Dealing with Setbacks

Setbacks happen, unfortunately. And when you have a million things going on, like me, and have pretty much every minute planned out, when those setbacks happen, they can really throw your schedule out of whack.

My setback happened in the form of a whopper of a headache, combined with some tummy issues, that had me in bed pretty much all day Friday. I felt like I could not function. Thankfully my mom was able to help with the kids, and I was able to get the rest I needed. But when you’re not up for doing anything but sleep, it’s hard to get homework done or work from home. It’s also hard to run errands or keep appointments. And it’s definitely hard to actually go to work. So I called out from work and rescheduled everything else.

Saturday was better, thankfully. I was able to go to work. But I was definitely running a bit slower than usual, and it took more concentration to focus. For someone who is used to running at peak efficiency and getting things crossed off the to do list quickly, having to take breaks to sit is a bit of a downer. I decided to cancel plans I had made for Sunday so I could rest a little more and not get my friends sick.

And that brings me to today. I’m getting better but still not a hundred percent. Hopefully another low key day will help.

So why am I bringing this up? Well, I wanted to be real. Sometimes I try so hard to be superwoman that I think I can make myself come across as invincible. But setbacks do happen, and they are often out of our control. I am certainly not immune. It’s also a reminder to be flexible. I could have tried to push through it on Friday – likely with disastrous consequences. I could have tried to salvage at least part of the day and tried to do something. But I decided to give my body the rest it needed, knowing I would figure the rest out later.

And then comes the most important part: it’s easy to get wrapped up in the to do list. I know I do it often enough. It’s easy to get consumed with everything you want and need to do, to worry about everyone counting on you and all your responsibilities. But here’s the thing: without your body, you won’t be able to do anything on your to do list. You won’t be able to fulfill any responsibilities or help anyone. So sometimes, when your body is working hard to get your attention, give it what it needs. The to do list can wait. Your body won’t. So take care of it!

I know I could do a better job of this. Maybe this incident was just getting sick, but it may have also served as a bit of a wake-up call, a reminder to take better care of myself. I’ve been doing better at giving myself little downtime breaks once in a while, but maybe it’s not enough. Perhaps during my low key day I can do a little thinking on what to do about that…

Keep Going

There’s a reason that I make goals instead of resolutions on New Year’s. The reason is that with resolutions, if you slip up, you’re inclined to give up – “oh well, guess I didn’t keep it, better luck next year.” But with goals, you’re not expected to be perfect right away. Goals are something you strive for, work toward, and continue trying to reach, despite setbacks.

Overall I’ve been making great progress toward my cleaning goal (though once grad school starts tomorrow, I expect that progress to slow, unfortunately). I haven’t really made any progress in my financial goal (though I did just get another very-part-time library job, so that may help). I have been doing some serious soul-searching regarding my businesses, with some possible decisions, though I keep going back and forth. But my biggest hang-up are the goals that involve my kids.

I started right in on the daily holidays. We “celebrated” some quirky holidays, and the kids seemed interested. Then I ran into a tough day, which I didn’t know how to celebrate, and things went downhill. What I’ve learned in this process is that I was treating it too much like an item on my to do list. This was supposed to be fun, but instead I was just acting like “ok, what can we do to celebrate this day so we can say we celebrated it.” Instead, I’m going to do a bit more planning (we plan ahead for big holidays, why not the little ones?) and get the kids involved in the planning, too. This will make it less of a checklist item and more of a fun family activity.

With regards to the other kids’ goals, progress has been slow. I’ve been trying to encourage my kids to be more self-sufficient (having them get their own breakfast, for example), but there’s a long way to go. I know I’ve seen articles and such that discuss age-appropriate chores for kids, but I’m going to have to do some searching to dig them up (if anyone has any, please let me know!). I do want to give them chores, but I admit that one of my hesitations has been the current condition of our house. As that gets better, hopefully the responsibilities issue will become easier. Only time will tell.

I’m still remaining positive for the year, and I’m still confident that I am moving in the right direction. Things never go as quickly as I would like them to, but I can honestly say I can see the progress I’ve made thus far in the house, and it is encouraging. May the progress continue!

What are your goals for the year? How are they coming along?

A Year of Preparation

Happy New Year! We have a brand-spanking-new year ahead of us, full of possibilities. What will your year hold?

I have decided that this is my year to tie up loose ends and get things in motion for my year of new beginnings in 2021. This will be my year of preparation, of transition, of setting up my future. That being said, here are my goals for this year:

  1. Establish new routines and habits with my kids. This will include:
    1. Having more fun together. To this end I have started celebrating every day with my kids. I’m taking all the little national and quirky holidays and finding a way to incorporate at least one every day. So far we’ve celebrated Science Fiction Day and Cream Puff Day, Drinking Straw Day and Chocolate Covered Cherry Day, and Spaghetti Day. So far the celebrating hasn’t been very exciting, my son Avery has already started to ask what the holiday is each day, so I’ll take that as a promising step!
    2. Creating responsibility charts for each child and determining appropriate chores for each of them. My kids are capable of more than they think they are, but they have gotten into a habit of expecting me (or Nana) to do everything for them. Everything I have read has indicated that having responsibilities and chores is good for kids, so that, combined with the simple fact that I don’t want to do everything for them, is pushing me to finally set up some responsibility charts.
    3. Establishing expectations and a system of positive consequences so there’s less yelling and more good behavior. They’re kids, so I don’t expect perfection, but Avery, especially, has struggled with ongoing challenging behavior. I’m hoping the responsibilities will help, but in addition I need to figure out a way to get him motivated to behave better. Not rewards, necessarily, but a way to see positive consequences for good behavior. The plan for this goal is definitely a work in progress.
  2. Clean and organize my house! This has been on my goals list for a while now, but this year I’m making it happen. I’ve already started, and, while progress has not been quick, it has been steady. I’m planning to keep it up so my home is comfortable, livable, and enjoyable. I expect it to take a while! Hopefully by the time the year is coming to a close I can say I’ve finally checked this one off.
  3. Finish grad school. I am halfway through my coursework, and, if all goes according to plan, I will be graduating in December. At the same time, my part-time library job is giving me valuable experience, putting me in a good position to find a full-time job after graduation.
  4. Get my finances in order. I unfortunately have considerable debt, and grad school has only been adding to it. So this year my goal is to pay off as much as possible, then consolidate the rest to get it paid off in a timely manner. (My long-term goal, if I’m being very ambitious, is to be completely debt-free by the time I’m 50 – just in time for Avery to start college!)
  5. Figure out my businesses. I have decided that this year I will be making some big decisions about my businesses. It is very possible – likely, even, that I will close one or both of my businesses this year. But more on that as I do more soul-searching and determine what exactly it is I want. I’m not good at letting things go!

Like I said: lots of odds and ends to get myself and my kids in a good position for a fresh start next year. This is going to be a full, busy year, but I truly believe I am in the right mindset to make it happen.

Here’s to a great year!

What are some of your goals this year? How do you plan to reach them?