Here are my Personal Development Goals for November 2015 and how I fared with them:

FAMILY – write Grandfather a letter.  This goal was the first one that came to mind as I planned for November and it was a success.  I think I may have even written it in October.  Grandfather is at the end of his life, on hospice, and I wanted him to know the legacy he left with me and my family.  I included pictures of the three kids (hopefully he will be able to meet Leah when we go to Washington in a few days) and wrote my favorite and most impactful memories of our times together.

FAITH -finish memorizing Psalm 22 and start memorizing Psalm 103.  I have six verses left in Psalm 22, so I did not finish.  There are about ten verses of extremely descriptive phrases about suffering and death…ugh, that was hard to read and repeat every morning!  I want to finish just so I can complete it, but I would really rather go on to Psalm 103.  I’m also reading through the story of Joseph which has taken the place of the morning memorization while nursing Leah.

FINANCES – purchase Christmas gifts for supporters.  We are giving packets of bird’s beak chili and a cinnamon stick, with recipes for salsa and arroz con leche.  I was able to purchase the supplies and we are about halfway through assembling the gifts, so it was a success.

FUN – haircut.  Finally I was able to get my haircut by a student in this quarter’s DTS.  Success!

FRIENDS – have dinner with Robbyn’s family on campus.  While we did not have them for a meal, they did visit the campus and I gave them a short tour one weekend.  I still want to do a meal with them on campus so maybe next year sometime.  I’d call this one a partial success.

MINISTRY  – attend other small group two times.  Definitely did not accomplish this goal.

FITNESS – finish eating by 8:30 PM and save sweet treats for once a week.  This goal was my favorite of the month.  Disciplining myself to finish eating by 8:30 PM was such a great decision.  I had developed a habit of rewarding myself with a snack (especially a sugary one) after the kids are in bed at night and I had finished tidying up or preparing for the next day, which was usually right around 8:30 PM.  Most of the time I’m not actually hungry, but I’ve trained myself to expect something to eat as a reward (reading this book really opened my eyes to cravings and the cue-routine-reward cycle).  Cutting off food at 8:30 PM made me pay attention to myself and to the clock instead of mindlessly eating something to finish that habit cycle.  I admit there were times when I almost felt panicked about needing to eat something before the clock hit 8:30 PM.  After a few times of that sensation it became even more obvious that eating was not for hunger, it was for rewards.  It helps that I have a stack of library books to read and a list of blogs to check in with each evening which often sweeps me away and I don’t notice the time until close to 9:00 PM.  After a few days I began to see it as a small victory – I was beating the system!  There were at least two times that I did eat something after 8:30 PM, but most of the month I was able to stay disciplined and choose not to.  The sweet treats once a week was so good for me as well.  I probably at sweets four or five days over the entire month (choosing a 24 hour period as a day).  It helped me assess why I wanted sweets and what I could do instead of giving in to the craving.  Plus, with the holiday season in full swing and Thanksgiving at the end of the month, I was able to pass on most of the sweets that seem to appear out of nowhere during this time of year and really enjoy the times when I did eat them.  However, I think my body was not ready for such a rich, indulgent meal like Thanksgiving as I found myself on the toilet with chills and cramps for about half an hour that night.

It will be interesting to see how December’s goals play out as we will be in Washington with family for half of the month.  Routine is so good for me, so upending everything, living with other people, celebrating holidays…all of that chaos and fun might make it more challenging.  We shall see!


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