2024 Goals: 1st Quarter Review

This year, after setting my usual resolutions, I decided I would check in with myself quarterly to see how I was doing, and where I needed to make changes. This way my resolutions would stay in the front of my mind, and I could change things up if needed, rather than abandon a resolution all together and try again next year.

So, Q1 was January through March and at the beginning of this month I tried to set aside time to review my resolutions. It was also a good time to see how I did with my Lenten penances as well, and reflect on my spiritual life. I also kept a reader survey open for a while, and it was helpful to look at the responses and think about my blog and the future of my writing too. To review, this year’s resolutions are:

  • 1. Continue with current spiritual practices, working on consistency.
  • 2. Continue with current exercise practices, with a home-based backup plan.
  • 3. Focus on one thing at a time, and doing it well.
  • 4. Do more hands-on crafts and projects.

I can tell you I did not do anything for #4, and I sort of feel bad about it, because I do like creating and doing art for myself, but I like doing a lot of things and I’m sort of focused on other stuff right now, so this goal is getting pushed off for the time being.

Resolution #1 also encompassed a lot of Lent. I have prayers I say everyday, I just want to make sure I actually say them everyday. For the first quarter of the year, I did pretty good with my basic daily prayers. I wasn’t able to get to daily Mass or Adoration as much as I’d planned during Lent, but I did an okay job at fasting…until about the last two weeks. I pulled it together for the Triduum, but I kept telling Tony if Lent was just two weeks shorter, I would be a superstar. As I’ve taken on some new projects, I’m already slipping back into some old habits, i.e. making excuses on why I can’t pray now and promising myself I’ll get to it later. But thanks to Colleen’s comment, I’ve been asking St. Pio to help me with DISCIPLE this year so I can do what I need to do, even when it sucks and I hate it.

Thankfully, I have maintained my exercise routine, though I have yet to come up with a home-based backup plan that I will actually do, so I’ve missed several days due to appointments and while I could’ve done a home-based workout at some point in the day, I didn’t. But I recently moved my workout time to later in the day and that’s been helpful for getting more things done and avoiding conflicts with appointments. I HATE working out at night, but Edie prefers it and since we lift weights together, she’s able to motivate me to leave the house when I’d rather be reading in bed.

Resolution #3 was really a big deal for me. I started the year feeling really overwhelmed with prioritizing tasks. Ultimately I adopted an index card system for tackling almost every task in my life. At a little over four months in, I can say it’s working really well for me. I knew I didn’t want a digital calendar or app, but my planner wasn’t cutting it, so now, every repeating task I need to do is written on an index card and everyday, I wake up, make my coffee, say my morning prayer and pull out the cards for the day. I take the cards from the day before and move each task card to the day it will need to be completed again in the future. Then I review the cards for the day and write the tasks I need to do in my planner, along with any one off to-do items that have come up. (Here’s a video from someone that uses a similar system.)

Organizing tasks this way has helped me see what cleaning has been done, what cleaning needs to be done, what ministry tasks should be done this week, etc and the whole system allows me to easily add or subtract tasks. Tony and I recently bought some small online businesses to grow as a side hustle (a long story that’s really another whole post), and using this systems helped me to see what tasks I needed to set aside to make time for these new ventures, and if I do put off something for now, I don’t need to worry about forgetting it entirely because it will still keep popping up occasionally. (If you’d like a video of how I go through my cards each day, let me know.) So while I took on more work for myself and am a bit stressed about it, I still feel like I have a better sense of where to put my efforts each day vs the constant overwhelmed indecision and inaction.

These new ventures are also why blogging has dropped off after a pretty good start to the year. I hope to get back into a better grove once I knock out some of the upfront work on our other websites. After 12 years of blogging it’s nice to realize I have gained a skillset that is useful for more than just sharing my life here. Speaking of blogging; survey results!

I received 26 responses, which is much less than the 2020, 2018, or 2016 reader surveys. But, I did initially forget to toggle the switch that allowed people to submit responses, so I probably lost a few entries that way. The biggest surprises for me were that:

57.7 % of respondents read less than a dozen blogs, and 34.6% read about a dozen. – I think this was a stark reminder of how few blogs people follow anymore, or can follow for that matter. Gone are the days of the lengthy blog rolls people used to display in their sidebar or the 100+ link ups on a Quick Takes post. I think when the blogs we used to follow close up shop, we don’t tend to go out and find new ones. Agree or disagree?

50% of respondents are active on social media (meaning the other half are not). – I take this to mean that many people who still enjoy reading blogs, want blogs to read, not microblogging. And the comments seemed to support this. Social media posting really isn’t a satisfying substitute for blogging.

More than 75% of respondents have either not read my book or didn’t even know I had a book. Please, it’s on sale on Amazon. You don’t need to be a special needs parent to enjoy it – and that’s based on what readers have told me, honest!

But thank you to those that took my survey. I always love hearing from readers, especially the blind capuchin monkeys. I have no intentions of giving up my blog to share my thoughts solely on Instagram or Facebook, I’m not moving to Substack, nor starting a Patreon or writing only SEO optimized posts laced with keywords on very niche subjects. I do have my Ko-Fi community, but I hope that doesn’t take anything away from here. So stay tuned for more family traditions, recipes, funny stories, and self analysis you’ve come to know and love!

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