About a week late, but since we have been visiting family and friends in the Netherlands for the first week of January, it feels like this is my real first week of the new year. Today all three of us had to go back to normal life (work or daycare), and although I don´t really do resolutions, I do like the concept of picking a word of focus for 2017 and some goal planning.
After some reflection time and a lot of possible focus words that would all make a lot of sense (e.g. “growth”, “confidence”, “focus”, “patience”), I figured there is one that would make the biggest impact so I chose “present”.
My usual mode is to always be thinking about the next to-do on my (never-ending) list and to keep working towards what has to happen or be planned next, and this sometimes makes it hard to enjoy the little things that are happening right now. I feel like I need to be in the here and now more often to enjoy my time with friends and family more and also to be more productive.
Related to this, I have set some goals for myself to focus on being more present.
Be present – ditch the phone
I already knew this but after seeing a talk by Simon Sinek I realized it´s actually much worse than I thought it was. So yes, I might be a little phone addicted and obviously social media and Whatsapp don´t help much with being present. Obviously, I need my phone for work, keeping up with friends and family at home and of course for this crazy thing called blogging, but this little machine shouldn´t intervene with what is really important. So I set up some rules to keep my phone usage within reasonable limits:
- I am going to put my phone away more often at home, especially around the bichin. So when work is done until he goes to bed, the phone is going to be in a different room. (Many parents (including us!) complain that their kids are too obsessed with our phones but honestly, I don´t think we can blame them: if we are always on our phones, of course the littles get very interested in that device. I know the bichin definitely is!)
- On the moments I need to be focused or just don´t want to be disturbed (and don´t have the temptation to look at my phone to see if anything important got in), my phone is going to be on flight mode.
- My phone is going to be banned from the bedroom to avoid checking social media before going to sleep and ending up in the “magical world of Facebook” only to put the phone away one hour later. Also, I don´t want to check my phone during the night when I wake up to get some water or go to the bathroom because it wakes me up. So, I bought an old-fashioned alarm clock which can only tell me what time it is (when the bichin wakes up during the night I want to know if it´s already morning or just past midnight) and also to have an alarm (normally I don´t need an alarm because the bichin is awake between 6 and 6.30am however probably the day I don´t put my alarm is the day I will miss the train to Madrid for going to the office).
- Keep my phone in my purse more often during dinners with friends or meetings at work. Out of habit I always put it on the table (sometimes facing downwards but still, you notice it´s there) and this makes the temptation to grab it to check much bigger whereas actually I should either enjoy my dinner or be focused on what´s going on in this meeting.
Be present – explore new places
This is not a new year’s resolution but simply a goal I set for myself a long time ago already, to explore at least one new place every year. Traveling, learning about new cultures, meeting new people and discovering places I haven´t been before are things that I truly love and where there is usually no plan or to-do list involved. Before having the bichin we traveled quite a bit, but obviously backpacking through Asia is a little bit more complicated with a toddler (I am not saying it´s impossible, I always envy those travel moms that are traveling around the world with their babies but we´re not in that stage yet). So although the traveling rhythm might have slowed down, we´re still exploring new places. Sometimes as a family, and sometimes I take a little trip by myself to visit friends or family. The new places don´t have to be on the other side of the world, the key is to keep exploring and discovering. Last year it was Namibia, the year before it were Dallas and some villages in Tuscany (Italy), and this year´s first new place has already been booked: South Africa! My sister is going there for an internship so, together with my other sister, I will be paying her visit in May.
Be present – take care of myself
And lastly, to be more present I need to take better care of myself. So although I don´t want to set the typical new year´s resolutions of losing weight, eating healthier or going to the gym more often (although they are probably all very necessary), I do want to leave my screen a bit more and go outside more often (and related with above, without phone!). And apart from going outside, taking some more time to do the things that I enjoy, reading, writing, playing field hockey, meeting up with friends. Even if that means leaving the bichin with a babysitter more often, although it sounds cliché, some extra me-time sometimes can definitely make me a better mom.
Well, that ended up being a much longer post than I planned:). Thanks for stopping by and let me know in the comments what your word for 2017 is!
Happy new year!
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