Ringing in a New Year
I hope you had a safe and wonderful New Year with your family and friends.
This time of year there is tons of talk about resolutions. I was never much into the act of making resolutions. Who keeps those, anyway? I would scoff at people who would resolve to eat better or run a marathon and move on with my day. I think part of that is from being young and idiotic (it’s ok, we’ve all been there. It’s ok to admit it.), and part of that is as a college student I very much survived day to day. Maybe a resolution for the year was “pass all of my classes and graduate someday”. Beyond that, I would just see what life brought me!
After cramming an undergraduate degree, a semester hiatus in Hawaii, and a graduate degree into a 5 year time span, I picked up my first piece of literature for pleasure on my honeymoon. For 5 long years I’d been submerged in textbooks and research articles. (My one moment of reprieve was buying “The Deathly Hallows” at midnight on release day, locking myself into a room with my two best college friends, and reading until we were done. We skipped class and everything… *GASP*)
On my honeymoon, I decided what better time to catch up on reading for pleasure! I’d resolve to read a book a week until my first anniversary. I could do that, right?! Did that happen? Of course not! The following year I decided I’d read a book every two weeks. Did that happen? Nope, it sure didn’t. I came into this year thinking, I’d struggle through trying to read one more book than I did last year. I’d have a baby all year long, so surely, I won’t be able to read more than last year.
Around the same time, my awesome Sunday school teacher, Jeff Hubbard, did a lesson on goals vs. resolutions. With a resolution, you don’t give yourself an leeway to to make mistakes. You either do or your don’t. So little in our life is black and white, why would we resolve to do something new that isn’t already easily in our capacity? No wonder we don’t keep our resolutions! I’m not surprised that we give up on resolutions all together, actually. So how do we change that? With a goal, we are still striving for an end, but any progress on the path is just that, progress! Goals are not black and white. Now you may say, this is just a debate of semantics, but if we change our thought process around these ideals that we’re setting for ourselves, maybe we won’t feel so defeated if we come up a little short. Maybe, if we take them in tiny steps instead of giant leaps, we can tackle even more than we expected!
That really motivated me to make some goals for 2014. 2013 was a big year of change, and with change comes expense! We bought our first home, our first vehicle as a couple, and we welcomed a sweet baby boy into the world. With all of that, I was really motivated to set some financial goals for our family. I wanted to be a family who lived well within our means. I wanted to read more books than in 2013. I wanted to give consistently and give more.
So I wrote it down.
Whatever your goals for 2015 may be, you have to write them down. They have to be somewhere you can look at them. You have to take them from being a figment of your imagination to being real and tangible. Share it with someone close to you who won’t judge you, but will encourage you and hold you accountable. I wrote them in my journal, so I could pray over them. I typed them up and hung them up on our bathroom mirrors so we would see them at the start of every day. We talked about them often, figuring out if we were on track or how we could catch up. Break down your goals into months, weeks, or even days. How much do you need to save this week to reach your goal? What do you need to do each day? (Is this breakdown stuff starting to scare you? It’s ok. Math scares me too, sometimes.) 😉
**TIP** Download an app called Goal Tracker. You can input each of your goals and break it down in days, weeks, or months. You can set reminders to go off on your phone, and it will break down all of the percentages for you. It even has a pie chart if you prefer pictures over numbers 🙂 We didn’t use this app last year, but we are using it this year and, so far, I really like it.
With this new outlook on goals vs. resolutions, I wasn’t discouraged by the goals I didn’t reach in 2014. I looked back and knew I’d made progress, and then put it on the list of goals for 2015, while also evaluating how I could do better. What I did find was that breaking down our goals made them that much easier. We eliminated debt and put some extra on the house. We doubled our savings. We set up a separate bank account for giving and because of it were able to give in abundance, compared to 2013. I not only read more books than 2013, I read a book a week and surpassed 16,000 total pages. Even I would have never guessed that a year ago! My mind was blown when I took the time to look at all we’d truly accomplished in 2014.
So as we enter 2015, I’ve written things on paper that I would have been scared to even whisper aloud a year ago. I’ve always desired to write a book and I have hopes of cranking out a first draft in 2015, no matter how rough it might be. I want to walk the Susan G. Komen 3-Day in San Diego this year, but that means raising $2300 (and paying for plane tickets and hotel rooms). I want to raise $7000 for TAOE on top of that. I want to send 15,000 Christmas cards to veterans across the country. I want to drink more water, read even more books, and reduce the amount we owe on our house by 20%. Those, of course, are all tangible. I also want to be a better wife, mother, daughter, and friend. I want to pray more and talk less. I want to give more and want less. I want to be open to where it is I’m supposed to be, and be grateful for each day that it takes me to get there. I want to finish better than I started.
As we enter 2015 together, I hope you’ll take 30 minutes to sit in stillness and ponder what it is you want for your year. Tangible and not, what do you want to do better? Write it down, tell a friend, and pave the way for you to get there.
I’d love to hear some of your goals for 2015, and I hope you can encourage others in their goals as well.
Oh, and of course (because I really like to give things away), one of you lucky readers will win this little goal setting gift pack. It’s a gorgeous mint and gold! You’ll get a mini clip board, journal, magnetic to-do list, and 8 notecards to help thank and encourage others.
All you have to do is share one of your goals for 2015! Share this with a friend (and tell me you did) and get a second entry. I’ll pick a winner on Sunday!
Thanks for reading & happy goal setting,