Two years ago Jess Connelly (co-founder of Amen Paper Company and co-author of Wild & Free) asked me to pick a verse for the year for her shop, and because I love her so much, I said yes! This was the first time I had ever picked a verse for the year. I had heard of people picking verses for the year or a word for the year, but I personally had never done it. I don’t know why, maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’ve always shied away from typical new years resolutions, afraid of picking the wrong thing, but for some reason this time I said yes. Feeling the importance of choosing the verse wisely, I spent time being still, praying about it and asking God to show me what verse he wanted to use in my life that year. Eph 3:20 came to me “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us”. I can’t even begin to express how BIG that verse became in my life throughout that year. He used it time and time again to speak to me in big ways. I was intentional in seeking it out, God was faithful in answering and in return taught me far more than I could have ever imagined through that verse that year. Looking back now, I can see that the years that I didn’t pick a verse or a word or really give myself intentional goals, the result was minimal. I was less focused, didn’t know what to look for and didn’t experience growth the way I did that one year. And growth is good! We’re created to grow!
So this year I want to be intentional. I want to look back at the end of this year and see the big change and growth that happened throughout the year.
The first step in that is…setting GOOD GOALS. Giving myself goals that are 1) realistic and 2) life giving (aka not set myself up for complete failure and frustration by setting unrealistic goals, which is how I typically view traditional “new years resolution” type goals). I went to one of my favorite women to follow, Lara Casey, and walked through her goal setting series (a series of posts that walk you step by step through this process-it’s awesome-it’s what I did and if you have time, I highly recommend!). Here I’m going to summarize what I learned from her series and how it’s helped me in my goal setting.
One thing Lara Casey said that I loved is: “This is not about writing the perfect list of perfect goals with a perfect pen… I’m not going to hand you your 2017 goals; we’re going to do this right and bake them well together, little-by-little, with some bold leaps of faith along the way.” If we want to see real results at the end of the year, it’s pivotal for us to take our time, be intentional and come up with the right goals. And remember, there’s nothing magical about January 1st. You can do this at anytime. All that matter is starting as soon as you can!
So before we actually pick those good goals, let’s take a look back at 2016. What were the major marker moments in your year? Your highs and your lows? What did those things teach you? What worked, what didn’t and what did you learn from them?
For me, as I look back on 2016 a few big things stick out. I remember at the beginning of the year feeling like I was finally making it with Accessory Jane. I had reached some of my previous goals, I could see my hard work finally paying off and man was it rewarding! But as soon as my old goals were met new goals came along, bigger goals, unrealistic goals. My mind was working all the time. I was afraid to slow down out of fear of missing out. I was on my phone all the time (only half way present), but I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing or see anything wrong with it, it was just me being a hard worker and chasing my dreams. I didn’t realize I was missing out on some of the biggest, best moments of my life that were happening right in front of me like Marrying Danny, Becoming a family of 3 and buying our first house…until God opened my eyes and it hit me! I knew something needed to give, so I decided to let go. I asked God to bring balance back into my life. From letting go I found myself spending more time being still, which meant more time with the Lord, I was able to be more intentional and present with Olive, which resulted in us having a much happier home.
Going through all of this, I’m able to look back at see the top things that last year taught me. It taught me 1) the need to be still at times 2) the importance of being present and 3) comparison is the thief of joy (see more of why this was included in my Why I Quit Blogging post), which is now my motto for the year! And then I used this motto to shape this years goals.
It was tremendously helpful to first step back and reflect on last year, see where my successes and hang ups were and the big lessons that those taught me so I can bring them into this new year and know how to give myself good goals that will help me in that area.
Now one more thing that I want to say that has tremendously helped me in feeling comfortable and confident in setting my goals this year is to keep them general enough so they can change and adapt to whatever season you may be in. Like right now, it’s going to be a lot easier for me to spend time alone with God and say yes to Olive as much as I want (which are two of my goals), but fast forward 6 months when I have a newborn, it’s going to look different. So instead of saying I’m going to spend 20 min with God every morning and so much time with Olive every day. My goals are going to be. Spend intentional time with God every morning (however long that may be) and say yes to time with Olive as much as I can. That way these goals make me more mindful of it, but don’t make me feel chained or overwhelmed. Keeping them general and simple enough allows me wiggle room…wiggle room to still succeed!
This year my goals are:
- Spend intentional time with God every morning
- Say yes more to time with Olive
- Monthly date night with Danny (realistic-but I’ll always take more!)
- Cook 3 times a week
- Exercise 3 times a week
- Read 15 min at night before bed
- Start blogging again for fun because I enjoy it & miss it
- Remember comparison is the thief of joy!! – Celebrate others victories, not compare. Be thankful for exactly where God has me remembering their is purpose in it all!
- Give more grace! – Grace to myself and grace to others – tomorrow is always a new day with new chances!
- Celebrate little victories – enjoy lifes little moments
- Be intentional in calling my friends more – lets be honest, when you get older you don’t have the time to hang out the way you used to, so calling is important!
- Let go of worrying about peoples opinion of me – am I pretty enough, successful enough, good enough mom/wife, hostess – just focusing on being me – expressing gratitude for the way God created me. If I want Olive to feel loved and enough, I need to show her how and live it out myself!
Remember all of this is about progress, not perfection.
Remind yourself every morning: Write your goals down & put or post them somewhere so you can see them and be reminded of them everyday. I made this condensed sheet that reminds me of my goals and put this on my bathroom mirror. This may sound intimidating at first, but I really think when you keep your goals general & simple enough, it’s doable!
Share your goals & Get Accountability: Surround yourself with people who are going to cultivate what matters most to you this year.