Browse Category: Goals

Better Living Through Sleep

Annie Spratt

When I was nine, my house burned down. For the next two or three years, it was hard for me to fall asleep at night. I would stay up all night reading and going online and listening to Harry Potter audiobooks and listening to NPR. “It’s five o’clock GMT, and you’re listening to the BBC World News Service” was the siren song of my tween years.

I’m a person who likes to do a lot of things all the time, and while that is rewarding for me, it can sometimes cross into overwhelming. This happened in my senior year of college, where I was working three jobs and doing an honors thesis on top of my classes. At that time, I was getting very little sleep and generally not doing a great job taking care of myself, and it took a toll on my health. I spent the spring semester putting much more work into my health than before. One major piece of that was sleeping more.

Since college, I’ve done better with sleep than I did in college, but I’m still not doing it perfectly. I have visions of waking up rested, without an alarm, every single day, but I still have some room to grow there.

The two biggest sleep challenges for me are getting to bed at the same time every night and having a pre-sleep ritual. Those are the focus this month.

I’m going to get in bed at 9:00 every night. I know that seems very early, but I’m going to the gym at 5:30. If I go to bed at 9:00 and wake up at 5:00, that gives me eight hours, which is what I need.

I’m going to get into a pre-sleep ritual. I’m going to stop working at least 30 minutes before bed, and then allowing ten minutes to read or write in my journal. This is just to give me some time to unwind so that I can get to sleep when I go to bed.

I remember my dreams pretty rarely – once in a long while. I was in a car accident in January, and ever since then, I’ve had nightmares about car accidents, which has me waking up in the middle of the night. Hopefully working on other aspects of my sleep routines will help with the nightmares, but we’ll see how it goes. In the comments – any ideas on how to stop nightmares?

Better Living Through Time Management: An Update

For January, I dedicated myself to working on time management. At the beginning of the month, this is where things were.

Right now, I often take work home with me – grading, entering merits and demerits, and calling parents are the tasks that I’m frequently doing at home. I sometimes stay late after school as well. In December, I experimented with coming to school an hour early to prepare everything for the day, which helped, but I ended up spending eleven hours at school every day, which is unsustainable for me.

I have been spending fewer than eleven hours at school every day, which is good. I’m calling and texting parents from home, but I’ve reduced the amount of time I spend grading at home. A major improvement is having a student enter my merits and demerits. I’ve taught three students in my homeroom how to enter them. Now, I have students handle this during AM homeroom and PM homeroom. I’ve also been trying to stress less about entering every single merit and demerit – I’ve come to realize that merits and demerits are not the number one factor in student success, so that’s fallen lower on my list of priorities.

At the beginning of the month, I set two priorities for myself in improving my time management.

First, I will plan out my lessons further in advance. In the first half of the year, we had numerous curriculum changes, and we were often planning the night before we were teaching a lesson. This is ineffective as both an instructional planning strategy and in a time management strategy. This semester, I will plan out the following week of lessons before I leave school on Friday, which will give me more time to make my teacher copies and have more effective planning for each lesson.

This has been challenging. I haven’t known what I’m expected to teach two weeks out, which has made it harder to plan in advance. I’ve at least had an idea of what we’ll be teaching a week in advance though, so it’s getting better. Planning is still not where I would like it to be, but at least I’m not planning the day before I’m teaching something.

Second, I will prioritize working on grading exit tickets and creating my teacher copy for the next day during my planning period. It’s reasonable for me to complete my first class of exit tickets during my first planning period, while still having time to get a cup of coffee and eat my lunch. In my second planning period, I should have time to complete my second class of exit tickets, then create my teacher copy for the next day. If I’m done with both of those tasks, I will enter merits and demerits. I will enter my merits and demerits, and call parents right after I get off dismissal duty, and I’m setting a goal: Leaving work by 4:45 every day. If I need to call some parents from home, that’s okay, but that should be the only thing that I’m taking home with me.

This is a work in progress. I’ve been leaving school earlier, and I’ve been making good use of my planning periods – pushing to get things done rather than treating them as a time to decompress.

An additional piece is going to the gym in the mornings, before school. I was not thinking of this at the beginning of the month, but I’ve been working on it for the past two weeks. I’m running a half marathon in -gulp- ten days and I needed to get some more mileage in. I was trying to run after school, but it gets dark early, and I also have to deal with a lot of other things after school. I figure that if I can make it to the gym and get a few miles in before school, I’m starting out my day with a win and I’m making time to take care of myself, before I tackle work. The most challenging part of this is going to bed early enough. Ideally, I would go to bed at 9:00, then wake up at 5:00 and go to the gym. It’s hard to get into bed at 9:00 every night, though. It is still very much a work in progress.

Better Living Through Time Management

unsplash-logoMajid Rangraz

I am someone who generally stays busy. I like it that way, I get bored if I don’t have much to do, and there are a lot of things that I want to do. I’m teaching full time, and I’m doing my master’s in Elementary Education. As a TFA Graduate Fellow, I’m also pursuing Creative Writing Club, which I organize and lead once every week. I’m also training for a half marathon in February. That sounds like a lot of things going on, but I’ve been able to hold it all down so far this school year.

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2018 >>>> 2019

unsplash-logoEmile Guillemot

This year has been a big one for me. Here are some of the things I did, in no particular order.

  • I ran a half marathon.
  • I ran a DIY half marathon.
  • I quit drinking alcohol.
  • I ran 541 miles.
  • I went to Birmingham, Alabama for spring break.
  • I went to Seattle, Washington over the summer to meet up with my friends from high school.
  • I went on a weekend retreat in the Delta as part of my graduate fellowship.
  • I started my Master’s in Elementary Education program.
  • I got all As in my first semester of my Master’s program.
  • I got a new job, teaching a new grade level.
  • I drove to Michigan and back three times.
  • I watched three of my friends get married (congrats!)
  • I started Creative Writing Club at my school.
  • I bought a house and moved.
  • I became an adult who bundles their homeowners insurance with their car insurance to save money.
  • I finished Teach for America.
  • I taught summer school.
  • I helped plan and promote a local event that is, honestly, the best new thing going on in Jackson.
  • I ate poké for the first time, then several times after that.
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Checking in on Goals

Luke Stackpoole

I set goals in the beginning of 2018, and I reviewed them mid-year. It’s the beginning of December, and I think December offers us an interesting moment as we relate to goals and New Years Resolutions. It’s the point when we start to think about next year, but we still have the chance to make a difference in our goals for the current year.

Health

1. Maintain my current level of fitness and make progress throughout 2018.
I have been consistent with this goal – I can run faster and further than I could six months ago, and I successfully completed my first half marathon in February. I have hit PRs in my one mile and 5k times this year, and I’m running a 5k on Wednesday. Depending on some variables in my life this fall, I may or may not be running a second half marathon in the fall, and I’ve registered for the Mississippi River Half Marathon in 2019.

This is the goal that I have met with the most success. I’m on track to run the Mississippi River Half Marathon in February 2019, and I did run a second half marathon in November – I did what I call my “DIY Half Marathon” which means I filled up my Camelbak, stuck some Gu in my pocket, loaded up an audiobook and ran 13.1 miles on my own. It was hard, but it was also faster than my first half marathon.

 

2. By the end of 2018, I will drink 68 oz. of water daily.
This is harder in the school year than it is in the summer. On a majority of the days this summer, I’ve been drinking 68 oz. of water – it’s so much easier in the summer because there’s more motivation. If I’m not well hydrated, running will make me feel like death because it’s 95 degrees outside.

I’m still working out how, exactly, to drink a bucket of water every day and also teach all day. It looks a little bit like drinking water first thing in the morning, then using the bathroom before school starts, then drinking a ton of water after school.

3. I will floss every day in 2018.

This is going well and I have also become a low-level flossing evangelist, which goes over really well at parties.

I’ve started using HabitBull to track my health related goals, and I highly recommend it.

I stopped using HabitBull for no particular reason, and my flossing has waned a bit. When I went to the dentist in November, I had two cavities that were between my teeth, and the dentist told me that I need to be flossing more effectively – making sure to get all the way between my gum and tooth.

Blogging

1.Write two blog posts every month.This one has not happened with consistency. I’ve met this goal in 2/6 months, in May and June. A major challenge for me has been finding time to devote to blogging, and finding ideas to blog about. I’m not great about keeping up an editorial calendar, which is silly – I have a degree in PR and I ran my college newspaper, I know how to do this. It just wasn’t a priority for me earlier this year.

I feel like I’m still in a similar place with this goal – it’s been hard for me to plan blog content out in advance, and while school is in session, teaching and grad school take priority over blogging. I’ll be super transparent – I’m writing this blog post over Thanksgiving break, and scheduling it to post in December. Maybe that’s the key – writing blog posts in a huge burst over breaks, then scheduling them to post months out.

2. Write one book review every month for the blog.
This one is embarrassing – I’ve written 1/6 book reviews, and I have another draft of a book review in Google Docs. Reading is lower on my list of priorities during the school year, and as a result, the book reviews haven’t been happening. Coming up soon will be reviews of a few nonfiction books I’ve read over summer break.

I cannot, for the life of me, figure out what book review I had drafted in Google Docs. I looked back through my Drive, and I cannot find anything, which is so frustrating. I read Ghost, and reviewed it last week. I have read The Book of Essie and Little Fires Everywhere, both of which were excellent, and both of which I need to review. I also read The Book Whisperer, and I can write reviews of all those books. I’m currently reading Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, which I can also review. It’s a matter of finding the time and making it a priority, both of which have shown to be a challenge for me this year.

Mid-Year Progress Report

Glenn Carstens-Peters

We’re halfway through 2018, which feels weird and unexpected. It also pushes me to evaluate the progress I’ve made towards the goals I’ve set towards 2018, and adjust my actions as needed. Here’s the post I wrote in December about goals for the year.

Health
  1. Maintain my current level of fitness and make progress throughout 2018.
    I have been consistent with this goal – I can run faster and further than I could six months ago, and I successfully completed my first half marathon in February. I have hit PRs in my one mile and 5k times this year, and I’m running a 5k on Wednesday. Depending on some variables in my life this fall, I may or may not be running a second half marathon in the fall, and I’ve registered for the Mississippi River Half Marathon in 2019.
  2. By the end of 2018, I will drink 68 oz. of water daily.
    This is harder in the school year than it is in the summer. On a majority of the days this summer, I’ve been drinking 68 oz. of water – it’s so much easier in the summer because there’s more motivation. If I’m not well hydrated, running will make me feel like death because it’s 95 degrees outside.
  3. I will floss every day in 2018.
    This is going well and I have also become a low-level flossing evangelist, which goes over really well at parties.

I’ve started using HabitBull to track my health related goals, and I highly recommend it.

Blogging
  1. Write two blog posts every month.
    This one has not happened with consistency. I’ve met this goal in 2/6 months, in May and June. A major challenge for me has been finding time to devote to blogging, and finding ideas to blog about. I’m not great about keeping up an editorial calendar, which is silly – I have a degree in PR and I ran my college newspaper, I know how to do this. It just wasn’t a priority for me earlier this year.
  2. Write one book review every month for the blog.
    This one is embarrassing – I’ve written 1/6 book reviews, and I have another draft of a book review in Google Docs. Reading is lower on my list of priorities during the school year, and as a result, the book reviews haven’t been happening. Coming up soon will be reviews of a few nonfiction books I’ve read over summer break.

I’ve also set other categories of goals – personal, finance, and career. I have a spreadsheet where I keep track of all the goals in all the categories, but it’s interesting – I haven’t really told anyone about those categories, and I didn’t blog about them. They feel a bit less “real” than the ones I articulated on the blog, and I have a harder time tracking my progress towards them. Because I don’t blog about them, I don’t feel accountable to anyone. Any ideas for holding myself accountable, but in a way that’s more private? How do you set goals and track your progress towards them?

My 2018 Reading List

Alfons Morales

One of the blogging goals I’ve set for 2018 is to publish a book review every month. That means I need to write a book review every month which means I need to read a book every month. (Yep, I learned about backwards planning from TFA.)

Here’s a tentative list of books I want to read in 2018. I’m prioritizing reading fiction by women of color. If there’s any other books that are wonderful and amazing that I should add to my list, leave your recommendations in the comments.

  1. Little Fires Everywhere – I’ve already started this.
  2. The Hate U Give – I started this one months ago and put it aside, will pick back up.
  3. NW: A Novel – This has literally been on my Kindle since 2013 and I just haven’t read it yet, how embarrassing.
  4. Turtles All the Way Down – Yes, I realize this is by a white guy.
  5. Harmless Like You
  6. Sorry to Disrupt the Peace
  7. Tell Me Everything You Don’t Remember: The Stroke that Changed My Life
  8. No One is Coming to Save Us
  9. A Good Country
  10. The Tower of the Antilles

My plan is to add books to this list as the year goes on and add links to the book reviews that I write when I’m done.

2017 >>>> 2018

Jungwoo Hong
For me, 2017 featured a lot of growth and a lot of learning.

I know this is a surprise to zero percent of the people who know me in real life, but I am a little bit Type A and a little bit goal oriented and I love setting New Years Resolutions. I love how they have this promise that we’re all going to make vast improvements, fix all our flaws, change our lives. If there’s one part of the year when I want everyone to believe that it’s possible for people to make a change, it’s the grey chill of January.

In the spirit of New Years, I’m going to share my health and blogging goals for 2018. Continue Reading

Butternut Squash Soup with Apples and Bacon

I don’t have a food processor. I don’t have a blender. This recipe involves the use of both devices, and instead, I chopped the ingredients up pretty small and just mashed them while they were cooking. I get the idea that this soup was intended to be far creamier than it was when I made it. Still, I liked the combination of sweet in the apples and salty in the bacon, and the butternut squash serves as a creamy mediator between the two. However, the soup as a whole felt a little heavy – perhaps this would have been different if I had blended it, or used more squash.

Cabbage with Crisp Tofu and Peanut-Lime Dressing

I made this salad last weekend, and I really liked it. The tofu is good and crunchy, and the peanut-lime dressing is really good – I want to make it again and smother it all over noodles and vegetables. However, next time I make it, I’ll use less onion and be sure to cut it up smaller, as I found it slightly overwhelming. I think I want to use this tofu prep style on other kinds of salads, too. It would be great on a spinach salad with walnuts and blueberries and strawberries.
Also, I assumed that four servings of this salad meant four side-salad servings, but it’s more like four meal-salad servings, meaning that I had a ton of this salad, and it doesn’t keep very well, so I ended up throwing out a fair amount of it. Next time, I’ll make it for more people, or make a half recipe.