I might say this every month for the rest of the year, but how is it already the middle of July? Perhaps it’s because the pandemic restrictions are being lifted and everyone’s calendars are filling up with social events again, or maybe I blacked out through the last month and a half to escape the deafening drone of the 17-year cicadas in our area. Still, I feel like time has been speeding!
In any case, it’s not only a new month, but a new quarter of the year! It’s time for me to look back on my quarter 2 goals and accomplishments, recognize my successes and opportunities for improvement (I once had a coworker who would insist on calling “problems” and “issues” as “opportunities for improvement” and I’ve adopted this because I believe reframing can be so impactful).
As a reminder, here were my goals for the last three months:
- Limit caffeine intake after noon
- Be in bed, ready to sleep by 10:30pm
- Get 15 minutes of daily sun exposure
- Stop using screens after 10pm
How did I do?
To be honest, I probably had more misses than hits in all areas except for limiting caffeine intake after noon (where a lot of my success came from just not going out to buy a coffee that day). However, even if I was successful only 1/4 of the time, that’s still more effort that I’ve put into my quality of sleep than I have previously and I say that’s still something to celebrate. Practicing progress over perfection!
What got in my way?
For limiting caffeine intake after noon, my biggest challenge was getting a coffee early enough in the day (usually I don’t have enough time between dropping my son off at daycare and my first work meetings of the day to get a coffee so I’ll go out and get one later). I could make a coffee at home (I have a coffee maker) but I’ll be honest, my weakness is those $5 lattes sweetened with sugary syrup and I haven’t tried to figure out how to duplicate at home. I also tend to drink my coffees really slowly so even if I got my coffee at say 10:30am, I might still technically be taking my final sips after noon.
For being ready to sleep by 10:30pm, sometimes it was wanting to spend more time with my husband after my son went to sleep at 9pm. Sometimes my son was having a rough night and would need help resettling to sleep. Sometimes I felt like I needed some extra time to unwind.
For getting 15 minutes of daily sun exposure, sometimes it was raining, or by the time I had a break in my work meetings, it was unreasonably hot. Sometimes I had work meetings throughout the day. Sometimes I could not get my toddler to walk with me. Sometimes I just didn’t feel like it.
To stop using screens after 10pm, mostly it was just a tough habit for me to break. I mentioned before that I had the most success having screen time out of the bedroom beforehand, but even so, I often ended up watching something until 10:30pm. With my son going to bed at 9pm, and many shows lasting an hour, unless I started watching a show immediately after my son went to bed, I’d be pushing that 10pm boundary.
What will I do moving forward?
For limiting caffeine intake after noon, I’ll look up some make-at-home latte recipes and try some out. Bonus: all the time and money saved by not going out to get some coffee! If it gets to be too late during the day, I’ll consider a replacement like making myself tea or a chocolate milk instead.
For being ready to sleep by 10:30pm, honestly I felt like this was the most impactful change to my habits so I really want to acknowledge that for myself. I just plain feel better the more often I get to bed by 10:30pm. That said, I’m also ok with all the reasons I listed for not making it to that 10:30pm bedtime because my relationship with my family is so so important to me. So maybe 10:30pm is a 5-days a week goal or a soft goal where it’s ok if I’m ready for bed at 10:45pm instead (still better than after midnight!).
For getting 15 minutes of daily sun exposure, I think this one requires a deeper dive of curiosity. My personal motivation gets in the way a lot of the time, but pre-pandemic and pre-working from home all the time, I went outside for walks a lot, all summer long, despite the heat and in work clothes for an overly air-conditioned office. So there’s something else different about being at home that’s getting in my way and I’d like to take the time to explore that some more.
To stop using screens after 10pm, honestly I’m going to drop and forgive myself for this one. I have three other great sleep goals, I’m adding hydration goals for this quarter, and I think it’s ok to just let go of this one for now. When the other things are more established habits, I can try again to make this a priority.