Today marks the official start of my journey to the life I want. Sounds like more of the same, but I really want it to stick this time. I have big goals – physically, spiritually, financially, and relationally. But I also have small goals too.
I have read 80 books in the past 17 months – many of them were fiction, but there were quite a few on religion, self-improvement, and travel. I have read at least 5 books about thru-hikers and camping. My literary adventures have reignited a passion for people, life, and nature but I need to actually make the changes I want so that I can live life to the full every day.
I am 36 years old. I will be forty in 47 months. Yikes. I need to have a plan and goals. Not pie-in-the-sky dreams, instead, realistic objectives. By the time I am 40 I plan to…
- Have Dayton graduated and moved out on his own
- Mortgage balance be a 5 digit number
- Pay off a good chunk of my student loans
- No unsecured debt besides student loans
- Weigh the amount on my driver’s license
- Visit Yellowstone, Glacier, and the ocean
- Career plan – I want to retire someday – doing what?
- Start a savings plan for our “empty nest”
The question is, how do I get there? What actions do I take now?
Step # 1 – Self-control and Discipline
I don’t actually do anything that I want to do – I don’t follow through on things – I repeatedly make poor choices – particularly related to food and finances – and I need to take responsibility for them.
I need to eat healthier all the time. Most of the time I am pretty good – but the days I have a second helping when I am no longer hungry need to stop. I need to stop eating popcorn every week! I need to eat more vegetables. Maybe I will give up beer and wine… who am I kidding. But I can choose not to make poor food choices when I do drink.
Physical activity – needs to increase. I am much more active than I was a few years ago, now it is time to take it to the next level. It is summer – I MUST start walking regularly. The new ymca opened and it is great. I want to be a hiker – but haven’t been hiking since last summer. Either I need to start doing it, or I need to hang it up as a goal.
I need to actually lose weight – eating right and exercise isn’t everything. If I lose 20 pounds a year I will be close to where I want to be. I can do better than that. I can lose way more than that, but realistically I won’t. Last summer I lose 15 pounds and gained it back, and then some, over the winter. I want to lose 30 pounds before the holiday season and then start losing again after the new year. If I can’t create room to live while I lose weight I won’t keep it off! I need to follow through.
I need to create an actual budget and stick to it. I need to make the kids take ownership of their part in the family as well. I need to say “NO” when I know it isn’t a wise financial decision. I need to be a better leader in my family. We need to stop being wasteful. We need to sell the things we no longer use rather than always giving them away. In addition to all the little things we have to pay for, we need a new roof and Adrianna needs braces. We need to start saving.
I have been ignoring my faith and God lately. I have allowed myself to be distracted and lazy. I am not reading my bible, not doing devotions, not praying, not going to church. Instead of feeling guilty for not doing those things, I need to just start doing them again. It is an easy “fix” but one I actually have to take steps to do. My relationship with God is distant at the moment and I only have myself to blame. I need to actually follow through with making time for God in my life.
Step # 2 – Self-Care
I need to keep taking care of myself. In April I began what I hope is a lifelong habit of “self-care”. Spend the money occasionally for a pedicure or a massage. Don’t feel guilty every time I buy myself a piece of clothing. Take the time to pluck my eyebrows. Take an Epsom salt bath if I need one. Go to the chiropractor regularly. Go to bed early if I need to. Go to my annual physical. Sleep in if I need to. Have someone else cook dinner. No one else is going to take care of me.
Step # 3 – Outline Clear Expectations for the Kids
At twelve and fifteen I feel that our kids are irresponsible and lazy. Of course not all the time. Adrianna can certainly be responsible and helpful. But neither of them regularly contributes to the family. Adrianna has started doing her own laundry, which is great, but it is the only thing she does. Dayton doesn’t do anything. I have enabled them in their laziness because it is “easier” in the short run for me to do things myself. By lowering my expectations I am increasing my stress level (and Lonny’s) and preventing them from learning the skills that they need to have. They can prepare meals, dust, mop, mow, do laundry, meal plan. They are not small children. I MUST make doing these things a requirement.
Step # 4 – Family Relationships
I need to set aside intentional time to spend with each member of my family. Lonny and I date night – but we need to make life plans together. Adrianna and I snuggle while watching tv but we need a hobby. Dayton and I only spend time together sporadically, I need to plan things more often. I want to help Lonny and Dayton improve their relationship.
I need to get better about calling my mom. I need to be the first to reach out to Leigh Ann. I need to go up north to visit my family more – even if it is just for the day. I need to be a more fun aunt. I need to model better relationships to my kids. I’d like to actually see my Granma Joanie.
SHORT TERM GOALS
Lose weight this summer – no specific number in mind – just actively lose! Visit the gym at least 12 times a month – get the insurance discount! Catch up on all late bills and make a plan for medical bills. Physically go to church at least once a month. Read my bible or a devotional every day. Get more rest so that I am a nicer person. Schedule my physical. Regularly walk a mile in under 15 minutes. Schedule social time every month – have lunch or go for a walk – do something that isn’t a “couples” event.
Enough for today – like I always tell my family – actions speak louder than words…