Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Balanced Life Monthly Goals - January Review and February Goals

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 being shown in blue.

Monthly 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 by being generous and giving to the extent I am able
- Hold an almsgiving scheduled for January 5.

The highlight of the month in this area of my life was the almsgiving my daughter and I held on January 5.  It was a much scaled back almsgiving, with only two monks and no other participants in attendance.  But, I was happy that we could do this and start the year with this blessing ceremony.  Afterwards, we distributed plates of food to neighbors and friends.

In addition, I continued with my daily prayers, meditation, and being grateful; I have tried to be positive, generous, and joyful.  I feel that I do live a spiritually meaningful life and I am very pleased with this area of my life!

I will continue to keep the rating at 10.

February Spiritual goals will be the same as above (minus the almsgiving).  

House (8.5)(8.5):  The goal is a home that is pleasant, comfortable, and welcoming:
- Clean - Clean the house as needed 
- 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 - Continue with the decluttering process
The focus this month was putting away the holiday decorations and getting the house ready for the almsgiving.  It took me some time to put away all the holiday items (the tree was up till almost mid January), but, it got done and the house was given a good cleaning.  Keeping the house maintained is a different matter, but, it is a safe, comfortable, and lived in home and that is what is important.  Not necessarily company ready, unless you are company bringing us dinner (as friend S did), in which case, you are more than welcome!  LOL!  Decluttering has gone well; I met my goal of decluttering 31 items this month, although another 11 items came in!  

I am keeping my rating at 8.5.  

February House goals will be the same as above, with the focus being on keeping the place maintained.  I am planning to continue with the decluttering in February, too; the goal is at least 28 items. 

Garden (9.5)(9.5):  The goal is a garden that is productive, yet drought tolerant:
Maintaining (water, fertilize, and weed); M will continue to visit twice a week
- Focus on the winter vegetable and fruit plants

The garden continues to thrive.

The lemon trees and orange tree are full of fruits, the peach tree is full of flowers, I've been harvesting several peapods and the purple mustard leaves on a regular basis, we've planted broccoli and beetroot seedlings and several varieties of seeds, including Japanese spinach, watermelon radish, burdock, and carrots (still waiting on them to sprout). 

The flowering plants are doing well, too; most of the roses were pruned at the beginning of January and they are already getting new leaves, the hellebore plant that M gave me is flowering, the osteospermum are starting to flower, and the "stinky flower" plant is putting out leaves.  Some of the wildflowers we planted last year have self-seeded and new plants are springing up in various places!  I am trying to encourage them wherever they are growing as I am not sure how well wildflowers will transplant.

M has also been busy pruning and clearing some of the overgrown plants to open up the garden for better air circulation and light.   We still need to spruce up the front garden and the side yard, in addition to cleaning out the shed.

I am keeping the rating at 9.5, because the garden has been doing quite well.    

February Garden goals will include:
Maintaining (water, fertilize, and weed)
- Focus on the winter vegetable and fruit plants
- Figure out a trellis for the passionfruit vine and repot it in a larger container
- Clean out the garden shed

Daughter (10)(10) The goal is to continue to have a close relationship with her:
- Continue to enjoy the rest of the time together before she has to go back (not sure when, but, probably at the end of this month or beginning of February)

I have continued to enjoy having my daughter home with me and it looks like her stay has been extended till at least the end of March!  We are not complaining!  Fun activities included taking a couple of online painting classes, together.

I am keeping the rating at 10!

February Daughter goals will include:
- Continue to enjoy the rest of the time together before she has to go back

Family & Friends (10)(10):  The goal is to have a close connection with family and friends:
- Regular phone calls and emails to check on them
- Have friend R over to lunch (when we are having the almsgiving)
- Visit friend A when her health permits

I interacted with family and friends mainly through phone calls, emails, texts, etc., declining at least two invitations to attend family get togethers due to the fact that our Covid numbers soared after Christmas and these gatherings were not limited to only the immediate family.  The month began with a visit from friend S, who brought us a platter of Sri Lankan treats and there was a second visit from her later in the month, with dinner!  Friend R declined the invitation to participate in the almsgiving due to health concerns, which were quite understandable; daughter and I took her a plate of food, afterwards.  It was one of several curbside visits with friend R, in January.  I was unable to visit friend A; however, daughter prepared a meal for them and we dropped it off along with their holiday gifts.  Throughout the month, there were additional exchanges of food with friends, as well,  Food is, apparently our language of love and caring!

I am keeping the rating at 10.  

February Family and Friends goals will include:
- Regular phone calls and emails to check on them
- Visit friend A when her health permits

Community (10)(10):  The goal is to be involved in my community:
- Continue to participate in the various community groups to the extent possible in the following ways:
  - Participate in the blogging community
  - Participate in the online organizing group
  - Weekly phone calls with neighbor T
  - Participate in temple events when safe to do so

I participated in the blogging community and interacted with my neighbors, exchanging holiday gifts with them, phone calls, etc.  I was able to have an in-person visit with neighbor S and family at the very beginning of the month and there were several plates of food being passed around, as well!  Temple events were restricted to having the monks over for an almsgiving; there were other events at the Temple which I chose not to attend due to health concerns.  

I'm keeping the rating at 10.

February Community goals will be the same as above!

Finances (10)(10):  The goal is financial security:
- Set up my budget for the year
- Continue budgeting and spending mindfully, with purpose  

I set up my budget for the year, although, it will need a bit of fine tuning as rates for water, gas, and electricity have gone up (effective the beginning of this year) and new expenses have come up.  I continued to budget and spend as mindfully as possible in January and I came in under budget for groceries.
I am keeping the rating at 10.

February Financial goals:

- Continue budgeting and spending mindfully, with purpose  

Health & Well Being (8.0)(8.5):  The goal is good health:
- Focus on continuing to improve my health
- Focus on diet and hydration
- Go for my mammogram (scheduled for January 7)
- Take another blood test (prior to appointment with the oncologist)
- Oncologist appointment (scheduled for January 27)

My health goals are on-going.  I went for my mammogram, the blood test, and the oncologist appointment.  The mammogram and blood test results were good and the appointment went well.  I had also lost two pounds, which is not much, but, it is better than gaining two pounds!  I also received my injection to strengthen my bones (I have osteopenia or low bone density).  I sent in the request to have the free Covid test kits mailed to me (4 per household), which were supposed to be mailed at the end of the month, but, so far, I have not received any notification of them being mailed.  I also had to switch pharmacies because I was told the pharmacy I was using was no longer mailing medications.  However, they mailed me the one medication that apparently didn't get transferred (not sure why it didn't get transferred)! 
I am raising the satisfaction rating to 8.5 on the strength of the good mammogram and blood test results.

February Health & Well Being goals: 
- Focus on continuing to improve my health through diet, hydration, etc.
- Go for my primary care physician appointment scheduled for later this month

Time Management (7)(7): The goal is to spend my time in a mindful manner:
Spend time purposefully, mindfully
- Continue to focus on making my schedule work for me
- Procrastinate less

I have been spending my time purposefully and mindfully procrastinating!  LOL!  I don't think I should raise the rating, so I will keep it at 7.  I think I need to get back to posting my daily to do lists, because that tends to keep me accountable!

February Time Management goals are the same as above.  

Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies/Self-Care (10)(10):  The goal is to relax doing something I enjoy doing for the pleasure of it.
- Resuming piano lessons (second week in January)
- Continue with craft projects that are in progress
- Participate in the Monthly Photo Challenge and the Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt
- Watch some videos with my daughter

Piano lessons have been postponed until at least mid-April, by mutual agreement.  It works out better for both S and I.  I completed some of the craft projects that were in progress, but, there are more to be worked on!  I participated in the Monthly Photo Challenge, but, didn't take quite as many photos for the WPSH.  I didn't watch videos with my daughter, however, I took a couple of online painting classes with her and one without her, instead.  I am keeping the rating at 10.  

February Leisure/Crafts/Hobbies/Self-Care goals include:
- Continue with craft projects that are in progress
- Participate in the Monthly Photo Challenge and the Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt
- Watch some videos with my daughter

January has been a good month, overall.  My ratings remained the same for the most part, but, the Health and Wellbeing rating increased a little bit, which has pleased me more than anything else.  Health/Well Being and Time Management will continue to be the focus areas in February, too.      

How was your January?  Did you make any monthly goals for a more balanced life?  What are your goals for February?


  1. I think you have done brilliantly Bless. My goal for February is to make proper plans for my garden.

    1. Thank you, Angela. February is a good month for making garden plans, isn't it? What are you planning to plant?

  2. You're definitely on an even keel and your health and well being score improving is excellent news for you and your medication transfer was sorted apart from that one item.
    I tried to book my blood test yesterday and was told the earliest date was in March but that was no good to me but I was given an "emergency" appointment once I'd explained why I needed it. This has never happened before and it seems like the systems change all the time just lately.

    1. Thank you, Eileen; I'm pleased with how things turned out in January. :) I'm glad you were able to get an emergency appointment for your blood test. I guess the system is just overwhelmed, right now.

  3. That is good news that your daughter gets to stay on with you awhile more. Your January was a good month & lots of health improvements. I will say my January proved to be most successful particularly around the use of my OLW-reduce. Happy 2's day - February 2nd, 2022 - 02/02/22

    1. Can you tell that I'm very happy that she gets to stay a little longer? :D
      January was a good month and I'm glad you had success with your OWL-reduce. Happy 2's day to you, too! 2/2/22! I love that! :D

  4. That certainly looks like it was a good month!
    On Monday evening I noticed that the Christmas tree had started to drop needles so that finished it. I took everything off on Tuesday and DH dumped it in one of our snow banks for the squirrels to play with, while I vacuumed up the needles. I put the boxes and other stuff into the bins this morning. Christmas is officially over! 😀

    1. Thank you, Bushlady. It was a very good month. :)

      You've had a couple of busy days, getting Christmas packed up! Just in time for St. Valentine's Day! :)

  5. It's so good to see that you have felt able to increase your health & wellbeing rating. You are doing brilliantly.

    I'll be writing about one of my new goals in my 'home' category in the next few days.

    1. Thank you, Eileen. I am hoping I'll be able to keep that health and wellbeing area at that higher rating. We shall see. Looking forward to reading your goals in your home category. :)

  6. I agree with Angela! You set such detailed goals, it's impressive. I don't set any! Other than to get through each month without making too many mistakes or creating any disasters! Celie

    1. I started doing this balance wheel thing several years ago when I was feeling very unbalanced and overwhelmed (working full time, single parent to a pre-teen with several extra-curricular activities, taking care of my semi-invalid mother, plus the usual household tasks). I started out with ratings that were as low as 3 in some areas and felt I was failing in every area! It's taken me a long time to get to this stage and of course, a lot of things changed, too, along the way, with my mother passing away, my daughter growing up and becoming more independent, and, more recently, retiring from work! The goals got better defined with time as I moved from "being able to cope" to "being able to enjoy".
      Sometimes, though, being able to cope is all one can do.

  7. You seem to be getting a lot of balance in your life and it shines through your blog.

    1. Thank you, Lyssa. I am definitely feeling more balanced now than I did, years ago, when I first started doing this exercise. There is, still, quite a bit of potential for things to become unbalanced, especially when it comes to the house, my health, and time management, but, I am trying to focus on the positives. :)

  8. You've done really well on your goals!
    You must be really pleased daughter will be staying on a little longer. I know you've always had a close relationship but the time you've been spending lately is definitely a bonus especially in these times when you are both trying to limit your contact with others.

    1. Thank you, Sharon. :)
      Yes, I'm really pleased to have my daughter home a little longer. I like having her home. We are good company for each other. :)

  9. Your wheel spokes seem nice and balanced and well thought through.
    As usual!

    Shed??? I did not know you had a shed.

    1. Thank you, Debra.

      Yes, I have a garden shed! There are all kinds of bits and pieces in there - a push power, a ladder, a charcoal grill (which I will continue to keep), shelves with pots and planters and some stuff to be recycled. Probably quite a few spiders, too! LOL.


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