Monthly review – investing time to connect

My personal goal this year was to invest in my relationships with family, friends and community to bring joy and connection. If I was to score my progress out of 10 at this stage of the year I think I would give myself about a 7.

I have learnt much about how I invest in relationships to bring me the feeling of joy and connection. Some of the ways I have invested my time which I thought would give me this, have in fact just increased my workload and not really given me time with people in a way I had hoped. I took on roles that I thought could do because they suited my skill strengths but I now realise with the benefit of hindsight, that matching up to my skill strengths wasn’t the right pairing.

One of the fantastic things about reviewing my progress through the blog each month is that I have time to pause, analyse and rethink what I am pursuing. Some of the commitments I have taken on will remain for the rest of the year and I will continue to do them, but I will now have much greater knowledge about what I will choose to do next year.

This goal was very much what I needed for this year, and while I may not be achieving 10/10 for progress, I have received much joy and connection from focusing on my relationships. I have learnt:

  • How much I love hanging out with the kids and taking them on adventures even if they are very small adventures. I adore watching the smiles on their faces as they climb a tree they have never seen before, or splash in a small creek and chase our dog through the water.
  • How spending time with my friends recharges me and while I love the quick catch ups, I really love when I have longer periods of time with friends so we can settle in and really chat about things that are important to us. I had a weekend away with two very dear friends in August and I had such a wonderful time.
  • Volunteering makes me feel happy. I ideally would like to do more, but I have learnt to put that thought to the side and realise that even if it is a small contribution, I am making a connection and helping others.
  • I like to make things for people. Sometimes I don’t have the right words to say or enough time to be all the places I want to be, so giving something small that I have made helps me express how I feel.
  • This year I have loved connecting more people who read the blog. Through the facebook group with the Planned & Present e-Course, through chatting with mums for the podcast (yes a new series is coming soon!) and through the weekly prep workshop I held recently, I have had wonderful conversations with like minded women, who like me are trying to do the best for their families. We all have our challenges and we all have our successes too. Sharing these stories is a wonderful way to connect and to learn. I feel very lucky to be able to do this. Thank you!

So for the remaining months of 2017 I am going to keep investing time and energy into the relationships that are important to me. The joy and sense of connection it brings me makes it worth it and I happy to keep trying new things, making some mistakes along the way, but inevitably learning how I can do this better​.

What have you learnt as you have been working towards your goal for the year?

HabitConnection to goalAugust Review
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 am really comfortable with this habit now. I do much prefer to chat to people in person though, than phone. So where I can I am setting up catch ups in person as much as possible.
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.
School involvement is currently reaching a peak point and I am actually looking forward to this reducing if a few months time.
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.We have family coming to visit in Sept which will be great.

In August I had a couple of lovely small catch ups at home which I really enjoyed.
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.
August was a great month for this. The biggest thing to help me with this, is to realise that it doesn't have to be big. It can just be an hour and that is okay. If I make it too big it feel overwhelming so by setting the expectations to a realistic level it is much more enjoyable.

Photo by Will Oey on Unsplash

Dinner Ticket Sales End Wednesday 13th September 11.30pm

You have most likely have read about the dinner in previous newsletters and there are still a few tickets left if you would like to join us!

Through out the evening I will be sharing my story on how I become more planned and present and have been able to maintain it over the last few years, sharing tips and actions you can take to do the same. 

And you will be able to make connections with other mums who are trying to do the same thing. 
The dinner is to be held on Thursday 14th September, 7.30p – 9.30pm at the gorgeous Serotonin Eatery in Burnley. 

Click here if you would like some more info or want to see examples of the amazing food and drinks that will be served.

Or click here to nab your ticket straight away. Tickets are on sale until 11.30pm Wednesday 13th September.