I don’t like to set New Year’s Resolutions. I know that the majority of Americans who set New Year’s Resolutions will not complete them. If you need any proof of this, just go to a gym in January. Not a single treadmill, stationary bike, or elliptical will be open! But come back in late March, and you can have your pick.
Instead, I like to set goals. What’s the difference, you ask? According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of a goal is: “the end toward which effort is directed”. A resolution has many different definitions, including: “the act or process of resolving; the act of answering; the act of determining; firmness of resolve; something that is resolved.” Did you catch the difference? A goal requires effort, where a resolution does not. A goal requires action; a resolution is a process to make up your mind about something.
The great things about goals is that you can set them at any time, not just on January 1. I set goals all the time. Sometimes I succeed! Sometimes, I have to postpone them or abandon them altogether for the good of my health or my family. And while I don’t feel tied to only setting big goals on New Year’s Day, I do like to take the first month of the new year to reflect on what has happened in the previous 12 months and dream of where I want to be in December. And to help with accountability, I would love to share my 2017 goals with you!
1. I will read 27 books by December 31,2017. Why? To grow intellectually. Since I’m no longer in school (praise the Lord!), it’s a lot easier to just go through life without pushing myself to learn anything new. But I want to be a lifelong learner, and reading is the best way for me to do that right now. And while there will certainly be a few fictional books on my list, I want to focus on nonfiction. Why 27 books? Because I read 25 books in 2016. If you want to follow my progress and see what I’m reading, check me out on Goodreads.com.
2. I will run 100 days by December 31, 2017. Why? Because I want to be a better runner. Ilovetorun.org is organizing the #2017GoldChallenge to either run 100 days or 1000 miles in 2017. Maybe this will help motivate me to actually train for races…
3. I will lift weights/cross train 2 days each week. Why? Because I have been plagued by nagging pains for most of my life, and often suffer from minor dislocations due to Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. By strengthening the muscles that surround my problem joints (shoulders and hips), I hope to stabilize those areas and preserve my joints.
4. I will write for at least 1 hour three days each week. Why? Because I love to write. I love to express myself with words and tell stories. But like most self-care items, it is one of the first things to put off.
5. I will practice gratitude daily for at least 10 minutes (more on that later). Why? Because I do not want to just survive life. I want to thrive! But I am not going to wait until life gets “easier” because it never will. Yes, there will still be bad days – maybe even bad weeks! But allowing those days to dictate my mood is a choice. And I want my mental state to bend more towards positivity and gratitude.
6. I will set aside at least 20 minutes for personal devotions at least 3 days each week (hope to build to 5-7 days/week). Why? Just as practicing gratitude will help my mental health, taking time to spend with the Lord will help grow my spiritual health. And to be honest, I am not great about making that time. I can give you a whole slew of excuses, but I won’t. Instead, I will acknowledge that this is an area where I struggle, and I am working on correcting it.
7. I will spend at least 10 minutes every day with each child – uninterrupted! Why? It is so easy to go through the day – every day – without really seeing each child. Especially when there are 3 of them, and 1 of me. But by setting aside special “Mommy time” with them, I am investing in them. Holding space for them to do anything they want with me – build Legos, read books, color, snuggle, talk/listen, play with cars. I want to create space in each day to just exist, to simply be – with them.
8. I will go on at least 2 dates with my husband without technology. Why? So that I can actually “see” my husband. I mean, really – how quickly are we distracted by our phones? Even when we are on a date with someone we care about? It’s such an easy trap to fall into, but I just as I want to invest in my children, I also want to invest time with my husband.
9. I will run at least one half marathon under 2 hours. Why? Because I love to run.
I modeled my list after a blog from Rachel Cruz. She recommends focusing on 7 areas of life – Intellectual, Physical, Spiritual, Family, Social, Career, and Financial. Not all these apply to me – my career at the moment is Over-Full-Time Home Engineer – but it helps to look at the different categories and create a more balanced approach to planning the next year.
What are your goals for 2017?