July Project Updates

writingMonthly 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.

How ironic for me to successfully complete a daily blogging challenge only to fail a monthly blogging challenge the very next day!  Regardless, I am posting my customary beginning of the month post on the fifth of the month.  It is what it is…

I’m entering this month with much more positive energy than I had at the start of last month, in part because the daily blogging challenge was so much fun!  I feel like I shared a lot more of my life than I usually do, and made many wonderful connections with other bloggers.  I also think many of my June posts were less polished than normal—the need to finish *something* trumped the need to make every word perfect.  I have to admit that while I’m relieved that not having to post every day will guarantee me an earlier bed time, I’ve missed this project even in the few short days since it ended.

Still, everything comes at a cost, and taking time to blog daily definitely took time away from other tasks.  This month, in addition to my 2017 goals, I’m choosing to focus on my new job, celebrating my one-year anniversary with M, and getting back to a normal grown-up bed time!

In the meantime, here’s a look at the progress I made toward my long-term goals:

1. Cleaning and Downsizing

You might have to sit down before you read this:  I actually made progress this month!  Yes, it was aided in part by a horrifying moth infestation in my pantry, but I’ve finally gotten around to sorting through the kitchenware, getting rid of old pots and pans, and investing in a decent set of *tightly sealed* containers to store goods such as flour and sugar.  (M and I may have also gotten rid of a few pantry items whose expiry dates predated the beginning of our relationship…)

2. Nurture my Marriage

June was a really good month for me and M.  The chess challenge began, and has been a lot of fun.  Also, since the weather has gotten warmer, we’ve been going on more walks.  M cheered me on through my self-imposed goal of posting daily in June, and I’ve been cheering him on as his soccer team dominates division two.  As the first anniversary of our secret, private wedding approaches, I feel so lucky to have him as my partner.  We had many ups and downs over the course of this chaotic year, but he’s still my favorite person in the world!

3. Career

I’ve started taking on more responsibilities at work, and it feels good to develop so many new skills and become a more valuable member of the team.  I learn something new every day, and while it’s sometimes stressful, being thrown into new situations with minimal training has forced me to be a resourceful problem solver.  I still have a lot to learn about my new field, and building up my foundation is something I want to focus on much more this month.  (Specifically, I have two career-related books that I’m hoping to finish this month.)

4. Live According to My Values

Mini-goals:

  • Attend a town meeting or political event, or contact a government representative about an important issue (Done)
  • Volunteer for a cause I care about, or donate money to support an important cause (I donated again… just now… and signed up for a local volunteer organization!)
  • Take on a new green initiative.  (For June: I started composting (enlisting my parents’ yard in the suburbs, due to my own lack of yard) and started testing out “environmentally friendly” cleaners in my home.)
  • Spend time learning about a social, political, or environmental issue (No in-depth reading this month, just keeping up with current events)

For next month, I want to start biking when running local errands.  (Step one, fixing up the abandoned bike I recently inherited from a neighbor who was moving away!)

5. Make Time for Friends (and Family)

Having a birthday is a great excuse for bringing people together!  Unfortunately, I often fail to make plans with the people I want to spend time with just because it’s so easy to get caught up doing other things day to day.  I’m lucky that M is much better at planning get-togethers than I am—it keeps my homebody instincts from turning me into a hermit!—but the down-side is that I now spend much more time with his friends than with my own.

I’m convinced that this is just a matter of bad habit, but it’s gone on long enough that I probably have to take drastic measures to change it.  This month, I’m going to try setting a weekly time to focus on making plans so I can make more time for my friends.

6. Keep Writing!

While I won’t be posting daily during July, I’m going to try to post at least once or twice each week.  I want to spend more of my writing time focusing on producing longer, better developed blog posts—and possibly getting back into writing fiction.  (Remember that huge writing project I abandoned back in February?  I think a large part of my disillusionment with it was that I convinced myself I wouldn’t have time for it once I started working again.  I feel like I proved that wrong by forcing myself to write daily for a month, and while I’m not yet ready to dive into another big project, I feel more confident that I could.)

At the beginning of last month, I felt like I needed a jolt to get me out of a rut.  At the beginning of this one, I feel like I’m more energized and motivated than before—but need to course-correct a bit to stay on track with my goals.  (I’m actually considering just printing out a list and hanging it somewhere I’ll see it daily… I’m sick of coming to the end of a month and realizing just how many things I let slip through the cracks!)

That’s it for me–how was your month?  What projects are you working on, and how do you keep track of your goals?

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