If you’ve read Resolution Evolution for Moms, you know I don’t hold with the idea of annual resolutions. Instead, my preferred time frame is 3 months or 90 days, give or take a few.
For 2016, I didn’t even want to hold myself to a 3-month-long resolution, because another little monkey is set to join our household in this Year of the Monkey, so I want to leave my time fairly free and easy. Pregnancy can be unpredictable, and I don’t want to stress out over a resolution toward the end of it when I may or may not be in full-blown nesting mode.
I obviously can’t help myself when it comes to goal-setting, though, so I have been working through some small and not so small habits in January, trying them on for size.
The secret to my success (and so far it has been very successful) is a family calendar which I found in our local discount shop. It has space for 6 family members to input who is doing what on any particular date. I’m sure this is really helpful for families with slightly older children than ours, but I decided to take over all 6 spaces to record a simple yes/ no checklist of whether I had done something related to a specific habit or behaviour each day.
There were a few I wanted to tick off every single day, if possible. These were easy behaviours which should only take seconds, like stretching first thing in the morning when I wake up, drinking a glass of water before I have my morning coffee and follow it up with another glass after breakfast. There’s nothing groundbreaking here, but I wanted to nudge myself into drinking more water, and stretching always makes me feel good, so I wonder why I don’t do it more often.
The other behaviours were not things I expected to accomplish every single day, although if I did, I would be happy about that. I just wanted to tally how many times in a month I could get around to those things. My expectation was that thinking about the behaviours I wanted to adopt in advance, writing them out on the calendar, and having that calendar in plain sight every day would mean that I would carry them out more often than I would otherwise, with no help from a visual reminder.
In this category, I included Making Connections with friends and family. I love connecting with friends and the energy boost it brings me, but sometimes a few days go by and I realise I still haven’t sent that email I composed in my head to a close friend, for example. Another section was for Writing and Promotion. I released Resolution Evolution for Moms at the end of December, so I had a lot of work to do promotion-wise in January. I would have done this regardless, but it feels so good to check off something off your list, doesn’t it? 😉 It also kept me accountable to this goal of mine, of getting a book out into the world, which started off as one of my resolutions for 2015.
I scheduled my own version of a squat challenge for January with a rest day every three days. There was a rough patch mid-month, but because it was on the calendar, I couldn’t conveniently forget about it. I ended up missing out on 4 days overall for the month, with another couple of days where I didn’t get to my target. Instead, I did a small number of squats as a placeholder. The part of my brain that gets off on ticking off those boxes was convinced I had done my quota for the day, and was ready to remind me to do the same again the following day.
Another section which I knew wouldn’t get filled in every day was “Celebrate!” It’s my watchword for 2016. I alluded above to the biggest celebration of all for us this year, the arrival of an already much-loved baby. Apart from that, I have a milestone birthday staring me in the face, along with the intention of celebrating the people I love, and the seasonal events I love. This year, I want to take the time to celebrate the little everyday little things that I might not notice as much if I didn’t have this notion firmly at the back of my mind.
So here you go, the before and after of the latest tool in my resolution arsenal. I present…the family calendar 🙂