Are you making New Years resolutions this year? Here are some of my goals for 2020, plus how I’m going to pursue them without getting overwhelmed!
Happy 2020! I’m so excited to be settling back into a normal routine again after the craziness of the holidays. Whew! Now that we’re settling back into normal life, I’ve been carefully considering what I want to spend my time and energy on this year.
I’m a planner. I like to have everything organized, scheduled, and…if possible…color-coded. So, I’m all about making goals for the new year.
Now, if you’re thinking to yourself…I’m NOT setting goals this year because it will just make me feel guilty when I don’t reach them (like last year), you need to read this:
As much as I love goals, however, I also recognize that life is unpredictable…especially when you’re raising little people who have a tendency to derail your carefully planned days. So I have learned to be careful about how I set goals at the beginning of the year. I want to make some measurable changes, but I also want to keep my expectations realistic.
How am I doing that?
The inspiration for my 2020 goals
This year I have been really inspired by the new children and youth program that has been launched by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The whole program is based around encouraging individuals to thoughtfully consider and set goals in four categories:
The four categories were inspired by the description of Jesus Christ in Luke 2:52.
“And Jesus increased in wisdom (intellectual) and stature (physical), and in favor with God (spiritual) and man (social).”Luke 2:52
How brilliant is that?
One thing I love about the program is that it encourages individuals to brainstorm goals in all four categories, but only to actively work on a few goals at a time. To me, this is super important. It allows me to write down ALL the ideas, but I can pace myself…working on them in manageable amounts.
I’m so excited to use this with my two older boys this year (5 and 7), and I’ve decided to use it as the structure for my own goals as well.
Some of my goals for this year…
Read 24 books. I LOVE to read (I was an English teacher in my pre-mom life after all), but in recent years my reading habit has slipped. Kids, chores, and blogging have a tendency to take up most of my time. However, I NEED beautiful stories and powerful ideas in my life…so this is the year to resurrect my love of reading. I just started a book club with a friend of mine (hooray!), so I have 12 titles already picked out to read this year for that. If I read one book per month in addition to the book club title, that’s 24 books! Reasonable, right?
Learn to play the piano better. I took piano lessons for several years when I was younger. I learned all the basics, and I love music, but I never became much of an accomplished pianist. For years I have regretted that I didn’t commit myself more to learning the piano, and I have a life goal of being able to play well enough to play hymns in church. A few months ago I dug a keyboard out of my basement, and I have loved being able to sit down and play a little. This year, I want to make a goal to practice at least 60 minutes a week…that’s less than 10 minutes per day. DOABLE.
Figure out how to exercise consistently. Guys, this is the ONE goal I seriously need help with. I desperately want to figure out a way to make regular exercise a part of my routine. I know I am a happier person and a better mom when I get my body moving, but I just don’t know how to make it happen! Attending yoga and dance classes would be my ideal, but it’s so hard to get to a class with multiple kids at home with me during the day! Plus, I’m not very motivated to exercise on my own, so it’s hard for me to do it at home. I’m pretty good about getting outside when the weather is good, but winter kills me. And I know I need it MOST during those cold, dark months. So, PLEASE, send me your ideas! What works for you?
Get up before my kids….even if it’s only 15 minutes. I hate alarm clocks, but I also don’t love being woken up by a toddler yelling “MAMA, GET OUUUUT!” (which is what I’ve been waking up to lately). This year, I want to start my days on my own terms. I’m not talking about getting up at 5:30 every morning…I’m starting with setting my alarm for 6:45. Hopefully, that will give me 10-15 minutes to drink some water, do a few yoga stretches, and meditate/pray. Eventually, I want to work my way to waking up at 6:30, but I’m starting small, folks. (Are you seeing a trend?)
Prepare for emergencies. We’ve been flying by the seat of our pants for several years now, and we’ve managed okay, but this year I want to get all our ducks in a row in case of emergencies…like making 72-hour emergency kits, writing a will, and making sure I am fully educated about all our finances (I’ve mostly left this to my accountant husband up until now).
Memorize the new Young Women’s theme. I grew up reciting a powerful affirmation every week of my teenage years that reminded me that I am a child of God. I still know it by heart, and it’s still true. However, the church released a rewritten theme last fall. It’s beautiful and its truths are important, so I’m going to memorize it (especially because I was just asked to work with the high school age girls at church!).
Use a study journal as I read the scriptures. Making time to study my scriptures regularly has been tricky ever since I became a mom (yep, it’s been a seven-year-struggle…and counting), and one of my goals for this year is to study with a journal nearby to write down my thoughts and insights…to help me go from reading to really connecting with the word of God.
Have regular one-on-one time with each of my kids. This one is still somewhat generic, but I want to figure out some simple and meaningful ways to strengthen my relationship with my kids. I spend a lot of my time playing referee and feeling like a ping-pong ball bouncing between everyone’s needs, so I want to make sure that I also schedule in some quality time with each child. If you do something like this with your kids, tell me what works for you!
Go on regular dates with Graham. Just like I want to build my relationship with my kids, I also want to keep my marriage strong. It’s SO easy to get swept away by the current of kids’ activities, household tasks, and daily crises that we don’t really connect with each other. For me, going on dates outside the house is critical (when I’m home I’m too distracted by all the things). Over the past year we have found some good teenage babysitters in our neighborhood, so this is the year to make us a priority. The goal: at least one date outside the house per month, preferably two.
Set yourself up for success: 4 super-simple tips to help you achieve your goals
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Once you have brainstormed your goals, it’s time to make a plan! Here are a few simple (really simple) things I do to set myself up for success.
Make it measurable. You can’t know if you reached a goal if you have no way of measuring it. Some of the goals I listed above are still a little vague and need some work, but I’ve tried to be specific. I can count how many books I read this year. Similarly, I can schedule one-on-one dates with my kids and husband and check to make sure they are happening. Whatever your goal is, find a way to measure the effort you’re putting in. Even better, use a chart or habit tracker to monitor your progress.
Plan out the details for ONE goal at a time. Pick one goal at a time to be your primary focus. I’m starting this year focusing on getting up before my kids. Make a specific plan for how you’re going to make it happen. Consider who can help you, when you will work on your goal, what resources do you need to use, and WHY do you even want to accomplish this goal.
Attach it to an existing habit. If you’re trying to start a new daily habit, attach it to something that is already part of your routine. When I was revamping my cleaning routines last year, I decided I wanted to start doing one load of laundry every day so it didn’t build up so much. I attached this new habit to something already in my routine: taking a shower. Now, every day after I shower and get dressed, I grab a load of laundry from somewhere in the house (depending on what day it is) and I throw it in the washer. This is a great way to help yourself remember a new habit!
Set a bare-minimum”floor”. I just learned about this one yesterday from the Brooke Snow Podcast, and it is LIFE. CHANGING. Seriously, it’s making me completely rethink how I pursue my goals! The basic idea is that when we set goals, we usually thing of the “ceiling”–the ultimate goal we are trying to reach…like “exercise every day for 30 minutes.” But what about when you are traveling…or sick…or just crazy busy making a Star Wars birthday cake for your five-year-old? If you really want to develop a daily habit of something…you need to set a “floor”–a bare-minimum goal for yourself. Brooke talks about setting a goal to do yoga every day…her floor was to do three “cat-cows” which takes about 10 seconds. When setting your floor, think small…and then go even smaller. Listen to Brooke’s whole explanation of ceilings and floors here.
Goals don’t have to be overwhelming…and they don’t have to be BIG. I truly believe that we can make powerful changes in our lives through small and simple habits. Good luck this year, mamas!
I’d love to hear…
What goals are you setting this year? What has worked for you in the past as you have pursued your goals?