Thursday, April 2, 2020

Monthly Balanced Life Goals: March-ing into April

I am late with my March review of goals and thought I will do something a little different, this time, and combine both the review of the March goals and the setting of April goals in one post!

As mentioned before, I have chosen 10 areas of my life that I think are important to me, to focus on.  My monthly balanced life goals are similar to the spokes of a wheel, with the length of each spoke representing my satisfaction in that area of my life, from 1 to 10, with 1 being most dissatisfied and 10 being most satisfied.  Ideally, all the spokes are of equal length and the wheel will roll along smoothly.  If the spokes are of unequal lengths, then, the resulting wheel will be lop-sided and wobbly.  My ratings for each segment are shown within the parentheses, with the beginning of the month ratings in black and the end of the month ratings in blue which then become the starting ratings for the next month.

Balanced Life Goals:

Spiritual: (10)(10):   The goal is to live a spiritually meaningful life:
- Continue with daily prayers, meditation, being grateful, positive, and joyful
- Continue to cultivate non-attachment to material things by donating/decluttering more
- Go to the Temple at least once
- Attend the March rosary prayer gathering (on 3/15)

In March, as the impacts of the Corona virus began to be felt, I found myself feeling an active need to continue with daily prayers and meditation, to focus on gratitude and joy.  It was a struggle to remain positive when there was so much anxiety, uncertainty, worry, and fear, and, at first, I admit to feeling overwhelmed.  But, as the month wore on, I feel I have managed to regain my equilibrium.  I have done what I can to protect myself and others by staying at home, I haven't taken any unnecessary risks to expose myself or others to the virus, and, now, it is a matter of waiting it out.  I have acknowledged that I am not in control of this situation, I can only control my own actions, and that, for me, means staying at home, praying for good health for myself and others, and having faith that things happen for a purpose, although we might not know what that purpose is at the time.  That is what I told myself when I was diagnosed with cancer and that is what I am telling myself now. 

Unfortunately, I didn't declutter as much as I had wanted to, but, under the circumstances, I think it is OK. 

I was unable to go to the Temple in March, due to stay-at-home requirements, but, I called and spoke with the monks.  That will have to suffice for now.  I was also unable to attend the March rosary prayer gathering as, initially, it was cancelled and, then, the aunt and cousins who were hosting it this month decided to go ahead and have the immediate family gather to say the rosary.   I am well satisfied with the spiritual aspects of my life and have rated it 10. 

April Spiritual (10):
- Continue with daily prayers, meditation, being grateful, positive, and joyful
- Continue to cultivate non-attachment to material things by donating/decluttering more

April's spiritual activities have been reduced because I will not be going to the Temple or any prayer gatherings this month, since we will be staying at home for the entire month.

House (9.75) (9):  The goal is a home that is pleasant, comfortable, and welcoming:
- Clean - Continue with spring (deep) cleaning
- Organize - Continue to find a place for everything and keep everything in its place
- Well maintained - Keep "erasing the evidence"; implement daily and weekly cleaning schedules
- Decluttered - Declutter 31 items in March

The house took a bit of a hit, this month, as I didn't feel motivated to clean or declutter or organize!  I let my weekly cleaning routines lapse, although I managed to get some dusting and bathroom cleaning done.  I didn't deep clean the kitchen, either, although I've kept the dishes done and the counters cleared.  I just didn't feel up to cleaning.  However, because the house did get well cleaned in February, the neglect in March hasn't shown that much.  The living room is being maintained, the dining area, too.  For that reason, and that reason only, I am rating it at 9.  

April House (9):
- Clean - Continue with spring (deep) cleaning; focus on the kitchen
- Organize - Continue to find a place for everything and keep everything in its place
- Well maintained - Keep "erasing the evidence"; implement daily and weekly cleaning schedules
- Decluttered - Declutter 30 items in April

I am hoping to get back into the swing of cleaning in April.  

Garden (8.5)(8.5):  The goal is a garden that is productive, yet drought tolerant:
- Maintain (water 1- 2 times per week, depending on how much rain we get; weed)
Clean out the garden shed
- Plant the new succulents cuttings 

The garden is coming along nicely!  We've had quite a bit of rain that has helped, but, I watered as needed and did some weeding, too.  The osteospermum flowers are making the front garden look lovely.  We planted the succulents cuttings from M's garden and they seem to be taking root.  The garden shed got postponed, yet again, but, that's not a priority.  I am keeping the rating at 8.5.  

April Garden (8.5):
- Maintain (water 1- 2 times per week; weed)
Clean out the garden shed
- Start spring planting (vegetables and flowers)

Daughter (10)(10):  The goal is to continue to have a close relationship with her:
- Be encouraging and supportive of her plans
- Daily texts, phone calls, and video chatting, etc., to keep in close touch with her
- Celebrate her birthday with her and enjoy her visit home

Daughter came home during the last weekend in February and stayed until the first Wednesday of March.  We celebrated her birthday when she was visiting, attended to a couple of things we had to do, went out to lunch, and she got together with friends and had a nice visit.  Then, she went back and soon thereafter, she was told to work from home due to the virus outbreak and shelter in place!  We are very grateful she still has a job and is able to work from home, but, it is hard to be separated from her during this time.  We do keep in contact daily and that helps.  I am keeping the rating at 10.

April Daughter (10):
- Daily texts, phone calls, and video chatting, etc., to keep in close touch with her
- Be supportive of her and be there for her

Family & Friends (10)(10):  The goal is to have a close connection with family members and friends:
- Regular phone calls and emails
- Wish family and friends on their birthdays
- Will be seeing some family and friends at the monthly prayer gathering (scheduled for 3/15)
- Get together with friend R to go out to lunch or do some fun activity

This month's interactions with family and friends consisted mostly of phone calls and emails due to social distancing.  I managed to visit friend R a couple of times to take her some items she needed and to take some lunch to her and we were both blessed by a visit from our mutual friend S who brought us both some groceries and dinner!  I didn't see any family or friends at the monthly prayer gathering as it was officially cancelled, although a few family members did gather at aunt's house to say the rosary.  I am keeping the rating at 10 because I feel that I have done my best to keep in touch under the circumstances.  

April Family and Friends (10):
- Regular phone calls and emails to check of family and friends

Community (10)(10):  The goal is to be involved in my community:
- Participate in the primaries and vote!
- Continue to participate in the blogging community 
Weekly phone calls with neighbor T
- Weekly visits with neighbor S (who is teaching me piano)
- Continue to participate in the online group of which I am a member
- Participate in temple events
- Participate in library events (free movie screenings, etc.)

March started off well for being involved in my community.  I participated in the primaries and voted, I participated in the blogging community and an online group, exchanged weekly phone calls with neighbor T, etc.  However, weekly visits with neighbor S came to a halt when we were asked to stay at home and piano lessons were halted. and I only went to the library to return a book, before the stay at home order went into effect and the libraries closed.  I didn't participate in any temple events, either (if there were any), except to call to check on the monks.  However, I believe I did what I could under the circumstances and will keep the rating at 10.

April Community (10):
- Continue to participate in the blogging community
- Weekly phone calls with neighbor T
- Call to check on neighbor S
- Continue to participate in the online group

Finances (10)(10):  The goal is financial security:
- Continue budgeting and spending mindfully, with purpose
- Meet with financial planner (scheduled for 3/3)

I met with my financial planner and also, with my tax accountant to get the taxes filed.  I spent mindfully and with purpose, although I disregarded my grocery budget in order to stock up the pantry in anticipation of being unable to grocery shop while staying at home.  However, I think that was a justifiable expense.  I am keeping the rating at 10.

April Finances (10): 
- Continue spending mindfully, with purpose 

Health & Well Being (7.5)(7.5):  The goal is good health:
- Attend the medical appointments and lab tests scheduled for this month 
- Attend the retirement medical benefits workshop
- Continue to work on the following life style changes: 
  - better diet - eat more vegetables and complex carbs, less refined sugar
  - better hydration - drink 8 x 8oz glasses of water, daily
  - better sleep habits -  get sufficient sleep and try to adjust the sleep schedule
  - more exercise - get back on a walking schedule 
- Get back down to a healthier weight through diet and exercise

I rescheduled my medical appointments due to the corona virus and advice to stay at home.  My appointments weren't urgent.  The retirement medical benefits workshop was cancelled.  My life style changes went flying out the window for the most part, however, I have been trying to include some vegetables in my diet, I have been trying to drink more water although that's a bit hit or miss, we will not even talk about my sleep habits, I have tried to walk just in my driveway and garden for 20 minutes on at least some days, and, according to my scales, I have lost 5 lbs.!  So, I'll take that as a success and leave the rating at 7.5!

April Health & Well Being (7.5):
- Call and reschedule this month's medical appointments and lab tests
- Continue to work on the same life style changes as before to the extent possible
- Continue to strive to attain a healthier weight

Time Management (8)(7): The goal is to spend my time in a mindful manner:
- Keep to a more regular schedule
- Procrastinate less

I have not kept to a more regular schedule and I have procrastinated more instead of less!  I feel that I have not made good use of my time, especially after the first week of March and have mindlessly spent hours watching and reading news and simply procrastinating  crafting - I crocheted a rug, I knitted a pair of socks, and I started knitting a scarf!  I am rating this as a 7 and hope to improve in April.

April Time Management (7):
- Keep to a more regular schedule
- Procrastinate less

Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies/Me-Time (10)(10):  The goal is to relax doing something I enjoy doing for the pleasure of it.
- Engage in daily joyful activities
- Participate in the Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt
- Weekly piano lessons (and daily practicing!)
- Do a crafts project

This is another good area in my life!  I started on an unfinished crochet project that had been languishing for awhile and I finished it (the crocheted rug); I started and finished knitting a pair of socks for myself; I started on knitting a scarf.  I have been engaging in daily joyful activities, too, and I continued to participate in the photo scavenger hunt.  The piano lessons have come to a temporary halt, but, I am practicing and have taught myself a few more pieces in the book.  I am keeping the rating at 10.  

Hm, maybe I didn't waste my time as much as I thought - I might not have cleaned, etc., but, I crafted!  I went back and revised my Time Management review!

April Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies/Me-Time (10):
- Engage in daily joyful activities
- Participate in the Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt
- Daily piano practicing
- Do a crafts project (finish knitting the scarf)

That is the review of my goals for a more balanced life in March and the goals for April.  March turned out to be an extraordinary month for many, if not all, of us as the world as we knew it changed daily, due to a pandemic and all that it means.  It is still changing and we are still trying to grasp at the implications of it all.  April is going to be another pivotal month.  Here's hoping we all make it through!

Did you make any goals for a more balanced life in March?  If so, were you able to achieve those goals?  Will you be making any goals for April?


  1. I love your spiritual goals , mine are almost the same ☺

    1. Thank you, Natalia. Being able to have spiritual goals is helpful, I think, especially at a time like now.

  2. I think you did a great job with your goals especially as all of us are trying to figure out what our new normal is.

    1. Thank you, Live and Learn. I guess we are all struggling a bit to come to terms with what is happening, but, we will adapt to our new normals whatever they turn out to be. Hope all is well with you (I just left a comment on your last blog post to check on you!)

  3. You have some wonderful successes on your list. Keeping to routine as much as possible is such a good idea, plus it helps us find the things to be grateful for. From yesterday's post, yes I absolutely know that Angels abound everywhere & you are blessed with many along with good friends.

    1. Thank you, Patio Postcards. I will be digging out my cleaning schedule and get back to a routine! Enough wallowing! It's a blessing to have such wonderful friends, isn't it?

  4. I like your new way of writing your goals.

    On the whole you've had a good month and most changes to plans were as a result of a situation completely outside of your control. I understand your reason for marking a couple of the categories down but wonder if you are being too hard on yourself considering how external events in March impacted on everyone's life.

    1. Thank you, Eileen. I sort of piggy backed on how you do them! Yes, well, I felt I should have done better/more in those two areas that I marked down. But, I did cut myself some slack because I needed that time off for my emotional well being!

  5. The roasted spicy garbanzo beans were quite a success ... baby Jamie munched happily, and they also made a really nice 'extra' tossed into what would otherwise have been a very uninspiring salad- I've passed along your recipe to Dana- she has a 4-year-old (Kailyn) who is an adorable little roly-poly and will benefit from a healthy treat- all I can wonder is how did we all end up with such a supply of those beans?
    I remain impressed with your ability to organize and apply 'living goals'- I think doing that must be a good way to step back from things and see an overall picture ... it's probably something all of us need during these days-
    We have had several dry days, so this afternoon just might find me getting seeds started and some of this jungle cleared a bit- at least being outdoors and hearing the sounds of traffic in the distance and neighbors mowing will be a treat-
    Take care ... and fondest wishes-

    1. Glad to hear that the garbanzo beans turned out well and was enjoyed by all, especially baby Jamie! :) Hope Kailyn will enjoy them, too. Well, they are a good source of protein, so having a supply of them is a good thing. By the way, I forgot to mention that the dried ones swell to almost twice their size after soaking, in case you are trying to figure out quantities.

      The goals help me figure out what I am doing and why. The kind of life I wish to have and how best to achieve it, given the circumstances of my very ordinary everyday life.

      Hope you enjoy your afternoon of planting and weeding and being outside. It's a lovely sunny day, here, too, and I can hear the birds singing. :)

  6. I like this entry. This may work out as your new procedure for reporting on your monthly goals. You can see at a glance how things evolved over the month and how you can tweak your methods for change or improvement. You did GREAT by the way.

    I am impressed with all you accomplished with crafting. I didn't get nearly as much done as I had hoped and expected. Furthermore, you were able to finish up projects that have been sitting and waiting for your attention. Those are the very best accomplishments.

    I don't think I expressed any goals for the past month. I know I certainly didn't act upon them. Maybe this month will be better.

    1. Thank you, Susan. I think I might go with this format as it does enable one to see how things flow from one month to the next. I didn't think I accomplished much in the way of crafting until I listed all the things I did and then, I realized it was a productive month, after all! All that news watching was good for crocheting and knitting! LOL. I also made some small crocheted hot pads, with leftovers from the rug making which I forgot to list!

      Well, you might not have made any goals for last month, but, you removed the shower stall from the closet, started on installing it in the basement, made some cards and made a lot of progress on clearing that snow off your deck. So, that counts for something! Hope April will be a good month, too.

  7. You have done really well! You have managed to do crafts and piano practice all the while keeping up with social connections of all kinds.
    It is hard to stay focused at this troubling time and most people I have spoken to have not accomplished all that they thought they would while isolated at home, like spring cleaning. My daily list has items that get pushed onto the next day, and then the day after that. The lists are in a little notebook so it is easy to check back to when I first wrote a chore down, sometimes a week ago or more! Of course having boxes of bottles in the kitchen and other maple equipment on the island counter doesn't help. My cleaning out of kitchen cupboards seems to have come to a halt!

    1. Thank you, Bushlady. I did what I could under some rather stressful conditions and I am happy with that. I think we were all in a state of shock, last month. I've decided that I will ease into my cleaning routines again, this week.

      Sounds like you are busy in the kitchen with all that bottling going on! I hope your maple syrup harvest will be a good one. :)

  8. I really like the way you have set out your goals and what you have achieved. You done well in anxious times. I do so need to set goals as I have found myself procrastinating a lot and not achieving as much as I would like. I am still stalling on picking the grapes and making grape jelly, it has been on my to list for a week, have to move fast as the birds will have them all if I dont put my skates on!

    1. Thank you, Sharon. I think a lot of us have felt unable to achieve much, recently. I am the queen of procrastination, in the best of times, to begin with! Yum, grape jelly! Sounds lovely.


Thank you for visiting my blog and commenting. Your comments are much appreciated. Please comment in English. Thank you.