I wonder what 2017 will have in store for our family. For some odd reason, I have a good feeling about this year. In the past, we’ve had our share of setbacks, some challenges, and quite a bit of bad luck. However, I am hereby publicly declaring, 2017 is the year it all happens for us. I don’t know what “it” will be, but I know it will be great. I should be prepared, so I guess I will set my 2017 goals and hope “it” finds me.
First, Time for Reflection
Before I set my goals for the New Year, I like to reflect on the year that was. What were our successes, our failures, fun times and not so fun times? 2016 has been yet another crazy year for our family.
2016 brought many big changes for the family:
- We moved 600 miles from Texas back home to Missouri.
- Mom & Gavin successfully transitioned to brand new schools in 2016. Both are doing exceedingly well. Gavin is making new friends, and Heather has already gained the trust and respect of her peers. Way to go guys!!
- Ethan has also transitioned well from being full time at an ABA center to being at home with me full time. I’m still getting my feet under me, in terms of being a homeschool teacher, but we are starting to get the hang of it.
- We’ve seen improvements in Ethan. He seems happier and more aware today. We’re continuing to try new things for Ethan. Around March last year, we implemented our 4-D autism treatment plan. It’s working pretty well, and after seeing his doctor a couple days ago, we plan to continue this same plan with a few tweaks here and there.
- I’ve tried a couple different things to improve my health as well. Most notably, I began a daily meditation practice for stress management, and I gave the GAPS diet a good 3 months. GAPS didn’t really work for me. I am ending the year with far less physical GI problems, and I feel happier as well.
- Kaitlyn has gone from a crazy toddler to an even crazier 2 year old. She continues to make us all smile, as she shows more and more of her wild, yet beautiful personality. She just recently really started playing “house’ with her toys. It’s the cutest thing!
Now on to 2017
Setting SMART GOALS
There are so many books & blogs out there telling us how to set our goals. They say in order to make sure you achieve your goals they have to be SMART. (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely) They say to write down your goals. Find someone to share your goals, help you achieve them, and hold you accountable. Find an accountability partner if you will.
Well, I’m taking their advice. I’m writing my goals down here and sharing with my wonderful & supportive readers. You guys will be my accountability partners. I will be setting 5 goals for both my personal life and this blog. (post coming soon)
My 2017 Goals
1) Handle Stress Better
I’ve made great strides with my health, but one of my biggest roadblocks stems from my inability to effectively handle the stress load. We are a family of 5 living on 1 income. That income is a teacher’s income, so money will always be a point of stress for the family and me. Furthermore, as a parent of a 10yo with autism, a 9yo with a genius level IQ, and a 2-year-old little girl, my daily stress level is pretty high. Stress is simply part of my life. If I want to be happy and take the best care of my family, I need to figure out how to handle it better.
But this is not Specific, Measurable, or Timely. It’s not a SMART goal.
This one is tough to make SMART, but here goes. I will read 5 books this year on stress management, philosophy, or religion. I have 3 books in my Amazon cart right now on Stoicism, and I am hoping they will shine some light and help me with this target. Perhaps, handling stress better should be more of a New Year’s Resolution, as all of my other goals should help with this as well.
My first 3 reads of 2017! (these are affiliate links)
2) Improve my Daily Meditation
My only goal for 2016 was to meditate every single day. Even if only for 2 minutes, I wanted to ensure I meditated everyday. I’m happy to say that I did accomplish this goal. However, I need to continue improving my daily meditations to further help with stress management and my general happiness.
Make it SMART
I will take advantage of free resources out there that teach people how to meditate better. I will download the Headspace app. I’ve heard great things about this app, and a portion of it is free. It is supposed to improve your meditation practice. I will use Headspace everyday for at least a week. If it is not working, I will use other guided meditations available online 3 times a week for the first 6 months of the year.
3) Improve Sleep Quality
Sleep has always been elusive to me. Even before having kids, my sleep habits were not very good. It has become crystal clear to me however, that I need better sleep. For daily health, happiness, & stress management, I need to sleep.
SMARTen Up That Goal
Now, of course I could simply say I will sleep 7 hours a night everyday this year. That will not work towards improving sleep quality, and it will not be attainable either. There will be days I don’t get a full night’s sleep. That fact is inevitable with 3 kids. But, how do I make improving sleep quality SMART? Here goes:
- Stop eating after 7:30pm.
- TV & PlayStation off by 9pm (Fri/Sat may be the exception)
- Complete bedtime routine and head on pillow by 10pm
- Fall asleep thinking of things I am grateful for
- Track Sleep Quality using the sleep cycle app
4) Get Fit
Ah fitness, the one aspect of health that I willfully neglected for the better part of the last decade. Any time I exercised in the past, it wasn’t to be fit, it was to lose weight. Sadly, anytime I tried to start an exercise routine, I seemed to get sick shortly after starting. Even just a couple years ago, my body didn’t feel strong enough to start a fitness routine of any kind.
I’ve lost a ton of weight thanks to diet changes, and my meditation goal of 2016 did wonders for my health. I think I am finally ready to focus on fitness. Besides, my kids are getting older and I need to keep up with them. I play with them in very physical ways. I wrestle with Gavin and throw Kaitlyn up and around like a baton. Ethan often jumps on my back, and I run around the house with him in tow. He loves it when I have him do “super jumps” with him. Those are times when he jumps and I catch him mid-jump and then pick him up over my head. He’s 75 pounds now, so I am going to need to work on getting a lot stronger if I’m to continue this fun activity.
SMARTen Up That Goal
I am still working on specific fitness goals. I will be writing a separate post specifically on Dad’s Fitness Goals, so stay tuned for that. It will be a fun, light hearted post, but also one with specific targets for my fitness. You will soon be able to click here to find that post. For now, let this serve as my accountability for actually making those goals and writing that post.
5) Spend More time with My Kids
I spend an extraordinary amount of time taking care of my kids. I cook. I clean. I shop. I teach. And so on… But, I don’t feel like I spend enough time with them where I am fully present. Time that is not thinking about what’s next on the to do list, or allowing my mind to wander from the moment. I want to spend more QUALITY time with them.
How do I make this goal SMART?
I want to spend a minimum of 15 minutes every day with each one of my kids, individually. This may seem like a tiny amount, but life is busy. I have to ensure this goal is attainable, right? We parents juggle 10 things at once for 15 hours a day. Carving out 45 minutes a day where my focus is solely on my kids won’t be easy, but it is one goal that I can achieve. It will make me happier and will make the whole family happier too.
Those are my 2017 goals. It’s interesting how they are all interconnected too. Each one can contribute or hinder the others. For instance, if I don’t sleep, I won’t pay as focused attention to the kids. I won’t handle stress well, and I won’t feel like exercising. It may even make me fall asleep when I try to meditate. Conversely, if I do get regular sleep the opposite happens. All my 2017 goals serve a single purpose though. They all work to make me a happier and better version of myself.