December – Last month of the Year

It was a kind of hectic morning as usual but nothing out of the ordinary.

Today, I felt more focused on the tasks at hand more than I normally do.

After a few phone calls and going through bills, I stopped to look at some social media sites that I frequent.  I kept seeing these posts about December.

It wasn’t until much later that it hit me, this the last month of the year and next month we start a brand new year, 30 more days until 2018 begins.

So much has happened over the last year and so many changes to my family.

The most important being that we survived the first year after the death of my children’s father.  We had a few bumps and bruises along the way but it was okay.  We still love each other, still working on the communication and there has been a lot of growing up done.  I’m some grateful to the understanding people who came in and out of our life this past year.  They made the transition easier for not only my children but myself as well.

I had a moment when I fell from the progress I had been making the past 2 years but truly believe that it became the turning point I needed.  The pivot point in life that helped convey the realization that ending the life I have is not the answer to the way I felt.  It became the freeing moment my mind needed to start mending.  It jarred the perception I had of myself.  The depression and anxiety are still my constant companion but the automatic thoughts when I start spiraling down are no longer as loud as they once were. They have been quieted down and replaced with positive responses. Also, methods of analyzing what is causing the thoughts, tearing it down and rebuilding them.  I feel so much better mentally than before and more hopeful about my future.  That was tremendous progress for me.

So as I sat there today thinking back on these things, I realized that the only way for me to continue my progress was to go back to how I used to do things.

When I decided to change my life path in November of 2013, I also stopped all of these processes that kept me moving forward.  I had essentially given up. I stopped using calendars, alarm clocks, phone alarms, and watches.  I stopped making checklists and plans of things to be done.

I have been so lost and disorganized without them.

Time management

I need to go back to how I used to track and manage my time.

Calendars

Creating calendars either electronic or paper is how I would determine how much time I had during the week to devote to the activities that were important whether for myself or my family.  Breaking it down into workable segments but also leaving it flexible enough to change if needed.  I used to keep it in a binder so it basically was a big planner.  Debating if I want to do that again or just go completely electronic.

Alarms, Alerts, and Reminders

Setting alarms, alerts or reminders that kept me on track with appointments, project deadlines or work to be done hasn’t been used for almost 3 years.  This past year was there was no set sleep schedule, workout schedule or sticking to planned eating times.  So to make sure that all the time I have available is being utilized efficiently, I will have to go back to a set sleep, eating and work out times.  Developing good habits does so much for one’s mood and thought processes.  It also ensures that you are staying healthy both physically and mentally.

Planning

The biggest aspect of my life has been planning everything.  I would always map out what I wanted to accomplish for the next year.  I don’t normally call it resolutions because a goal doesn’t necessarily have a definitive timeline it could be ongoing and something that can be built upon.

Lists, to do’s, and Plans

The first step is determining what are the goals and the steps to get there.  This requires some sort of plan or roadmap.  A plan from step A to B to C etc.

I always accomplished this by making checklists, daily to do’s, and sometimes a visual representation of what I wanted.

A good example is something called an inspiration board.

Here is my board:

Inspiration Board

I made this so I could easily change it as I went along.  After making so many changes over the last couple of years, the inspiration board was put to the side.  It’s time to update and fill it with new ideas, goals, and aspiration.  To make new plans.

Clarifying goals and purpose

One part of the planning process is to sit down and list out everything to be accomplished.  Then breaking down the lists by the amount of time required to accomplish it.  This will help with planning out and scheduling the tasks.  The hard part is making a schedule that is flexible enough to manage because life happens and there are always unexpected events that alter the original destination.

The other part of planning is looking at how realistic is the goal?  This can apply to any goal personal or professional.

An example I’m always reminded of is when I try to lose weight.  I was previously a part of a women’s fitness group that came together to discuss our weight loss and fitness goals.  There was a younger woman there that said she wanted to lose 100 lbs.  Well, she was very short in stature and during the weigh-in, she only weighed 180 lbs.  So a 100 lb. weight loss was not a realistic goal for her and it was really based on her perception of her own self.  So her goal was adjusted to a more reasonable 30 to 40 lb. weight loss. So I know from experience that I can easily lose 20 to 25 lbs. but anything past that is always a struggle.  That a 2 lb. a week weight loss is reasonable and doable.  I also know that it will take both exercise and dietary changes to reach these goals.  The only factor that I still have to work on is motivation and maintaining it.

There are many books, websites, apps and other information out there that state once you continuously work on something for at least 30 days or more it becomes a habit.  This is somewhat true for me, I have done this before, working out and watching my diet for 90 days or more only to fall off the wagon. The motivation just dies off and it takes me a while to get back to it again.  It most likely is due to the depression so that is something I have to continuously work on.

Organization

Nothing stops motivation easier than struggling through a process or a task if you don’t have the right tools readily available.

Take Inventory

The very first thing to begin the planning and goal making process is organization.

Taking stock of what you have on hand and determining if anything else is needed to accomplish the goal.

Dedicating a specific place within your household that is solely for the purpose of working on these goals is important.  Such as desk, the dining table or even a comfy chair to sit in.  It can also be a place outside of the home such as a library, a park or your favorite coffee place.

I have developed the terrible habit of just throwing things on my desk because I get in a hurry and not going back later to put things away properly.  This is another thing to overcome and a bad habit that needs to be broken.  I have gotten better at throwing away the junk mail and flyers but working on a better filing system for the important documents and papers is next.

Work Desk

Speaking of papers and documents there are a couple of good sites that have recommendations of things that should be kept, for how long, and ideas on how to organize important papers.

https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/organizing-your-important-documents

http://organizedhome.com/time-money/paper-chase-abc-household-paper-management

Home or Office Organizing systems

I have always been a big proponent of office organizing systems such as filing cabinets, binders, labeling systems, and storage items.

Now, with that being said, anything can be used to organize your tools and supplies.  It does have to be an expensive system when starting out.  It is also going to depend on the work space you currently have and how much space is available.  Re-purposing items to use in home organization is a great way to avoid adding to costs and a good way to keep it from going to the landfill.

I also have found a good way to cut costs on these items is by going to a second-hand store, thrift stores or estate sales to find unique items for organizing that doesn’t cost very much.  Once again the re-purposing of items.

Motivation and Positive Thinking

To conclude this topic the most important thing when setting out to accomplish a goal, dream, or aspiration is to not give up.

Change takes time and setting a clear goal also takes time.

It’s looking at yourself and deciding what do you really want to accomplish?  Then determining is it possible?

We all have some sort of limitations to overcome; time, money, physical or mental.

Some accomplish their goals quickly while others continuously work on them their whole lives.

Goals and dreams are not always clear-cut and easy.  Some require constant change over time.

Other goals will never be realized and that’s okay too.  We sometimes have to step back from things that were not meant for us and move on.

So as you go into the New Year remember to take time to evaluate these goals, aspirations, and dreams.

You may find out that some things are no longer important to you or they need to be revised.

You may also find there are new things that have peaked your interest and make the New Year an exciting time for a change.

Thank you for stopping by.

Have an awesome week!

May peace, love, happiness and good vibes always find you!

Suzanne

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