A Year of Small Experiments
I've been circling round and round my blog posts for 6 months - writing, tweaking, feeling hindered by photos - but finally I've started to hit publish. I first wrote this post early in the year, and I've updated it as the months have passed. This list and the monthly summaries have motivated me to actually do the things I've imagined, so I'm going to publish the backlog from the first half of the year and move forward with the rest of the year in real time.
I've never given much thought to New Year's resolutions - they weren't a big deal in my family growing up, and I never found myself in a circle of people who jumped into them in my early adult life either. I read Gretchen Rubin's Better than Before a few years back and became interested in the concept of habits, though I didn't put her suggestions into intentional use. I had plenty of habits that could use correcting, improving, developing, but I allowed the immediate demands of life to dictate instead.
Last December my husband started talking about his goals for the new year, which he had mapped out in different categories and planned to achieve at different points in the year. His approach helped me consider resolutions as a series of specific goals and a set of habits to develop, rather than just one big statement that was doomed to failure before January's end.
Initially, I choose an overarching word for 2018, as I had read about in several other places. This felt specific and personal. From there, I identified four categories where I could bring extra focus to that word, and within each category I listed specific goals.
CATEGORIES: Food, Self, Finances, Relationships
GOALS, a few examples: meal plan 3 thoughtful meals each day - no more staring into a full, yet uninspiring fridge; make reading a daily priority - choose it over television; keep up with budgeting tools instead of allowing receipts to accumulate all month; implement regular date nights by scheduling a routine babysitter
There were other goals, four or five in each category, but this gives you a sample of the kinds of things I was including.
As I worked to start blogging and mapped out various post ideas, I realized my goal work in the first quarter of the year had become focused on one project each month. Why not plan an ongoing series at AHFA to document the plan for each month and reflect on my progress?
In my series posts each month, I'll dive into the motivation for each goal, what I'm doing to develop each skill/habit/project, and offer some reflection on the impact that month's focus is having. I anticipate at least one post in this series per month, but there may be more depending on the nature of a given goal.
I've mapped out the area of focus for each month in 2018, though it is subject to change:
A Year of Small Experiments
January: basics - sleep/to dos/energy management
February: food - Whole30
March: exercise - yoga/evolution/run
April: photography - albums
May: photo albums (continued); DuoLingo Spanish
June: sewing e-course (moved October); enjoy summer instead
August: photography - camera
September: building a big-girl room
October: learn sewing basics
November: hospitality and food
December: traditions, Christmas and otherwise
I think all of these experiences will help me understand "nourish" in different ways, and I'll explore exactly what that looks like each month. Some of my 2018 goals aren't included in one of the month-long projects, but I'll reflect on some of those intermittently throughout the year too.
Since it's already August, the monthly review posts for January through July will be available in quick succession. Then, I plan to publish reviews for the rest of the year as each month ends. I'm excited to bring each of these improved practices with me as I dive into the challenges I've planned for myself throughout the rest of the year!