2020 Goals: March Recap and April Ambitions

Keeping up with my goal to COMMIT this year, here’s an accounting of my March progress and a list of my April goals.

MARCH GOALS:

  1. My EXERCISE goals were to run 50 miles and to go to 10 ballet barre classes. March goals running
    COVID-19 put an end to the ballet barre classes, but I did get in three before the craziness escalated. As the month progressed, Kendell wanted to walk with me, so I walked a lot. More than I ran. I am feeling like getting outside and moving is more important than ever right now, and it matters more that I do it and less HOW. My mileage this month:

6 runs, 23.55 miles
6 walks, 24.55 miles
2 hikes (Dry Creek and Grove Creek), 10.28 miles
58.38 total miles

March goals dry canyon hike

  1. My WRITING goals were to blog two times a week, work on four poems, and finish an essay. Almost total fail. I did blog 8 times, but I worked on zero poems or essays. The enforced togetherness of the quarantine is not fantastic for my writing goals.
  2. My QUILTING goals were to finish the octagon flower blocks, bind Jake’s quilt, and figure out the process for Kaleb’s quilt. I finished a hot pad I made with some scraps from my Crazy Paving quilt (it is named "purple chakra") March goals purple chakra
    and the octagon flowers and I bound Jake’s quilt, but he hasn’t used it yet because I haven’t dared to take it to the laundromat. I did not figure out the process for Kaleb’s quilt but I did print out the pattern so that is a start! My other goal was to NOT quilt as much, and I did accomplish that; I made one little mug rug and I shopped for fabrics for another table runner, but that was all.
  3. My SCRAPBOOKING goal was to make some layouts, and I did that! I organized and executed my Christmas in March week (which is extending into April!) and I made 10 layouts. March goals scrapbooking
  4. My READING goal was to finish the two books I hadn’t and to start The Dark Tower series. Reading has taken the second-biggest hit during the quarantine for me (writing is first), but I did accomplish these goals. But I haven’t read much at all.

March goals dark tower

APRIL GOALS:

  1. EXERCISE: Eight runs (two a week) and as many walks as Kendell or anyone else wants to go on. Three hikes. Pick up strength training again by logging in to my Beach Body account and/or Peleton app. Also, MOVE MORE while I’m working at home. On Wednesday I took several 5-minute breaks where I did a little bit of exercise—jumping jacks, planks, burpees, each one followed by some gentle cobra poses—and my back felt 100% better at the end of the day.
  2. WRITING: Blog twice a week. A couple of days ago, I got sucked into a YouTube add for a Master Class by Joyce Carol Oates. Three things she said I want to remember: “The most destructive thing to our creativity is constant interruption.” “If you feel like you are a writer, you probably are…Take that instinct and turn it into a craft.” “What we all need is the psychological uplift of finishing something.” I was listening to this at the same time I saw that meme about how if you don’t finally do the thing you’ve been putting off doing during the quarantine, you obviously didn’t NOT do it because you didn’t have the time, but lacked motivation. If I don’t finally settle down and write something, anything, during the quarantine, will I ever? Well…who knows? What I want to do is to look at it like a challenge. I WILL be interrupted. I love my people and I love that we are together, but just their presence in the house makes me feel less able to write. (Does blogging count as writing? Yes…but also, sort of no, because it is easier. It doesn’t have the challenge of being chosen by an editor in order to be seen, and so in that sense it is more of a writing exercise.) So, I am making my goal smaller and more specific: I am going to finish an essay I started a while ago and submit it to the Ploughshares emerging writer contest.
  3. QUILTING: Actually make the table runner. Start on Kaleb’s quilt.
  4. SCRAPBOOKING: Finish the Christmas layouts I had planned and make three layouts for my family stories album.
  5. READING: Commit to reading for 30 minutes a day. I have the time. I’m going to try to not let myself feel guilty about this.
  6. BONUS GOAL: Right now, it feels like packages are life. I keep placing online orders for stuff I don’t need. So, I’m setting the goal of MAILING more than I order. I’m going to make and send two cards a week.

Of course...with all that is going on, maybe the best goal is just to survive! How did your March goals go? 


August 2019 Goals

My August goals:

Family and House:

  • Do something every week with just me and Kaleb before school starts. This week we have already gone school shopping twice and it’s been so much fun!
  • Be brave and have the conversation I need to have with one of my kids. I don’t want to reopen wounds but I also feel like there is some festering going on…
  • Go on another actual date with Kendell.
  • Get all of the lingering stuff from my mom’s house organized, boxed, and put away. (I inherited so many beautiful things from her. I just don’t have a place to put them right now.)
  • Get the kitchen painted. (I HATE PAINTING)
  • Continue working on finding somewhere new to move. This experience has been so frustrating. It is mind boggling how expensive houses have gotten here. It makes me worry about what my kids will do in the future (I mean…how can they even get started when a small starter home is $600,000??????) and it makes me feel like a failure (if I had made different choices perhaps I would’ve attained some measure of financial security) and it is emotionally draining. We found some lots a few weeks ago that would’ve been perfect, not too expensive, the right size, a view of the mountain, but they all sold in five or six days.

Health and Exercise:

  • Continue with my solstice to equinox streak: At least 30 minutes of exercise every day.
  • As the uptick in cardio has done absolutely NOTHING to help my weight, I’m going to tweak my goal a little bit: I’ll still do cardio on most days but not every day. But I am adding a muscle-strengthening goal to do some sort of muscle strength exercises every single day.
  • I’m not sure I’ll get 100 miles again this month, because we are going on our summer vacation and two of the days will be harder to run. (Walking around an amusement park would totally add to my mileage, I know, but does that really count as “exercise”?) So, I’m not going to worry about total mileage; instead I am setting the goal of lengthening my longest run to 8 miles. We’ll see how the knees do!
  • At least three hikes this month with Kendell. Four might be hard because of that vacation.
  • Have a good, long discussion with my gynecologist about hormone levels to see if she has any advice about my weight issues. If not, make an appointment with my GP.
  • Get my mammogram done.

Creativity:

  • Most importantly: Finish my poem and submit it.
  • WRITE MORE. On my blog but also with the goal of writing something I could submit.
  • I want to start scrapbooking again, but I don’t think I actually will this month. I want to achieve my other goals first, so for scrapbooking my goal is to do a deep, brutal purge after we get home from our vacation. If you know anyone—individuals or groups—who need scrapbooking supplies, please let me know. I want to send it off to good homes.
  • Before we leave on vacation, I want to finish Jake’s quilt and get it to the quilter. Make a good start on Kaleb’s quilt (I realized this week that I don’t have enough of the main neutral fabric, so I had to dig into the dusty corners of the interwebs to find a few more yards, and now I’m waiting for it to show up!) and keep putting together my pink & black squares.
  • Finish the book I am reading right now and then finish two others. (Stop getting distracted by my phone when I have time to read, in other words.)

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What are your goals for August?


2019 Second Quarter Goals

Tomorrow is April first.

That just blows me away….it seems like it was just Christmas, and here we are, already one-quarter through 2019.

It seems like a good time to check in with my goals and to establish some new ones.

What I accomplished:

Hiking. In January I set the goal to hike 3 times per month. I barely fit it in, as I did my third March hike today, but I’m happy to say I accomplished this goal. One of the hikes was in a national park I’ve never been to, Congaree in South Carolina. One of my favorite hikes was the day we hiked Squaw Peak. This is a hike Kendell and I have done together many times, but it was our first time doing it in the snow and it was fairly amazing. Easier in some ways, harder in others. This was my first winter of hiking consistently and I am so happy to have discovered snow hiking.

Winter hiking

Running. I intended on trying to run three times a week, but I didn’t accomplish this goal.  Partly this is because this part of 2019 was so full of difficult things: my mom’s last illness, death, and funeral, and then the long process of going through her things. Partly it’s because I was lazy. Partly it is because I’m still figuring out my new limitations with my knees. But, I did get in at least one run every week, and several weeks had two, and a couple of weeks had three. And I’ve slowly upped my mileage, by about 3-4 miles per week on average. So, while not perfect, at least I pressed on.

Running on the prt march 2019

Writing. I started the year with a goal of writing more poetry with one of my writer friends. I wanted to write a new poem every three weeks or so, and to polish and perfect what I wrote. I wrote one and a half poems. Which is a little bit dismal, but is more than I wrote in all of 2018, so it’s a start. Again…it was a difficult three months, so I’m not going to berate myself here. Also, I was happy with the talk I wrote for my mom’s funeral. A few blog posts. Not enough writing, but I am glad I managed a little.

Reading. Here’s another ball I dropped. I intended on reading one poem a day from a print source. I went in spurts with this but never got consistent. I'm not sure why, as I read some beautiful, amazing, moving, funny, intelligent poems. I also get several poem-a-day emails, so I did still read a lot of poetry. But the "from a print source" is an important part of the goal. I interact more with a printed book than an email, especially as for this goal I am reading my own copies (rather than library books), so I can underline and write and respond.

Creativity. I made one scrapbook layout and one baby quilt. Hmmmmm...

Baby rag quilt folded

There was one goal that I failed at spectacularly. I wanted to exercise every day that Nathan was at boot camp. Not run every day, but do something. I made it five days...and then I got a cold. Three more days, then my knees were hurting. A few more, then my mom got sick. I REALLY wanted to be brave & strong for him, and out of all my goals, not accomplishing this one is the one I am most annoyed at myself for not completing.

Goals for the upcoming quarter:

Hiking. Continue with three hikes a month. This might have to be on the same trail for awhile, the rockiest one, as the trails are super muddy right now. I’m looking forward to the wildflowers starting to bloom!

Running. I am going to very carefully train for a half marathon. We’ll see how it goes, and if I have to bump down to a 10k, that will have to be OK. But I need a race to train for to keep me motivated. I also think I need to work on some of my emotions about running. I need to accept that I will likely never be able to just run, but will always have to take walking breaks. In theory I know this doesn’t make me weak, or less of a runner, but in my heart I feel like I am less of a runner. For my sanity I need to figure out how to embrace this new reality.

Writing. Two words: WRITE MORE. Also recommit to my poetry-writing friend. And apologize for being such a flake.

Reading. Take up my poem-a-day goal again. And be more devoted to books, by which I mean: leave my phone in another room when I am reading, so I don't get distracted. I only read two books a month during the first part of the year, so my reading goal is to bump it up to three a month.

Creativity. I think this fell by the side because I spent so much time working on my mom’s house. One of the biggest parts of that project was working through all of her fabric. She had so much. I took enough of her fabric to make a quilt or two. Her style was very different from mine, but I think what I will make will be a good blend of her and me. I’m excited to make it. But I also have a quilt to make for Jake and one for Kaleb, and there are FIVE upcoming babies to quilt for. So for a little while, I think scrapbooking might not happen as much. I still want to make more than just ONE layout in three months though! So, the goals: finish Jake’s quilt, Kaleb’s quilt, and the baby quilts. Spend one afternoon a week making scrapbook layouts, including printing the pictures from Christmas and our trip to South Carolina. And take more pictures!

A bonus goal: I have spent way too much money lately. Online shopping has been a sort of comfort to me. Which is dumb, of course. Especially when I think about the excess stuff at my mom’s house we had to get rid of. I don’t need anything. But there is just something about getting a package in the mail. It brightens my heart when I see something waiting for me. Scrapbook supplies, books, workout clothes, fabric. So I am setting myself the goal of NOT SHOPPING. And of using the stuff I’ve bought: make the quilts, use some pretty paper, and keep running and hiking in my beautiful new Skirt Sports skirts. HOWEVER!!! If you want to keep shopping, you should use my discount code at www.skirtsports.com, because a deal AND a package on your porch is pretty awesome. The code is SSA57Amy for 15% off regular prices.

One More bonus goal: next to fall, spring is my favorite. It’s just so beautiful. So my last goal for the next three months is to savor spring. The flowers, the gardening, the return of warm sunshine. This means sitting outside to read, and talking to my trees, and keeping the blinds open and my heart wide. My mom was always happy when winter ended and spring came back, and I’m sad she didn’t get to see yellow daffodils one more time, or sit on the grass next to blooming purple hyacinths just to smell them. So I’m going to do that since she can’t.

Do you have any upcoming goals?


My Hope for 2018

We are not big on New Year’s Eve in my family. Many years I’ve been the only one awake; some years, as my kids got older, I was awake waiting for them to get home from their festivities. This year, Nathan was at a party with his girlfriend, so it was just Kaleb, me, and Kendell at home (a precursor to this year, I think, as Nathan will be graduating this spring and then moving on to as-yet-to-be-determined adventures). We drank blood-orange bubbly out of my grandma’s purple cups and hugged each other and then Kaleb went back downstairs (as he’s in that grumpy-adolescent phase of life and was annoyed that we didn’t have a party to go to).

In a bit I’m going to make myself a cup of hot chocolate, sit in the front room by the little tree, and read (Future Home of the Living God) while I wait for Nathan to get home.

But I wanted to write down some feelings I’m having right now.

There are many things that surprised me about 2017. I didn’t think I’d actually find myself in Hawaii, snorkeling with bottle-nose dolphins, but I did. I didn’t think I’d find myself in an ugly depression, but I did (and I am climbing out). Last January 1st, I had no idea that in a few months, I would stand in a bookstore reading a part of an essay that I wrote and had published, nor did I know how simultaneously scary and thrilling that experience would be. I didn’t know I would strain both popliteus muscles by running, terrified, across three miles of beach searching for Kaleb (thank God Nathan managed to run faster than me and find him). I didn’t imagine hiking Bryce Canyon in a rainstorm or the trails on Santa Cruz Islands. The possibility of returning to New York City seemed remote at best.

2017 held some really, really great moments. I have learned quite a bit about myself, especially in my role as the mother to emerging adults. I’ve read a lot of books (but not as many as I wanted to read), I’ve made quite a few scrapbook layouts and baby quilts; I ran and hiked (but not as often as I wanted).

And all year, I was holding my breath.

Because so many medical things have happened over the past few years. Scary, life-threatening things. And I have lost my belief that they won’t just keep on happening to my family. So, all year, I have held my breath, I have worried, I have woken in the night beset by fear: what would happen next?

But, aside from that depression, and quite a few dermatology appoints for all three boys (Accutane for Nathan and wart treatments for Jake and Kaleb), and Nathan’s hernia surgery this summer, 2017 was a good year for us. Kendell had no heart emergencies and I didn’t sprain my ankle once, let alone twice like in 2016. No one needed stitches or a cast or even, I don’t think, antibiotics.

I am writing that in a whisper; I want to acknowledge the blessing of it but not draw too much attention to it, either, so as to keep the dangerous eye of the Fates away from us.

I’m certain that 2018 will also bring experiences I cannot, tonight, imagine or predict. I hope there is more running, more hiking, more time spent with my husband and kids. More time spent developing and strengthening relationships with my mom, sisters, and friends. I hope my mental health (and Jake’s) continues to improve. I hope I have a productive year: finish the half-made quilts lying about, tell lots of stories, write (and submit) more. I’m tentatively planning on running a marathon this summer, and hopefully some halves, too. I cannot let another summer go by without hiking Timp, and I’d like to do Lone Peak as well.

But more than anything, what I hope 2018 brings us is simply this: good health. Come what may, vacations and graduations and kids moving back in and kids moving out and celebrations and average, normal days...just health. I have been reminded all over again, these last three weeks when my mom has been in the hospital, how tenuous our lives are. There are so many things that can happen or go wrong; I dare not forget that the cliché is true, if we don’t have our health we have nothing. No more long days spent in hospitals, no more healing from surgery or watching the progress of healing incisions.

I am taking a deep breath and feeling brave by throwing this out to the universe, but there it is: what I really want this year is for everyone to be healthy and safe.


January 2013 Goals

I love when words have several meanings that work together. Take the word "resolution," for example. It can mean a long-term goal. But it can also mean the solution to a problem. The meanings work together because the goal can solve a problem---if you follow through.

I'm working at being better on the follow-through.

I have some year-long goals for 2013. I need to revist my 2012 goals, to see how I did. And I've had my kids sit down to write some 2013 goals for themselves.

But I'm also trying to think smaller, in monthly goals that are pieces to the larger yearly goals. Here are my January 2013 goals:

  • Finish and submit my "You Aren't Having a Baby" essay (it is the submit part that I've failed at recently)
  • Get on top of these medical issues: Kendell's oral surgery, echos for the three Bigs, and a mammogram for me. (Did it yesterday, are you proud?)
  • Finish this cryptic project. (Again: yesterday. Notarized and mailed.)
  • Read the Ensign.
  • Renew my Writer's Digest and Poets and Writers subscriptions.
  • Write a December-2012-in-review blog post.
  • Scrapbook Christmas 2013 and 2009.
  • Finish Kaleb's and Jake's quilts.

What are your January goals?


July Goals

I can't believe it's July 1. I think the world has started spinning faster and no one has noticed, because seriously: how can it already be July 1? How can 2012 be half-way over? How can Christmas be in fewer than six months?

How can I not have accomplished much of anything in the past six months of my life?

Some goals I have for July 2012:

  • Blog more! I only blogged six times in June, which is almost a record low for me. I get all angsty and easily annoyed when I'm not writing regularly, and easily-annoyed is not a trait one wants around when the kids are home from school. I want to write about: my Mexico trip, the bigot thing (still!), the rest of my Ragnar experience, Cascade Springs road, more on my 40 series, a handful of books, and why I feel unnecessary (which isn't as Eeyore-ish as it sounds).
  • Laugh more! On the first night of our trip, when everyone was punch-drunk from too much driving-all-day-long, a combination of comments, asides, and a funny billboard made our Suburban-full of people (me, Jake, Nathan, Haley, Suzette, my mom, Breann, and Madi) start laughing hysterically. When we all calmed down, Haley said "Mom, I've never seen you laugh like that," and the boys agreed, and then I felt sort of sad because why don't my kids see me laughing? That is pathetic!
  • Get my fonts reorganized. We did a computer upgrade last month and I still don't have any of my fonts installed. (Long story as to why.) Instead of just dumping everything on, however, I'm going to be picky and only install what I really, really use. 1200+ fonts is just too many!
  • Start reading the Harry Potter series to Kaleb.
  • Spend more one-on-one time with each of my kids.
  • Finish three novels.
  • Finish writing and submit the two essays I've been putzing around with.
  • Reread The War of Art.
  • Go on a hike with my friend Chris.

What are you planning for July?


2012 Solutions

I'm not fond of setting New Year's resolutions. Not because I'm not a fan of change—I am. But because I know myself. I tend to pick resolutions that are either too grandiose or too vague, and then I fail, and then I feel guilty for failing. And as I don't need yet another thing to feel needlessly guilty about, I decided a couple of years ago to just skip the resolutions thing and move forward with life.

I've been thinking about resolutions, though, quite a bit lately. Ever since I made this layout:

2012 asorensen

for the WCS January gallery. (You can read all the journaling HERE if you want.) I don't know if it's contemporary or pathetic of me to have a Costco-inspired ah-ha moment, but that's really how it worked out. I had my Christmas cards printed at Costco, and they throw in a handful of those calendars. Plus I ordered a few extra. They ended up on the messy pile that was my scrapbooking table after Christmas, and when I conquered that mess I was left with the little stack of calendars. It became an image I kept coming back to, all day, in my imagination. Looking at them in that format—all the days to fill with something during 2012—sparked something in me. A desire to not let time simply pass while I whine about not yet doing what I want to do with my life. But to be decisive and determined and to find that surety I used to have about myself—to stop letting my fears get in my way. Avoiding resolutions because I know I will fail and then beat myself up over the failures? It does show me that I know myself well. But it also tells me that I am, simply, afraid.

And I'm too old to be afraid!

Still. This year, I'm not looking at my goals as resolutions. Instead, they are solutions. And the overarching thing I'm trying to solve isn't losing ten pounds or being a better mom or pushing my writing career. Instead it's about overcoming fear and conquering my tendency for self flagellation. And it's about putting into shape all the nebulous hopes and desires bumping around in my heart.

So! Here they are, my 2012 solutions, grouped into topics because of that non-nebulous aspiration thing:

Relationships

  • Don't skip, postpone, or otherwise miss any monthly special nights with the kids. (I sucked at this last year.)
  • Spend more one-on-one time with each of them (this is purposefully vague as some of my children do read my blog, and I want some things to be a surprise)
  • Plan one date night per month with Kendell (I tend to wait around for him to plan them and then get annoyed when he doesn't)
  • Two family nights per month (one of my biggest LDS fails: just how rarely I actually manage family night. If I decided to do it every week I'd get overwhelmed and continue doing them on a spotty basis; twice a month feels like a good baby step)
  • Reach out to my friends, my sisters, and my mom more often (translation: try to ask for help more, or call up just to talk, or share something that is bothering me instead of staying closed up tight)
  • Send a card, photos, note, or little thinking-of-you kind of gift twice a month to someone (this could also be classified in the "help the Post Office survive" category!)

Spiritual

  • Only read religion-based books on Sundays
  • Fast on every fast Sunday
  • Start writing in my scripture journal again

Writing

  • Write every day in some form.
  • Finish one story and/or essay per month
  • Finish three poems per month
  • Submit the previous month's finished work at least three times
  • Renew my Writer's Digest and Poets and Writers subscriptions
  • Start the novel. Just start it.
  • Find a writing group.
  • Follow up on my blog ideas with more regularity

Exercise:

  • Through spring, my weekly goals: go to Spin classes with Haley three times, run twice, and attend the sculpting classes at the gym twice
  • Prepare for Ragnar starting in March.
  • Summer: one half-marathon in July, August, September, and October. One 16-18 mile run per month.
  • Run 500 miles this year.

Service to Others:

  • Donate blood once every quarter
  • Coordinate some secret service project with my kids once a quarter

Creativity

  • Scrapbooking: buy less, make more. (I will write about this more.) Try to figure out how to fit it into my life without letting it consume all of my creative energy. (also another blog post.)
  • Quilting: finish Kaleb's dinosaur quilt; finish my pink table cloth; make a table runner and two table toppers for the downstairs furniture; make a new table runner to go under my little Christmas tree
  • Photography: Jump on the 12 on the 12th bandwagon; take a monthly family photo
  • Reading: spend less time putzing around on the Internet and more time reading actual books; write about them with more frequency but perhaps less detail

My last goal is to hold myself accountable, which means I'm going to check in on my solutions once a month to see how I'm doing. Feel free to skip those blog posts!