First Quarter Progress, 2020 Goals

This year I am taking a different approach to setting goals. Instead of a master list of things I want to achieve over twelve months, I set four overarching goals that best represent the kind of life I want to pursue. Under each of the four overarching goals is a series of mini goals set per quarter instead of the popular per-month structure. Since the first quarter of 2020 is complete and we’re (almost) into the second, I wanted to summarize where I made progress. But first! Let’s revisit my 2020 vision board because I sure do love it.

I plan to share second quarter mini goals soon. But for now, let’s dive into my first quarter progress and wins.

Goal #1: Become a Family Who Loves Nature & Adventure

This goal is progressing really well, especially considering this feels like the hardest time of the year to cultivate a love for the outdoors (freezing cold gloomy days? Check!). However, with an uncharacteristically warmer winter this year, good health status for all members of our family, and a better attitude about being outside, we’ve created a few new habits! EDIT TO ADD: Without wanting to sound insensitive, the coronavirus pandemic has been exceptionally helpful with this goal as our outdoor activities are literally limited to distanced trips into the nature behind our home. Some progress below.

1. Some very small investments that have made this goal attainable include investing in a second pair of boots for Lachlan since his primary pair stays at school. Now we don’t need to tote the same pair back and forth every school day. I also bought him gloves that attach together through the sleeves of his jacket which makes looking for two lost gloves less of a hassle when it’s time to go outside. They also now they dangle easily within reach when he wants them off. I bought Ev a toddler pair of connected gloves but the string broke the first day he wore them to school so I think a small sewing project is in my future!

2. We just about finished cleaning up the garage with one big final purge of unused wedding decor, boxes of things we weren’t using, and a few seasonal odds and ends that now have new homes. Now the wagon, L’s scooter, strollers, and other outdoor delights, are easy to find and access. Going outside doesn’t feel like such a process now because the journey from the inside to the outside is literally quite easier! I look forward to the final swoop of cleaning once it’s a bit warmer here, a swoop that will allow both of our cars to fit in the garage together (THAT will be the pillar of success!).

3. There’s a 200 acre wooded area behind our home that’s in the very beginning stages of a 10-year development project. Given that we can walk there easily Lachlan and I have been going on small ‘adventures’ over the last month exploring what we now lovingly refer to as, ‘the forest’. Spending time in wild nature, as touched on In How to Raise a Wild Child, has been surprisingly special and fun, and we’ve even built an impressive hut-style fort that’s been a place for snack time, storytelling, and one on one time together. I’ve been exceptionally grateful for the space to make this goal happen and I know the rest of my family would agree.

Goal #2: Fill Our Home With Delight

1. One of my main second quarter goals was to flip the basement studio so that one half would be my office (the half furthest away from the stairs and windows) and the other would be a Montessori-inspired playroom for the boys. I knew this project was going to be a massive undertaking so this is why I assigned it to second quarter. But then in February I had a giant itch to just get it done, and what do they say about a body in motion? It tends to stay in motion, right? One day I started shuffling a few things around and then that led to a five day hustle to get both the back storage room completely cleaned out, my work space condensed, and the new play area wonderfully (imperfectly!) in place for two little dudes. You can see more photos in this post!

2. We are so close to finally finishing up our garage entry foyer and powder room makeover. Everything looks so fresh and beautiful. I’m eager to share a peek here soon. Because it’s part of the foyer, our coat closet was also recently reorganized and condensed to essentials only making our above goal to become better purveyors of the outdoors, a goal we’re moving toward with ease!

3. In anticipation of guests or needing / wanting to open up our home to guests, I finally cleaned out the guest room closet and readied the room. The room has become a catch all for things over the last year or so, and just walking by it gave me the shivers. Now the room feels peaceful just like it’s supposed to and we are ready for company whenever we get past this whole social distancing thing.

4. While we spent most of January and February on our phones less, March was a busy month with work (with a trip to Greensboro for The School of Styling where the photos in this post are from, taken by Lauren Carnes) and unexpected circumstances because of covid-19. There was a lot more screen time trying to find solutions to a postponed event, flights that would be missed, floral orders I couldn’t cancel, and so on. This increase in screen time left me hurried and frazzled, so I’d like to be laser-beam focused on better social boundaries in second quarter. I plan to read Digital Minimalism, a book I started in 2019, to help me in this area.

5. On the rhythms side, we’ve been much better about consistent and focused family time together, partially an unavoidable reality given lockdown orders over the last couple weeks. Still, I’ve noticed a great change in my kids’ behavior and how connected I feel to the members in our family especially with some simple new approaches to dinnertime. This includes giving Lachlan special helper duties like setting out plates and utensils and not correcting him if they aren’t where I want them, saying grace before every meal, talking about our favorite parts of the day, and sitting together until every person is finished eating. Also! Ask Alexa to play ‘1930’s music’ if you want to hear the fanciest mealtime music in your own home.

Goal #3: Redesign My Schedule, and With It, How I Spend My Time

This goal has required the most effort and feels like it’s truly been a little by little effort. Redesigning my schedule and how I spend my time has been a lot of breaking old habits to create new ones. It’s also been an interesting goal to cultivate in the middle of a busier work season coupled with no child care so here is a little bit more on how I have been working (painstakingly at times) towards this goal in professional and personal capacities.

1. After awful insomnia with my second pregnancy and then a long (very long) 15-month stretch with multiple nightly wake ups tending to Ev, I feel like I’m still digging myself out of a sleep deficit caused by late / restless nights and groggy mornings. Recalibrating my sleep schedule by getting myself in bed at 10:00 pm and asleep by 11:00 pm has been a chore BUT I am starting to finally feel more rested and in sync with my body’s natural sleep schedule now that I’ve committed to an earlier bed time; even when there is still temptation to squeeze just a litttllleeee bit more into my day.

2. Helping to make my 10:00 pm bedtime easier? A husband who gently (sometimes not so gently) holds me accountable, turning my phone off and leaving it in the kitchen when I retire for the evening, and taking melatonin at 10:00 pm so by 11:00 pm I can drift off easier. Earlier to bed makes it easier to rise, which starts my day off better, and I’m seeing the fruits of this labor. While we used to start out days at 7:30 or even 8:00 am frazzled, groggy, and waking up to the cries and needs of our kids, we now start often around 6:30 or 7:00 am, before the kids wake and feel much more refreshed as an entire family.

3. I read The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry in first quarter and it was a hugely inspiring book. So much so I wrote this post. I’m intrigued by the idea of Sabbath and have been trying to infuse a few of Comer’s Sabbath suggestions into our own weekend plans. Things like wearing our pajamas all day, skipping the laundry and chores (this pains me still), giving longer periods of undivided attention to the kids than we normally would, moving around our day extra sloowwww, and making a special treat like a batch of cookies or bowl of ice cream after dinner have been things we’re trying on for size. I’m learning how much my desire for control and productivity can rob me of simple joys, so thinking about how I spend my time is helping to uncover good stuff I would have otherwise missed. Still needing some major work? Defining how my soap shop will function over the summer and beyond when our childcare situation drastically changes, a routine I’ve gotten a good feel for having no childcare over the last two weeks in light of covid-19.

4. A covid-19-inspired thought: contrary to very recent seasons of life where work boundaries were easier to manage, I’ve been less inclined to set a schedule for myself and the kids each day and instead focus on one or two important things that just need to get done before I go to bed at 10:00 pm. Sending an email at 7:00 am even though ‘office hours’ aren’t until 9:00 am? Check. Letting the laundry pile up in favor of making a midday fort with the boys? Check. Making soap on a Saturday night? Check. The days are a little hodge podge lately but interestingly feel less frantic and rigid as they are only packed with the essentials.

Goal #4: Become a Fiercer Version of Myself

As I predicted (to myself, not publicly to anyone else) this goal feels hard to measure progress. I’m so black and white and as such, not having a number on a scale to illustrate my hard work feels like a let down. But there was good progress to lead into second quarter and I’m here to share it!

1. Andrew gifted me with a new Alta Fitbit for Valentine’s Day but one of my peeves with Fitbit is that steps are only measured when the arm the device is on, is moving. So, as an example, I could be mixing a batch of soap and not actually taking steps, but my Fitbit would be measuring the movement as steps. Or, alternatively, I could be pushing the stroller for two miles but if my arm is sedentary none of my steps are measured. With disappointment, we sent the Fitbit back and I have since been trying out a refurbished Apple watch much to my chagrin (I swore I would never ever get an Apple watch). I try not to wear it every day or to bed but with the increased functionality I now play closer attention to how often I stand, move, breath, and burn calories. For now, I’ll keep it :)

2. January and February were excellent on the work out front. I spent many days doing online Zumba classes in the living room and feel proud of my progress. I also practiced many handstands and did a lot of stretching and core exercises to work toward my ultimate goal of doing a press handstand by Christmas! I’m hoping to pick up pace in second quarter but call first quarter a graceful win.

3. Perhaps this is a stretch but on the topic of being fierce: in February I turned down a big speaking opportunity because I didn’t feel like the topic I was to cover aligned with my values; or rather, I felt like I wasn’t the best person to deliver the content the client was after. I crafted an honest response to the invitation and to my surprise was sent back a message that said my response proved that I was exactly why they thought I was perfect for the job! Ha. It might not be the best example here but I’ve been getting bold and out of my comfort zone on a few work-related things, open to seeing where the path leads and that feels fierce!

A few notable first quarter wins!

• After announcing that I was closing the wedding planning side of my business, I had a successful soap shop launch In January and sold over 700 bars in two weeks! The launch was a wild success and I’m still pinching myself over it all. My second launch is scheduled for April 6th and I’d be delighted if you joined the fun next week and picked up a few bars for yourself!

• We took a short family trip to Florida and decided last minute to do Magic Kingdom with the boys. Next to the days the boys were born, their first birthday parties, and our time in Seaside over the years, this day tops the charts as held nearest to my heart. I’d walk nine miles in leopard flats and spend $14.00 on a Mickey Mouse balloon, any day to relive the magic all over again.

• I took part in two separate cooking classes at Sur La Table. The first was a Valentine’s Day baking class with my niece and oldest nephew, their ‘experience’ Christmas gift finally coming to fruition! We had such a blast and I hope to try out one of the recipes we learned for this year’s Easter celebration. The second class was one I took with Andrew, his Valentine’s Day present-and-date-all-in-one. This is important I tell you about these classes because it leads into one of my second quarter goals. Stay tuned.

• I chopped off a ton of my hair (you can see how short it is above) and colored it for the first time in years (so.many.grays.). What I consider to be my personal physical pillars of beauty have really changed over the last year and while that’s a story for another day there’s been great freedom in these shifted perspectives. In the same arena you might like this post here.

• After probably a 15-year hiatus I put my nose ring back in. I pierced my nose in 10th grade and then sometime in college was asked to remove it when my college coach felt it was a bad representation of the collective team. Then with my pursuit of a career in television news and starting my own business, it just stayed out. Until this year! Remember, fierce Rhi? She has a nose ring.

• I did yet another wave of purging in the kids’ toy stash, my closet, and wedding inventory space. The result made me about $1,000 richer and if that’s not music to Dave Ramsey’s ears, it is to mine, especially in a year of stepping back more from work but still wanting to maintain many parts of our lifestyle. When Dave says there’s lot in your life you can sell for a little bit of money, he’s speaking truth!

• In an attempt to have better facebook boundaries but not lose access to my business page, I finally created a secondary ‘faux’ account and made that account as the administrator to my business page. Now when I open facebook on my phone my newsfeed is my own business updates and the temptation to scroll and ‘catch up’ is entirely gone. The average time I spend on my phone per day, has gone down drastically to about 1.5 hours which is a huge win and improvement from what used to be a much different number.

• My closest girlfriends live in Canada. International texting isn’t their preferred way of texting and endless facebook messages are not mine. We discovered quite recently that within a facebook group message you can initiate video calls with all involved parties and GAME.CHANGER. We haven’t made many calls yet but they been SO good to fill my social cup. I look forward to seeing my dearest friends more frequently in second quarter even if it’s just in an impromptu call over video chat.

I’d love to hear how your first quarter went! Join the conversation below. Xo