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 01

This week is the second week of winter break and I’m only planning to go into work the last two days just to schedule the next week and complete some small tasks. With all those extra hours at home—outside of a few small errands, time I plan to spend with my wife, and the New Year’s celebration and subsequent day of recovery—I’ve decided to set some bigger goals than I’ve been used to these last few weeks.

This week I will:

 Schedule every hour of my days. It’s simple. I’m using my Google calendar to create events and reminders for blocks of time and how I would like to spend them from the moment I wake up until I go to bed. The goal is not to perfect adherence but to only cultivate a habit of thinking about what I would like to be doing with my time. Every night I will look over the next day and edit, move, or adjust where needed.

Update: I completed scheduled about half of my time last week. This is far more of my time than I have ever set out in black and white before so even though I marked it incomplete I count the effort alone as a success. GOing forward I will need to start scheduling a time to make the schedule and forming that as a daily habit.

Finish my cover letter. I’ve gotten my resume finished but I think it would be a nice touch to add a cover letter. I’ve done none of this before so I figure the more practice I can get the better and the additional effort couldn’t hurt my chances. Bonus: Ask 3 people for letters of recommendation.

Update: I was premature in setting this down as a goal. I will have to wait until the new position I am hoping for is available and then based on the description and the requirements I will craft a letter based specifically on my interest and qualification for the job.

Change my last name. I got married nearly 5 months ago but the bureaucratic hurdles I have to jump through, the number of institutions I have notify, and my fear of speaking with officials has kept me from adding my wife’s maiden name to my own, but as a Christmas gift to us both and a chance to start the new year as a new us, I’m getting it done.

Update: I have officially added my wife’s maiden name to my own last name, and she has added mine to her’s. It was quite an ordeal and we are from done but the most important first steps are complete. All I have left is to notify all my financial institutions and to perfect my signature.

Find my first rejection opportunity to kick off of #Rejection100 on Submittable. I’ve decided to get back into submitting work to publications again. I miss the motivation and direction that comes from a call for submission. I miss working with editors. I miss being part of a community writing toward the same goals. I also need the challenge in order to grow. So, here’s hoping for 100 rejections in 2020!

Update: To be honest I am rethinking this yearly goal entirely. The more I search for writing opportunities to pitch and then write for the more I realize that writing first and pitching later is the way that I write best. Of course the point is to push myself and to step outside of my comfort zone so I am still looking but the priority going forward will be the kind of writing I do because I have something to say, for me.

Finish a personal writing project for each of my own blogs. I have been slacking and spinning my wheels for months and it’s time I gather up some notes, ideas, and inspiration and try for 500 or 1000 words of real writing here and on Zen and Pi. I don’t want to lose sight of my own passions. I don’t want to grow stagnant writing what is easy.

Update: I made progress but I will be honest here and say that I did not do my best. I’m getting more comfortable carving out and devoting large blocks of time to this craft and I ideas are flowing easier every day but finishing is still the greatest obstacle. I’m getting there I promise.

Read 100 pages of Ethics by Benedict de Spinoza. This book isn’t an easy read but I really want to mark it off of my list. The time will be scheduled but at the very least if I could just do 30 minutes of reading before bed every night I think that would be enough. Bonus: Set a new reading goal on Goodreads.

Update: Despite its small size this book is deceptively hard to finish. It is dense and hard to understand though I do find it full of interesting and thought-provoking ideas. It’s not a book I can read before bed (it puts me to sleep) and it isn’t a book I can easily read at work. I must have the energy and be clear of any chance for distraction. Perhaps this is the kind of book that must be read in tandem with something easier and more exciting?

Keep eating right, taking my medication, and resting when I need to. I’m getting better but it has been slow and I have a strong tendency to push my body too hard and to grow lax about my meals and medication the moment I start to feel even remotely like myself. This week I have to remember that I am still quite sick and that I will get sicker again if I don’t take care of myself now.

Update: My meal and medication schedule are become second nature now and I even though I felt better I still stuck to the regime and allowed myself no excuses. I did miss one dose, and I did have a couple of instances where I overate or ate what something I knew would cause discomfort but taking the difficulty and the willpower involved I’m choosing to view my efforts in the most positive light possible.

This week I will not be too hard on myself if the temptation to skirt the schedule and these goals and instead get out and enjoy my time away from work becomes too strong. It’s still a vacation even if I’m not leaving town. I won’t close myself off entirely to spontaneity or serendipity. Time spend in joy or sunshine is never time wasted or time that should be regretted.


P.S. For a look at how I fared last week check out my updated post for Week 52.

Photo by Jon Flobrant on Unsplash