Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Setting goals that feel good.

I've been on a quest to simplify my clutter, discover new sources of motivation for this spring semester, and regroup after a long Christmas break. The last week has left me feeling a little dragged behind in my work and life lately. Lucky for me, I've been reading a lot about goal-setting in the new year (thanks, new year's resolutions!) and I've noticed a few tricks that are working for me already.

1. Setting yearly goals. 

I can't help but get inspired by goal setting queens Elsie and Emma. These two sisters are constantly posting about organizational tools, list-making and the importance of setting goals to keep you excited about future endeavors. The first tip I've incorporated back into my routine has been to carry around a notebook for everyday ideas, and creating lists on my iPhone. When I need to jot something down, I make time to do it and it helps me feel sane.

I'm also beginning to compile a list of 25 things to do before I turn 26. I'm starting a little late in the game, because my birthday was July 10th, but in honor of the half birthday I celebrated with my sister last week, I'm going to make it a priority and work to catch up. Or, maybe I'll just pick 12 and a half things to do before I turn 26, to be entirely fair. Either way, I'll be sure to post my birthday goal list as soon as it's done. (You'd better hold me to it!) :)

2. Daily "stuff" goals.

Abi's goals post introduced me to my new favorite organizer, Teux Deux! This website carries over the "stuff from yesterday" that you couldn't quite get to that day. Plus, just like tangible lists, you get to cross through list items as you move along, which is the best part about list-making, isn't it?

I've already introduced a few of my friends to the site, and it's helped me accomplish more without feeling like I'm not accomplishing enough. It also helps me look at my week all at once, so I'm able to rearrange list items into a healthier arrangement instead of the lists dragging me down. Plus it's wonderful to think one week ahead, at a glance. (You can also check out a video tutorial for the site here.) It's pretty cool. I still love jotting down notes, but now I just make sure all those little notes make it to their online home. 

3. Diet goals.

I try not to post too frequently about food restriction or limitations on this blog, because of my experiences with former clients and dear friends who deal with eating disorders. In general, I am very cautious about "diets" and becoming too focused on weight and appearance, but I do believe in managing healthy activities and patterns in order to live a life of fullness and joy. Eating meals with others is one of my favorite activities, actually.

The reason it's appearing on the blog today is because I wanted to let you into a little bit of my weight loss journey over the last 6 months. Last summer I was really struggling with my acid reflux (also known as GERD) and my specialist told me that he thought I needed to lose some weight, along with other diet and medication changes. I was really confused, because I had never thought I needed to lose weight before. However, I reflected on his advice and talked to a few close friends and family members and realized that I had been slowly gaining weight since the death of my best friend the year before. Losing someone suddenly is hard enough, so when I realized that my grieving process had resulted in a significant weight gain, I knew that I needed to make some lifestyle changes. It was hard to accept, but my life has been so much better since I decided to take control of my food choices again.

I've been doing Weight Watchers for half a year now, and I love it. It's the only system that allows me to balance a knowledge of food with real life rhythms and patterns. And it works! I haven't eliminated a single type of food or food group, I've just learned when it's a good time for me to make splurge choices each week. I thought that this post about focusing on a few small goals a day was really encouraging and I'm excited to try it out next week.

4. Relationship goals.

I have a tendency to let my anxiety negatively impact the way I treat my loved ones. This is especially true with my boyfriend, Harbor. So rather than let my anxieties dominate, I've been working really hard to practice love in new ways. This has been more simple than I would have thought. I've been taking steps back, recognizing where I was at and then was honest about my thoughts and emotions in the moment. This season I'm focusing on being thankful, cutting back on opportunities to criticize and be selfish, and replacing those with moments where I can encourage, affirm and be present in the moment. It's a season of maturity. And I think it's the stuff that encourages healthy marriages (one day).

And there you have it! Four areas I'm learning to set small, attainable goals for myself.

Since I didn't set any resolutions, it's been really nice evaluating my goal-setting at a pace that's more healthy for me and without any highly-set expectations for myself. Learning to reorganize and re-prioritize has been a good healthy season for me.

How do you stay organized, motivated and excited for things ahead? I'd love any tips and tricks that help you feel like you're keeping it all together.



  1. i absolutely love your goals. they are so healthy and i think good for anyone to think about. i know that my trick is to always go to sleep and leave the house with a clean bedroom. that way when i'm trying to fall asleep or getting back from a long day it won't be bothering me! and for relationships, i think that you are wonderful for being so considerate to harbor. xo you always gotta start with recognizing the problems!


  2. I've been using tueduex for over a year now. I love it because it's simple and always available on my iphone and syncs immediately online so while I'm working on my computer, I've got it pulled up, too. Sometimes, I drag and drop things into another day if my list gets too long, I feel overwhelmed and I see a better day to complete an item.
    There's a great little book my mom gave me in my 20's called "Simply Organized," by Emily Barnes. It's an easy read and has great organizing principles that I still use today. You probably don't believe me, though, because you've seen my closets. But if I hadn't read the book, the rest of my house would look like my closets!

  3. First off, I love love half birthdays! I haven't ever celebrated one, tear, but I've always had them for my little girl Dakota. Hers is next month! It's a nice excuse to eat a cupcake :)

    Also, I think you are extremely pretty + beautiful! I would have never guessed that you use weight watchers, you look fab! I've been trying to do it on my own with My Fitness Pal and it seems to be working....I feel like I should loose a few extra pounds before I get married, but I also want to train myself to quit eating crap and fill my body with good things.

    Also also, your number four goal really resonates with me. I've been in a relationship with my now fiancee for over 3 years and no matter how close we are or were or have become, I find that I let my own anxieties put up a wall between us when in all actuality I should be talking to him about these things, not shutting him out.

    Your goals are encouraging! Sorry for the novel

  4. I am such a list person! That organizer looks amazing!

    1. It's revolutionized my week. Glad you find it helpful! :)