What's on my agenda for this week? Bookwork, bookwork and more bookwork. Because, as I'm sure I've written before, my tasks are prioritized by deadline, and we've got an appointment with our Farm Business Management instructor for early next month.
I've often said that I go from the most wonderful time of the year - the holidays - right into the most dreaded time of the year - year-end bookkeeping and tax preparation. But, even if I find putting the numbers together to be a little tedious, I enjoy looking back at how the year went and using that information to set goals for the year ahead.
Last week, I did that with my personal life, too. I took a look back at the goals I set for 2014 and set new ones for 2015. My personal goals for this year are to read more, to exercise more consistently and to spend more quality time with Dan, Monika, and Daphne.
But, as one my good friends recently said, "A goal without a plan is just a wish."
So, I have plans in place for meeting my goals.
My goal to read more is a continued resolution from last year. I set a goal of reading one book each month - and didn't quite make it. My goal went unmet for a couple reasons. First, I had trouble remembering to order the books I wanted from the public library and even more trouble remembering to pick them up. Second, I put restrictions on myself. As in, I couldn't start reading this month's book until tasks X, Y and Z were done. The other reason has to do with sleep: I have a hard time reading just one or two chapters at a time, so then I find myself staying up late so I can read just one more chapter. Instead of rationing both the chapters and my sleep like a normal person, I put off starting a book until I think I'll have big blocks of time to read. Well, those big blocks of time never happen anymore.
My plan for this year is to read two chapters a day - and only two chapters. It's definitely been an exercise in self-restraint so far, but I think it's a good exercise. At first, I told myself that I shouldn't start my book until the bookwork was all finished, but I decided that line of thinking needs to disappear. That's how the two-chapters-a-day limit evolved. I also have the next three months' books already waiting in the office, so I don't have to mess around with remembering to stop at the library.
Exercising more consistently is sort of an ongoing goal, as well. I tend to be a fair weather, as-time-allows exerciser. And I get stuck in the thinking that if I don't have time for a perfect workout, then I don't have time to exercise at all.
But I see real benefits when I exercise daily - it helps me cope with stress and feel like I'm doing something to take care of myself. A while back, everyone was in the basement with me while I was on the elliptical machine and Dan asked, "Mom, why do you exercise?" Before I could answer, Glen said, "So she doesn't eat her young." Apparently, it's obvious to others, too, that when I exercise regularly I have more patience.
So, I made my exercise goal for 2015 more precise and more reasonable: one 7-Minute Workout daily. The 7-Minute Workout is a 12-exercise interval routine that my chiropractor recommended to me last summer. I love the exercises and I love that I can be done in less than 10 minutes, from the time I start lacing up my sneakers to the time I take them off. If I have a little more time, I do two sets of the routine or hop on the elliptical for a couple minutes. I plan to walk with the kids again when it warms up, too.
My plan to meet my exercise goal also includes moral support. My sisters are doing this daily workout challenge with me. We send each other a message when we're done for the day and give each other virtual high-fives.
My last goal - more quality time with the kids - is both the most important and the simplest to attain. Once again looking past the all-or-nothing thinking, I found an easy, but effective, way to reach my goal: a daily snuggle. When Daphne wakes up in the morning, I rock her in the rocking chair for five or 10 minutes and focus only on her (instead of what I should be getting done).
When Dan and Monika go to bed at night, I lay down with them for 10 minutes. I used to get upset with Dan and Monika's continued requests for me to lay with them. Now, instead of getting irritated, I'm trying to embrace the opportunity. It won't be long before asking your mom to lay down with you will seem like a foreign concept to them.
On the nights when Glen is still in the barn at bedtime, I put Milo & Otis (the world's greatest movie for farm toddlers) on in the living room for Daphne to watch, so I can cuddle with Dan and Monika.
So far, this little moment of quiet time together has helped bedtime go more smoothly and helped me feel like a more loving mom. And, it's a way to give each child a bit of my undivided attention.
All of these goals were chosen to help me be a better person. But I hope they're also setting a good example for Dan, Monika and Daphne. Both that it is important to set goals, make plans and stick to them. And also that reading, exercise and quality family time are important parts of a balanced life.