Tuesday, July 31, 2018

July Balanced Life Goals - Update

It is time to update the monthly goals, again!

As I've explained before, when I do my monthly balanced life goals, I picture a wheel with several spokes, each spoke representing an aspect of my life that is important to me.  Taken together, I like to think that they make a well-balanced life.  Ideally, each spoke is of equal length and the arcs drawn between the spokes are equally rounded to make a perfectly circular rim around the wheel, without any bump-outs or indents.  A well-balanced wheel results in a smoother ride; a wonky wheel results in a bumpy ride.  This month, I included the ratings for each category.

These, then, are my goals and current ratings for July; the numbers in the brackets reflect my satisfaction ratings for each category, at the start of the month in black and at the end of the month in blue:

Spiritual (8)(8):  The goal is to live a spiritually meaningful life.
- Continue with daily prayers and gratitude; focus on being positive - On-going; prayers are being said, daily; I've been listing 5 things I am grateful for, daily; and I made an effort to be positive, although I might have slipped up once or twice! 

- Take time for meditation - at some point during my day, pause long enough to consciously meditate for 5 minutes; 10 if possible - Still a bit hit and miss, unless I count the time I say my prayers.

- Cultivate non-attachment - focus on letting go of attachment to material possessions - well, I gave away some of my personal possessions I had at the office!

- Attend the monthly rosary prayer gathering - Attended the prayer gathering on 7/15 and gave a ride to my cousin P and friends R and F to the prayer gathering.

I am keeping the rating the same, because there were a couple of items I didn't accomplish.

Environment (5)(8):  The goal is a clean, tidy, uncluttered house and a well-maintained garden.
- Focus on decluttering and maintaining cleaned areas - get 20 bags of donations out of the house by the end of the month!  I've kept up with the regular cleaning - dusting, vacuuming, mopping, etc., although I wasn't very successful at keeping surfaces decluttered and clear!  I also didn't get any donations out of the house.

- Deep clean my bedroom - It is the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see at night; it should be a place of calm restoration! - Didn't deep clean the bedroom.

- Maintain (water 2x per week; weed) - The garden segment got a BIG boost because I was able to get my eucalyptus tree trimmed!  One task that was on my to do list for years got accomplished!  Have been keeping up with the watering, etc. (as indicated by my water bill!)

- Scatter some seeds and see if they will grow! - Too hot!  Everything is scorched!

Although I didn't accomplish several things around the house, I increased my satisfaction rating because of the tree trimming that was accomplished!  Getting that tree trimmed had been on my list of things to do for years!  I might consider splitting this category into two, in August.

Daughter (10)(10):  The goal is to continue to have a close relationship with her (without being over-protective!)
- Daily texts, phone calls, emails, and video chatting - On-going.

- Look forward to her visits (2) in July - over the 4th of July weekend and, again, towards the end of July - she was here for the Anime Expo convention at the beginning of the month and spent just over a week at home from 7/20 to 7/29.  Although she worked from home during that week, we had fun during her visit, attending two weddings, going shopping, and just spending time together.

Be supportive of her enthusiasm for the upcoming Anime Exposition by sewing part of a costume, by giving her rides to the event and back, etc. - Sewed an apron and a tail for her costumes; dropped her off and picked her up, etc.

There isn't any other possible rating!  My daughter is definitely a 10 as far as I am concerned!  

Family & Friends (8)(9.5):  The goal is to keep in touch with various family members and friends.
- Wish friends A and R on their birthdays - called and wished them both

- Go out to lunch with friend R - did so on 7/14

- Attend cousin V's son's wedding - did so on 7/21; daughter and I rode to the wedding with my cousin and her daughter and we stayed the night at a hotel and had family bonding time!

- Attend another friend R's daughter's wedding - did so on 7/28, and helped my friend box up wedding cakes for her daughter's wedding, earlier in the month, after the prayer gathering.  Again, rode to the event with my cousin and her daughter.

- Regular phone calls and emails - There were many phone calls (sister, cousins, aunts, friends) and some emails and texts, throughout the month.

- Will be seeing several members of the family and friends at the various family gatherings this month - Did so; in addition, cousin V and her husband visited me to borrow the oil lamp and daughter and I visited Aunt C and took her some soup.

- Weekly calls with neighbor T/have coffee with her one day - spoke with her several times and she came over, one day, although we didn't have coffee together; besides, her willingness to have her tree trimmed spurred me to get my tree trimmed, too!

This was a very good month for family and friends.  I realize the rating can't be maintained, but that's OK, too.

Community (8)(8):  The goal is to become more involved in my community.
- Continue to participate in the blogging community - Have been reading and commenting on blogs; I am very appreciative of everyone taking time to comment on my posts and have done my best to reply to each comment.

Career (9)(10):  The goal is to continue to work while planning for retirement.
- Complete as many assignments as I can in the next 3 weeks and bring the others to a good pausing point - Did so!  
- Clean up my work space and files - Done
- Continue to work on retirement related stuff - put in my last day at the office on 7/20; will be on vacation for the next two months!

Looking back on my career - all 37 years of it - I feel very happy at what I was able to accomplish.  One of the steps in the Buddhist way of life, which we call the Middle Path, which is also known as the Noble Eight-fold Path, is "Right Livelihood".  It is the 5th of the 8 steps and is often defined as earning a living in a manner that doesn't hurt or harm other beings.  I know I engaged in a Right Livelihood by advocating for environmental considerations in the various projects I worked on.  

Finances (9)(8):  The goal is financial security.
- Continue budgeting and spending mindfully, with purpose - On-going; this was a rather spendy month, with two weddings, my share of the hotel room payment, tree trimmers, car registration renewal, manicures, etc.  Some of it (like the car registration renewal) had been budgeted for; the rest wasn't, but the funds were there and I didn't spend anything that I couldn't afford, so it was all good. 

- Make an appointment with financial planner - Done (scheduled for 8/6)

- Make final decisions about pension options - Will be done after meeting with the financial planner

I chose to go with a lower month-end rating simply because I spent so much money this month!  It certainly wasn't my usual frugal month, although, as I mentioned earlier, it wasn't anything I couldn't afford and the funds were there.  But, I guess it is OK to splurge from time to time!    

Health & Well Being (6)(5):  The goal is good health.
- Attend the appointments with my various medical doctors - 2 scheduled for July, so far, with maybe 2 more to be scheduled upon authorization approval!  - Saw primary care physician assistant 7/13; blood pressure and sugar levels were OK, but weight had gone up and she wasn't happy about that.  She had me do some blood tests to check A1C (sugar) levels, kidney functions, and other stuff (calcium, iron, etc.)  Follow up appointment made for August 17; I had to reschedule the 2nd appointment for August 2, as there was a scheduling conflict with something at work.

- Call and make dental appointments! - Didn't accomplish

Continue to monitor blood pressure, sugar levels, and weight - On-going

- Continue to focus on a healthier diet, drinking enough water (8x 8oz), exercising regularly (walk for 30 minutes during the work week), and getting sufficient sleep - Hah!

- Focus on accomplishments and staying positive - I did receive my mammogram results which said everything was normal, so that is something that is positive!  Other than that, I am positive that my accomplishments in this segment need improvement!

I am not very happy about this segment and I have reduced my satisfaction rating to reflect that.  It would have come down even more, except for the fact that I received a good mammogram report and I am trying to be positive!  So, I will simply say that there is much room for improvement!

Time Management (4)(5):  The goal is having enough time to do all what I want to do!
- Procrastinate less - I went ahead and scheduled my tree to be trimmed right away, when my neighbor had her tree trimmed!  (Never mind the fact that I had procrastinated on getting it done for at least 3 or 4 years!  We are focusing on staying positive, here!)

-  When I called for an appointment to have my car serviced and the person at the other end said she could schedule me for the next day, I asked if there was an appointment available for that afternoon and, when she said yes, opted for that!

- I was ready with a gift card and greeting card in good time for the 2nd wedding (never mind the last minute rushing around for the 1st wedding - stay focused on the positive, Bless!)  

- I submitted my mileage verification and renewed my car registration well before the due dates!

- Implement routines and schedules - Work in progress!  There should be more opportunity for this in August!

Once again, the tree trimming helped to bump this up!  

Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies/Me-Time (7)(8):  The goal is to relax doing something I enjoy doing for the pleasure of it.
- Set aside 30 minutes a day to do something relaxing, such as reading books  blogs, or doing a craft - done; I've spent more than 30 minutes a day reading blogs, which I love doing; I've spent at least 15 additional minutes a day, reading, doing crossword puzzles, playing online games (Solitaire, Sudoku, etc.);  I've taken several afternoon naps, which have been very relaxing;  I spent a couple of hours sewing daughter's costumes at the beginning of the month; spent several days sewing a sari blouse towards the middle of the month (although I am not sure if I can consider that as "relaxing" because I was working without a pattern!); and had a manicure after several years (although it wasn't quite as relaxing as it could have been, because I was cutting it fine when it came to time on that particular day and that was stressful!)

So, there we have it!  The July balanced life goals in review!  Some segments went up, some went down:

Updated July Balanced Life Wheel
The thicker red line (it is supposed to be purple, but shows more red than purple in the picture) is the month-end review.  The environment spoke has improved a lot (due to the tree trimming), family and friends also improved, as did career, time management, and leisure.  But, financial and health went down.  So, the wheel is still a bit wonky!  Wonder what August will look like!

How was your July month in review?  Is anyone joining me in doing a balance wheel in August?


  1. You did very well, Bless. You have high ratings in several categories. I'd say it's better to have a bit wonkier wheel with high ratings than a smooth wheel with all equally low ratings. 😊

    1. Thank you, Nil, and you are right! It's not perfectly round, but, there is a very high degree of satisfaction in most of the areas! The others need work, but I'll get there, eventually. :)

  2. Wow, that's a lot of self analysis. I wonder how I would fare? I think my circle would be rather bumpy 🙁. I find the 'Right livelihood' concept interesting. In my old job used to be responsible for coordinating the environmental management programme and carrying out environmental audits but nothing like that now.

    1. Maybe you might like to list your areas of interest and just give them a rating, without drawing wheels. The wheel simply helps to illustrate the discrepancies, if any. You could even do a simple "satisfied", "somewhat satisfied", "dissatisfied" type of rating, too, without assigning a number. And then, consider what makes it rate so and, for those that aren't quite at a "satisfied" rating, consider what might make it better.

      You are currently working in HR, aren't you? In that capacity, you are helping people in various ways to navigate through their own careers, informing them of their rights and obligations, ensuring compliance with laws and regulations that are in place to protect workers and create a better work environment, etc. I'd consider that a "right livelihood", since you are helping people. (I used to work in HR for about 2 years, altogether, in various capacities, processing workers' compensation payment for injuries on the job, doing payroll, conducting hiring interviews, handling grievances, etc., prior to doing environmental work.)


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