January goals & habits recap!

January 31, 2018

First order of business:  I am overwhelmed and amazed by how many of you took the time to fill out the planning survey yesterday!  In the next week, I will go through the responses carefully and email my first 3 subjects.  I definitely will consider doing multiple rounds, since there were so many fantastic and diverse responders.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I did get some feedback that even filling out the survey was helpful for some of you, which makes me happy.  I also feel very energized about making the book/ebook project come to fruition.  This will not be a quick project (especially since I have my actual REAL JOB that will start up fairly soon!), but I think if I take a slow and steady approach I can create something that will be valuable for others.

Secondly:  It’s January 31!  I am not sure how an entire month has elapsed since resolution season began.  Maternity leave is quite the time warp, which is unfortunate because I’m really enjoying it.  I do miss work, but my senior colleague asked me over the phone yesterday if I was bored.

I didn’t have to think twice:  NO.  No, I AM NOT BORED.  I am reading (a ton), hanging out with my kids, writing (here), exercising, and nursing (a lot).  It’s awesome.  I would not choose this life forever, but if a 6- (or 9, or 12 . . . ) month maternity leave was a thing in this country I’d be all over it.

January was a really amazing month for me.  I absolutely acknowledge that I have a fantastic setup right now, with help during the day and no job — not a realistic or sustainable life.  I hope that the momentum carries me once I am back to work (in March!).  As stated in this post, I set most of my goals for Q1 (Jan 1 – Mar 4), not specifically for the month.  That said, I did have some habit goals and Q1 areas of focus — and a tracker, as you’ll see below — to work on building some day-to-day routines and getting started on some incremental projects.

January’s areas of focus:

from the monthly page in my Hobonichi


completed tracker – so satisfying!

1) Daily album.  I wrote out a list of the top 2017 albums as named by the hosts of my favorite music show/podcast:  All Songs Considered.  I decided that I’d play an album each day, to find some new music and gain an appreciation for some of these works in their entirety (rather than picking random songs or defaulting to algorithmic playlists — I’m not a fan of Pandora or Spotify deciding FOR me what I’m gong to hear!).

This went really well!  I did this every single day, and did identify some great albums that I’d like to return to.  Highlights:  Moses Sumney (Aromanticism), Phoebe Bridgers (Stranger in the Alps), Partner (In Search of Lost Time), and Allison Pierce (The Year of the Rabbit).  It was fun to have new music playing every day.  I’m going to continue this in some form.

album list

2) Daily reading.  MAJOR SUCCESS.  I have always loved books and reading (some of you may remember my obsessive Murakami streak), but this month I went through more pages than . . . perhaps ever.  9 books (and some of them long!) are in my READ pile for the month (it’s a virtual pile, as most have been returned to the library and one was on the Kindle), some of them long and several of them excellent.  I’ll post this list later this week!  I absolutely will not be able to sustain this pace, but it has been really fun (and I should have at least another good month while I’m still home!).

3) Moment less than 90 minutes/day:  YES!  As of press time (6 am 1/31), I stuck with this every day in January.  I chose 90 minutes because it’s NOT zero, but it’s a limit I can get behind.  I still enjoyed some Instagram and blog reading, especially late at night while breastfeeding.  I find the phone very addicting and feel 90 times better when I can keep this habit in check.  Also, my success with habit #2 is probably in part because of habit #3.   And books make me so much happier than scrolling.


4) Time with A&C:  I tried to spend dedicated, focused time every day that I could with the big kids — ideally each of them alone and without G.  This has gone well on most days — I wasn’t 100% (much harder if I don’t have childcare to watch G!), but I think I did pretty well.  I absolutely notice a difference in their behavior when they’ve had some personal attention.  Generally this has consisted of playing with C in his room (“special mommy time”) and reading books/lying with A as she goes to sleep.  I’ve actually been having a shockingly smooth transition to bedtime with 3 (for now anyway) and I’ll write about that in the future as it is something I was very nervous about!

5) DIA: As I wrote yesterday, I’ve been doing the Dia Method’s 6 week challenge which incorporates some streaming barre-style workouts (some have a light boot camp aspect – emphasis on LIGHT) + 2 days/week of cardio + daily breathing exercises.  I will admit I haven’t done the breathing every single day (especially on days when I also do a streaming workout, it seems redundant!) but I’ve otherwise stuck with the program.  It is not particularly intense, but felt like the right level to start with post-baby, and I do feel like I’m getting incrementally stronger/more fit.

6) Family dinners on Sunday:  I was realizing that I missed cooking, and that we have very few meals all together at home.  I don’t mind this most of the time, but wanted to add a weekly standing family dinner date and cooking opportunity.  We’ve done it the past 4 Sundays, and I’ve really enjoyed the routine.  It helps that G is super cooperative and will just sit in the bouncer and watch while I prep.  KEY for his has been making sure I have this meal included in our meal plan and shopping for the ingredients ahead of time.  Shopping and cooking in the same day never seems to work for us on the weekends.

Additional Goals I wanted to work on:
1) Take A&C ice skating for the first time (there’s a rink right nearby; indoor obvs!).  Nope, didn’t happen yet.  Perhaps in Feb.  Josh wasn’t as excited about it as I was (I was surprised!) so this may be tabled for a year.  Ah well.

2) Organize closets – yes!  I’ve been slowly Kon-Mari-ing my way through the house.  We don’t actually HAVE a closet upstairs but what is there is organized, and the kids’ closets have mostly been organized/weeded through, including G’s clothes.  I still have part of Annabel’s closet that needs sorting, so that will be on the docket for next month.

3) Clean out kids’ toys  – check, except for what is in A’s closet.  So close!  Maybe I’ll even try to tackle this today 🙂

4) Outline ebook – I don’t know about an outline, but I have a chapter list and summary/pitch written.  So that’s something!

5) Quality time with Josh – some, especially on the weekends, though I would like more.  We did have our first date night out in January, but G came (so . . .does it count? I think so!  She was pretty chill).  I do feel like we are reconnecting after the initial whirlwind in December where I was almost entirely focused on Genevieve and adjusting to life with 3 kids.  He made it through my hormone surges which is saying something!  (Thanks babe.)

SOOO – onto February!  I hope to spend some time thinking about which habits I want to focus on for the new month (and drawing my new tracker of course).  How was your January?  Do you struggle to keep the momentum going (I often do, petering out sometime in Feb or March)?


  • Reply Omdg March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    We”ve been taking Dyl skating since she was 3. She finally got the hang of it a few months ago and is now skating sans walker around and around, better than most of the other people at the rink. It was a little painful to take her before she really got it, ain”t gonna lie. Now it is awesome. I think of it as an investment.

  • Reply Emily March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    I am not on maternity leave, but I have read more books this month than perhaps ever too! I don’t know if it’s just that my TBR list is so long and tempting right now, or whether I just like to read more in the winter when it’s cold since reading is such a cozy activity, or whether it’s New Year’s resolution season so I’ve been more disciplined about putting down the phone and picking up books…But it’s been great!

    Also, I can’t wait for your post on rocking bedtime with 3 🙂

  • Reply Alexis March 10, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    TEACH ME YOUR WAYS of bedtime with 3! I still struggle with 2!

    Yes my husband was similarly not excited about skating and I too was surprised. Hmmm!

  • Reply Sarah March 10, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    I am totally going to steal your idea for "an album a day" while on bedrest/maternity leave- question is, what was your listening platform? Youtube? Spotify?

    As far as books- I read "Bel Canto" many years ago and STILL consider it a favorite read. Right now I’m on the second Tana French novel in the Dublin murder squad series- I’m not normally a mystery or series reader, but they’re SO GOOOOOOOD. The first is "Into the Woods", and currently almost done with "The Likeness".

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

      ALso I’ve heard that from so many people – that it’s not their typical genre but they love tana French. I am going to check her out!!

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

      Spotify ALL THE WAY!!!!

  • Reply Krista March 10, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    I took my three oldest ice skating on Sunday and it was really fun! They are 8,7, and 5 and my five year old had the most fun with the walker. A close second was my oldest, who really got the hang of it. My seven year old had a tough time, but he”s ready to try again. The twins will be four in two weeks and my mom will be here to stay with the baby, so I think we might go again. Our rinks has a Groupon, so it”s a steal even for seven of us!

  • Reply SusannahEarlyBd March 10, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    Love the goals update! I really agree…reading books brings me so much more happiness than phone scrolling! I took my 8 and 5 yr old ice skating for the first time this year and it is not an easy skill to learn or teach in my opinion! We had fun though. But I don”t think either of them could have lasted long at 3…then again some kids just take to it! Excited about your ebook. Xo

    • Reply theSHUbox March 10, 2019 at 7:06 pm

      C will be 4 in 3 weeks (!!!!!)- scary huh?! Our rink has those walkers so I thought they”d be ok starting w those. But maybe I should start by just taking A!

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