Monthly Project Updates are a series I began to hold myself accountable for finishing the many projects I start, and to document the ups and downs I encounter along the way.
“SMART goals” are all the rage these days (goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) but I’m more into DUMB goals—Daunting, Undefined, Meandering, and Barely-memorable! I honestly did a double-take when I looked at the goals I set back in January… did I really sign myself up for this?
Part of the disconnect is that when I set these goals I was trying to keep a measure of continuity with the goals I had when I started this blog (they seemed like a good idea at the time!) but I was living on the other side of the world and literally couldn’t work on some of them for several months. Another factor is just how quickly things have shifted in the past month. I wasn’t expecting things to change so quickly, but that’s life—unpredictable!
Anyway, this is what I promised I would do, emboldened by the start of a new year.,, and a quick assessment of how I did.
1. Cleaning and Downsizing
Um… I forgot about this goal entirely. I’ve been busy? I’ve also been dirtier and more cluttered since the beginning of the year, so I’ll try to do better next month!
2. Nurture my Marriage
*Exhales deeply* I haven’t been the best wife lately. My new work schedule means I have less free time than I’ve been used to, but that’s new excuse. I’m an introvert, and I tend to withdraw when I’m stressed. This has caused problems in the past, and even though I’m not sure it’s something I can change, it is something I can comm
unicate about better. I can let M know that I need time to myself and that it has nothing to do with him. I need to do this so I can be fully present during the time we spend together.
Another issue that continues to come up… politics. It’s an unavoidable topic these days, but M and I can’t seem to talk about politics without things becoming heated. Usually, we’ll just avoid the topic, but I hate that it’s come to such an extreme solution. I just don’t know what else to do.
3. Find a New, Non-Teaching Job
Mission accomplished!!! I can now replace this goal with a new one, geared toward mastering my new job and working toward my first promotion!
4. Live According to My Values
Ummm… what? It’s not a bad goal to have, but it’s pretty vague. I meant this in the sense of being more politically active, doing volunteer work, and getting better at doing the small things like recycling and buying local produce… but how can I possibly know if I’m making progress?
For this goal, I am actually going to break it down and try to be “SMARTer” about it. (See what I did there?) I’m going to set specific goals for each month that focus on activism, community involvement, or environmentalism.
Each month I will try to:
- Attend a town meeting or political event, or contact a government representative about an important issue
- Volunteer for a cause I care about, or donate money to support an important cause
- Take on a new green initiative. (For May, it will be recycling every time and beginning to compost)
- Spend time learning about a social, political, or environmental issue
5. Make Time for Friends (and Family)
I’ve actually done pretty well this month. (It definitely helps being back in a place where I know more than two people!) It’s been wonderful reconnecting with friends I haven’t seen in a long time, but I have a feeling that this goal will be much harder this month since I’ll be busier!
I added “and family” to this goal, because the older I get, the more I value my family ties. For the first time in 12 years, my older sister and I are living in the same state, so we’ve been making an effort to spend time together. I’ve also been spending more time with my in-laws, and growing to love them more and more the better I get to know them. After being away for so long, it’s wonderful to be close to family again!
6. Finish Writing My Book
Ugh. It feels like ages since I’ve even thought about that project! Mentally and emotionally, I don’t feel like I’m in the right place to dive back into that particular story. I’d rather move forward and work on something else. I am changing this goal to: keep writing! Vague, maybe, but sometimes creativity is best without structure. At least it’s a measurable goal—at the end of each month, either I wrote something, or I didn’t. And until I find another project to latch onto, that’s good enough for me!
So, that’s it! Another month, another set of slightly revised goals. I hope you enjoyed reading, and (if you’ve made it this far) I hope you’ll leave a comment and tell me about a project or goal you’re working on this month! (Or, if you have any tips for composting… that would be very helpful!)