Archive for the ‘resolutions and goals’ Category

Lately I have been doing my personal writing over on 750words.com.  I am trying to work through a deeply personal decision that I cannot write about here, and writing has always been for me one of the best ways to get to know what I am really thinking and how I am really feeling.  750words.com is a splendid “freewriting” space for these kinds of not public writing (although you always have the option of making it public).

In the meantime, I have been slacking on my Happiness Project resolutions and goals.  A vacation during the first week of June, followed by a wicked summer head cold have taken me far astray from my daily routine.  I am slowly getting back into it now though:  writing, reading, meditating every morning.  I have given up on the morning yoga practice.  Instead, I am doing yogaglo.com’s 15 day trial — practicing fewer days per week, but for longer periods of time and given the range of videos, also experiencing a more challenging practice.

May’s resolution was to improve organization and housekeeping.  In part, I was hoping to follow along with my One Year to an Organized Work Life book, but that didn’t happen.  Both offices, but my home office in particular, are in such a state of disarray that I could just cry.  At the same time though, I am trying very hard to “train” myself to be more laid back about things.  I fully subscribe to the necessity of having a calm, peaceful, organized exterior in order to steady and calm the mind; however, I also am trying to focus on staying calm internally even while the outside world might be in chaos.  It’s a difficult balance to strike.

June was supposed to be about creativity, and I feel this one is important to give attention to.  Creativity and organization somehow don’t seem to jive that well, so instead of combining them for July, I think I will return to organization in August — setting myself up for a solid start to the school year.  July will be devoted to creativity, as well was memories and family.  These two will meld well in the form of scrapbooking!!  Additionally, I already have family plans that involved my parents coming to visit and then traveling with my mother to visit my grandparents.

I have also begun reading Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind.  It’s an inspiring little book.  The advice (so far) is nothing new or unheard of, but it’s nice to have reminders to put creative work first.  Of course, it feels easy to do that during the summer — free from the glut of meetings and demanding teaching load — but, perhaps, if I start prioritizing some of these things now, the habits will stay good during the semester.



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I finished up the month of April (focus on Mindfulness and overall health and well-being) without a quote but then just came across this one from the Buddha:

To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.

Overall, I had a good month.  My strongest goal was maintaining daily meditation; this was followed closely by doing yoga three days per week and getting to bed by 9:30.  I did not closely adhere to my goal of 25 push-ups each day, and I only managed about six days of the entire month to keep my refined sugar intake to under 36 grams.  I also did not consume nearly enough water.  There are many goals from this past month that I plan to continue to incorporate into my life, even while they are not specified goals for the month of May.  These include:  weekly blogging, meditation, yoga, 9:30 bed time, and maybe even (hopefully) the push-ups.  The sugar reduction is the one goal that I am officially reinstating this month.

For May my focus is on Organizing and Housekeeping.  My friends thought this was a bit nutty (if not just obsessive) considering the fact that I already tend to focus on these items and keep a pretty clean and organized house; however, NOTHING (well, perhaps very few things) keep me happier than a tidy house with calm, organized surroundings, so think that giving these items a little extra attention this month will result in a truckload of happiness!

  • Return rooms “to ready” by end of the day.  This simply means that by the day’s end all of the rooms in the house are back in order (the dog’s toys in his bin, blankets folded and put away, dishes cleaned and in place, etc.).
  • 5 minutes of before/after office tidying:  This means that before I begin work each day and before I end work for the day, I will set a timer and spend five minutes organizing and tidying my office(s) (applies to whichever office I work in that day — both, if I use both).
  • From 5/16-5/19 I will work on cleaning out and organizing the cabinet under the bathroom sink.  This thing is a pit and just in need of some dollar store crates to sort the items into categories.  Cannot wait to get this one under control — might even do it sooner, if I can find the time!  I will also go through my Google RSS Reader and sort out what blogs I am actually reading from those that I am not and add other sites that I do (or want to) read regularly.  I also need to spend some time figuring out what I am going to use as an alternative to Google Reader, because its service is ending July 1.
  • During the week of 5/20, I will tackle the kitchen cabinets, which are currently making me insane, and attempt to get out from under the paper piles in my office(s).  This will involve tweaking and refining my filing system(s).
  • Finally during the last week in May, I will be applying the “Magic Formula” from Regina Leed’s One Year to an Organized Work Life to my office(s).  This involves the three steps of:  eliminate, categorize, organize.  I guess that technically these three steps apply to the month as a whole.  And I will be organizing my music (digital library MP3s and CDs in the basement — making sure they are integrated into my iTunes library).

So that is the plan for the month of May.  Let’s see how I do….

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It seems like one of latest cultural trends is toward “happiness.”  In the past year I’ve seen (and read some) countless books on happiness.  I have watched the documentary called Happy and have also seen one on Bhutan — the happiest place on earth (although I’ve heard the same thing said of Iceland, which has one of the lowest rates of depression anywhere in the world).

For my own part, I decided to start a “Happiness Project” group (as I mentioned in a previous post) as part of setting and attaining my 2013 resolutions.  There are now many different takes on this same idea — such as Christine Carter’s “Cracking the Habit Code” (which also looks really cool.  I would consider doing this in the future) and Gabrielle Bertstein’s May Cause Miracles.  The thing that appeals to me about The Happiness Project is the amount that one can accomplish by working on things in monthly “micro-steps.”  That is, rather than starting out the year setting five resolutions and trying to keep them all year, you can set a few resolutions each month, focus on those resolutions, and keep building on them.  By the end of the year, you might have started thirty-six (maybe more, maybe less) new habits that contribute to happiness.

Each month has a kind of overarching theme that the individual sets for him/herself.  For example, my focus for January is workSo for this month I want to focus on being more productive, becoming a better (more attentive, more involved, more organized) teacher, and just generally feeling more confident in my position on the tenure track (something that I’ve really struggled with and is at the root of much of my anxiety).  In support of this, I have set the following resolutions for the month of January (which, I know, is now almost over):

  • Write more:  this involves blogging and/or using 750 words.com for 15 minutes, five days/week.  I also want to keep a teaching journal that I write for another 10-15 minutes on Monday and Wednesday afternoons after I teach.
  • Update: I have been doing great with the blogging. I think I’ve only missed two weekdays this month (maybe three if we count MLK day, which was a day off). I haven’t yet started the teaching journal. I’m a bit disappointed in myself about that.
  • Update #2:  Began the teaching journal on tumblr., so I’m also learning to use that blogging platform, which so many of my students use and rave about!
  • Make bed every day: this one might seem unrelated to work, but, in addition to the happiness project, I am also working through a book called One Year to a More Organized Work Life by Regina Leeds. In it she suggests one home resolution and one work resolution each month. This month’s home resolution is to make the bed every day because doing so gives an overall sense of ease and calm. And it’s so true. This is the resolution I am doing best with.
  • Work an 8-24-8 schedule: this essentially means that I will attempt to stick to a 40 hour work week, while also attending to all three parts of my work life — teaching (24 hours), research and writing (8 hours), and committee work and meetings (8 hours). Invariably, teaching takes over and ends up accounting for about 30-40 hours all on its own, but it’s still a goal (it’s also one that I set last year and did not stick to).
  • Reduce social media intake: Earlier in the month I did a week long Facebook fast. It was surprisingly easy and actually enjoyable. I didn’t feel this incessant need to “keep up” the way that I sometimes do when I read what friends of mine are up to. Since then I have tried to reserve one day per week (either Saturday or Sunday) as a social media free day. I don’t count Flipboard, as I try to focus on reading the news on those days, since it is hard for me to keep up on current issues with any depth during the week. I fluctuate over whether or not Words with Friends “counts” as social media, but since it has the word friends right in the name, this seems kind of like a no-brainer.
  • Update: Between the week long fast and the reduced time on social media on the weekends, I feel that I have greatly reduced the amount of time I spend on social media. While my weekend SM free day hasn’t always been perfect (yesterday, for example, I posted a picture to FB in the morning and then checked it again last night before bed. I did stay off of all social media during the day), I am also trying to stay off FB as much as possible during the mornings and during the day. I have been successful with this for the most part.
  • Get a writing project:   This one has been nagging at me.  Each day I do some personal writing and blogging but get nowhere in terms of a professional research project.  For the moment, however, I have come to the realization that my presentation for CCCC needs to become my current writing project.  Also, fingers crossed, maybe I’ll get a revise and resubmit on a recent journal article, and that will also become a writing project for this semester.  I also have ideas for a research project beyond the conference in March that involves studying the digital composing practices of students, so I can begin some of the reading that I made note of last night while prepping for my grad class.  Also on the horizon:  the thought of running a writing workshop at my old job, and who knows where that might lead in terms of my own writing life.  For now, I am just glad that I’ve prioritized writing in my life.

So now…here we are two days from the first of February, and I’ve finally completed my month of January post.

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