If I don’t set goals for myself, I just feel like I’m skating through Life.

If I don’t meet the goals I set for myself, I feel like I’ve just been skating through Life.

I thought that by making a sort of 2014 Personal Project Plan, that would get me focused. Instead, it got me overwhelmed. I did it all wrong.

I have all these ideas of things I’d love to do (or to get done — the act of doing them isn’t always what I’d love), but they’re not all urgent or important. Most of them will wait, to a degree.

So, let’s focus on things that really will not wait.

1. My son won’t be three forever (and that’s both a good and a bad thing). Anytime I can be present and in the moment for him, I should. End of story. Not playing on my phone, not working on one of my other priorities, but making memories with him. (That said, if he’s engrossed in Dora or Blue’s Clues, who’s to say I can’t bug out and take care of something else…?)

(A corollary to #1: Connect with my husband regularly, and continue monthly date nights. My relationship with my husband is just as important as my relationship with my son, if not more so. We need occasional reminders that we’re more than just Mommy and Daddy, and it’s important for us to reconnect with each other on an adult, non-parental level. That’s especially challenging when we work — and sleep — on different shifts, and only get about ten minutes together every weekday.)

2. I may not have much time to devote to house cleaning, but there is no excuse for me not to take some of those minutes while Connor is watching Dora (or that hour and a half between his bedtime and mine) and go clean up my clutter. Clutter piles up and makes everyone unhappy. Fifteen minutes a day of decluttering, throwing away catalogs and junk mail, mending one of the books in the to-be-mended stack, wiping off counters, dusting end tables, loading/unloading the dishwasher, or sweeping the kitchen floor will make everyone happier.

3. The garden isn’t going to stop growing, no matter how much I might want it to sometimes. When gardening needs done, I need to do it. Otherwise, we end up looking like we live in an abandoned house, with overgrown vines (some of which give me a rash) and weeds and general unkemptness. My goal is to get all the flowerbeds to a state of minimal maintenance by applying mulch, removing perennial weeds and vines, taking out any unruly plants, and learning what needs to be done and when (instead of waiting until the job is too huge and overwhelming).

4. My memory of these days isn’t going to stay as fresh as I might think. Especially since I’ve backed off from doing Dear Connor blogs monthly, and am instead going to do them every six months (for a while), I need to make sure these days are documented. And not necessarily blogged, although that’s part of it. Pictures need printed, notes need written, memories need saving. And not just ones about Connor — ones about my life in general, too. I blogged before Connor, and I journaled longhand before I blogged. I want to carve out time for all that. It’s not a necessity, per se, but it’s important to me.

Those are plenty of priorities, I think. As much as I might want to get back into my genealogy research, or film photography, or redesigning my professional website (which is so outdated that I really should just take it down), or editing our old vacation videos, or making one-off books out of my blog categories, other things have to take priority.

I love my family, and I want all of us to be happy, and this is a good way to start. Be present with my son and my husband, keep the inside and the outside of the house looking nice, and take some time to document the good (and not-so-good) times.


PS — Of course, my own physical and mental health are a priority, as well. I already work out or take a walk over my lunch hour at least two days a week (usually three), and making healthy meals doesn’t really take any extra time out of my day, so I think I’m good for now.

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