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Time to set my July 2020 goals! The past six months have felt simultaneously like the longest and shortest months ever. You might want to make a plan for the second half of the year. Many of my New Year’s resolutions have gone completely out the window, and maybe yours have, too.
Now is the chance to reflect and use what you’ve learned the past few months to come up with realistic goals. Be flexible, and understand that situations outside of your control will continue to fluctuate. We can still operate within that chaos (which is something I could never see myself saying, but we’re all growing this year, y’all).
June was a month of growth for me and for many of us I think. Some tragic things happened, but some really great changes were made too. It’s far from over, but we can all make a difference.
Focus on what you can control
Given the various difficult situations that continue to happen throughout the world, it’s easy to feel like you’re powerless or like things are never going to get better. I’ve been there, plenty of times, and I’m sure I’ll be there again. I think the only way to move past these feelings is to work through them. At least for me, ignoring my feelings won’t make them go away. However, there’s only so much feeling sad about the state of the world that I can take.
I need to focus on the things that I can control. Things that I’m doing, thinking about, and exposing myself to. A certain amount of social media or news helps keep me informed, but anything beyond that is just going to make me increasingly upset as I keep reading. I need to find other, engaging ways to fill my time, so I won’t give in to scratching that entirely destructive itch. These situations can continue to exist and be horrible, but I decided my life needed to keep going as well. (That still means being safe, in my apartment the vast majority of the time.)
I need to have my own things to focus on that are separate from what might be going on outside.
Just start somewhere
If you’re in a similar situation, try focusing on what you can control. Start small if you need to. Replace a bad or unhelpful habit with a few minutes of an activity that makes you feel good. I have plenty of ideas for dedicating a whole day to self-care. Try a few of those if you can’t commit to an entire day. They say you can’t pour from an empty cup. You can’t show up as your best self if you don’t have anything left to give, and that’s another reason why self-care is so important.
I find anything that takes me out of an anxious thought pattern is really helpful. It’s hard to stay worried when you’re fully absorbed in something else. If fear has been calling the shots, maybe it’s time to change that. Maybe fear has been driving your metaphorical car for too long. The fear can still be there; it can sit in the back seat. But don’t let fear drive. This is thanks to Brene Brown, but also thanks to Lauren for sharing it. The whole video is great, but she talks about fear specifically starting at 5 minutes in case you want to skip ahead.
Spend time thinking about things that are within your power. Reflect on the ways you have grown recently and the things you have learned. Mourn the things you’ve lost, however big or small they are. Decide what you want your next steps to be. This may sound obvious but don’t set goals that you can’t actually reach yourself. You’re just setting yourself up for disappointment (telling myself this as much as I am telling you). Focus on the difference you can make in your own life or in someone else’s.
June 2020 Reflection
Goal #1: Finish two books
Success! I finished The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez and All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson. Totally loved both of them. It was the beginning of my effort to read from more Black authors, but the journey doesn’t stop here! The Friend Zone was interesting because I believe it was the first contemporary romance I’ve read. It had a great balance between lighthearted banter and discussion of some more serious issues (mainly infertility).
All Boys Aren’t Blue was an incredible memoir-manifesto of the author’s experience growing up Black and queer and the struggles he faced juggling both identities. I highly recommend both of them!
Goal #2: Exercise three times per week
Just barely a success, but that still counts. I managed to do some form of a workout exactly three days a week all month. I always enjoyed myself in the process and felt great afterward, but it was hard to make the time and motivate myself. It was a pretty even mix of dance videos, yoga flows, and the occasional Pilates class.
Switching it up stopped me from getting bored, but I think I would need to focus on one thing more consistently to see any results from it. Maybe it’s not all about the results, though. I think it’s more about moving and breaking up the hours I spend sitting at my desk and on the couch!
Goal #3: Bond with the piggies
I’d say this one went pretty well too! Guinea pigs are naturally shy, skittish animals, and it will take more than a month for them to feel totally comfortable here. Regardless, Timmy and Tommy are doing great. They’ve mastered squeaking before mealtimes and letting me know that they’re hungry. They come up to the front of the cage and beg for their veggies. It’s the most adorable thing ever and one of the things I’ve missed the most about having guinea pigs.
They’re pretty good at lap time, and it seems like they’re okay with hanging out for a little bit and getting pet. Tommy is definitely more relaxed with it, but I think they’ll both get better with time. The next obstacle: cutting their nails! Baby pig nails are much sharper than adults’, and theirs are starting to get a little too long. I’m hoping that bribing them with some carrots will be enough to keep them still. We’ll see how their first nail trim goes.
Goal #4: Launch P&P
You’re reading this, which means I did it!
This post marks the third full week that Plants and Pondering has been live. Sometimes it’s not as hard as I thought it would be, but sometimes it is. I’m still somewhat nervous about putting myself out there even if it’s only to a small audience. I have to remind myself that it’s still important even though it’s scary (and maybe even because it’s scary).
The routine is still a work in progress. I’m figuring out what I want my workload to be like. There’s also juggling the things I know how to do (writing, formatting, creating and scheduling Pinterest pins) with the things I’m still learning (planning content, social media strategies, and using various blogging tools). I have to decide what services and courses are worth the investment because I haven’t made any income from the blog yet.
There’s also the emotional aspect of it. It’s hard to not compare where I’m at with people who are sharing their six-figure blog income reports. Of course, it’s an unfair comparison, and it’s not helping anything. I’m learning a lesson about enjoying the journey and not rushing through it. I’m learning to be grateful and to not ride the negativity train.
Goal #5: Sit outside as much as possible
Sitting outside was okay for probably the first half of the month, but after that, it got too hot and humid to be comfortable. My main activity was reading outside on my balcony. Sometimes it was also possible to do job-work (you know what I mean) outside, but sometimes not. Certain tasks are just easier with two monitors, and I didn’t want to slow myself down by trying to do them with only one.
There’s also been a lot of storms at night so sitting on the balcony was a no-go, unless I was ready to be drenched, which I was not. This is not a big deal, because I was only planning on sitting outside as long as the weather was comfortable, which is totally beyond my control. Sometimes I need to remind myself not to get too upset or fixated on things that are out of my hands.
July 2020 Goals
Goal #1: Update my phone software
I don’t know about you, but I am terrible at updating my phone in a timely manner. I have auto-updates off, and I keep my apps up to date no problem. But the phone software itself? No way. I have a technology-based background and job, and I KNOW you should generally take the software updates as soon as they’re available to prevent security risks. I know, but I also do my best to avoid change when I can help it. Updating a whole version is going to make things on my phone look different, and I don’t want that.
When I came up with the idea for this goal, my intention was to update to iOS 14. I heard that was coming out, and I thought if I did that I would be done updating my phone for a while. Surprise! It won’t be available until sometime this fall. I’m still going to update to the latest version now, and then I’ll suck it up and update again when iOS 14 is released. This is part of me trying to ~grow as a person~ by doing things that I normally ignore or put off. If you’re looking for goal ideas, some similar task that you’ve been avoiding is a good place to start.
To get an idea for how behind I am, I currently have iOS version 12.2 (released March 2019 lol), and I’ll be updating to 13.5.1. Fun, right? I have no idea how long the upgrade will take, so I’ll just set aside some time one day and let my phone do its thing.
Goal #2: Finish two books
One thing we are not doing this month is getting behind on our Goodreads challenge! To stay on track, I want to finish another two books. One of them should hopefully be Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson. I love this series, but the tiny font and long-winded descriptions of the Martian landscape make it hard to stay focused sometimes. To mitigate this, I’ve downloaded my first ever audiobook! I’ve listened to about 45 minutes already. There was a bit of a learning curve with how to keep my place in the book. Other than that, I’m liking it so far.
The other book will be from a Black author! I have a few to choose from and a few more coming in the mail, so I’m not going to make a decision just yet. I know my privilege is showing, but seeking Black literature has really opened me up to a lot of amazing and important stories that I would not have heard otherwise. I’m determined to keep listening and keep learning! All lives don’t matter until Black Lives Matter.
Goal #3: Ab Challenge – Baby by Justin Bieber
Probably the silliest goal of the month? Basically, I want to be able to do crunches or other ab exercises for the entire 3 minutes and 45 seconds of Justin Bieber’s Baby. Now, why would I want to do that?
It comes from a dance class that I took when I was in high school. For one of my teachers, it was a staple of his jazz class that we would do a full song of core work as part of the warm-up. One summer, the song of choice was none other than Baby. It’s become an ironic jam for me.
I’ll probably come up with a set sequence. Maybe I’ll switch it up sometimes, but I think it’ll be easier to do the same moves every time. I’m planning to do it most days and just get as far into the song as I can. Taking a break in the middle is fine, but I want to eventually go for the whole song without stopping. I don’t know what made me think of this, but it seems like such a fun, nostalgic goal that should be totally doable.
Goal #4: Grow my monthly Pinterest viewers
First blog growth goal, woo! One of the best reasons to make a business Pinterest account for your blog over a standard account is the ability to see your analytics. These get super specific, down to how many times each individual pin has been seen and clicked on. As of June 30th, my total audience is 4.8k. By the end of July, I’d like to hit 10k monthly viewers. I’d also be happy with 10k impressions, which is generally higher than the monthly viewer number, and I’m much more likely to hit that target. As a whole, I think my Pinterest journey is going pretty well so far, and the growth is encouraging to see.
How am I going to reach this goal? With some consistency, hard work, and lessons learned from Pinterest Traffic Avalanche. This is a Pinterest course by Create and Go for beginner bloggers. I’m about 20% of the way through the class, and I’ve already learned some helpful tips. Hopefully, I will be a much more competent pinner by the end of the course!
Right now, my Pinterest boards consist of people’s pictures, pins promoting my blog posts, and posts from other bloggers. The photos are mainly of awesome plants and beautiful spaces decorated with plants. They are much nicer than any pictures I could take, and I love sharing them! Pinterest is the main way that I’m driving traffic to my blog, so I need to use it to the best of my ability. To some extent, the amount of impressions and views I get is out of my hands, so I’m trying to not let the numbers affect me emotionally. I know that I’m trying my best and that the numbers are not necessarily a representation of my effort or how much I want it. Nevertheless, let’s see how it goes this month!
So that’s how June went for me, and my plans for July 2020! Summer is in full swing, and I think the warm weather and long days are really boosting my mood.
What goals do you have for July? Let me know by leaving a comment!