Hello, June! When did you get here? How many of you looked at your calendar today and thought:
Oh crap…June is already halfway over!
I certainly did. As you can see from my lack of posts lately, May got the best of me. Between moving my husband in, getting through the end of the semester and finals, and preparing to venture out-of-the-country for a major conference, I got lost. But as Lara says:
There’s nothing magical about January 1st!
So I decided to practice grace, not perfection, and chalk May up to a recovery period. So today, I’ll reflect a bit on the progress I made on my April goals, talk about some new things coming my way, and explain why my June goals aren’t perfect. But I did do something that I didn’t add to my June list and I’m super proud! Even if I don’t think they’re getting enough sun (and I may need to replace them soon).
Monthly Goals Met
Actually, the only monthly goals I met from April was to put some money into savings and mail out cards. I fell behind on my blog posts. Researching the JITP took a back seat in favor of new publication opportunities. My grant application is still in-progress. And home repairs will have to wait until Kyle has more time to help. [Or I can try to bribe some friends!]
Weekly Goals Met
Here, I was slightly more successful. I did attend writing group as I could. I took a couple of social-media free weekends. And I did get back into yoga (although not quite 3x a week). But I didn’t live up to my goal of calling people often. The French lessons also took a back seat (but are a major part of my June goals!).
Daily Goals Met
Although I didn’t do very well with the water goal, I managed to meet every other daily goal almost every. single. day. And it made me feel much better about not making progress elsewhere. Little-by-little. It adds up.
Positive Reflections: April and May
Kyle and I celebrated 6 years of marriage (and we got to celebrate it together for only like the 2nd or 3rd time)! We toured the monuments of D.C. one weekend. We had a wonderful dinner. And he got me my long awaited Coach bag!
Many cool field trips with my Public History students!
I got to go to Tobago for the first time for a conference. I made some great new friends there and won a travel award. And I might be getting a publication out of it!
I got to see Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness in Philly!
For the PowerSheets that I use, June is a 3-month refresh month. This gives me a chance to reflect upon my yearly goals to see the progress I’ve made. It also gives me a chance to set new goals or re-define my current goals.
I want the next three months to be filled with joy and exploration. This summer is going to be about learning, living purposefully, loving, and thriving.
My goals from the year are still relatively the same. I have made a few adjustments to accomodate the progress and changes over the last 3 months. Kyle and I joined a gym. I’ve made conscious food decisions for a healthier lifestyle. And all of my goals seem to be progressing, little-by-little. June is going to be a big month of planning and achieving!
I am most excited about planning a vacation for July! It will be my first, proper vacation!
Preparing for June
June is all about mindfulness. The month may be halfway over, but it’s not too late for me to be more mindful. I’ve removed the Facebook app from my phone to limit my time on the application. I wasn’t nearly as mindful in setting my goals for June, but I have the opportunity to work on that for July & August!
June Goals: Letting Go
The “Let it Go” page of my PowerSheets is always one of my favorite things. I had a lot of issues with my Bipolar II depression this month. Reading through Cheyenne’s post reflecting on her 10 years of marriage really resonated with me. Not because my marriage is in trouble (thankfully), but because I worry about reaching that point. Her vulnerability and honesty is endearing. With my Bipolar II depression, I think I put a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself and, inadvertently, on Kyle. I always worry about everything. Most of it is not only out of my control, but nothing I should be worrying about. Recently, I’ve struggled a lot with imposter syndrome, feeling insecure about my appearance, and feeling like a failure.
June Goals: 2017
These goals aren’t perfect. Not all of them move me closer to the larger goals I’ve set. Some of them are too vague. But it’s a starting point. And each day I can make new choices.
Submit proposal to LSU Press: I was approached last month by an acquisitions editor interested in seeing my dissertation transformed into a monograph. I’m mostly done with this goal, actually, aside from revising 2 sample chapters to include with the full proposal.
Can you believe it’s March already!? It seems like just yesterday I was ringing in the new year and planning my yearly goals. When I reflect on the last couple of months, I’m not nearly where I’d hoped I’d be. But I’ve made progress and I think that’s really the important point. Last year I bought Lara Casey’s PowerSheets, hoping that the sheets would help me more clearly define my goals and organize myself. Let’s just say….I wasn’t very good at completing them last year. This w as not the fault of the PowerSheets or of Lara’s message. I just wasn’t ready.
But I entered 2017 with renewed hope and motivation, excited to use the newly streamlined version of the PowerSheets. I bought the 12 month dated version again in the hopes that it would prevent me from skipping sections. If I bought the undated, I worried I’d tell myself “Oh, just come back to it later.” Confession: I almost never “come back to it later.” I am the worst about multitasking, procrastinating, and down right forgetting. So I thought that as I share my goals each month (lets hold each other accountable, y’all!), I’d share my PowerSheets pages as well.
So you’ll see that I was really successful with some goals and totally bombed others. But as Emily Ley says: Grace, not perfection. I just got back into blogging this year thanks to my friend and colleague, Sam, who runs the British Naval History website. And doing so encouraged me to make better use of my personal website. I’ve long admired the blogs of Lara, Emily, Cheyenne Schultz, and the Cultivate What Matters team. They’re truly inspiring in their own ways. So I’m hoping my blog can be an inspiration to someone. And that it will help me achieve my personal, professional, and academic goals in new ways. I was thrilled when I marked that off my “monthly goals” last month, especially since I only made minor progress on my other monthly goals.
Rather than reflect on how badly I did with some of my goals, you’ll see I simply shifted many of them to this month. In particular:
creating a daily schedule
researching/writing each week
working on my French lessons each week
drinking more water
Positive Reflections on February
A lot of fun and exciting things happened in February. All too often, I bury the positives under the “daily drudgery” and forget to be thankful for those moments. So here are just a few of the highlights from February:
had an unexpected visit from Kyle (along with some pretty positive news that we’ll hopefully be able to share soon!)
attended the opening night premier of The Nether put on by my university’s Theater and Media Performance department with my friend Amanda
had a belated “Galentine’s Day” celebration with Amanda, Kerry, Lily, and Zina
got to give a (well-received) Tedx talk at the university
a couple of colleagues and I took several of our Public History students on a trip to Oregon Ridge Nature Center for a maple syrup/sugar event
I’m really happy that the Cultivate What Matters team moved the”Spring Refresh” between February & March this year instead of placing it between March & April. Yes, I know that Spring doesn’t technically start until March 20th this year. So it might seem odd to do the Spring Refresh at the beginning of March, but it was actually much needed for me. I love the idea of different types of “clutter” in our lives. Categorizing things in this way is helping me to make purposeful decisions about what to “clear out” of my life. In particular, I’ve found I’ve spent way too much time on social media. Part of that has to do with the fact that my loved ones are all quite far, physically, from me. So social media makes it much easier to stay in touch. But between the “highlight reel” of peoples lives (especially baby announcements and academic progress) and today’s political climate, I’m overwhelmed. One goal for Spring, then, is to limit my time during the week. And to try for “Social Media Free” weekends. You’ll see further below that I’ve tried to add that to my “Monthly Goals” for March.
Yes and No for Goal Reaching
My FMEC (Faculty Mentoring and Evaluation Committee) has encouraged me to learn to say “no” to things that are not going to move me forward in reaching my goals. As Lara Casey often says, “Remember: saying NO to one thing means you are saying YES to something potentially better.” I’ve found, in my second year of full-time teaching, that I’ve said “yes” to far too many commitments. I’m on 5 (maybe 6?) university committees. I’ve joined 2 writing groups (one meets monthly, one meets weekly). I teach 4 classes a semester. I’m editing an article for someone. I’ve aimed to attend yoga at least 3 times a week. Any time I’m invited to something (university event, field trips, etc), I almost always say yes. And don’t get me wrong, I love being so involved and feeling like such an integral part of my university.
But I’m finding that maybe I’ve stretched myself too thin. I was inspired by Lara’s reflection:
What does “having it together” mean anyway? Define the lie and the truth. The lie: I have to have the perfect plan and perfect results or I’m a failure. False. The truth: To me, having it “together” means I don’t have to do it all.
For too long I’ve thought that not only do I have to “do it all,” but that I have to do it well. And the truth is: I can’t. So my focus word for the next three months is FAITH. Faith that I can so no to things that drain me. Faith that I can say yes to things that motivate me. And faith that I can let go of my self-doubt, excuses, and worry. I want to fill the next three months with love & learning, purpose, rest & rejuvenation, and most importantly: friends & family.
What’s Ahead for the Month of March
One of the things that I’m considering next year is buying 2 sets of PowerSheets: one for personal goals and one for work/academic goals. Because I noticed in each section of the PowerSheets prep, I was struggling to narrow things down in a meaningful way. But for now, you’ll see the two sets of goals are intertwined. I chose Self-Care as my word for the month of March because my word for 2017 is Balance. And I think self-care is an important component of seeking and finding balance in our lives. I have a lot of things on my calendar for this month, but I kept my PowerSheets list pretty short. All of my to-dos are already spread across my Google Calendar, my physical day-planner, and my large office wall calendar. Maybe that’s another thing for next year: a single-calendar system.
Yeah….ignore the fact that I tried to make Spring Break a week later than it actually is. But of all the things I have coming up this month, it is the one thing I think I’m the most excited about. Even if I will be grading midterm exams during that time. I’ve loved using the Cultivate What Matters sticker book to help make everything seem more fun. If anyone wants to send stickers my way, I’m happy to take them off your hands! But it’s become increasingly clearer that I need to focus on organization and clarity in the coming months. I think it will make achieving my goals in March much easier (hopefully) and will make me feel more productive.
March 2017 Goals
Drum roll please…..
Here are my March 2017 Goals. You’ll see that many of them are carried over from February, but that’s ok. My daily goals, in particular, are goals that I aim to make habits. So they’ll likely be part of my daily goals every month.
Create a daily “schedule”: I hope that this will prevent me from spending too much time on certain tasks and not enough on others. And hopefully it will help me more easily meet my weekly goals.
Add $$$ to our savings account: One of my goals for 2017 was to learn to manage our finances better. Another goal for 2017 was to go on at least 1 vacation with Kyle. By paying attention to saving money, it will force me to think more critically about my spending.
Write one grant application: Here’s a confession for you: I am awful at writing grant applications. I routinely ask for less money than I need. I feel completely incapable of “selling myself” to the funding agencies. Why is my work worthy? And why should they give me money over someone else?
Be kinder to myself: I am notoriously hard on myself. I never feel like I’m enough (smart enough, productive enough, fit enough, available enough…enough, enough, enough). So this month I want to work on finding ways to be kinder to myself.
Blog posts: Well look at that? I’m already part way through this goal for the month! I’ve set a goal to blog on my personal page once or twice a month. This is an addition to completing my blog posts for the British Naval History website. If you guys have ideas about what you want to read about (for either site), let me know! I’m happy for suggestions!
Taxes $$$: I have always hated doing our taxes. Last year, Kyle took on the responsibility of filing and he’s much better at it than I am. But I can’t let that stop me from being involved. So I’m going to be helping Kyle with the taxes this year.
Exercise (at least) 3x a week: I want to continue doing yoga at least 3 times a week (if not more). But I’m adding to the goal this time by adding at least 1-2 days of strength training into the mix. I’ve never really put my health at the top of my priority list. And that has to change. I want to be healthy for myself. I want to be healthy for my family. If I’m not healthy then I will not meet most of the goals I’ve set for myself. Baby steps. I’m a work-in-progress.
French Lessons (1 hour per week): I didn’t even touch this goal last month. So this month I intend to set aside 1 hour each week (whether that’s broken up into short increments or all at once). And from there, I can increase the amount of time I spend as needed. I think creating that “daily schedule” will help in achieving this goal.
Research/write (1 hour per week): Last month I had the goal of setting aside 2-3 hours per week for my research/writing related to my academic work. I think I was a bit overly ambitious.
Attend Writing Group: I placed this under “weekly” goals because I ended up having a lot of excuses last month. No more. This goal is directly attached to my research/writing goal. 2 birds, 1 stone.
Take my vitamins: I’ve found taking my daily vitamins also helps me to remember to take my heart medication and to brush/floss/rinse. Win-Win.
Drink 64+ oz. water: I am the worst about drinking enough water. Although I limit my coffee intake, it often means not drinking anything else during the day.
In bed by 10pm: Establishing a defined sleep routine will hopefully help prevent me from feeling tired all. the. time.
No frivolous spending $$$: Step one towards reducing debt and increasing savings.
Be active (defined by my Fitbit) for 6 of 11 hours: Having a fairly “sedentary” job leads me to large periods of inactivity. Being more active will hopefully make exercising weekly easier.
Leave a “dish-free” sink each night: I think I might have read about this in Emily Ley’s book, Grace Not Perfection, but I honestly can’t remember. But it’s something that I’ve found makes my morning routines easier. Instead of having to wash my coffee-making accoutrements before making coffee, everything is ready to go first thing in the morning.
These are just some of the things I have planned for the coming month. Some things are ongoing: like working on a Lowcountry Digital History Initiative project with some of our students. And building a digital humanities collaboration between our department and the English department alongside my friend Amanda. But I’m motivated and ready to make progress on my goals. I have to constantly remind myself: progress over perfection.
What are you goals for the month? For spring? For 2017!?
Wow, where has the time gone!? Obviously, I’ve let everything (reading, editing, writing, work, etc) get in the way of maintaining this blog and website. I admit it: I’m a bad blogger. But rather than virtually flog myself for this shortcoming, I’m going to just jump back on the proverbial bicycle and start 2015 with renewed vigor. Here are my goals for February!
–Try not to let job rejections get me down. Yesterday I received three new rejections, each stating something along the lines of how I was “a competitive candidate” but that they chose to go with someone “better suited” to the position. My friends and colleagues have reminded me not to take it as a personal attack on my experience or abilities, but to see it as the Universe telling me that that was not the right job for me. I hope they’re right. And maybe I’ll be able to enter the academic market in the Fall.
–Continue to apply to any and all jobs matching my skills, interests, and abilities. I can’t let the rejections stop me from applying. And I need to learn to market my education and experiences in a way that show that while I’ve been in school non-stop, it doesn’t mean I don’t have applicable experience. This may require a serious CV/Resume overhaul and I desperately need to seek professional help.
–Try to get one of my dissertation chapters published. I’m nearly done with the suggested edits to one of my chapters and I need to try to get that submitted somewhere ASAP. The worst they can do? Reject me. I have nothing to lose.
–Finish the edits to the three completed chapters. In this way, I’ll be all set to write the last two chapters, as well as an intro/conclusion, and be able to submit the entire manuscript to my advisor for the full edit. I strongly believe that if I can just keep my chin up and my motivation high, I can finish the dissertation in time for a Summer 2015 graduation. It’s ambitious, but doable. There’s honestly no reason I shouldn’t be done already. But I’ve let issues with my advisor and my own personal fear get in my way. No more. It’s time to buckle down and get it done.
–Make sure I’m keeping tabs on my students and emails. I want to make sure that this, what may be my last semester teaching a class, is the BEST semester EVER! This weekend, I need to make sure that I’ve made my video introduction and have checked on their discussion posts.
–Get the dogs caught up on their vaccinations. With moving twice in the last 6 months, my poor pups are about a month overdue for their updated Bordotella shot. Also, we need to get them their annual heartworm test and set back up on Trifexis. Now that we’re more settled, I have the time to research vet offices more thoroughly (the last couple of experiences in the area have not been great) and find them their new, sole veterinarian office.
–Date Kyle. My husband and I have been trying to save money and eat healthier, so it’s rare to find the time to go on a date that is both inexpensive and doesn’t involve a restaurant. I’m hoping to set something up, like a drive out of town to go hiking or a trip to Savannah, just the two of us. No phones, no distractions, no stress.
–Finish Make it Happen by Lara Casey. This book, and Lara’s story, is incredibly inspirational. But it forces you to face your fears, acknowledge your mistakes, and challenges you to stop chasing perfect. At times, I shy away from this difficult task, but I make it my goal to finish this book this month.
–Keep up with going to the gym. I’m paying for the gym membership, I better use it. I’ve done really well in the last couple of weeks, but this week, I really lost track. Tomorrow, I’m going to kick butt and get back into that gym. No excuses. It’s all about making a schedule and sticking to it, not letting my irrationality get in the way.
–Same goes for meal prep. Again, I was doing really well cooking up all our meals on Sunday so they were ready to go. Since I had to wait, though, this week to buy chicken on Tuesday, it threw my schedule off and I failed to meal prep this week. I’ll be going to the grocery store on Sunday and making sure I have everything ready for meal prep (including lunches) this week. I’ll also make all of Kyle’s lunches on Sunday so he doesn’t have to go out for lunch.
–Make time for phone calls. I’ve gotten better about maintaining more contact with friends and family via text/Facebook, but now it’s time to take it a step further. I need to make it a point to spend at least 15 minutes in a voice conversation with my loved ones. It doesn’t have to be every week, but it needs to be more than once a month.
Here’s hoping that I can manage everything while maintaining my sanity and a smile on my face!
Start editing the BNH Book Reviews Site–As a new member of the website BritishNavalHistory.com, my role is to re-organize and edit the Book Reviews section. Since it’s going to take a lot of work, I want to make sure I don’t bite off more than I can chew. My first steps will be to go over the plan with Sam and Justin via Skype and then get more comfortable with editing the page through WordPress.
Construct new chapter outlines–Now that I have new, solid direction for my dissertation, I need to write up a new set of chapter outlines not only for myself, but to send to my advisor so that she and I are on the same page.
Join the Twitter #writingpact–I’ve seen several colleagues using the hashtag “writing pact” to keep themselves on point. This month, I’d like to start participating in “writing pact” and get at least half of my second chapter drafted. If I’m good, I’ll get the whole chapter drafted.
Write my summer syllabus–I need to get this written up (probably just an edited version of last summer’s syllabus) and get my summer books ordered.
Get my summer class page up and running–Once I have the syllabus edited, I need to make sure that my Carmen page is up and running for the students.
Write my teaching philosophy statement–Since I’ll be entering the job market in the Fall, I think it’s high time I get my teaching philosophy out on paper. While it seems overwhelming, I’m determined to get a draft of it completed this month.
Get back to the gym–In the last couple of weeks, with lots of traveling and friends visiting, I’ve fallen off my workout routine. I’ve decided that rather than sticking to the rigid daily routine I was working on before, that I’m going to incorporate a lot more cardio activity and then stick with the weight lifting routines I can do without a buddy.
Spend more time with new friends–I only have a short time left here in Fayetteville, so I want to make sure I spend as much time with my new friends here as I can. I want to designate at least one day a week to social time (in person, not online).
Spend less time on social media sites–Aside from my duties with BritishNavalHistory and my academic work on social media, I want to spend less time checking my personal Facebook.
Have one date night a week with my husband–This is a no brainer. The further along he gets in his program (and the more work I have to do with my dissertation), the less time we get to spend together. I want to designate one night a week to a no-study/no-school date-night. Getting him on board will be the tricky part.
Finish the two novels I started–I am most of the way done with both The Scarpetta Factor and Dust by Patricia Cornwell. I need to go ahead and finish both of them!
Do you write monthly goals? If you do, I’d love to hear them!