Every month we set goals for changing our habits and then at the end of the month we review our progress. We're determined to improve our habits and so we felt choosing 1-2 goals each month for each category; Healthy Mind, Body (Fitness & Nutrition), Relationships, Financial Wellbeing, and Lifestyle would be a good way to start.
December was our first month actively trying to change our routines. We set nine goals for ourselves in December and out of those we considered four of them successful. The other five were not failures, they just gave us more information to work with as we continue this journey. By not accomplishing a goal we set out to do, we're also working to change our mindsets to accept those uncompleted goals as markers reminding us to be flexible and adjust our path as we go to be most effective.
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For December, we decided to focus on getting an app called Pacifica installed on our phones. Once it was installed, we decided checking in on the app with how we're feeling twice a day would be a good place to start tracking our emotions throughout the day. It is important to track emotions when you're dealing with anxiety and depression so you have a better understanding that the bad times aren't all the time (even though it feels like it is). This helps create a clearer picture that downtimes are temporary.
RESULTS: We did it! We got the Pacifica app installed on our phones! #WIN We're using the free version for now but may upgrade to the premium in the future. We reached out to the developers and they are planning to add Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills and tracking in the future. Once they add that feature we'll most likely upgrade since those are the skills we practice from the direction of our therapists.
We had trouble with consistency with checking in at least twice a day on the app to track our emotions. Once a day (at breakfast) tended to work best but we seemed to forget to do it again. We'll need to work on this one a bit more.
We have a membership to a nearby Planet Fitness and the atmosphere there is great! Our problem has been getting there. So one of our fitness goals for December was to get to the gym at least once per week. For nutrition, we decided to try the King, Prince, Pauper portion size diet. This is where you eat a large (King) meal for breakfast, a medium (Prince) meal for lunch and a small (Pauper) meal for dinner.
RESULTS: We had trouble in this category this month. Devin was able to make it to the gym once this month but I didn't go at all. I found myself always too tired at the end of the day to do anything beyond just go home. So this area needs some thought for getting more exercise in.
The King, Prince, Pauper diet is a really cool concept but we only did it a handful of times throughout the month. Smoothies for dinner, anyone? Consistency was difficult here. Maybe we need to try something else and come back to this idea later.
In order to get our finances back on track, we are thinking of changing from our trusty spreadsheet budget to You Need A Budget (YNAB) app. So our goal here is to sign up for the free trial, set up our budget, and give it a try for a month.
We're also in the process of filing the Big "B" - it is a very hard topic to talk about (see my "B" reference? I even have trouble writing it out...) because it is taboo in our culture and there is an incredible amount of shame wrapped up in it. That being said, it is happening and we've learned we need to keep in close contact with our lawyer to keep the ball rolling. Our goal this month is to finish getting all the paperwork to the lawyer and hopefully get it filed this month.
RESULTS: Success! We tried YNAB and we're loving it so far. It has reduced the budget workload by nearly half since we no longer have to manually enter each spent amount. We can just use the app and connect it to our bank account and then assign the spent money to the appropriate categories.
The Big "B" is rolling forward very slowly. With the holidays and our lawyer having a severe leg injury that required surgery, we did not get the petition for review until the end of the month BUT we're one step closer and we'll hopefully file next month. We just want to get this done and behind us, so we can start over since we've been working on this since June/July.
We've become hermits over the last few years and we need to start getting out of the house more and strengthening our relationships. So our goal for this month is to get out a minimum of four times and do something fun with friends and family (or just as a couple).
RESULTS: We had great success here! Not only did we have a full day of gaming with my husband's best friend, we went to two board game meetups, and we drove over 8 hours with my Mom to go visit my brother and his wonderful family for Christmas. These trips weren't easy and we had to apply opposite-action to our emotional habits. It was a great end to the year!
I've been trying to complete the illustration of a children's book that my Mom wrote over the past couple years but I've been struggling to complete it. I'd like to get at least one page done this month.
Devin would like to volunteer twice this month to not only get out of the house but we've learned that volunteering and helping others can help improve your mental health. So it would be a double win!
RESULTS: This month was a bit hard for me in this category and I just didn't seem to ever have the time or motivation to draw so I did not get a page illustrated. I'll try again in January.
We both had trouble with this category of goals this month. Devin didn't have a chance to volunteer this month but he did last month.
We're learning that it is OK if we don't have a success in every area. It is a learning process but we're excited about the future as we work on improving our lives with these small changes. What changes and goals do you have for January?