Blogging seems to be a lost art form these days, and yet, here we are. I wanted a place to share more about our life and favorite things with you all, so let's see how this goes. I'm going to kick it all off with one of my favorite things to talk about: intention setting.
“We become what we behold.” (Ruth Chou Simons)
I remember reading this sentence in 2018 and feeling it in my core. I realized that I didn’t want to be a passive participant in my life anymore. I wanted to take charge of the things that I was letting into my life and be intentional about who I was becoming: as a mother, wife, friend, and follower of Christ.
Resolutions get a bad rap, and I think there are two main reasons why:
- Most of us don't really know how to set goals effectively. We say things like: I want to be healthier. I want to read more. I want to be better about quiet times. They are not written down, measurable, specific, or timely.
- We're scared to set big goals. Especially coming off 2020, where absolutely nothing went according to plan. We're scared to dream big and think into the future.
So, since you’re here, here are my thoughts. Maybe, January 1st isn’t about setting big, shiny goals. Maybe we look less at resolutions and goal setting and instead focus on intention setting. We focus on growth in areas that matter to us. We're never going to wake up 5, 10, 15 years from now and have the life we want to have if we aren't intentional about creating it. If you are looking at life from a Christian worldview, like I am, the Bible talks about this constantly. The New Testament frequently uses the metaphor of a race or an athlete and talks about training. The book of 1 Timothy uses words like " train, toil, strive, practice, persist"... these are active words! We are called and expected to be an active part of becoming more of who Jesus would have us to be.
I start looking at setting goals by looking at the big picture. I look at my life and ask what the main areas are. The past few years, I've had five: spiritual, personal, physical, marriage/family, and business. And then I ask myself how I would like to grow in each area. What do I want my family to look like in 5 years? My business? My walk with God? My physical and mental health? What routines do I want to spend time establishing? For example, it's important to me to be someone who is grounded in the Word of God. I want to know what the Bible says and what I believe about it for myself. So, my goal for 2020 was to read one chapter of the New Testament each day. I've tried reading the Bible in one year before; it doesn't work for me. So, I modified that goal to something more attainable. It's important to me that my kids spend unstructured time with each other out in nature, so we set the goal to take 15 family hikes. And you know what? We didn't hit the goal. We got 9 and they were my favorite memories from this year. I love to run, and I know it's incredibly important to my mental health, so I made the goal to run 350 miles. I hit that and am considering upping it to 500 for 2021.
Goals have to be specific and measurable. There's a huge difference between saying "I want to run more" and saying "I want to run 350 miles." It's also really important to have a way to track those goals. I'm going to share some of my favorite tools at the bottom of this post and on my social media this week.
I have two caveats when it comes to goal setting.
- Don’t set goals that don’t matter to you just because you think they should. Really look at what is important to you and where you want to grow. Your goals are going to look different than other people’s, and they SHOULD. You have different strengths than other people, and maybe more importantly, different weaknesses. You cannot do everything and do it well, so focus on your own growth.
- Slow growth is good. One of my favorite things about setting goals is that in the long run, we’re building routines into our lives that will hopefully last.
- Lastly, and maybe most importantly, have a flexible mindset. You need to know when something isn’t working and be able to pivot. For two years, I’ve set a goal to read more non-fiction in areas that I know I need to learn more about. And you know what? I hate it. My reading time is before bed at night and I just don’t want to read non-fiction then… I want to read historical fiction or fantasy (don't @ me) and take my mind off real things. So, we pivot! (Insert Ross Gellar meme here). In 2021, my goal is to *listen* to 12 non-fiction books. Way more attainable and realistic for me.
So, after looking at the big picture, we focus and narrow each section down to measurable goals, sometimes even monthly and weekly goals. For me, this is what it looks like this year:
- Begin reading through The Bible Recap. This is a “read the Bible in a year” plan. I will not be finishing it in a year, but my goal is continue with the 5 days/week routine I’ve gotten in to.
- Do a January detox/eating reset. I am not into diets, but my body is feeling all of those fall holidays.
- Run 500 miles.
- Move my body every day: walk, run, work out, hike… something.
- 12 nonfiction books
- Continue the habit of no screens in bed at night so I can focus on reading.
- Monthly date night
- 12 family hikes
- Launch a blog!
- 24 blog posts
- 12 email newsletters
- (Also a financial goal, but some things are private.)
I also wanted to share a few of my favorite tools with y’all in case you guys are looking to be more intentional this year, too.
1. Elise Joy @ www.gettoworkbook.com : I love her Project Breakdown notepad and other goal setting tools.
2. Tara @ www.radandhappy.com : This is the planner that I use! Weekly checklists, plenty of room for to-do lists, and coloring pages.
3. The Tally app. This is a phone app that allows for year long goal keeping. I use it for my non-daily goals, like running 500 miles over the course of 2021.
The way we live our days is, in fact, the way that we live our lives. Be intentional about creating the life you want to live.