2016 Resolution Updates: September

Back in the Saddle… Feeling Sore

Back-to-school fever hit me in late August and I decided to get back into the monthly resolution saddle.

I thought about what is really important to me, what I’d like to achieve if I had superhuman powers and a staff to cater to my every whim. Don’t laugh – that’s how some of my to-do lists used to look like! I didn’t group my priorities into any particular categories at that time but, looking back, I covered the basics for my physical and emotional needs: exercise, connection with friends and family, and one-on-one time with my two older children on a more consistent basis.

With the enthusiasm of new beginnings, the first week went very well. And really, if I lower my expectations from perfect to reasonable, the whole month went well.

One of my goals was to be more aware of sharing loving hugs with my family rather than perfunctory ones. My eldest child often asks for hugs. I pretty much always give the hug, but it’s not always a loving hug. I felt guilty about that. I could throw out excuses like being busy or sleep deprived, but I knew I would feel better if I took the time to transmit my love with a hug every day.

Instead of ticking a box for my hugging objective, I complicated matters by writing an initial for each person in my family. Ok, it’s not rocket science, but it multiplied the work of my single tick by four. The fuzzy nature of the goal made it hard for me to keep track – had that hug before breakfast been a loving hug even though it was brief? Did length of time even matter?

While writing this post, I’ve just had an epiphany that will hopefully help me to work on my hugging goal in October. Instead of trying to clock up one meaningful, loving hug with each member of my family every day, I should associate every single hug with a chance to transmit the deep love I have for each of them, no matter what craziness has just gone on, or how many things I have to do right this minute. Doing the same thing every time is often easier than doing than doing it only some of the time. It’s worth a try anyway!


2016 Resolution Updates: April

I am guilt-less-ly taking a break from keeping resolutions from April until the overwhelming urge comes up again later this year, no doubt.

April had me waiting…and waiting…for Baby #3 to come along. Any day now, I thought, but she kept us waiting until the end of the month.

It’ll take me a while to get into the groove of being a mom of three, and I want to enjoy the experience as much as I can.

Thanks to everyone who keeps checking up on me here. I will be back  🙂

Ukulele Life Lessons #3

I decided “Happy Birthday” was the perfect song to turn my attention to first. Everyone knows it. I’ve been singing it all my life. How difficult could it be?!

I checked out a few videos on YouTube. The first couple didn’t sound remotely like the “Happy Birthday” song to me, but I did say before I do not have a musically-inclined ear. The finger-picking video tutorials made more sense, but surely those were too difficult for an absolute beginner like me?!

In the end, I found a compromise  – a simple finger picking of the first note, and strumming for the rest. The intended audience didn’ t seem impressed on the occasion of his second birthday, but he did ask me to play it again the next time I got the uke out. So I’m going to take that as (the only) sign of encouragement 🙂

Ukulele Life Lessons:

  • Simple and familiar is a good place to start
  • A hint of difficulty can set the tone and make you appear more accomplished than you actually are 😉
  • Just because you feel unappreciated doesn’t mean that there isn’t at least a glimmer of interest and admiration on the other side.

2016 Resolution Updates: March

Hmmmm…March is when my “tick the boxes” system started to go awry…or so I thought.

The parts of my life I chose to work on were:

  1. Nesting. So if I change the language to suit the last part of my pregnancy, rather than referring to this project as the evergreen decluttering, would that make any difference? The urgency I felt at having so little free time to myself before Baby#3 arrived definitely forced me to up my game. I made a significant dent in some of the problem areas of our home. Now on to the Maintain Game, while raising three kids.
  2. Writing and planning. I worked in a few spurts on this. Again, there was a certain degree of urgency, as I realize I probably won’t have a lot of time to write for a while after the baby is born. If I do find time to write somehow, it’ll likely be sleep-deprived nonsense.
  3. Connecting with friends. I wanted to lend a hand to friends by sharing useful information, lending a physical hand, or just reaching out and saying hello without any obvious reason – I know it always warms my heart when I hear from a friend I haven’t been in touch with in a while.
  4. Photobooks. This is a huge unending project, but I had stripped it down to a reasonable scale. At the beginning of the month, I had a firm deadline in mind – the website I use to print my books were having a 60% off sale, so that was a huge incentive. Unfortunately, I ran into a “can’t find the pictures from a particular trip” problem. I realized there was no point in skipping over an important trip just to make progress – I would regret that – so the photobooks project stalled while I went in search of those photos. On the positive side, I took careful notes of the points I had finished, and where I wanted to pick up from the next time.
  5. Movement. I was really busy this month, so although there wasn’t intentional movement in a cardio session, or X minutes of strength exercises, kind of way, I definitely moved around a lot!
  6. Ukulele – make progress on the next song. No excuses, I practised maybe twice 😦   In creating this goal, I didn’t pay enough attention to when I was going to practise. I thought after my kids went to bed would be a good idea, but when I actually had remaining energy left after that happened, I worried the music (noise!) might wake them up. I tried to practise while they were awake, but both of them wanted in on the session. My younger child is only two, so he just thinks it’s Mommy’s toy. All he wants to do is reenact my string-breaking experience!
  7. Celebrate! I marked this on my calendar 12 days out of this month, so that’s pretty good. We had a birthday in the family, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, and a few cherry blossom picnics to celebrate. In addition, there were a few savored moments that might have passed me by had I not chosen to focus on celebrating the little things this year.

Overall, I didn’t do as badly as I first thought for someone who was finishing up a full-time job to go on maternity leave, and doing my best to prepare our family for the new baby.

A pat on the back wins out over recriminations 🙂


Ukulele Life Lessons #2

This time the ukulele life lessons all came from my DH, who appeared to have channeled a Mr. Miyagi-like version of a music guru as he helped me replace the string I broke from my first attempt at playing the uke.

Rather than helping me, I pretty much let him complete the entire operation himself. Recently I read about the phenomenon of someone feeling closer to you after you have asked them to do you a small favor. My DH has expressed a similar philosophy in the past, so I decided to take a back seat and observe instead of jumping in myself.

He assured me that strings break, so I shouldn’t worry about this one. It’ll probably be the first of many.

He told me that getting exactly the correct tuning pitch as far as the digital tuner was concerned was not as important as I thought. The overall balance of the four strings will work out even if each one is not tuned to perfection.

Tension changes when the environment changes. Deep, huh?! This is how I wrote his last piece of advice down in my notes. Honestly, I don’t have a clue how it related to the ukulele, but it makes me think about relationships and the importance of a little give and take when one or both parties are a little out of their depth.

Ukulele Life Lessons:

  • Leave it to the expert, especially when the expert will feel good about helping.
  • Life happens. Even if something may seem like a disaster at the time, it often turns out that you are the only person worrying about it so much.
  • Overall balance is important – there’s no need to micromanage every little thing.
  • Tension changes when the environment changes – What does that gem mean to you?

Finishing Touches :)

I’ve been working on the last minute bits and bobs that will get Resolution Success for Moms: Set Yourself Up for Maximum Momentum and Obstacle Obliteration to a digital bookshelf near you this weekend. Yay!

For the moment, it’s at a special early bird price of 99c, so grab it while you can and get on with (or get back to!) those resolutions of yours. We’re coming to the end of the first quarter of the year. There’s still plenty of time to make an impact on your life. Good luck!

Book 2 cover JPEG


2016 Resolution Updates: February

March is here, and today is my day of reckoning for February.
Looking at the calendar, it’s not as impressive as January was. I’m not too worried about that, because a few of my January goals were of the mini-habit type, which meant I could complete three or four of them in less than five minutes.
Some of my February goals, on the other hand, were a bit more involved so I knew that I wouldn’t be checking off everything every single day. Superwoman, I am not!

I tried a gratitude experiment following the format I learned from a friend late last year. For years, she wrote three things she was grateful for every day: a person, a place, and a thing. I wrote it straight onto my calendar, so it wasn’t as involved as a journal. Simplicity was key to me actually writing it every day, though. I’m generally the type of person to count my blessings, but the place to be grateful for was a challenge some days.

I called this habit nesting rather than decluttering in the hope that the change of moniker would bring me greater success than the numerous times in the past when I have attempted to declutter, but haven’t gotten very far. I made definite progress, although not as much as I would have liked. Nesting is on the agenda again for March, and it will be for as much of April as I am still pregnant!

I was pretty consistent with my writing until the end of the month, when I ran out of steam. I thought I would have made progress on the planning front, but that didn’t happen. Once I had sent Book #2 to some beta readers, I switched my focus to another project instead of finishing off all the bits and pieces that would make Book #2 as complete and ready to release as possible after I go through the feedback from my beta readers, and another round of editing. I don’t regret it, because my brain needed a change, but I want to get back on track in March.

I wanted to make time for a few small, manageable crafts. I didn’t arm-knit a scarf, which had been on my want-to-do list, but I knitted a necklace. That idea had been floating around my head for a while. My 4-year-old DS was very interested, so we started to make one for him when mine was finished. He wanted to do it himself- of course! That was a good exercise in patience for me! I included my ukulele practice under crafts too, and mastered the birthday song.

I did several prenatal yoga workouts in the first half of the month, and always felt better…except until I didn’t 😦 I strained a muscle around the 10th, and the rest of this resolution fizzled out after that, even though I feel completely better now. Yet again, I realized that if I don’t carry out a new habit every day, it’s so much harder for me to keep it going. I’ll be giving it another go this month.

I wrote a review of this affirmation & visualization app. You can find the link over there on the left-hand side. I have been using it since late last year, but I wanted to develop a habit of visualizing every day. I managed to do that – just missed a couple of days. I hope to keep this up, too.

Throughout the year, I’ll be keeping my watchword, Celebrate, in mind. I enjoyed celebrating Pancake Tuesday with some galettes [Breton-style buckwheat pancakes]. They were a big hit in our house. We also had a family celebration for DS2’s birthday. I played him the birthday song on my ukulele and he was mightily unimpressed! 😉

Evernote Snapshot 20160302 073015