After twelve months total of body and hormone havoc, and two months of tumultuous life events, I feel like I’m finally coming up for air.
Am I over Rory’s death? Obviously not (and for the record, that’s an offensive thought). Am I done grieving? Heck no. Are my physical, mental, and emotional wounds healed? Nope. Healing is a long process, but it’s important to understand that you can be happy, hurting, and healing all at the same time. Pain and joy can coexist in our lives. Choosing to live life after the death of someone we love does not mean that we love any less.
So as I come up for air and set my intention on healing, it’s important for me to create structure, organize everything, and set clear goals that I can actively work towards, no matter how small the goal. I need lists and tasks and to dos and reminders in order to function through the so called “grief brain”, and what better time to reset than the beginning of a month?
This December, as I continue to work through my grief, I’m also looking for opportunities to use this massive life event as a time to hit the reset button. What can I change? What isn’t working for me right now? What’s no longer serving me, and my wellness? What can I start doing to help me move towards a happier, healthier life?
Why it’s important to write out your goals
Do you ever wonder why successful people suggest you physically write down your goals? Why they stress that simply thinking about something isn’t enough? Yes, there’s something to mentally manifesting your dreams, but putting your goals into the world through words and writing does wonders.
Here are two reasons why writing down and sharing your goals actually have a pretty big impact on the likelihood that you achieve them.
- Accountability is important. Never have I bought more into a personality framework than when Gretchen Rubin rolled out her idea of The Four Tendencies. Not your standard personality framework, this “distinguishes how people tend to respond to expectations: outer expectations (a deadline, a “request” from a sweetheart) and inner expectations (write a novel in your free time, keep a New Year’s resolution). Well, according to her framework, I’m an obliger through and through. And by definition, we obligers “meet outer expectations, but struggle to meet expectations they impose on themselves.” So a goal I set for myself means nothing, unless I layer in the fear of failing someone else.
- Plus, it’s just basic science. According to the gals over at @cultivatewhatmatters, “if you simply think about a goal, you’re only using the right (imaginative) side of your brain. But, if you actually write that goal down, you’re also using your left (literal, logical) side. Then, the neural fibers (fancy!) that connect the two sides of your brain send a signal to every cell of your body saying, This is my goal, and I want to achieve it! 💪 The act of writing down your goals opens your subconscious to “seeing” opportunities that would be missed if you’re tied up with THINKING about your goals.”
How I Track Monthly Goals
Awhile back when I set out to take daily vitamins daily, as opposed to… once in a blue moon, I created a simple single printable that allowed to me track my goal daily, for twelve months. Now that I’m heading into a single month challenge, but tracking many goals, I’m whipping out my old printable that I first created when my husband and I took on a series of month long healthy challenges last September.
This type of simple printable allows me to visualize my success (and slip ups) throughout the month.
If you want to track your own goals throughout a single month, click here to download a modified version of my printable that you can use. Simply fill in the boxes along the top with a phrase that captures each of your goals, and then fill in the bubbles for each day that you successfully achieve your goal.
I find this type of goals tracker works best when you physically print it out and leave it someplace central to your day where you’re sure not to miss it. For me, that means clipping the printable into a cute clipboard and leaving it in the kitchen. You might find it more helpful to leave this in your daily planner, or on your bedside table. Whatever works!
My Goals for the New Month
Well, here’s what I’ve come up with. These are 7 seemingly simple, yet surprisingly tough to do things that I’m going to START doing this month. Things to get my life back on track, practically speaking.
1. Wake up early everyday (again)
The most productive season of my adult life occurred last fall when I trained myself to become a morning person. It was not easy, but for the first time in my entire life I was actually going to bed early, waking up early, and enjoying the early morning hours. My target wake up time is 5AM, but since I am so, so far off the tracks here, it’ll take a week or two to slowly work my way back to this wake up time.
2. Drink (more) water
I probably drank less than 10 glasses of water the entire month of November. I wish I could say that’s a joke. There was a time in my recent life where I was drinking close to 100 ounces of water a day. That time is not now. That time was not last month. Or the month before. My body demanded copious amounts of caffeine during the month we spent in the NICU with Rory, and the month after he died is a big blur of trying to stay awake and drinking coffee all day and consuming too many alcoholic drinks at night.
My body now craves water. It needs it. I am so far past feeling the physically effects of dehydration. It’s somewhat worrisome. So here goes! Another attempt to get back to drinking 8+ glasses of water a day. I will be using all of my own favorite tips and tricks to drink more water.
3. Re-start my hormonal support routine
In between my pregnancy with Gemma and Rory, I became pregnant again. It ended at 19 weeks, in September 2018. I was devastated, and determined to try to get pregnant again as soon as possible. In order to support my mind and body during this period of hormonal shifts, I implemented a daily routine using certain essential oils.
Each morning I applied Progessence Plus and Endoflex on my body, and drank 2 ounces of NingXia Red.
For a few months in between pregnancies, I felt better than ever. So good that my period each month caught me by surprise. Zero mood shifts. Zero hormonal moodiness. Zero PMS.
I’m now 2 months post partum, and truthfully we have no plans of trying to get pregnant again. The risks are far too great. The sadness I feel in regards to never having another child is beyond what I can put into words right now, but I’m looking forward to a nice long stretch of normalcy for my body. Afterall, I’ve been pregnant or postpartum basically nonstop since 2015. My body is exhausted.
4. Plan ahead and schedule daily activities with Gemma
My patience with my toddler is so very paper thin right now. I’m working hard to reset my mindset when it comes to mothering a toddler, and to recognize where parenting after loss plays a role in my irritability and short temper.
Something I’m excited to do differently in December is plan ahead and schedule in activities each day we’re home together. I just scanned all of our local libraries, play cafes, and recreation centers and added open play, classes, and story times to a Google Calendar. Next I’m going to list out fun activities around town – everything from going to our favorite children’s museum to simply visiting a cool garden center that has amazing holiday light displays – and I’m going to plot out one activity for each day we’re home.
In addition to getting out of the house together, it’s also my goal to start being more intentionally about learning activities at home. At home preschool style things. Simple breakfast invitations, sensory bins, arts and crafts, flisat table activities etc. Ideally this would be prepped and planned out as well, but I’ll save that goal for a future month.
5. Move my body (intentionally) once a week
Most people would set an exercise goal far lofty than this. You know, like exercise every day for 30 minutes, or go to the gym 4x a week. But considering I haven’t regularly exercised in… close to 10 years? I think doing something intentional once a week is a good place to start.
6. Read books (not blogs)
To me, reading books falls into the same category as drinking water, exercising, and waking up early. For yeaaaaaars these things have been on my annual lists of resolutions. And for yeeeaaaaars I’ve never been able to actually implement new routines and habits that incorporate these items into my life.
Why is it so hard to actually read a book every once in awhile?
That’s probably a sign that reading simply isn’t a high enough priority for me, but I truly get so much joy from reading. There’s a disconnect somewhere between my desire to read and my willingness to just do it. So I’m hoping to get over this hump in December.
7. Stick to my nightly skincare routine
Take off my makeup each night. With a proper cleanser and warm washcloth. Apply nighttime moisturizer. Brush and floss. Wear my retainers. Okay, that’s not all skincare related, but you get it. It’s so easy to skip over your more involved nighttime routine at the end of the day when you’re exhausted. But my skin is tired. It’s been neglected for too many months straight. And it shows. My nightly skincare routine isn’t even that complicated. At all! But too many nights lately I’ve gone to bed without properly removing makeup and washing my face.
In addition to the perks of better looking skin, I also know how much a solid bedtime routine can help with actually winding down and falling sleeping, so I’m stating my routine and sticking to it!