Monthly Goals: July 2020

This post is sponsored by KINTO, a Japanese company that focuses on bringing tableware, drinkware, and interior items that bring its owners a sense of joy. Each of their items are heavily considered for the ease of integration into one’s lifestyle, without sacrificing the beauty of everyday things. 

A few days late, but better than never. In May, I shared how daily habits can help get goals achieved and in June I wrote about how creating time blocks can facilitate getting goals done.

For July, I wanted to do something a bit different and separate goals from habits. Habits are tiny daily steps we take to create a particular lifestyle. Hopefully the habits feed into your future goals but let’s not get the two confused as being the same thing.

This month’s goal formula has monthly goals, weekly goals, and daily habits listed separately. I consider monthly goals to be TRUE GOALS – one time events that occur after reaching a certain thresh-hold. In contrast, daily habits are tiny wins that we wish to accomplish so as to create a particular lifestyle. They are not true goals in that there is no end point. You do them daily, so it’s not like you drank 8 cups of water today therefore you’re done with that goal. Habits should be things that never leave you. You still want to do that again tomorrow in order to maintain a certain lifestyle. Lastly, weekly goals are somewhere in between. They’re goals that you can cross off and forget about for a few days, until a new week begins. They create a repeating habit over time. Below, you will see the difference between the three.

Monthly Goals:

  • Increase Instagram followers to 800 people, which may not seem like a lot but for a non-socialite such as myself seems like such a huge feat! If you like this content, perhaps you might enjoy a follow😉
  • Get a podcast recording in the books. It’s been a while since I’ve shared my story or put myself out there. After a few years of going down this loan repayment path, maybe some people can glean valuable info from my mistakes and my successes? I will try to see if there’s a space who would be interested in hearing the story thus far.
  • Finish online continuing education courses for dentistry and plan future live CE’s. Since we are spending a lot of time quarantining, I might as well use this time to knock out 25 of my 50 required continuing education credits. As a frugalist, I always do 25 of them online for FREE, which is the maximum allowed remote courses one can take.
  • Upgrade bathroom. We recently re-painted our bathroom in June. I wanted to upgrade the rest of it to make it feel like a brand new space without breaking the bank. I will be brainstorming a frugal way to upgrade a bathroom and will be sharing the project as we continue along.
  • Pantry declutter project. Every month I try to check the pantry for soon-to-be-expired items that I then integrate into meal planning. I like a minimalist fridge and pantry, getting rid of ingredients before buying more. We have very little pantry space in our small home, so it’s kind of a necessity, but also, a fun challenge for me.
  • Digital declutter project. For so long, I keep telling myself this will be the time I will digitally declutter. I have tons of files, photos, emails, subscriptions … I’d love to tackle this today!
  • Break $500 with the blog. I just recently started making money from the blog in the hundreds and my goal is to continually increase my blogger income. This month, I hope to break $500 in extra cash. One way I do this is by getting affiliate sponsored posts or by making affiliate links.
  • Explore 2 new places. It’s always good to have goals that nourish the soul. I love to explore and experience new things so this month, I wanted to explore two new places that we have never been before.
  • Bake 1 new recipe. I typically try to learn a new baker’s recipe every month using a variety of cookbooks or bloggers as inspiration.

Weekly Goals:

  • Stay offline one day a week. This means no blogging or social media for one entire day. This will be the day I spend with Mike, friends and family.
  • Deep clean house including bathroom, kitchen and floors.
  • Run 3x/wk. We have been pretty good about running a few days a week and I am proud of my abilities now (running up to five miles) so I want to keep this up. Hopefully it naturally turns into a habit so that I won’t have to keep making it a goal.

Habits:

  • Stretch/yoga10 mins every morning
  • Wake at sunrise
  • Use Headspace every morning
  • Skin care routine every morning
  • Wear TBC eyewear when using screens
  • Make bed every morning
  • Read 20 pages every day
  • No social media after 7pm
  • Drink 8 glasses of water
  • Turn on humidifier every evening
  • Wear a nightguard every night
  • Sleep at a decent hour every night
  • Write at least 30 minutes a day
  • Get outdoors 30 mins per day

I love to check off goals when I complete them. As for habits, I love to track. My favorite printable habit tracker download is by Unbound, which you can buy here.

I hope your month goes swell! See y’all in August.

Monthly Goals: June 2020

This is my second monthly goals post, but before we get into the thick of things, I just wanted to take the time to ask how everyone’s May went? For me, I’d say rather quickly. Compared to April, May kind of got away from me. Yet there were many accomplishments that I wanted to share.

May Accomplishments

  • I decreased phone use  significantly, thanks to my habit of deleting Instagram after blog work every day and docking my phone when I got home. I also had added a nighttime lock on all apps between the hours of 9pm and 7am. Lastly, I limited screen time to an hour a day.
  • I’ve developed a new habit in the mornings.  I somehow couldn’t get myself to keep the humidifier on every night so I’ve actually reverted the habit to mornings and it’s worked better for me. I wake up, light a candle, fling open the windows, and turn on the humidifier, adding a few drops of essential oil. It holds enough water to run until the evening.
  • For the blog, I received more views than the previous month (despite failing to post five times a week). I added over an additional 2313 affiliates, of which about 50 are well-aligned with my blog.
  • I completed 6 dental CE courses, despite aiming for 16.
  • I kept the home tidy and neat. Mike has helped me make the bed every day, and we’ve worked as a team to do a weekly cleaning of the entire space.
  • I’ve run five weeks in a row, and have achieved consistently running 5k in under 35 minutes. To give perspective, my lifetime “record” of a 5k was 45 minutes prior to this month. Embarrassing, but true. My fastest mile for the month was 9 minutes and 30 seconds, which is a lifestyle achievement for me. I have only my roommate and husband to thank for pushing me to get out there.
  • I reached the goal of increasing my income without increasing the number of days I worked. I made an additional $4,000 this month than the previous month by increasing my production at work. Due to COVID-19’s restriction on dental care being lifted in California mid-May, we were swamped with all sorts of neglected dental care that needed urgent attention. I don’t think I left the office early all of May.
  • We stayed under our spending limits this month. This was helped by the fact that Mike’s dad and grandpa live in a 55+ community and receive a weekly box of groceries. Since they have food preferences, Mike and his sister benefited from the left-over excess, which then reduced our grocery bills.

There is one thing in May that I did not accomplish and that was to start writing a book. I planned to create a habit of working on it thirty minutes a day, but my short-coming was that I never scheduled that 30-minute block into my planner. I still want to write a book, so this month, I will try to make it a point to block out 30 minutes a day to just write. I find that the best way to get myself to do something is to do it first thing in the morning. Therefore, I aim to start each day writing at 5:30am to 6:00am.

The Importance of Blocking Out Time

Last time I wrote about habit creation in order to achieve goals. Today, I will briefly note the importance of blocking out time.

My time is greatly structured and organized, which isn’t to say it isn’t fluid. However, it is mostly adhered to and taken very seriously. I set aside blocks for everything I do, even spending time with my husband or family. I know it seems boring to have your whole life planned in such a way, but it is necessary to living a full life. When opportunities present themselves, it doesn’t mean you have to turn them down. It only requires the extra step of prioritizing and pivoting if need be.

In the mornings, I set aside time for tasks such as exercise and breakfast. But I also set aside time for making coffee, turning on the candles and humidifiers, and listening to a podcast. These are things people don’t usually block out time for. I have found that without putting even the most mundane things into the calendar, they can be forgotten or missed. However, the effects of self-care tasks such as these are crucial to the overall picture. If I don’t set aside time to turn on the candle, then I don’t give to myself the calm atmosphere that I thrive in, thereby impeding the quality of my work. Whatever it is you prioritize, you need to set aside time for. Not only does this ensure that your highest goals are at the forefront of your life, but it also makes life easier for you.

You see, when things are scheduled into the calendar, you relieve yourself from the need to remember to do something. You free your mind from spending energy on recall which then allows it to calculate other functions. Additionally, you take away the stress of deciding whether you’ve done enough towards a particular goal. And you can visually see that you have set aside enough blocks for the things that matter. This makes it easier for you to get 1% better every day.

With that little diddy, here are my goals for June.

June Goals

PERSONAL:

  • Schedule an hour of Mike time a day.
  • Block out time to see family once a week.
  • Block out time to unwind every evening without technology in hand.

WORK:

  • Aim to publish 3 blog posts per week by working on the blog one hour each day.
  • Schedule an hour of CE courses four days a week in order to reach 16 CE courses.
  • Get one podcast on the books for the blog by applying to two a week.
  • Make the dental office as safe and efficient as possible by grouping certain procedures together.

HOME:

  • Schedule an hour a week to clean the entire home.
  • Focus on maintenance rather than improvements.

HEALTH:

  • Schedule an hour of running three mornings every week.
  • Schedule forty minutes of yoga two days a week.

FINANCES:

  • Do not spend any fun money this month, especially since my birthday will likely yield a few new items to love.
  • Increase savings by opening a high-yield savings account.
  • Earn more income by funneling more time into the blog.
  • Create spreadsheets to analyze where money will be best “invested” – funneled into loans bringing us closer to financial independence or into a rental property to set us up for early retirement?

OTHER:

  • Work on a book 30 minutes every day.

I know that the world is hurting right now. It may seem as if I don’t care about the current state of affairs perhaps by posting this but that surely isn’t true. I live in the heart of downtown Santa Ana. We evacuated our home yesterday because we didn’t feel safe. The shops on our street are boarded up and graffitied. My dental office closed early to protect our patients from the protests. I am not above or outside of this. If anything, I am in the midst of it all. I am very active in helping where I can. I messaged the owners who I delivered bread to for a year. I texted my boss to make sure the dental office was safe overnight. We drove around the area this morning to make sure our neighbors weren’t broken into or robbed. I sent positive texts to fellow business owners within a 1 mile radius. I continue to go into work every day as a dentist to treat the marginalized and the lower income community  which I proudly call home. I may not be speaking much publicly about what’s going on, but I am listening. At the same time, I don’t believe in being muted for a week so that the online space can work some algorithm. I think the government or an organization will find ways to spread their propaganda regardless of some app equation, and being silent only helps them to do so. 

In posting this, I go back to one of my core beliefs that in order to create change, we must start at home and with ourselves. Forgive me for being trite, but writing goals is how I know to make the world 1% better. Because I cannot control what happens outside these walls, only how I act and react. The only way to improve the world is to improve ourselves. That’s what I know how to do. 

Meanwhile, I will continue to live believing that my hands are doing daily work. This space included. And that whatever statement that I make about the political state of things online is what’s truly trite. Rather than coming to a full stop, I’m going to keep dealing with the world the way I always have. Through writing. If you do not want to be in this space, you do not have to be.

Monthly Goals: May 2020

This post was sponsored by Smitten on Paper but all opinions, thoughts, and tips are my own. Smitten on Paper is a paper company based in Monrovia, CA. They have daily planners as well as wedding services including invitations and thank you notes. They also host a number of workshops, for those into stationary and calligraphy.

I always get questions about how I get so much done. Balancing blogging, dentistry, dog-sitting and once a bakery on top of being a wife, sister, and daughter can seem like much, and people often wonder, “How can you even consider yourself as someone who lives a slow lifestyle?” But I do.

You see, a slow lifestyle isn’t just dawdling on the couch reading, or sitting cross-legged on a meditation pillow for an hour in zen (although I also do both). Slow living is all about being mindfully in the present moment. Not surprisingly, when you choose to live slowly, you get more out of the time you have.

Once of my favorite aspects of slow living is intentionality. In order to have time for the things that matter to you (books, exercise, bread, whatever it is that excites you and lets you call this a life), you need to be intentional with what you do. Most people are not intentional enough. They try to do thirty different things at once, instead of honing out the single chore that will get them to where they want, fastest. It is this minimalism with what you choose to do that paves the way to slow living.

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Creating Goals

On the first of every month, I write down the goals I want to accomplish. I list personal goals, work goals, home goals, health goals, finance goals, and leave a category for “other“. However, just saying I want something done doesn’t actually get it done. I tie each goal to a habit that I want to form that will get me there… slowly.

Why habits instead of tasks?

When habits are formed, they stay for good thereby improving you over the long-term. When tasks are performed, they are checked-off and dropped, never to be seen again. The difference is that habits make your future life EASIER. You store certain actions that make you 1% better each day in such a way that, eventually, takes no extra energy. Once a habit is formed, it becomes rote motion, thereby making you more efficient. Aditionally, your brain power is now reserved for other thoughts or actions. You compound the interest invested in yourself, and you continually get closer to the person you want to become while also gaining the freedom to stack on even more goals and habits come next month.

Starting this month, I wanted to share with you guys my monthly goals on the first of the month. More importantly, I will share the habit I tie to them, to demonstrate how I use talent stacking to make me one bit more efficient each day.

The goal isn’t the important part. I don’t care if I don’t reach it at the end of the month. It’s the habits that I track. I mark my top habits and physically track them on a daily basis using Smitten On Paper’s Weekly Agenda (#gifted). It is my favorite planner, and the monthly goals page is so helpful to keeping me focused.

I note the goals here in the following manner: GOAL –> HABIT

I hope this is helpful.

May 2020 Goals

 

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PERSONAL:

  • Decrease phone use –> Dock phone when at home, do not allow the phone at the dining table or when in conversation with others, remove the Instagram app after every use to add a barrier to habit-scrolling, set screen time goal of 30 minutes or less per day.
  • Show self-care —> Remember to wear the NG every night and turn on the humidifier before bed.

WORK:

  • Get more affiliate projects for the blog –> Apply to at least 20 affiliates, get at least 10 partnerships
  • Increase blog views from last month –> Post at least five times a week and get another podcast on the books
  • Get through dental continuing education classes —> Do one online course every day on Mondays through Thursdays

HOME:

  • Keep the home tidy –> Put things in their proper place once you are finished using them.
  • Make it look neat –> Make the bed every day.
  • Keep it clean –> Run Roomba every other day, deep clean the house every other week.

HEALTH:

  • Get into a workout routine –> Run or do yoga 6 times a week, Work up to running 6 mikes.
  • Protect the eyes –> Wear Blue-light glasses from TheBookClub

FINANCES:

  • Limit spending –> less than $250 in groceries and dining out, less than $75in gas
  • Increase income –> Make bonus on a daily basis
  • Tackle loans –> Take advantage of the 0% interest rate on student loans right now and funnel all the money towards debt before September 30 hits

OTHER:

  • Start writing a book –> Work on it thirty minutes a day.

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Tips on Habits

If you’re looking for inspiration – check out this ditty about the power of habits. For more creative minds who struggle with the structure of habits, may I suggest this read? Lastly, a few tips on how to make habits stick.

  • Create a path of least resistance by setting up cues and reminders for yourself to get a habit done. If you want to read every night, set a book down on your pillow when you make your bed. If you want to exercise every morning, put on your exercise clothes the minute you wake up.
  • Make it something you want to do. There are many habits you can do to get you to a goal. For example, if you want to lose weight, you can try multiple diets, stop buying plastic, get a gym membership, go on a run, do yoga in your PJs, eliminate just sugar, &c. There are many habits you can use to get you to the same goal. Choose the habit that works for you. You only need to pick one.
  • Provide motivation. Try using a habit tracker for that natural neurotransmitter kick. It’s FREE! Or try a reward system where you promise yourself something after reaching a goal using the habits you created.
  • Hold yourself accountable by sharing with a friend, or the world. Tell somebody about what you want to accomplish. Agree to get something done together with someone else. Use people around you to hold you accountable, too.
  • Make it a positive habit. Verbage is key. If you write something in a negative way, you already start with negative thoughts and your chances of success are diminished. For example, instead of writing “Spend 25% less of my weekly wages this month”, write “Pay 25% more towards credit card debt.” You feel good after your habit, instead of feeling starved.

Of course, there are many other tips and if you have one or two you’d like to share with other readers, please do!

See you in June!