As 2015 drew to a close, I realized for the first time that the week between Christmas and New Year may be the most exciting week of the whole year for me. It is a yearly reminder that I have a chance to start afresh. I don’t necessarily make New Year’s resolutions per se, but I do use it as a motivator to reflect on how I’ve grown, changed, and failed in the past year and set goals for the following year accordingly.
If you asked those closest to me, they would probably tell you I have a list of 2016 goals a mile long. It seems everything I’ve mentioned over the past few weeks that I desire to do in 2016 I have classified as a goal. Spend less time on social media – goal. Make half of the recipes on my Pinterest board while still spending less time on social media – goal. Buy bread, milk, and eggs to make something that’s not on my Pinterest board – my grocery list now qualifies as a 2016 goal.
Realistically, we need to be careful to not set ourselves up for failure. There is no way we can expect to achieve 2,016 goals in 2016. We can’t multi-focus and expect to succeed. As we strive to grow and become better versions of who we are – with our ultimate goal to be like Jesus, we need to give ourselves grace in our dreaming. We won’t become awesome overnight – or even over 365 nights. Jen Hatmaker, in her book For The Love writes: “We need to quit trying to be awesome and instead be wise.”
Wisdom allows us to be challenged and pushes us out of our comfort zones, but also takes into account our capabilities and our human limitations. You’re not going to get up and run a marathon next week if you’ve never run before, but you might run a mile! You’re not likely to lose 50 pounds by the end of January, but you might lose 5 or 10! Set achievable goals to help build confidence and prepare you for your next set of goals.
For me, while I am always tempted to set many high and lofty goals, I know 3-5 life-altering tasks are all I can focus on; the end-goal being that it becomes a habit.
My 2015 goals that I can now check off as habits are:
- Do Monthly Meal Planning – Previously, grocery shopping for me had just been a random grabbing of things which amounted to both time and food wasted as I struggled to figure out meals to make out of what I had bought.
- Read a Book a Month – Some months this was easier than others. Some months I read two books while other months I read only half a book. But it has truly enriched my life to push myself to read. There are so many good books out there and so much to learn! And I know reading will also make me a better writer.
- Take an Actual Vacation with My Husband – My dear husband and I have been married for over 12 years, and other than small weekend trips here and there, we have not gone on vacation since our honeymoon! It was just time. Past time. So in October of 2015 we were able to spend almost an entire week lying on the beach in the Dominican Republic. It. Was. GLORIOUS!
- Set a Monthly GNO – This was not actually my idea, but in December 2014 when one of my girlfriends suggested we put on the calendar a girls’ night out every month, I was all in! And it has been a blast and a breath of fresh air! Husbands are great, but a girl needs her tribe. Am I right?
After seeing the positive effects of new life habits from a year lived striving towards my goals, I’m excited to have the opportunity to start again! So for the sake of accountability, and hopefully encouragement, my 2016 goals are:
- Read 18 Books – a book and a half each month I believe is doable. And I already have 16 of my 18 books picked out!
- Drink Black(er) Coffee – This will be a genuine attempt to transition from coffee-flavored creamer to creamer-flavored coffee. Basically my coffee should not look like chocolate milk! There are health benefits to coffee, I know. But they certainly get lost in all my cream and sugar!
- Get Organized – Last week I spent a few hours putting together a Home Management Binder in my attempt to get more organized in my use of time. It includes monthly and weekly planners, cleaning schedules, meal planning and recipes, blog planning, and a few pages where I dreamed bigger for 2016 (focusing on four areas of my life: Mothering, Finances, Spirituality, and Relationships. I’m keeping this in the very front of my binder as a constant reminder!)
- Get Up Earlier – This is actually something that I started at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year. I found when I only got up a few minutes before my kids (or even worse, when they were what woke me up!) my whole day was shot and I just felt behind before my feet ever touched the floor. I’m an introvert and need some quiet time to recharge. Last August I started setting my alarm for 5:30, getting out of bed by 6:00. This year I’d like to see myself getting up at 5:30, which probably means setting the alarm for 5:00 (I usually find I hit my alarm once or twice before I cognitively recognize that it is going off.) I hate (capital H A T E) getting up early. I’m not even kinda sorta a morning person in disguise. But being ready for the day and getting some time in the Word before the rest of my world starts has spelled incredible sanity for me. So it’s worth it.
- Go to Bed Earlier – This goes hand-in-hand with the last one. If I’m going to get up earlier, I have to go to bed earlier. I’m guilty of staying up past 11:00 frequently. My brain needs sleep. So on week nights, I am aiming for in-bed with my eyes closed by 10:00 – knowing the earlier the better!
New Year. New Blog. New Goals. That’s my 2016 in a nutshell. What about you? Have you set any goals for the new year? Obviously, there is nothing magical about starting a new year. You can create goals and start over on a random Tuesday in September just as definitively as you can on January 1st. In our impatient, instant gratification society, it’s easy to give up quickly. Change is hard. Growth is inconvenient. But one day and one goal at a time, with discipline and God’s direction, we will slowly become who He has created us to be. Happy New Year!