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 50

This week I have a lot to get done, again, but not as much as last week. The new class of employees is just about done and by midweek I should start seeing more time for myself and I just hope to have the energy, the mental resources, and the emotional stability to focus on what is important when that time comes along.

This week I will:

Read 100 pages of The Plague by Albert Camus. Last week I didn’t get any reading done at all and while I already know I will fall far short of my reading goals for the year, I had hoped to end with at least two more books under my belt. So, this week I have to get back to it. I don’t think 20 pages a day is too much to ask of myself.

Update: I made it just over half way which was better than nothing so I won’t be too hard on myself. I just have so little energy right now that reading has become a chore. I’m actually really missing it and hoping that paring a cup of black or green tea with my reading time going forward will help perk me up and get me through the pages.

 Stay on top of my meal and medication schedule. Between medications and supplements I’m up to at least 17 pills a day. Some of them have to be taken with food, some 30 minutes before I eat, and some make me so nauseous that they have to be spaced out as much as possible front the others. That means I can’t miss a meal, or eat too late, or forget a pill or I end up feeling cruddy or slipping back down hill. My health has to be the top priority now.

Update: I only missed one evening dose of my medication and between 17 pills and having to break my meals up into four a day rather than three I think that’s pretty good. I made some small tweaks to the schedule and wrote it down to keep with me so I won’t forget what to take when. Just 7 more weeks to go like this.

Begin my own list of what I have started calling “Bradbury prompts“. These are simple words or phrases pulled from the mind without too much forethought to kick start blog posts and essays. The list is the first step in the Ray Bradbury WORK RELAX DON’T THINK system. I’m looking for patterns, for concept groups, for my motivation and possibly a project.

Update: I did “start” but I failed to keep going. I did enjoy the exercise very much and saw immediately how it could save me time and help me start writing when I don’t know where to begin. Going forward I really want to make this something I schedule and do every day and follow the list up with 1000+ words toward an essay or blog post based on what pops out of my head and into the list.

Get the Christmas shopping finished for our out-of-town people. December is slipping away quickly and before you know it, the last day for gifts to arrive before Christmas will be long passed. I’m sending to small children and I cannot have them disappointed in on Christmas day when there is nothing from Auntie Lisa under the tree.

Update: I did “start” but I failed to keep going. I did enjoy the exercise very much and saw immediately how it could save me time and help me start writing when I don’t know where to begin. Going forward I really want to make this something I schedule and do every day and follow the list up with 1000+ words toward an essay or blog post based on what pops out of my head and into the list.

Finish my resume! There is a new opportunity coming up very quickly that I know I would be perfect for and I want to be ready but I am procrastinating, badly. I have started but I haven’t finished and half finished means nothing at all. This opportunity was made for me and I have only to be brave enough to reach out and seize it.

Update: I don’t even want to talk about it. I failed miserably to finish it and rather than let myself down again I have taken it off of my list for next week and pledged to revisit the document at home during my winter break. I’ve already added it as an even in my calendar and turned on multiple notifications with note proclaiming “No excuses!”

This week I—hopefully—will slowly be returning to my old self. The temptation will be to overdo it. I’ll want to eat foods I know I can’t eat, to do things that I know I can’t do, and to push myself too far too soon. The danger now is losing progress. This week I have to listen to my body over the needs of anyone else.


P.S. For a look at how I fared last week check out my updated post for Week 49.

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash