As we ring in the new year we’re being blasted with all things “resolution”. I can’t remember the last time I’ve made a New Year’s resolution. I also can’t tell you the last time I’ve eaten black eyed peas on New Years Day. And all the Southerners gasped in disbelief and stopped to pray for my soul…
I can’t tell you the last time I felt guilty about not following through with a resolution I made that I probably knew I wouldn’t keep anyway. I can’t tell you that last time I felt like I missed out on a fortune because I didn’t eat black eyed peas. Where does that superstition even come from anyway? So strange. My husband and I tend to be a rebel against resolutions and black eye peas superstitions. I’m not about doing anything that I know from the gate will likely set me up to fail. I do enough of that on my own without planning it out ahead of time.
I do, however, love setting goals. Guilt-free goals. Grace-filled goals. Goals that will refine my purpose. Goals that will guide me and not beat me down. Goals that I can actually achieve or try to.
Here’s the difference:
Resolution: a firm decision to do or not to do something.
Goal: something that you are trying to do or achieve.
Making a firm decision to do something specific for a whole year feels like a big fat set up to me. Sometimes we have to resolve to do things. But on the grand scale of a New Year resolution? It just seems too daunting and unattainable to me. Trying to do something or achieve something… now that sounds much more reasonable and takes some of the pressure off of those of us with OCD(ish) tendencies.
I appreciate goals and I love lists so here is a list of 5 goals, some things that I’ll try to do or achieve, I’ve set for myself to take me into 2016.
The thing you never try, always fails. ~Jon Acuff
I want to live in my story. I’ve spent too may years of my life not living. Because quite honestly, living hurts. In 2016, I want to be present in every single line of my story. I don’t want to be tempted to read ahead or get stuck on a page. I want to have clean margins and plenty of blank pages for my story to breathe. I want my “book” to be open to anyone who would care to read it. I’ve kept my book closed for far too long. Out of fear. Out of ignorance. I want to embrace my story and I want to notice all the details in it. The sunrise, the “growth opportunities”, and the people who choose to live in my story too. Remember this is a goal. I may not do so great at it but I’m going to try,
I would love to publish a book in 2016. I know what I want this book to be. I have a plan. We’ll see what God thinks about that. His plans are better and often different. I want to see a dream become a reality. I want to see a book that I put together sitting on my table. Your table. I want to create something beautiful and go through the publishing process. It all intrigues me. I plan to devote time to making that happen. This includes spending some concentrated time away for writing retreats. My husband has already scheduled my first one for me in February. I absolutely can’t wait to get to that little cabin in the Texas Hill Country. We should probably pray that the hot tub is broken. Writing and water don’t pair too well.
I want to read more books and finish the ones I’ve started. Those who know me well are laughing right now, I’m sure. I’ve never been a good reader. It all started with comprehension issues in the 1st grade and never really got better. I once heard a
friend talk about how he reads, “I read the same line over and over and over and then I realize I’m thinking about donuts.” haha! So add ADD to my comprehension issues and you’ve got a non-reader. You wouldn’t know that, though, by my stack of books! I’ve read more this year than I probably have in the whole rest of my life. Some of the books I’ve “read” were audio books. They count, although I find it challenging to underline and highlight those. 🙂 Over these last few months of doing more writing, a few people wiser than me told me that to be a better writer, I need to be a better reader. I most definitely want to be a better writer so I dove all in. Thank you, Amazon Prime! There are more books on my future reading list and I’m loving the connections that I’m making with authors through various writing groups I’m in. I have a decent lineup of their work sitting in my reading queue. Goals… not resolutions. Right?
I want to pay for someone’s something once a week. I honestly can’t tell you why this is a goal but I feel like it’s something I need to do. I have no idea how this will play out but I will be on the lookout for God to show me who needs a blessing. Or perhaps the blessing will be for me. I guess that means that I’ll be giving 52 gifts in 2016. I like how that makes me feel. We’ll see what God does with this one. I’m just saying “yes”. If for some reason God doesn’t make it clear what I’m supposed to pay for then you might want to be in the car behind me in the Chick fil A drive through. “No one has ever become poor by giving” ~Anne Frank
I want to spend significant time hanging around 5 people that I want to be like. A few years ago I heard someone talk about how you become like the 5 people you hang around the most. As I’ve thought about this over these years, I’ve watched people do what they do and say what they say. I’ve wondered if they’re doing that or saying that because they are hanging out with the wrong people. I’ve wondered if they changed who they spent time with or what they watched on TV, if they would be different. I want to be over the top intentional about this goal. I want to spend the majority of my time with 5 people who breathe life into me. 5 people who challenge me. 5 people who I can consistently learn from. 5 people who make me a better person. 5 people who I want to be like. Now I just have to figure out who those 5 people are and get them to move in with me!
This isn’t an exhaustive list of my goals for 2016 but basically, my goal is to continue about the business of living, really living, and doing it with purpose. I need to have a plan but I want God to guide me in it. I need to be willing to change the course when He holds up the detour sign.
What are your goals? Do you write them down? Do you track them throughout the year? Here is a free, printable resource that might help spur some thought and action to intentional living in 2016. This would be good to do on your own, with your spouse or as a family.
If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time. ~Zig Ziglar
May 2016 be a year of great stories, or for some of us maybe just better stories. With page after page of lines to fill. May our stories include learning and growing, loving and changing and generosity. And may the margins leave space for grace.
Today, we turn the page… are you excited to see what story shows up?
Happy New Year, EPFH friends!
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14
I am linking up with my good friend, Kelly, at Mrs. Disciple. She and several other friends have shared their goals for 2016. Need some inspiration or motivation or encouragement along the way? Please go check them out.