With such a busy run up to Christmas and New Year and then getting the kids organised and back into routine it has taken a while for me to sit and have the time to reflect on what I would like to try and achieve for our family, myself and my blog in 2019. I know there is a lot of discussion these days about whether you should or shouldn’t set New Year’s resolutions mainly as they can be seen as setting yourself up for failure if you don’t achieve them, or simply we are enough as we are. I personally feel that using the term goals or aspirations is more fitting than New Year’s Resolutions. It just to me feels more positive and aspirational for the year without setting things in stone, if you catch my drift! I have 3 areas that I wish to focus on throughout the year; family, myself and my blog. For those that don’t blog, I have put these at the end, so you don’t have to read through them if not of interest!
First up for our family I have a few family aspirations for the year:
To Slow down- We used to be really good at slowing our family time down. Focusing on simple activities around the house, garden and very local outdoor spots. We have of late been busy filling our weekends up with days out and since we moved to Yorkshire we have been eager to explore a bit too much. It ends up with us all becoming exhausted and the kids end up taking days out for granted rather than a treat. So especially in the upcoming cooler months, we will make the most of what we have at home and slow our days down.
Creative- To help reduce screen time and build on creativity, I’m wanting the kids to be more creative and look to find other things to do instead of screen time. So I will be helping them to do this by making our craft boxes more accessible. I’m planning on rotating crafty bits, junk modelling, workbooks, play dough and anything else I can think of. Having them more accessible to me and them means I can just throw an activity out on the table and, depending on the activity, sit with them or leave them to play independently. Adding to creativity, Dougie has been working on after school time to practice their musical instruments. This is something that we wish to keep encouraging them to do.
Helping in the House- We would like them all to have more of an understanding of how the house works and how much easier it is if we all work together as a team, so I get more time to play and they get life skills. I’m all too guilty of just doing jobs like the washing myself because it’s easier. There is no reason why they all can’t help out with laundry and other household chores more. The youngest ones think chores are great fun, so I will be remembering to let them help me make dinner etc more often, when time permits.
Family Games – Over Christmas we played a few games and did a few jigsaws and it got me thinking we haven’t done enough of this since we’ve had the little two. So I’m hoping to work around finding games we can all do together or manage around the younger ones. We had a card game (Dobble!) before bath time on a school night recently and it was only a quick 10 minutes bit the kids loved it.
Planning Holidays Carefully- As a large family going away is fun but totally exhausting. I would like to really put some effort into thinking how we can make family holidays easier and more relaxing for all concerned, ie myself and Dougie! I will report back later in the year of how I have got on with this one!
Mealtimes and Healthy Eating – We cook most meals from scratch but I have become guilty as they’ve got older and fussier of not being adventurous enough and sticking to what I know they will eat, rather than experiencing more. I’m utilising my meal planning time into making a variety of meals and making sure they get used to seeing and trying more vegetables and healthy options on their plates. Myself and Dougie also need to inject more healthy portions on our plates as well. I also would like to work on the kids table manners as somedays it feels like we’re in a zoo!
Grow More – I would like to grow more fruit, veg and herbs this year. Last year the tomatoes and strawberries were in abundance and the little two loved helping me pick them. So this year I would like to be more adventurous and grow a pumpkin or two and some other veggies as well.
Laugh Together More- In our family we all have our own unique sense of humour that shines through, but when we’re all together it can be harder to remember to all laugh together. It can be so hectic and so sometimes I’m so focused on routines and not being silly that we forget to have some belly-ripping fun together. I want to try and remember to break free for 5 minutes from routine and make sure we’ve all have a chance to giggle more at something.
Appreciate More To find ways to encourage kindness and appreciation. I will make another post on how I plan to encourage acts of kindness with the whole family.
Save More – This will hopefully fit in well with slowing our family life down. We would like to focus on saving more this year. Just looking into a few more money saving ways and putting them into practice. For instance I only just recently found out that if you shop online you can use companies such as KidsStart to convert purchases into small amounts of money to be deposited into kids savings accounts. So to find ways to keep costs down and save more is on our radar for the whole year.
I really do believe that these family aspirations aren’t too unachievable or too much to take on as a lot can be incorporated with each one.
My own goals – I think it’s really important to have some time to reflect on what worked and didn’t work for you over the past year and how you would like to change things up or focus on for the New Year.
Earlier Alarm call- I would like to get up before the kids each morning (well mostly on school days and we will take it from there). I’m all too guilty on pressing the snooze button, and leaving getting up until the last necessary minute. I then fly around the house in unorganised chaos and then end up spending a good chunk of the day getting back on track. I would like to be able to have a few peaceful minutes whilst eating breakfast, to chat to Douglas without all the kids interrupting and get a few chores done before the school run. I think this will do wonders for my own sanity and lessen the days where I’m overwhelmed by life laundry.
Move More – Hopefully by getting up early, this will in turn help me move more. With recent sciatica I have had days where my movement is more start/stop. So days where I’m less in pain, I want to get back to walking lots more, so taking Florence out in the pram and doing more brisk walks that I used to love when we had a dog.
Read More- I’m sure this is on most parents list! It’s hard to get time to read when you have young children but I would like to try and read more than the 4 books I read last year! Although that was an improvement on the year before when Florence was tiny and I don’t think I read at all! I tend to focus more of my time online, so my reading window is then set to being in bed where I inevitably end up reading the same page and falling asleep each night. So just by taking my book into the bath or going to bed a little earlier, I’m hoping will result in a few more books read in 2019. I would also like to start listening to a few podcasts as I go about my day, especially when I’m doing Jobs whilst Florence naps or in the car when I’m not going through my repertoire of nursery rhymes!
Play More- Having four children means it’s all too easy to let them play with each other or encourage them to work out how to play on their own. Both of these are exactly what children should be doing, however of late I have felt that I, myself don’t play enough with them. Life is busy and I don’t want this to be about beating myself up over what I haven’t done, as this is not what these goals are about. I just want to remind myself to occasionally not say ‘wait a minute and Mummy will be there’ and instead to get down on the floor and play and discover things with them. This ties into the whole reason why getting up early will hopefully allow me more time in other areas such as this. And essentially playing with play dough is more fun than doing the washing! Also this can be tied in with some of my family goals of playing board games and having a crafting activity ready,
Craft More-This Christmas I really fell in love with making a few decorations for the house. I love a celebration and a theme, so I would like to continue this and make more creations for me and the home throughout the year. Maybe take part in a few craft sessions somewhere and broaden my crafty capabilities. Watch this space as I will be sharing my creations along the way!
Blog Testing- I love that most of the time that my brain is continually learning and being tested by learning new things for my blog, so I will continue to grow and develop and discover new areas to learn and build my little corner of the Internet, to keep me on my toes.
Self Care- To try and recognise when I can feel that I have taken on too much. To try and be kinder to myself and and work out strategies to help keep less stressed. To not forget me time, have a few more baths or to know when to just focus my energy rather than spreading myself too thin. And recognise more that an early night is beneficial to everything!
It may feel like this is quite a lot to think about but I feel that a lot of these will all work if I put them all into place together. Being more organised will hopefully mean more time to spend doing a few things that I want to do for myself. And like I said these are more reminders of how I would like to focus my energy on for the year rather than list of ‘I must do this’. If any of them seem unachievable then I will park the idea for another time because as part of my self care I will be trying not to be too hard on myself with setting my productivity for the day too high.
My blogging goals
I really love the direction my blog has taken in the past few months and so I want to continue with the direction it has already taken but also re-visit the types of posts that made me want to start writing in the first place.
I want to continue to ramp up my Pinterest capabilities, Pinterest is a place that I love and use most days. So to continue putting my blog out there in Pinterest makes total sense to me and one that will benefit my stats and I enjoy doing at the same time.
To up my game on SEO, promoting my posts and finding ways to up my stats will be in my mind this year. This has never been my priority since starting my blog, but it now seems a logical next step for me to work on.
To try out new link-ups. I love link-ups and so would love to try a few new ones this year. I would love to collaborate more with others as I did so recently and it was really fun working with others on a post. And who knows maybe one day I would love to host my own link-up!
I want to continue to focus on that blogging feel over on my instagram page. Sharing insights into our daily lives and my thoughts on the everyday. I find insta stories more enjoyable and popular, so for me they have taken me further away from vlogging. Although I haven’t ruled out going back to doing YouTube, it just takes up a lot of my precious family time doing both.