We are just days away from 2018 so I’m sitting down to create the vision of our upcoming year. Just like I probably won’t make it to the gym unless I wear my work-out clothes to bed and I likely wouldn’t make my appointments without requesting them off of work and writing them in my planner, I will definitely not take advantage of the fresh start of a new year unless I set my intentions now.
Setting intentions sounds boring and even stressful, but if you have the right (and pretty) tools , accompanied with the right mindset, I think you might actually love it.
Our friend Annie F. Downs advises us to think of our New Year’s Resolutions as New Year’s experiments. Here are my tips and tools for fun and fulfilling goal setting for 2018.
1. Pick Your Word
Every year I pick a word that is the central theme of my year. In 2016 my word was “rise”, in 2017 my word was “grateful”, and this year, I’m leaning toward “awake”. I think God is calling me to be engaged in the moment instead of obsessing about the future or worrying about the past. I want to spend this year striving toward an interrupted life, awake to God’s work not only in my quiet time, small group, or church, but in my day-to-day routine. My word-of-the-year generally represents the spiritual theme of my year and invites the Lord to go to work on those areas of my life.
2. Categorize Your Goals
I’ve attached a worksheet I created a few years ago that breaks my goals into specific categories that are right for me. Feel free to download it and use it for yourself. Change up those categories if they aren’t relevant for you. I also love the more lyrical version here by Ann Voskamp. This is the 2017 version, so be on the lookout for the 2018 addition coming out soon.
3. Set Aside Time
Ben and I call the time we take filling out these worksheets and having conversation about what we loved, what we would like to see change, and where we would like to grow in the New Year, our Year-In Review. We brew a strong pot of coffee and eat leftover Christmas cookies and use pretty pens while we brainstorm. It always makes me feel more connected to Ben and more excited about the coming months.
4. Be Realistic
Don’t be mean to yourself. If you would love to get in shape, make your goal two days a week at the gym for now, not a marathon in three months (unless that sounds fun to you….). If you want to grow closer to the Lord, start with a 15 minute quiet time, not an uninterrupted meditation practice at 4am. Make goals that will be fun to live into. This is not a time to stress yourself out and highlight all your current shortcomings. We are going to experiment with what living our best life might look like, and try to find what practices may be life giving for us. Don’t put pressure on yourself, just be open to the experiment, and embrace your New Year with intention.
Finally, I would LOVE to hear your word for the year. If you decide to choose just one word or phrase for 2018, please share it with us in the comments!
Advent has been huge for us. This practice is about finding the stillness in this season, living in the tension between the coming of the Messiah as a baby and the advent of his coming again. It is so easy to miss the thread of spirituality in all the celebration, so at the end of each day, Ben and I meet at our dining table, light the candles, and read from The Art of Simple’s “Simple Advent Guide”. The guide provides a reading, question to consider, and a suggested song from the playlist linked below. This time has been so meaningful for us. We draw near to Jesus as a little family everyday and it is priceless.
2. Real Trees
Having a real tree in the home for Christmas has been a value for both of our families so we went to Saum’s tree farm this year to cut down our own. I choose to decorate with sentimental ornaments instead of perfectly matchy and it stands in our living room as a representation of where we’ve come from and where we are now. Plus, the smell!!!
3. Elf on the Shelf!
Last week, I came home from school and told Ben about my third graders announcing that their elves had come over Thanksgiving weekend. He could tell how excited I was for them so HE GOT US OUR OWN ELF! He moves it every morning because I hop out of bed SO excited to see where Buddy has moved. Ben is basically a saint. Here are some of the sweet places I’ve found Buddy this week!
4. Christmas Eve Letters
On Christmas Eve, before I turn in with my siblings for our annual sleepover, Ben and I have decided to take a minute to ourselves under my family’s tree to trade letters. We are going to write about the biggest lesson we learned during our year together and our most treasured memory. Someday, when years have gone by, I know these will remind us so much of who we were in our first years.
What are your couple traditions for this season? How do you make the season special for your little family of two?
Welcome! I'm a wife, foster mom, fourth year music teacher, and Jesus follower, and am chronically curious about just about everything. Join me as I explore the calling God has for my family's story.
"I am the Vine, you are the Branches. If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."