will lead to a deeper connection than a simple blog post.

If you want to be a part of this journey, you can subscribe to my Tinyletter, Every Now and Again.

This week I will not lose myself in anger or hopelessness. For months now I’ve tried to pull away from political news and current events, but every day there seems to be some breaking catastrophe or cruelty, and the cell phone alerts and updates from friends and family nearly always pull me back in. But as much as I want to be informed and as righteous as the outrage is, and as good as the speculation feels, I realize that none of it is very good for me, mentally. Not right now, anyway.

I’ve started to recognize the emotional manipulation that takes place when the news is reported. That isn’t to say I believe that the news is fake or misleading, I just think the facts are often reported in such a way that my attention is grabbed and heald and I’m sucked in to never ending negativity and fear, to anger and hopelessness, and I don’t want to feel that way all day, every day. This week I will refrain from watching live news reports or scrolling social media endlessly looking for more information, more “takes”, more opinions and arguments. The news will be there at the end of the day. I need not give it more attention than that.


Photo by Aldric RIVAT on Unsplash

Goals // Week 40: Amor Fati

This week is going to be a bit of a roller coaster ride of alternating work days scheduled to the brim with projects and classes and days with little more to do than wake up and walk in and while it sounds like a luxury to have any days at all where expectations are so low, there will be times when even that will be too much.

My health has been improving somewhat and in someways but fatigue is still a hard obstacle to overcome and worry over tasks that must lie undone until the next low burst of energy or fleeting moment of focus can cripple me with stress and guilt.

I have been suffering so long now with this flare up of symptoms though that I have decided, this week, I will move from hoping to return to some old normalcy or version of myself and my life I can recognize and start moving on toward a new life that is compatible with who I am now. I have to work with and sometimes around my body. I have to work through my emotions. I have to to make the most of my new insights and perspectives.

This week I will:

Meditate every morning. It’s been weeks since I last made time to be still, to breathe, to be present, and it’s really beginning to show. I find myself getting too easily swept up in the emotions of the moment or the problems of the past or future. I feel what control I’d gained over my perspective slipping. It’s time I get back to it and I regain the peace I’ve lost.

Spend more time at my desk. I spent a good portion of the weekend purging and reorganizing my “creativity room”. The space feels much more welcoming and conducive to writing, and I’m eager to make a little time every day to this little hobby and passion of mine. I have a pile of thought fragments and scraps of ideas to get to work on, and I’m excited to see where this system of reflection and writing might lead.

Take better notes. No more post-it notes and pieces of scrap paper! This week I will carry around three notebooks: a journal for writing about the day, a small notebook for recording more formal writing ideas, and a pocket notebook for all those thought fragments and raw ideas I don’t want to lose to forgetfulness. Bonus: Schedule time in your calendar to review each of these notebooks weekly.

Read a little every day. This past weekend I made a little headway toward catching up to my reading goals and now that I have this momentum I do not want to lose it. To make the goal easier to meet, I’ll make sure to keep a Penguin Little Black Classic on me to read during all those minutes between tasks and events that add up throughout the day.

Go for a walk or two. I’ve started seeing small signs of improvement in my health and healing journey, and I think it’s time I found my way back to physical activity. I have to be cautious and mindful not to push myself too far and undo all the progress I have made. Just three days this week, I’d like to get out and around the block with the dog.

This week I will not not feel sorry for myself. I will not get sucked into patterns of self pity and suffering because I focus far too much on the gap between my expectations and my lived reality. It’s okay to be sad. It’s not okay to wallow. It’s okay to be angry, it’s not okay to get stuck. This week I will work on acceptance and forgiveness, for myself, my body, and the universe at large. This week I will work to love my fate.


Photo by kyler trautner on Unsplash

Goals // Week 37: A Long Short Week

This week is a short week, but short weeks always seem to drag on the longest. A short week does not mean less to do or fewer expectations. A short week just means less time to get the same amount of work done in. That means a lot more rushing, a lot more stress, and a lot more mistakes. It means I’m going to need a lot more patience, a lot more forgiveness, and a lot more help.

I’m still not feeling great physically, which is having a big impact on me mentally. Healing has been so slow and all progress is fragile. This week I will keep putting my needs first, defending my boundaries, and giving myself permission to rest without guilt. I can’t help others without helping myself. I can’t do my best work if I don’t make time for myself first. I can’t get well if I’m pushing myself for the sake of others.

This week I will:

Delete time sucking apps from home screen. I’ve already gotten rid of Instagram, next up is Facebook, and then Twitter. I’ve been feeling down lately, I think we all have, and it’s easy to escape by scrolling through endless and pointless feeds, but what feels good right now doesn’t always feel good in the long run. There is more I want to do with my waking hours. Bonus: Before I pick up my phone, pick up a book instead.

One “No TV Night” this week. Just like social media, TV shows offer an easy escape and mindless ways to pass the time, but I don’t want to be mindless for so many hours on end. There are art and writing projects I want to complete. There are books I want to read. There are things I want to learn and courses I am determined to complete. I can’t, I won’t, do any of these things if I am not more mindful of how I spend my time.

Read 20 pages a day. I’m really far behind in my reading goals for the year, so I’ve decided to let them go to focus on day to day reading goals instead. My current selection, The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination, is a little intimidating and overwhelming which causes an avoidant reaction in me. Normally I ask 40 pages from myself, but it’s easier to start again if you start small.

Meditate at least once a day. I wrote yesterday about how chaotic mornings and evening exhaustion have made it difficult for me to continue my meditation practice. The problem isn’t the mornings or the exhaustion though; the problem is me. I felt like I was failing, so I began to avoid doing it. I didn’t realize at the time that I actually hadn’t failed until I quit.

Take life one day at a time. There has been a lot of bad news coming my way lately and very little I can do but wait, and watch, and worry. In the absence of control my mind plays out all the possibilities, but instead of clarity all I gain is more stress and suffering. I’m living too far in the future where nothing I imagine may even come to pass. It’s all just more lost time and lost opportunity to live my best life today.

This week I will not make anyone else’s problems my own. Lately I’ve been feeling like little more than an emotional support human for everyone I encounter. While I’m honored to be so trusted, respected, and needed it’s all getting to be too much in a time when managing my stress levels is so critical.

I recognize that I have a tendency to feel too deeply the emotions of others and to make fixing everyone’s troubles my personal responsibility but the reality is as much as I want to make to, there is only so much I can control, fix, or face. The truth is, I cannot risk neglecting my own needs, responsibilities, and relationships to focus on lives I’m not living. The truth is, while I’m helping everyone through their challenges, no one but me will help me through mine.


Photo by Nicolas Moscarda on Unsplash

Goals // Week 35: Push a Little More

This week my work schedule is a little more relaxed, though not by much. The school year is still in the very early days and as chaotic as it normally is, between Covid and settling into my new position and responsibilities there is plenty to be stressed and overwhelmed by.

Still, I’d like to take advantage of the few extra minutes I see here and there across the calendar and start finding my way back to doing the things that I love. My greatest hope it that my health will continue to improve along with my mood and I can muster the energy and focus to match.

This week I will:

Read for 30 minutes every day. I’ve fallen so far behind my goals I doubt I can make up the distance between where I am and where I ought to be. So, I’m letting it go and choosing to focus on daily reading goals rather than yearly. I want to read for just 30 minutes every day this week. Between lunch time and the time I use to wind down before bed, this shouldn’t be too hard to achieve.

Write for an hour every day. The morning has always been my best time for writing, but with my new position and schedule that may no longer be possible. The good news is I am going home earlier most days and if I can start cultivating the habit now, I see no reason why mid-afternoon can’t become my new favorite time to type.

 Implement one new “rewirement” habit from The Science of Well-Being on Coursera. I’ve already been doing two of them: gratitude journaling and meditating and it would be easy for me to just keep on doing what I have been, but I think it’s time I try adding a new element. This week, find a way to work “increased social connection” and more frequent “acts of kindness” into my day-to-day life.

Get back to updating my logbook and to-do list in the evening. This one I can do while watching my evening shows. All I have to do it review the day and mark what I didn’t and didn’t do and record the good and the bad. Then I think about my goals and tasks for the next day and type them out. It’s that easy and I get to end the day and begin the next with a clear mind and plan. Bonus: Start journaling both here and on paper again.

Focus on one day, one hour, one minute or moment at a time. Life has gotten pretty overwhelming lately, and it’s all too easy for me to spiral into worry and regret but for my health, for my relationships, and for my productivity I have to let the thoughts and emotions pass and focus my mind on what I can do right now because the truth is, it’s all going to be fine, one way or the other.

Push myself a little more, but only a little! With all the rest, medication, diet changes, and support from loved ones, I am finally beginning to feel a little better. I have so much to catch up on, so much I’ve been wanting to do, and I think I can finally start letting myself take on more work and responsibility again. I have to be careful though. I have a strong tendency to push myself too hard the moment I have a bit of energy or focus, and I end up taking two steps back before I’ve even completed one forward. This week, do a little more, and be happy you can do that much.

This week I will not be pushed by others. I have a schedule and a list. I have my goals and my priorities. I have to keep them at the forefront of everything I do this week. I will not blindly follow what others are doing, what they think I should be doing, or what I think they might think I should be doing. I will not be lead around directionless or powerless only to be left regretful and disappointed at the come the weekend. I have to live my time and live with my choices, no one else, so I will decide how it is spent, no one else.


Photo by Matt Palmer on Unsplash

Goals // Week 33: Let Yourself Move Forward

This week was off ahead of me before I could find my bearings. My mind and body are dragging, but I’m keeping one foot in front of the other and doing my best to at least fall no farther behind. It’ll take focus and willpower, but the plan is made, and the time is there if I seize it.

Already this morning I’ve worked on my calendar and got my to-do list in order. I spoke with my team and made a back-up plan too. I deleted that one last distracting game on my phone and set my alarm 15 minutes earlier. From here, the week looks long, but at least it’s smooth.

This week I will:

Meditate every morning and every evening. Work through the basics for 10 minutes before work, then practice long guided sessions before bed. Breathe, check in with the body, give space to the emotional and physical state you are in rather than the states you wish you were, clarify your intentions: to give your body the best chance to heal, to cope with the pace of healing, to be your best self for your loved ones and your team, to be an example of what meditation can do.

Make time for being creative. Don’t let go of your artistic goals and project in favor of more writing, more reading, more cleaning or resting. Creativity is as important as the rest and giving your mind time to work through your hands, to take a break from screens, to find meaning and metaphor in image the way it does words is vital to every other goal you wish to achieve.

 Write every day. I am making so much progress on the pieces I’ve been wanting to write and coming up with new ideas every day. I’m sorry nothing has been shared, but I’m just not ready. I’m not putting that pressure on myself right now, not with the health and work stress I already have going on. Writing has to be my secret joy and escape right now. Writing has to belong to me alone for a little while longer.

Finish week seven of The Science of Well-Being. I’ve been on a roll these last couple of weeks, making time just 3 days out of seven to watch a few videos, take a few notes, and reflect on how this new knowledge might change or impact my life for the better. Knowing isn’t everything, it might not even be half the battle by far, but it’s the first step and every step after gets a little easier. Bonus: Implement some weekly retirements.

Practice the WOOP exercise. WOOP stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, and Plan. Sit down and choose an outcome, a want, desire, goal, or achievement. Visualize the very best outcome you can. Now switch gear and visualize all the things that will get in your way, including emotions, beliefs, bad habits. Now, what will you do to overcome that obstacle? Going to implement this reflection into my weekly goals and actions plans.

Get through the last of my very big and very important training classes by the end of the week. Despite the challenges, I’ve been trying to get some new certifications under my belt for work and this week is the last of my classes for a while. I’m feeling incredibly nervous and flighty right now. I’m on the verge of sabotage and outright avoidance but deep down I know, all I have to do is my best and I can make it through with flying colors. Just do it!

This week I will not give in to despair. These past few months have been a long struggle. I never meant for the focus of this space to become my chronic illness, but when you live life in pain, with anxiety, shame, and plummeting self-esteem it’s hard to think, let alone write, about anything else. Already this week I got some good news and some bad news. I got a plan and an end point, and now I have to let myself move forward through the pain, anxiety, shame, and low self-esteem and back to life.


Photo by Rory Hennessey on Unsplash

Goals // Week 32: Getting Better Every Day

This week is going to be a busy one, though not hard, although it is off to a rocky start already. I’ve already written about the health issues I’m coping with and though I’m still suffering, I’m getting better every day and fully expect to feel much stronger and more capable by the end of the week.

It’s hard to feel so limited. To have to remind yourself to keep your expectations, your focus, your goals so narrow, but I’m trying to remember it’s better for the long run. This week I’m not looking too far into the future. I’m focusing on here and now, on my mind, my body, my mental and physical health, what I need to do each day, each hour, and with each action to take care of me first.

This week I will:

Rest when you need it. It’s hard enough to admit to yourself when you just can’t but it’s so much harder to have to admit it to your superiors, your team, and your loved ones. Remember that they want the best for you too. Remember that even if they don’t, it doesn’t matter. You are your own responsibility. You are the one who must live in this body. You have to put you first and heal so that you can take care of work, relationships, obligations, or passions.

Medicate, meditate, and hydrate. Rest is important, but there are other needs to be met. Don’t forget your medication. Don’t forget to drink water. Don’t forget to be present, to focus on your breath, to observe your world, your thoughts, your emotions without judgement. Stress is your number one trigger and to quell it takes only 10 minutes a day. You can give yourself at least that.

 Make something with my hands. There is more than one way to meditate. Put on a podcast, get out your X-Acto knives and magazine pages and clippings. Find words to play with, scenes to reimagine, bodies to remix into your own reflection. Find your flow and lose a little time to something that belongs to no one but you. Don’t forget, the healthy mind needs new challenges and novel ways to think and play.

Write something every day. You’ve set up a schedule and made the work easy enough. You have ideas to explore and even if nothing gets finished, posted, shared, or turns out in any way the way you meant it to, even if you get lost, frustrated, or feel wholly incompetent and full of doubt, you have only to keep writing and it will pass, it will get easier, it, you, will get better. Just try a little each day, that’s all I ask.

Finish that book, then finish another one. Too much rime has been spent on screens lately. Uninstall that game, those apps, shut it all down by 8:00 PM every night and pull out a book instead. You’ve only got 20 more pages left on this one, and the next is less than 60. #) minutes before bed will get you a lot farther than that and is much better for you than that phone.

Reach out. I’ll expand on it later but, since the time of Covid began, I’ve found it harder and harder to reach out to family and friends. I’m becoming more and more isolated, and I’m struggling to both understand why and break through this reluctance. It’s as if I’ve decided I’m living in a time outside of time, a life outside of my life. I’ve decided I am alone and left the conclusion to stand, but life is passing by and the people I love are still out there living, loving, suffering, changing, growing farther and farther away. I don’t want to come out of this alone.

This week I will not get caught up in every passing emotion, thought, or physical sensation. My body is me and my mind is me, but not everything that happens or occurs is me. Not everything is a thing. There is control to wield if I would seize it. There is peace to be had if I would allow it. There are blue skies over every cloud, and every cloud is always on the move. It’s okay to let it pass. Let it pass.


Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

Goals // Week 31: Building the Habits

This week felt busy before it even began and before goals could even be set obligations were already getting in the way.

I have some big meetings scheduled, but they are largely brainstorming sessions. I have a couple of projects on my plate, but nothing outside of my expertise or capability. I have a long virtual training session I’m a little nervous about but it won’t take more than a morning to get through and many members of my team are attending too so I’ll have plenty of help and support along the way. It’ll be a busy week, but in a good way.

My greatest roadblock will be managing my health and overcoming fatigue. I’ve been on a downhill trend for a little while now, but I’m starting a new medication and reviving an old daily meditation habit to help. My hope is that by the end of this week I’ll feel a little more like myself and making good progress toward my goals.

This week I will:

Update my to-do list and logbook nightly. It has been nice to have one place to keep my tasks, notes, ideas, and journal so that I can walk through each day with a clearer head and calmer outlook but the place offers no benefit if it isn’t reviewed, updated, and improved regularly. The goal is to spend at least one half-hour every evening reflecting on the day and preparing my tasks and goals for the next day.

 Meditate every morning. I recently learned that I qualified for a free subscription for the Headspace app and I couldn’t be more excited to return to the mediation habit I strove to build years ago but abandoned to disappointment. I’ve already committed to the practice for the past four days and already I am noticing the benefits. Bonus: Practice short breathing exercises in the middle of the day and join group meditations every evening with my wife.

Complete the work projects I have listed as due by Friday. I’ve been working for the same company for almost 14 years now, but it’s only been three months since I was chosen for a new position. I’m enthusiastic but feeling a bit overwhelmed by my new role and responsibilities. I know I am capable and respected, but avoidance is my usual approach to anxiety, which only ever leads to more anxiety and further avoidance . This week I won’t let my worries win.

Hydrate. The more active, focused, and engaged my mind is with my work and surroundings, the less connected I feel to my body and its needs. I forget to eat, to rest, to drink water, even to take bathroom breaks sometimes! This week I want to exist in my body more and pay attention to my physical needs as much as I do my mental. I’m prone to dehydration right now and if I want to stay motivated and productive, I have to start by heeding those phone reminders and drinking more water.

Find a new time for reading. I have an alarm on my phone to remind me every evening to turn off all screens and spend time reading a physical book. This worked well when I was feeling well but as fatigue takes greater and greater foothold reading just a page or two puts me right to sleep. I can’t make any progress reading at this time so I’d like to try reading earlier in the day and getting through the 40 page per day and catch up to where I should be by now in my reading goals.

Work on my essay a week project. I can’t promise the piece will be done by next week but I have added the daily writing tasks like choosing a topic, researching quotes and facts, outlining, freewriting, and editing to my logbook and tasks lists and plan to time block these items in my calendar as well. As long as I work on each of these items in the time I’m meant to I will consider the goal met. I know that through practice, a habit is formed and through habit I will become comfortable, confident, and consistent.

This week I will not make other people’s problems my own. I will not feel guilt for things that are not my fault or that are out of my control. I will not attribute every mood to my actions. Not everyone’s well-being is not my responsibility. My job is to be kind and authentic and to protect my boundaries first and always. To take responsibility for every emotion or action around me outside of that framework denies other people the chance to reflect, learn, and grow, and deny’s me space to simply be.


Photo by Daniel J. Schwarz on Unsplash