Right! So here’s how I envisage this blog working. I need to do a bunch of work in pretty much every area of my life right now so I will set up separate tabs in the menu for each field (eventually, when I work that out). I will then detail the current goal that I am prioritising and the steps I expect to take to get it under control. Then I will update the progress as I go along until I reach the goal, and check back every now and then as I maintain things afterwards.
Alongside that I’ll do more general posts as they come along, documenting how I’m feeling about the whole process and bringing up any relevant thoughts and resources. It’s all pretty amorphous at the moment, which my perfectionist self is not happy about (she can bite me!), but I think it’s time to just kick things off and alter them on the fly as necessary.
So, where am I at right now, here at the beginning of my journey? (Long post ahead!)
Diet – Not too bad, although I eat more processed convenience foods than is optimal. I love my veggies and fruit and do a lot of cooking and baking from scratch (especially since I need to avoid gluten and dairy). The main issue is a lack of routine and predictability which is incredibly exhausting in terms of decision fatigue, especially when factoring in the constant barrage of demands and whims from my two little ones as well. I’d like to plan meals more to reduce wastage and dithering, and I’d like to be able to hang the rest of the day around consistent, predictable meal times.
Sleep – I’m a restless night owl with two mini restless night owls, who all come from a long line of restless night owls! To be honest, I’ve spent years and years (and years) trying to get a decent sleep routine going and absolutely nothing works. At one stage in my twenties I experimented for a couple of weeks by just ignoring the clock and going to bed when I was tired and sleeping til I woke up. I automatically settled in to about a 26 hour cycle that couldn’t care less about whether the sun was up or not. Not helpful! Right now my focus is on reducing stress, practising mindfulness, improving general health and fitness, and just grabbing sleep whenever it happens. Hopefully once I get some more routine going in the rest of my life I can finally make improvements here.
Fitness – Much room for improvement! I’ve always been a nerdy, creative type who was teased a lot for being slow and uncoordinated and picked last for every team. Add to that a general distaste for being sweaty or pushing through the discomfort that comes from cardio work and there is no surprise that I actively shun formal exercise. I don’t take well to “army drill” type instructors either: I get defiant and want to fail rather than have them think that they’ve helped me. That being said, I LOVE dancing and was pretty fit back in my nightclubbing days so I’d be open to dance classes and stuff like yoga and Pilates. I think for now I need to focus on upping the incidental exercise and gradually bringing in some regular moderate-high impact work somehow.
All I know is I’m getting pretty dumpy and am not at all happy about it. Also, diabetes is rife on both sides of my family and after having gestational diabetes during both pregnancies I REALLY want to avoid getting it for real! Those are some pretty stiff odds for me to overcome so I need to start getting serious about it NOW.
Happiness – This is a big focus of mine thanks to my depression. I have been on medication in the past but don’t really like the idea of using it long term unless totally necessary. I do think a focus on mindfulness practise is the key for my emotional maintenance, alongside everything else I’m doing here.
Day to Day – I have already done a little work in this area and am at a point where I can break even week to week without too much effort. I’d like to tighten things up further though and get to a point where I can actually save stuff and stick to a budget successfully without compromising on little luxuries and general quality of life.
Long Term – I need to pull together my multiple superannuation accounts and consolidate them, I need to chip away at my small amounts of debt, and I need to start making a game plan for reentering the workforce once my youngest is a bit older. The medium-term dream is to work from home doing proof reading and editing (and possibly selling crafty creations on the side), but I seriously have no clear direction in mind beyond that.
In the meantime, I want to understand money better. I’ve always been good at more abstract maths (it was my best subject at school) but anything with a practical application has always gone in one ear and out the other. I don’t want to be a burden on others my whole life! Time to get a handle on this whole personal finances thing.
This is probably the biggest area in need of work. It can be broken down into two further categories: Ongoing Maintenance, and Culling and Organising.
Ongoing Maintenance – Growing up, my family was pretty slovenly. Us kids were only given one chore – washing dishes – and you can bet it was a big point of contention between my siblings and I. We were never made to clean our rooms or tidy up after ourselves or cook any meals or do our homework at a set time. Once I hit high school I had to wash and iron my own uniform but apart from that I was pretty much left to my own devices. It was GLORIOUS when I was a kid, but left me having to learn a lot of basic household maintenance stuff from scratch as an adult.
I don’t actually know what having a daily/weekly/monthly chore routine looks like. In our house, everything was cluttered and dusty and cobwebby and cleaning was this horrible drag to be avoided at all costs. Whenever we had a party coming up or house guests coming to stay, there would be a whirlwind of activity with everyone being grumpy and snapping at each other while we all half-assedly tried to make the house presentable. I was flabbergasted when a therapist told me many years later how most people saw house maintenance as something you simply do to make life flow more easily! I just assumed everyone hated it as much as I did but was better at sucking it up than I was…
Anyway, my goal is to gradually build up a cleaning schedule for each area of the house. I have made a little headway with this, but it’s still pretty sporadic. I need to find a way to crack the whip and push through my stubborn resistance. I also need to find a way to accept that this one will be a long process of slowly chipping away at bad habits accumulated over decades. There will be a lot of back and forth motion here but hopefully the underlying progression will consistently move forward.
Culling and Organising – There is no getting around this: we have way too much stuff! And it is all over the place! And it is oppressive and chaotic and overwhelming for everyone.
That being said, I am a hoarder at heart, so this is not going to be as straightforward as just chucking it all out. Plus, my oldest daughter is a highly sensitive soul who has trouble letting go of things too. Ultimately we will all benefit from some serious culling, but again, it will take time to do it properly. My goal is to chunk each room down into sections and systematically work through them, culling and compartmentalising as I go. Hubby is SO on board with this too though, so I’m hoping we can maintain some momentum once we get going.
Parenting – This can be a highly contentious topic so I’m not sure if I will blog about it much. I have a firm conviction that my underlying intentions and ideal actions are the right choices for my particular family, but others will definitely disagree with me so it may not lead to productive discussions. I’m including it here for now, though, because I do feel like I need to lift my game in this arena too. My heart and head are in the right place but my actions don’t match up with my ideals as often as I would like and the whole family is hurting for it. I think once I improve in other areas of my life the benefits will absolutely flow on to my kids but my parenting skills could definitely benefit from more focussed attention on top of that too.
General Organising Skills – I’m really, really bad at planning ahead and sticking to said game plans. My goal here is to get into better scheduling habits and stay on top of timetables and events instead of leaving things to the last minute and forgetting and missing things all the time.
I think that’s enough to start with! Are you ready? Let’s do this.