Monthly review – progress = greater contentment

Welcome to my first monthly review of the year. I have had a fabulous start to 2018 and it is absolutely correlated to my goal for the year and the progress I have made towards it.

In case you missed it, my single personal goal for 2018 is to:

Detach from the old and embrace the new to nurture a family spirit of adventure.

There is great power in setting a single goal. It becomes like my rudder, giving me an overall guide of where I need to go. I am not overwhelmed by the big goal statement as I have carefully chosen habits that I can focus my attention on. Working on these on a daily basis that to establish them will take care of me achieving this goal.

At month one of 12 for 2018, I cannot say I have perfect attainment of my goal, but I have made substantial progress. The most important thing is that focusing on my habits as you see outlined in the table below, has made me feel more contented and it is having a positive influence in the home.

When you work towards a goal, you really get a double impact from your progress. You feel greater contentment because you are taking action on the things that have a positive impact on your life and you get a huge sense of contentment from putting in time and energy to specific tasks / habits that will help you achieve your goal.

And it isn’t just me who thinks this either Bettina Wiese (University of Zurich) noted that

empirical research has repeatedly shown that striving toward self-concordant goals strengthens the link between goal progress and well-being {source}

If you look below at my review for January, you will see that I have not set all of the habits I want to. But the work I have put in so far to establish these habits has brought greater contentment to my life and made interactions with the kids much better in a number of circumstances.

I have tried different styles of goal setting and many would see me demoralised with my progress at month one because I was so far away from achieving them. I have found having an over arching single goal to act as my rudder, then a few concrete habits to focus on to support goal attainment, allows me to feel progress regardless of how close to the goal I am. You can read more about the single goal setting process here.

Have you set a goal for 2018? I would love to hear what it is!

HabitConnection to goal - Detach from the old and embrace the new to nurture a family spirit of adventure.Poem quoteJanuary Review
Practice detachment dailyMy attachment comes from the right place in terms of wanting the best for my family and myself, but it can be founded on beliefs that I hold that are not necessarily true or helpful. Letting go of this belief and creating a new one requires me to detach.

Detaching doesn't mean I stop caring or give up but it means I acknowledge it, explore it, process it, take action to move on and let it go.

Letting go of old or untrue beliefs will mean I can focus on being more supporting and encouraging to the kids.
"For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business."
~ T.S. Eliot
I am doing more reading on attachment to help me improve this. I am certainly practicing this daily, but just as I might practice my pull ups, not every day is a success.

There are a few things going on in family life that I am struggle to practice detachment with more than others, but when I get it right, I really do feel like a weight has been lifted.

The knock on effect is that it enables me to interact better within the home and overall harmony is better because I have let go.
Develop the practice of mindful listeningSometimes listening can be hard. I think I know what the kids or others are going to say, I have things on my mind, I have something I want to say or I have things I would rather be doing than listening then and there.

Mindfully listening to others shows that you value them and it empowers them to share exactly how they are feeling. I want my kids to tell me about their dreams, their hopes, their fears and their crazy ideas. This won’t happen if I am not really listening.

“We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”
~ E.E. Cummings
Oh my! Who thought listening could be so challenging?

I love that I am more aware of the fact that often my mind wanders or that I only surface level listen. It is not great that I do this, but I am now much better at catching myself doing it and correcting myself.

When I do correct myself the interactions I have are much better, which is a great reward to help me set up the habit loop for this practice.
Do something new each month with the familyI love routine and being organised and sometimes I will take the option to spend time on these activities and not leave enough time for exploring something new.

This year I want to try some big and little adventures with the family.
"Dust if you must, but there’s not much time,
With rivers to swim, and mountains to climb;
Music to hear, and books to read;
Friends to cherish, and life to lead."
~Rose Milligan
While we were away in January, five of us all ran in a beach fun run - the kids 5km and the parents 10km. The three younger kids have never run that far before, but all lined up with smiling faces and great attitudes.
Use deliberate daily practice to learn something new each monthK. Anders Ericsson, a professor of Psychology at Florida State University, is a pioneer in researching deliberate practice. One of his core findings is that becoming an expert at a skill has more to do with how you practice rather than with just performing the skill many times.

To really embrace a new skill I need to intentionally practice, not just do the skill to tick the box to say I have done it. This is a practice I really want to develop and role model for my kids.
"Submit to a daily practice.
Your loyalty to that is a ring on the door.
Keep knocking, and the joy inside
will eventually open a window
and look out to see who’s there."
Also while we were away I used deliberate practice to improve my boogie boarding and surfing skills.

It has only been over the recent years have we been spending time at the beach, so I am definitely not a surf beach native.

I will write more about what is involved with deliberate practice in another post.
Develop a monthly decluttering habitOur house is relatively uncluttered but we really do have too much stuff.

All this extra stuff takes up space, time and energy - all of which I can reclaim and redirect when I declutter.
"The open space surrounding me
Clears my lungs
Makes me breath
I feel light
Vividly bright and empty
A room to dance in happily"
~Anna Elise
When we came back from holidays, I kick started this off in a big way.

So far I have tackled the pantry, the linen cupboard, my bathroom cupboard and the younger boys bedroom.

I am always surprised and delighted just how lighter and happier decluttering makes me feel.