Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Goal-Setting {Part I}

As a natural goal-setter, I've always set New Year's goals or resolutions in some fashion. I used to divide my life into a few different categories {mental, spiritual, physical, relational, financial, etc.}, and make a goal or two for each area. For the past couple of years, I've been trying to scale back and just aim for a few big goals each year.

A few months ago I began jotting down a list of goals for 2014 on a little note in my phone. I picked five goals and was all ready to publish them when the new year arrived. Then I began reading this goal-setting series by Lara Casey, and was suddenly challenged. I realized the goals I had set for this year didn't really matter. They weren't directly tied to my gifts or my passions and they were really just a checklist that I could either complete to feel good about myself or completely ignore and not really feel bad about it. So over the past two weeks, I started a completely new goal list, thinking about what areas in my life are going well, what areas need improvement, and how God has been shaping me and preparing me to use my gifts for Him this year and throughout my life. In Lara's words, I've been "slow cooking" my goals instead of "microwaving" a to-do list.

Here's what I've come up with... I'm going to share each step with you over the next three days. This is a scaled down version of the Lara's approach, so if you want to see the whole thing, head over to her blog. But if you are struggling to define your 2014 resolutions and feel like you are running out of time {you're not!}... these abbreviated steps might be just what you need to create meaningful goals in this new year.

What worked for me in 2013?
-Bible reading and increased time spent meditating on Scripture and in prayer.
-cleaning and general home organization and management
-exercising consistently and experiencing a super healthy pregnancy
-socializing and staying in touch with various friends near and far
-meal planning, cooking, and packing lunches
-transitioning to motherhood and all that comes with my new lifestyle... breastfeeding, sleep schedules, etc.

What did NOT work for me in 2013?
-efficiency and productivity with school. I usually felt overwhelmed and scattered, repeating bad habits from undergrad, such as procrastinating and pulling all-nighters.... habits that really don't cut it if I'm actually going to write a dissertation in the somewhat near future.
-really engaging in and enjoying Sabbath rest. The Russums are huge proponents of accepting the Lord's gift of rest every Sunday, but since Zianne's birth we've fallen off the bandwagon a bit. I want to find ways to weave both rest and efficient, hard work into my week, so that when Sunday rolls around, I am ready to fully engage both my heart and mind in rest, instead of faking rest while my mind is in a million other places.
-blogging. It did not happen consistently, and I missed it greatly.
-shopping/consuming. I need to cut back and figure out how to engage in something that is necessary, but quickly becomes an idol for me.
-my sleep schedule is often surrendered to getting stuff done with school or around the house.

After reviewing the two lists above, I looked for takeaways, themes, or overall lessons...

Major takeaways...
1 // If I can find a healthy, moderate rhythm for something, I can usually persevere with it for the long-haul {i.e. cleaning my bathroom weekly, working out 3-4 days a week, etc.}

2 // Doing something "most" days of the week {at least 4} is healthy and attainable for me.

3 // I am called to write for the glory of God.

4 // Studying the Bible, teaching Zianne to read the Bible, and writing about the Bible for other women are core priorities for me.

I'll be back tomorrow to talk more about my passions and gifts, and how they coincide with my plans for 2014.

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