2017 half yearly review – what I need to change

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I went and read my review for this time last year and my end of year review from 2016 before writing this post. And while I am happy with the progress I am making, I don’t have the same sense of excitement about it or the habits I am working on to achieve my goal at this time.

A quick refresher for you in case you missed it, my goal is to invest in my relationships with family, friends and community to bring joy and connection.

I definitely think I have moved much closer towards my goal this year, but not as much as I would have like. I think the key reason is the habits I chose to support this goal are not quite right for me. In the table below I have noted what is not quite working for me:

HabitConnection to goalJune progress
To make three phone calls a week to family and friendsI am terrible at making phone calls. For friends and family that are not near me, this is a great way to stay connected and I have to change my attitude towards making calls.

The best way to change my attitude is to act, so I am going to set a target of three phone calls to make each week.

I also think there will be a natural flow on effect from making phone calls to seeing people in person more too.
I had reservations about whether or not this was something I could achieve when I set this habit and while it took me a few months to get there, I have done it.

Most importantly with this habit, it feels natural now and not forced. At the start it was like a chore I had to do, now I look for spaces across my day when I can make a calls and connect with family or friends.
To be an active participant in a parent body at each of the three schoolsOver the last couple of years, my focus has been more inward and I haven't been as heavily involved in the kids' schools as I used to be.

This has left me feeling less connected, so by stepping up my involvement I hope to increase my feeling of connection.
I can certainly tick this habit off as something I have established, but it isn't bringing me the joy and connection I would have liked it too.

This is purely my issue as I have chosen to take up roles that are more administrative type roles.

Most of what I do for these roles is computer based and I do at home. I have committed to these roles for the year, so cannot undo this. I have learnt though what sort of roles I would prefer to do when being involved with the school.

They are less formal roles, but ones where I am in the class rooms a lot more, on a short notice, ad hoc basis where I get to work with the kids and teachers.

The opportunities to do this are still there, however due to the time I am putting in to the roles I have committed to, I have to put a cap on the total amount of time I spend on these activities so I can't always do them.
To volunteer my time (min 3 hours a month) to a local organisationI find great joy in giving to others. My life is full and we have everything we need, many others are not so lucky.

I want to find a local organisation where I can give my time to help others in need.
I registered my interest to be involved with a social justice group connected to one of the schools.

It has yet to take off and I am okay with that. I won't get close to 3 hours a month for this habit, so will actually take it off my list as I find it stressful and unhelpful to have habits on my to do list that I am not going to achieve.
Host a family or friend catch up once a month at our homeI find welcoming friend and family into our home a great way to connect. I did more of it in the last quarter of the year and enjoyed it.

Once a month does not sound that much, but combined with the other habits I am trying to establish, I am wary of overloading myself.

Hopefully I can do more, but I don't want to undo my last couple of years work on slowing down by establishing a habit that I end up finding causes too much work.
I have met this most months, but have found the way I have framed this habit too restrictive.

I like to be active and for lots of catch ups with friends I will do a walk then cup of tea / smoothie at a cafe.

In my mind that wasn't meeting the criteria of this habit, so I would organise something else as well at home.

Some weeks I felt I did too much catching up! I am going to change this habit so it reads as "To organise family or friend catch ups twice a month."

As you would have read above, I have changed and deleted habits from this list. Once upon a time I would have ploughed through, sticking to what I set at the start of the year to the letter, therefore adding more to my plate than was reasonable, just to be able to tick it off my list.

I am a little wiser now and realise that type of behaviour gets me caught up in the busy trap and I don’t want to do that.

Overall I also felt that there was something missing from the habits too. Doing a family activity with the kids wasn’t getting the priority it deserved.

So since we came back from China, each weekend the younger kids and I (the older kids have been welcome to join in but are choosing not to!) have done some simple activity together. We have gone on walks, played UNO, visited farmer’s markets etc.

The most time it has taken has been three hours and sometimes if it is an activity at home it might only be an hour. I have really cherished the time with them. I am going to continue with this for the rest of the year as it has brought me both great joy and a sense of connection with them.

My habits for the second half of 2017 will look like this:

HabitConnection to goal
To make three phone calls a week to family and friendsI am terrible at making phone calls. For friends and family that are not near me, this is a great way to stay connected and I have to change my attitude towards making calls.

The best way to change my attitude is to act, so I am going to set a target of three phone calls to make each week.

I also think there will be a natural flow on effect from making phone calls to seeing people in person more too.
To be an active participant in a parent body at each of the three schoolsOver the last couple of years, my focus has been more inward and I haven't been as heavily involved in the kids' schools as I used to be.

This has left me feeling less connected, so by stepping up my involvement I hope to increase my feeling of connection.
To organise family or friend catch ups twice a monthI always feel better after catching up with family and friends, but unless I put it top of mind, it is something that can not happen.
To do one activity at home or out each weekend with the kidsAs the first two kids have grown up, I realise I haven't been doing as many group things with the kids as I did when the older ones were younger. It doesn't need to be fancy or long, but spending time with the kids like this brings me great joy.

While ideally I would love all five kids to be involved in this weekly activity, the reality is that the lives of the two older boys and the ages they are mean this won't happen very often. I will however still encourage it and make sure the younger kids and I do something together.

How are you progressing towards your goal for 2017? Have you made any adjustments?

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