Hello, friends. It’s been a long time. The break was much needed. As I learned about myself when reviewing 2017 last month, I tend towards overestimating how much I am able to do. I suppose that makes me an optimist! I thought that after a few months’ break I could start blogging again, but ended up quitting before baby boy was born and staying gone through the end of the year. That time proved fruitful as I practiced writing and clarified my vision for this year and perhaps a few years ahead.
I ordered a set of annual Powersheets at the end of December, but did not waited for them before working through the goal-setting series on Lara Casey’s blog. I used scratch paper to complete the steps. I also used the year-end pages in the back of my 2017 Powersheets to review what did/did not work/challenges/lessons learned for the year. I brainstormed the sorts of things I’d like to accomplish and wrote them down on two pages in my bullet journal. All of this was condensed into the most important things as it was transferred into my 2018 Powersheets, leaving me with a set of goals, a word/theme, and a rough outline of the year for 2018. I’m quite pleased that the team at Cultivate What Matters decided to put an Action Plan Overview in the 2018 Powersheets. I’d been planning to do this in my planner. But the Overview pages proved to be the perfect place to sketch everything out and see where I had overestimated what I would get done (mainly in the beginning of this year!)
My Word/Theme for 2018
I chose the word “Self-Control” for 2018 a few weeks ago. During my review of the year, I realized that I had failed to progress in certain areas due to my own lack of self-discipline. I had a few words for 2018 in mind, but as I prayed about them, Self-Control/Self-Discipline kept popping into the foreground.
As I prayed about my goals and the things I wanted to work on for 2018, I realized that most required a good amount of self-control in order to see progress. And so my word of the year also became my theme for the year. It’s a bit daunting but I must remember to rely on God’s grace and strength the days that I want to give up or quit.
My Goals for the Year
- Read the Bible in one year. I have tried to do this in previous years because I thought it’s what I was supposed to do (and promptly gave up on halfway through January) This year, I actually want to do it. I want to read the entire Bible through, even the hard parts, and grasp the big picture. Also, due to my lack of self-discipline in this area, it’s a perfect goal to help develop that skill, bit by bit, day by day. This is the plan I’ve chosen to use. It gives me two “free” days which I know that I will need to make use of. We have several church services and a Bible Study home group that meet on Sundays. I’d rather not do any extra reading on Sunday. This leaves me with Saturday or another day during the week to do any catch-up or to simply have as a “no-reading” day.
- Learn to pray and develop a daily posture of prayer in all things. Okay, let me explain this one because it sounds both basic and lofty at the same time. I’ve been following Valerie Woerner of Val Marie Paper on Instagram for some time now. Seeing her passion for prayer plus a growing desire to pray more spurred me to purchase a six-month prayer journal from her company in October. I didn’t know how to really use it, so I haven’t done much with it. So I want to figure that how, plus learn how to pray…more deeply, more fervently, more diligently. It’s hard to find a time to do any kind of Bible reading/study daily, much less find dedicated prayer time. I suppose that is just how it is with very little ones. I wanted to get up earlier and have that time, but my sweet girl has started getting up even earlier in the mornings, so that time is no longer available. Instead, I want to find ways to pray while doing “mindless” tasks like laundry and dishes and so forth.
- Get fit and active (heal my diastasis recti). Confession: I have trouble losing baby weight until my babies are weaned. Apparently it’s genetic, because my mom says she did, too, with every one of her babies. What helps is when I get active and hit the refresh button on my diet with the Whole30 challenge. Baby boy is eager to eat solids, so he may wean himself before the year is out, which will really help. I also have a decent-sized gap in my abdominal muscles known as diastasis recti, which is a result of a weak core before getting pregnant, and the core staying weak during pregnancy. This is easy to fix, but does take time.
- Pay off debt and eliminate money waste. Paying off debt was also a goal last year. We were on track until our elderly Honda CR-V died and we bought a Mazda 5 minivan/station wagon thingy. And there were some unexpected big expenses, and so we rolled this goal over to this year. We are on track to be debt-free by June. Hooray! The second half, eliminating money waste, will remind us to stay diligent about staying within our budgeted categories.
- Learn how to discipline with grace and firmness. I thought I knew pretty much all there is to know about disciplining children. And then my daughter turned two. 😀 I want to win her heart. I want to be able to discern what is childish behaviour and what is true disobedience. I want to know what I can reasonably expect from her at this age, and at three, and so forth. I want to discipline calmly with a gentle voice rather than reacting out of anger and frustration.
- Create a home that has us living with less in an atmosphere of love, joy, peace, gratitude and soul-nourishment. In 2017, I learned that I love to host! I hope to do much more this year. I need to declutter our house (again) and prepare for moving to a larger place in July. I also want to establish rhythms/routines and family traditions for our family. More on this later. My hope and prayer is that our home becomes a haven to visitors and family alike, a place of rest that offers opportunity to refresh the heart and soul. The best way is to establish routines and traditions that point to the Redeemer and the Gospel.
- Spend time each quarter learning a new skill or two. I’ve got a list as long as my arm of things I want to learn. I once told my mom that if I could be anything in the world, I would want to be a lifelong student. In some ways that still holds true. Wisdom says that I need to be careful not to overestimate what I can learn at one time. For this year, a few skills I will be working on are sewing, sourdough, and learning to use ArchLinux (the operating system on my new-to-me laptop.)
- Spend time outdoors. I suppose this could go under “get fit and active.” But it really goes beyond that to intentionally making plans for camping and hiking trips this coming year. It’s something that we both enjoy and want to share with our children, and something we’ve done maybe three times since we got married. It also includes gardening. We’ve got a bigger garden plot in our community garden this coming season, and it will require more attention from me in order to produce well. And lastly, if I can find a way to get my children outdoors without getting eaten alive by mosquitoes or overheating in five minutes, then I want to do it.
- Continue to improve my communication skills in our marriage. This is a goal I had last year, and I am pleased with the progress I made! We both matured in our marriage and are communicating better. Imagine that we are two instruments in an orchestra. God is playing the note, concert A, in the moments before the performance and we are tuning ourselves, getting closer and closer to being “on-pitch” and “in-tune” with that note. And as we do, we are drawing closer to each other, understanding each other better, beginning to create a beautiful, harmonious melody of glorifying God through our marriage. This goal is one I plan to keep making year after year, for now.
My Verse for the Year
I did not intend to have a verse for the year. As I planned and prayed about my word and goals for the year, this verse just kept popping up. I decided to keep it, acknowledging that God must have brought it to me for a reason. I think it will be quite helpful, reminding me to set my eyes on the Lord, relying on His strength and grace to learn the self-discipline need to accomplish all I have set out to do in 2018.
“I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.” Psalm 16:8
May you have a blessed New Year.