11 Grace-Filled Tips for the Goal-a-Phobic

If you haven't set any goals this year (or are rolling your eyes at the thought of it), I totally get it.

For years, all the New Year's turning-over-a-new-leaf and be better, try harddo all the things talk made my throat close up a little bit.

All of us with the big ideas and low follow-through (raise your hand type Bs) KNOW 3 weeks into January, we're going to start falling off the wagon and wish we'd never made the dumb "resolution" in the first place.

So instead, We. Do. Nothing. Just keep on keep'n on. May try a few new things here or there, but nothing too crazy. Because we haaaate feeling like a failure. (everyone does)

Until recently, that was ME every year. But thank GOD, through lots of wise men and women, I'm learning HOW to be intentional with my time and energy, and that I sure as heck don't want my fear of failure keeping me from growth and some purpose God's got for me (Ephesians 2:10).

I know, the word intentional is so overused (I think its because we all know we stink at it), but jeez, when I'm not intentional— I spin my wheels and feel like my only purpose is to just get. through. the. day. without my head falling off.

And this isn't about better scheduling or being good at getting through the to-do list. This is about asking ourselves, what do we want to be about + make happen, that actually matters this year. (lets just call it that instead of goals—seems less intimidating).

There are a bazillion things I could focus on, be better at, and work on this year— so I'm asking The Lord for some wisdom. (He says he'll give it-Proverbs 2)  I'm asking for His grace to not get caught up in striving to do all the things (eye roll) — but the desire to be lead by His Spirit and get on board with what He's got for us.

I know I'm sounding very rah-rah, pie-in-the-sky, "do your best, God will do the rest"— But I'm over lolly-gagging around and just focusing on making my life look real tidy. Ugh, I'm over it.

And no doubt I'm going to slip back into that thinking (probably by tomorrow), but there's grace. Lots and lots of grace. We get to stop, ask for God's forgiveness, ask for His help, and get back on the horse. Hallelujah.

Love these scriptures on planning + being wise with our time:
  • Proverbs 29:18 says, Where there is not vision the people perish.
  • Hebrews 5:15 says,  Look carefully how you walk, not us unwise, but wise- making the best use of the time because the days are evil.
  • And then my favorite, The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes and directs his steps. Proverbs 16:19

Those of us whose strongest suits aren't FOCUS/DRIVE/DISCIPLINE (me. me. me.)—this is the time of year we need a little shot-in-the-arm. So here are some tips that helped me think of goals differently (and not be so terrified of them)

1. Look back at 2016: We just started this last year, but its become one of my favorite things. (With the help of Instagram) We look back and remember God's faithfulness throughout the year. Look at things that worked, and didn’t work for us—and write it down (and keep it in my Bible).

This year seemed a little nutty adding baby #3 and just trying to keep everyone alive— but I know there was some growth + fruit in there somewhere (small, but fruit nonetheless). I want to remember it, and thank God for it.

2. Make broader, simple goals + doable monthly actions steps throughout year—This may be common sense for you, but it was not for me. I would set a goal like, "Exercise 3X/week" and If I didn't make it happen, I'd get discouraged and quit all together. So now, I periodically see how to make the broader, core goal happen in a way that fits our life. What works in January, may not work in February. I’m less overwhelmed this way.

3. They don't have to be elaborate: I have 3 tiny kids and my plate is small (salad-sized). I know my capacity good and well—so my goals are not going to be training for marathon, starting a new businesses, or learning a new language. They look more like, Be intentional with my Kids (i.e. listen to them, laugh with them, pray with them). Love my Family + Friends well: (i.e. Check on, encourage, and pray for them. Ask good questions + listen.) Nothing super fancy. 

4. Having a good/legit WHY behind the goal: 
- I want to exercise + eat right because when I feel good + have energy, I'm able to love my people better. 
- I want to read 6 novels this year, because I enjoy it and I don’t want my brain to turn to mush. 
- I want to start a garden, because it looks fun and it's always been a dream of mine.

Doesn't have to be some big, super spiritual why. Just something to fall back on when the thing gets hard and/or I wanna quit.

5. Write it Down: There's absolutely some magic behind writing it down. Not just saying it out loud, but putting it on paper. I heard Dave Ramsey give a talk and it was literally all about this concept. Of course it was this amazing success story of him setting specific goals, writing them down, and though each year every goal wasn't accomplished perfectly—there was major growth. If Dave says to do it, I'm doing it.

6. Look at the goals often:  Last year, I spent all this time writing out and planning goals for the year and I DIDN'T LOOKED BACK AT WHAT I WROTE till like July. If I don’t have something to look back and and say, “oh right, thats what we’re about” I will flail around all year. (and that, I did.)

7. Give yourself grace: Little growth is still growth. It feels like I grew from like a 1 to a 1.1 on personal, spiritual, physical “growth” last year. I could beat myself up, or I can trust that there's grace, and God’s working and moving in ways I can’t see. He’s going to be faithful to complete the good work he’s begun in me (Philippians 1:6), it just may not look and go as quickly as I think it should.

8. Have a Word for the Year: I used to never want to do this because I felt all this pressure to have THE perfect word (or I needed to audibly hear it from God.) But don't over think it. Its just a theme you want to be about + fall back on when things get little hairy.

Last year, ours was slow + steady- with having a 3rd baby and opening another coffee shop, we wanted to make sure our little world stayed slow (saying “no” to a lot + not being busy) and our hearts stayed steady (looking to the Lord for His peace in the crazy.) I’m leaning towards Abide this year (Can't go wrong with that one).

9. Lara Casey’s PowersheetsAt first I felt like my life was too boring and simple to really need this type of tool—but it has really made me figure out what I want to be about and how to be intentional (ha) with my life. If you don’t want to drop the $ on them, her blog and website are chock-full of tips, inspo, and encouragement that have helped me a ton. Go look around HERE

10. 10 Things I'm asking Myself: (and putting somewhere I see often)
Things we want to say Yes to
Things we want to say No to
Books I want to read or listen to in 2017
Adventures we want to take as a family/with Jeremy
My Plan for time in God’s Word (if I don’t have a plan, it won’t happen)
People I want to invest in/commit to praying for
Ministries I want to give to/invest in/pray for
Verse I’d like to think about a lot this year 
How I’m going implement self-care
How we're going to care for our marriage

11. Use a Planner you actually Like and will use: I’m sure most of you have had your 2017 planner since October, but if not—I think I’ve found the perfect one. BIG, plain boxes (no lines), large pocket in back + pocket folder, plenty of space for notes between each month, and monthly goal setting worksheet. It’s adorable. I found mine at Office Max for $35 (here's the link)

I realized I don't love the big weekly/daily planners. Here's what I do: keep a running to-do list, a weekly view out on the counter (here's one I love you can print), and the monthly planner mentioned. Do what works, heh?

I'm working on my goals for the year. You should too. 

Some good words from super wise women:
Live Life Beautifully on Goals with Grace

1 comment

  1. This may be your BEST post yet! Love this!!! Love you!!