Better than just setting goals




I’m not a resolutions girl.

I’m not even a goals girl.  Sure, I have things lodged in my mind that I would like to get done, but to sit down at the end of every year and write out what I’m going to do differently in the new year?  Nah.  I’ve failed enough at that to leave a bad taste in my mouth.

So it’s just as surprising to me as it might be to you that I find myself deep in a process like that.  Except it’s not the same.



All week I’ve been following along with Lara Casey  as she has been prompting and loving her readers in a process toward making things happen this year.  Last year, I had a lot that I wanted to do, but so many of the main things were never done.  So, reluctantly (and after hearing how different Lara’s process was from traditional goal setting…instagram is powerful, y’all.), I joined in.

We’re not done yet (haven’t even set goals yet!), but it has already been soooo much better than any of my past experiences.  You can join in to if you want.  In fact, I whole-heartedly recommend it!

So far we’ve looked over our last year really honestly, celebrating what worked and acknowledging what didn’t.  Then we prayerfully processed what our biggest lessons were from both of those categories.  That was day 1.

I thought it would be interesting (and a little vulnerable) to share some of those with you because I know how encouraging it is to read about others in this life journey with me.  {Not to worry…I’ll keep a few things private.}  You’ll see some things on both lists because when I did them, they were great and when I didn’t do them, it wasn’t great.  I think most of us have victories and failures in the same areas sometimes.

Maybe we would have some of the same things on our list?  Maybe knowing we’re not alone helps us to be brave?


What worked in 2013:

–doing hard but healthy things (whole30)

–connecting more on instagram

–starting a blog {!}

–quiet mornings with Jesus

–purging stuff

–trip with Josh to Charleston

–taking notifications off my phone

–trying new things in the shop {Lovely Whimsy} and selling out of what didn’t work as well {shoe clips}

–putting Isaiah in a new school

–Josh starting a new job/career {HUGE}

–date nights with rotating child care

–finally putting things on the walls

–stepping away from normal life sometimes

–saying “yes” to engaging with my kids

–trying to only work during Zoe’s naps

–weekend away to hear Jen Hatmaker

–saying no to Allume because I needed to

–saying yes to adoption auctions

–fresh flowers

–taking Sunday afternoons to rest at home

–helping friends with their etsy shops

–taking time to read good books

–giving Jesus the pain of our loss and letting others in on it by processing how I needed to

–putting down my phone {so hard!} to be with my kids

–cute nail polish :)

–good coffee

–shooting guns with Josh

–Bible study with women

–training for a 5k

–making myself go outside

–freezing meals — even pb&j

–podcast listening instead of tv

–beach trip for just our family

–craft markets

–meeting friends for coffee and getting out

–extra time with Isaiah through our home school days

–giving Manny more say and control in some things

–having Manny cook with me

–knowing my limits better

–limiting facebook and what info I allow into my brain

–keeping Tuesdays free as a work day

–my mother-in-law watching Manny and Zoe so I can work and do home school 2 days a week

–embracing our small house {lovely limitations}

–giving myself time to create

–experiencing the Lord’s gentleness with me

–calling Josh in the middle of the day

–buying my camera

–redoing my logo

–visits from close friends

–lots of laughing


small kitchen space



What didn’t work in 2013:

–most Sunday mornings — cramming too much in, rushing, snapping and grumpy

–not eating regularly during the day and eating crap at night

–forcing work when the kids needed me to be engaged

–way too much screen time

–being distracted

–cluttered surfaces

–not giving grace to Josh, the kids and myself

–dinner — really struggled with burn out and planning

–using all my energy for work and having nothing left over

–not using rest time to the fullest — still plugged in

–spending habits — not controlled well

–staying inside too long

–not going on new adventures

–waking up later than the kids

–yelling — “bad mama”moments

–too much screen time for the boys

–procrastinating on house projects

–discontentment with our house

–talking about what we want to happen, but not taking steps to make it happen

–performing for an earthly audience

–choosing mindless scrolling over good reading

–wasting time doing stuff I don’t care about

–not listening when people I care about are talking

–not budgeting well personally

–not having a set business plan or clear goals


shut down computer



Lessons I’ve learned from what worked:

–I need breaks:  away from social media, away from normal, away from home

–getting away with Josh is amazing for our marriage — both date nights and weekend trips

–putting down work to engage with my kids is pretty much always the better choice

–my physical wellness effects everything and needs to be honored


Lessons I learned from what didn’t work:

–I need cut off times for work and screens and better self care in general

–I need to live more life with my family — get out and have adventures or stay in and be engaged

–if there’s not a strong plan to meet our goals – saving money, paying off debt, painting our house, working towards possibly adopting, expanding our living space, knowing what’s for dinner, enjoying peaceful Sunday mornings, etc – none of it will happen

–my time is precious and easily tinkered away on things that don’t matter


{Lara’s writing has been to life-giving to us as we go through this process so if you do it with us, and I hope you do, please go back and read what she says.  She has so much wisdom to pour out and I couldn’t possibly replicate it for you here.}


This is not a boot-strap process, y’all.  It’s not about trying harder.  And it’s not a “microwave” process, as Lara puts it, either.  We are slow cooking our way toward identifying what it is that we feel we are being called to walk towards, calling on what passions the Lord has already given us and the lessons we have learned…. and then making steps to get there.





So much deeper and so much better.  I feel more optimistic about the future than I have in a long time.  I do believe God’s promises to me about my future, but I haven’t always walked in those promises well, if that makes sense.  This time, it’s not me trying to make a plan that is iron-clad based on my own selfish endeavors or vowing to become more on my own.  I know I can’t make this stuff happen on my own. I have years to prove that.


This is me asking the Lord to show me what I need to take from the past and lead me towards more obedience, peace and joy in Him this year.  Sooo different from how I’ve looked at goals before.

And that’s it for the first day. :)  I don’t know if I’ll blog the whole process here, but today is day 5 and I can’t wait to dive in.  My notebook and pen are ready!


So, friend…what would be on your list?  Are you a goal-setter? Are you sick of blog posts about them yet? :)


{Please let me know if you’re already doing it or plan to jump in.  I’d love to cheer for you!}


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