Friday, January 31, 2014

2014 Goals and Daily Rituals or How I tackle getting things done as a procrastinator

Oh wow, we are already a full month into 2014, I guess it's time to clean some things out of the fridge and pantry! I started out this year making a list of "resolutions" or "goals" but quickly realized that I tend to get carried away with ideas much like I get carried away with decorating, baking and planning events.

I had 2 pages of a notebook full of "resolutions" that were exact, tiny little detailed things that I wanted to accomplish or get better at this year. When I really focus in on several little things, those teensy weeny little things suddenly become overwhelmingly large, ominous, scary things that I don't want to even touch.

I soon realized that I need to keep my goals simple, short and easy to remember. If I have 1 million things on my mind I'll never remember them all. If I have a structured goal for a few small, all-encompassing things I can actually tackle some things.

Realizing my goals for 2014 could be easily broken down into monthly, weekly and daily goals was the first epiphany I had. Weekends are the easiest to tackle because I typically have  2 full days to accomplish all of my goals for the day but I certainly don't have to exclude week days.

Breaking it down into days, I realize that my goals are essentially not chores or errands and shouldn't be treated as such, but should help me accomplish being an overall happier, more well-rounded individual. I know that when I spend a Saturday sleeping, drinking coffee, taking a nap on the couch and meandering through laundry at a snails pace I feel like I've wasted the entire day doing nothing. I also feel guilty as Bear mimics my actions and is perfectly content sleeping all day.

The days when I feel the happiest and most accomplished are when I perform 3 things that reach these goals:

1. Doing something productive
2. Doing something active
3. Doing something creative

They may seem like silly little things but for me, these 3 little tasks are not daunting at all and I feel so happy at the end of the day knowing that I participated in all 3. Plus, when I wake up knowing I have 3 things to tackle it leaves the rest of the day open for whatever I decide fits!  To break it down:

1. Doing something Productive

This doesn't always mean cleaning the house, washing the car, tackling my inbox and finally getting rid of all the West Elm and Anthroplogie catalogs that have piled up, it really is quite simple.

For example this morning I brushed Bear and vacuumed the floor. The latter was a requisite of the former and therefore it felt like 1 small task broken up into 2 things. But I felt like I had done 2 things that were long overdue and really seemed like one quick thing! It was great! Starting my day with doing something productive motivates me for the rest of the day such as:

2. Doing something Active

I love being outside, I love taking walks, running (even though I say I hate it) I love rock climbing, hiking, swimming, all manners of outdoor physical activity.  But in the winter months I come up with more excuses to not go outside; it's cold out there, It's warm inside, I have hot cocoa and coffee and blankets and all types of coziness inside.  These excuses come much easier for me in during the shorter days when I lack the vitamin D I so desperately need to function as a normal human being. But after I wake up and immediately do something productive I feel like I can't stop the ball from rolling so being active is a perfect way to continue that trend.

For example, after I finished vacuuming, I took Bear for an extra long walk through the trails and down by the lake. I told myself it was for him but in reality I helped myself as well. I've also realized that the reason I do so much better with a buddy when I exercise is because of accountability as well as feeling guilty that I'm not putting in enough effort to make it worth my partners while.

The thing is, after I do something active, get my heart rate up and my blood pumping that motivation and energy skyrockets, so typically when I would be laying on the couch on reddit tucked under a blanket feeling like a bowl of mashed potatoes, I end up feeling happier and more motivated to tackle all my projects that I may or may not have started in the beginning of 2013.

3. Doing something Creative

For me, creativity is key in all I do. A boring task becomes much easier when I can put some sort of creative spin on it. Such as when I do laundry, color coding and sometimes planning outfits while I put things away makes it seem almost fun (disclaimer: this does not always work, please don't judge my closet). But in general, adding pretty little touches of handmade to my home make the day feel lighter and happier.

For example, I took a couple old pieces of artwork I made a few years back (that I absolutely hated) and painted over them to make some newer pieces that would fit in our home. The day I started them was on of my lazy, couch potato days and so I only accomplished the first half of my creative endeavor. When I had a day started with the momentum of being active and productive I was able to finish my new art and add a dramatic piece of art to out to a room that was lacking character. It still makes me smile when I see it!


Don't get me wrong, I still have days when I wake up (barely) struggle to get my momentum going and end up spending the majority of it talking to Christopher Meloni on my tv via Law & Order: SVU marathons. But that's ok! Everyone deserves a day to take a break. What I also have to learn as well is to stop feeling guilty when I don't knock out everything on my to do list. I am definitely my own biggest critic and it shows through in even the small things. I've learned that sometimes taking things easy and as they come is the best pace and makes for the best outcome. Now excuse me, I have a craft room to tackle.

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