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I’m going to be changing up the format of my monthly goals and review posts.  I used to just list off all of the goals I had for the month and whether or not I met them.  I get so frustrated with myself when I don’t reach my goals and I constantly feel guilty (I’m more than a little Type A) when I’m doing anything “unproductive.”

Honestly, April wasn’t the best month.  I didn’t hit a lot of my goals, my husband and I argued about money, there were some unexpected expenses that came up, and I struggled with anxiety, OCD, and depression.  I realized that I spend way too much time living in the future and need to focus more on enjoying the present.

I still want to work on improving my health, finances, faith, this blog, and other aspects of my life.  I still want to keep hustling and double the number of readers I currently have for this blog.  But it’s about working smart, not hard.  In April, 1/3 of my page views for the month happened on one day.  Clearly, I was doing something right that day.  I don’t need to devote every spare second to blogging in order to grow my blog.  I just need to be smarter about my techniques.  The same holds true for other areas of my life.

I’m going to do what I can to work smart, not hard.  Ideally, this will free up some time to focus on simply living in the present and enjoying life.  To that end, these monthly review posts will be more than just a list of every goal I reached or failed to achieve.  Instead, I’ll add some fun stuff, including highlights of the month, what I read this month, and what I listened to this month.

Goals I Reached

Financial: I continued my three year spending ban (for the most part – I do “cheat” every once in a while.  When I cheat, I usually spend about $2).

Faith: I continued going to holy yoga (which is free) 1-2x per week, went to church every Sunday, and read the Bible daily on the She Reads Truth app.

Fitness: I exercised 6x per week and ate clean (for the most part) aside from a few cheat meals.

Goals I Didn’t Reach

Paying an extra $1,700 on my student loans – Well, I didn’t even get close… I put $0 extra toward them.  There were some unexpected expenses – like a trip to a neighboring state to visit my husband’s aunt who is in hospice care, and a vet bill for my parents’ chihuahua who had a growth on his neck (it turned out to be nothing, but the vet originally thought it was a tumor that could potentially be cancerous).

My parents are paying me back for the vet bill and I still could’ve put extra toward my loans (just not the full $1,700 I was aiming for), but I chose not to because of timing.  I always make my extra payment the day after my regular payment is due – this way, I pay the least amount possible in interest and the majority of my payment goes to the principal.  I might make a larger payment in May – I’m not sure yet because of something exciting that’s happening in June!  Stay posted for more details on that! :)

Strength training on a regular basis – I honestly just don’t care about this enough to make it a priority.  I started getting caught up in the idea of how awesome it would be to lose more weight and get really fit/toned, and I lost sight of the real reason why I started this whole exercising and eating clean thing in the first place.  It’s not about appearance for me; it’s about health.  I wanted to improve my physical and mental well-being.  I’m going to stick with eating healthy, walking on the treadmill daily, and doing yoga 1-2x per week.  If I lose another 15 pounds, awesome.  If not, that’s okay too.

Highlights of the Month

I brought my mom with me to holy yoga, and she loved it.  She doesn’t exercise much because of an old injury that still causes her a lot of pain on a daily basis, and I thought she would hate yoga.  I thought she would say that it was too hard to do with her arthritis.  I was wrong – she liked it!  It’s awesome to see her (finally) find a type of exercise that she enjoys and that she can do despite her limitations.

I volunteered at my friend’s mom’s church with Kids Against Hunger.  In a little under two hours, we made meals that will feed over 4,000 people.

The biggest highlight of the month is that something exciting will most likely be happening in June!  I don’t want to jinx it by posting about it yet…stay tuned ;)

What I Read This Month

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Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety by Daniel Smith – The beginning of this book is a bit graphic/shocking, but after I got through that, I liked the book.  As someone who has anxiety, it’s interesting that there are certain parts of his story that I can relate to so much, and there are other parts that are just baffling to me.  Everyone experiences anxiety in their own unique way – there are some similarities between different stories, but no two experiences will be exactly the same.

As interesting as the book is, I found it difficult to keep reading because it was making me feel anxious.  Being immersed in a book that is entirely focused on anxiety isn’t really a relaxing activity for someone who has anxiety!

Mind Over Money: Overcoming Money Disorders that Threaten Our Financial Health by Brad and Ted Klontz – This book is written by two financial psychologists (I didn’t even know that was a field!  This is my new dream job).  They start off by saying that people do not engage in self-destructive financial behaviors because they are lazy, greedy, or weak.  Instead, the authors say that unhealthy financial patterns are the result of psychological forces that are deeply ingrained within us and that are largely outside of our conscious awareness.

For example, someone might develop a spending addiction if their parents never showed them affection in any way other than buying them gifts.  This is a fascinating perspective that differs very much from how overspending and other unhealthy financial behaviors are viewed in the personal finance world.

What I Listened To/Watched

TV: Person of Interest + the new seasons of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Scandal.  Kimmy Schmidt was hilarious (as always), but I’m a bit iffy on the current season of Scandal.  It’s way different from the prior seasons (which were all awesome).

Song on repeat: Safe and Sound by Madilyn Bailey (I’m obsessed with this song!)

In Case You Missed It

I submitted a guest post called “What I Wish I Could Say to the People Who Tell Me I’m Too Frugal” on the The Financial Diet.  FD is one of my favorite blogs – I LOVE their design/layout and the content is always relatable and honest.

 

How was your April?

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