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I have a confession to make.
I, author of all sorts of goal-setting posts and challenges, didn’t set any goals for myself for the month of April. Honestly, I think I kinda missed the new month happening with the ‘Groundhog Day’ nature of our current existence.
So, was the month a total bust?
No. Why? I was able to run on a reasonably-productive automatic pilot because I spent time every day on the habits I put in place way back in January. (Of course I also spent a lot of time sitting in the hammock, playing board games, and watching bad TV).
So what did the April look like? More importantly, how can you and I both make sure that this time at home doesn’t continue to get away from us?
Although I didn’t plan for it in advance, my focus for the month, both personally and with Mama Goes Beyond was definitely Gratitude.
Maintaining a daily gratitude practice has helped me so much to keep my wits about me while the world is collectively going nuts. This month, I amplified my habitual practice of writing in my journal twice a day with posting an Alphabet of Gratitude challenge on Instagram and creating a Gratitude Notebook to help myself (and others) make our gratitude practices a little easier. And, as expected, I spent most of the month feeling…grateful.
Would you benefit from looking for more things in your life to be grateful for? You can download 101 free Gratitude Prompts for Moms here.
Progress on my goals for this year
Despite spending much of April in pajamas, I stayed on track with the personal goals I set out for this year. The key to this has been sticking with the daily habits I set for myself back in January (and before!)
For instance, I decided in January that I wanted to be “healthier’ this year. I made this vague goal more actionable by specifying that I wanted to:
- lose 20 pounds to get back to my pre-kid weight
- reduce the swelling lymphedema has caused in my left arm
- gain visible muscles in my arms, hamstrings, and abs.
In order to accomplish this, I adopted the daily habits of drinking at least 75 ounces of water, exercising at least 5 days a week, recording my weight at the same time each morning, taking my vitamin twice daily, and doing my lymphatic drainage massage.
Although it sounds like a lot to do, all this can be accomplished quickly and with little brainpower. I’m down five pounds since the beginning of April thanks to these easy-to-monitor habits. (Despite the fact that my husband is doing the grocery shopping and making sure we’re always stocked up on chocolate, wine, and Doritos.)
What daily or weekly habits can you use to put the things you want to do on automatic pilot?
Books I Read This Month
One of my goals for the year is to read at least one fiction and one non-fiction book each month. To make sure this actually happens, I’ve added to my habit tracker that I need to read at least one chapter in a book every day. Every month so far in 2020, I’ve read more than I planned.
This month’s books:
- Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker: I’m a big believer that your mindset has the power to totally change your experience in life, so I found myself nodding a lot at Eker’s suggestions that your ‘inner money blueprint’ determines your financial success.
- In the Forest by Edna O’Brien: This was a beautifully written portrait (based on a true crime) of a troubled boy who becomes a murderer. I loved the beautiful language and character development. However, as you might imagine, it was kind of dark, so I moved onto…
- I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella: This was a cute bit of chick lit fluff that I enjoyed a lot.
- How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It by Patricia Love: I’m adding this book to the list I’m compiling of ‘Must Reads for Moms’. My marriage is in great shape, but I still found so much good, actionable advice in here. I love that the authors consistently call for us to practice empathy, make our marriage more important than being right, and live our vows.
Are you making time in your schedule to do fun things that are just for you? Add fun goals like reading chick-lit to your to-do list to ensure the fun stuff gets done, too. You can read about 100 more hobbies for moms here.
Three things I loved this month
The Science of Well-Being Course
This class, taught by Yale Professor Laurie Santos, goes in-depth into all the things that do or don’t make us happier. It gave me loads to think about, and supported me in my gratitude practice. (Students in the class are asked to keep a gratitude journal, and the lectures explain that gratitude is a practice shown by research to make us happier and healthier.) If you’d like to try the class, you can sign up for free here.
READY TO MAKE PRACTICING GRATITUDE EASY?
Check out The Gratitude Notebook. This PDF Workbook contains all the templates, prompts, and challenges you need to bring more gratitude into your life in just minutes a day.
The Handmaid’s Tale
My husband and I watched the whole series this month. Because nothing cheers you up during a global pandemic like watching a show about a dystopian future.
Driving Down the Empty Las Vegas Strip
We moved to Las Vegas in March. It’s eerie to be here and to have none of the party atmosphere. Driving down the Strip felt like being in a zombie movie.