It’s that time of the year. Vacations are finished. The holidays are over. Family from far away has headed home. Life is getting back to normal. Articles fill our Facebook feeds, snarky quotes abound on Pinterest, and Bloggers equally groan and rejoice as they write. It must be time to make Resolutions.
I don’t look at New Year’s Resolutions as a way to break bad habits (I think that’s called sanctification and should be going on all the time). I see them as a way to examine the past year and set New Goals. It’s a time to reevaluate, and since it’s the New Year, it’s a good time to start. Thinking of goals instead of resolutions accomplishes several things for me.
1) Goals: Saying you’re going to keep up with your budget is nice. Making a goal with a plan of simplifying your home finances is better. Do you see the difference? Resolutions tend to be something we try based on force of will. Goals tend to encourage planning, evaluation, and milestones.
2) Goals have and End Point: Resolutions can seem overwhelming. “I’m gonna lose weight by cutting back on chocolate.” Yes. I’m feeling very motivated by that resolution. (Sarcasm.) Instead, set a goal for yourself to research chocolate. Plan to learn about its health benefits and value by the end of the year. Suddenly, the weight of impossible and unrealistic resolutions lifts from your shoulders. First, you have a whole year to accomplish your goal. Second, it’s more fun. Third, you’re not depressing yourself by cutting something you love out of your life. Forth, when you’re done, you’re done. Check it off the list. Goals are completed. Resolutions go on forever and ever.
3) Goals come in all shapes and sizes: You can make big goals, little goals, silly goals, and serious goals. You can really challenge yourself, or you can manage yourself. Big goals should be broken down into baby steps, which are really lots of small goals reaching towards one big goal. I always try to set realistic goals, a few big ones and a few little ones. It’s very rewarding to reach the end of your year and see what you accomplished. This is going to look different for everyone. Only you can figure out what is the right size to motivate you while being realistic.
Resolutions often fail because they express a desire to change something about our character. This isn’t a bad thing. Evaluating your shortcomings and desiring to be better is a good thing. But, this should be a constant, weekly, daily, prayerful endeavor. Not something we do in January. Setting goals, instead of resolutions, gives you a road map for the year. It requires you to look at last year and evaluate what you accomplished, what you didn’t, and why. It lets you see areas of your life that may be out of control or neglected. Setting goals allows you to accomplish something, not just hope for a few weeks that you’ll do better.
What are my goals for 2014? Well, that’s still a work in progress. I have many things I’d like to accomplish around the house. I need to get my husband’s input on my goals to make sure they’re in line with his. I need to review last year’s goals and see what needs to roll over into this year. A lot of work goes into setting goals, and then you have to make a plan. You have to set smaller goals. You have to enlist help. Always enlist help. Be prepared to be derailed. Life happens. That’s why they’re year goals.
This is my list thus far:
1) Simplify our Accounting: I hate handling bills, budgets, taxes, reconciliation, and anything that has numbers involved in it. Stronger than my hate is my desire to be a good steward over what the Lord has given us. This means being wise in the handling of the home finances. Last year, I focused on getting a handle on life without the stores. This year I want to simplify the processes. If it feels overwhelming, maybe it is. I will be looking for ways to work smarter, not harder.
2)Food Planning: This is a three-part goal. I want to make sure we’re eating healthy, yummy meals. I also want to work on planning those meals out to the best financial benefit. And, I want to lose weight. Yes, as always, the New Year starts with new weight goals. Instead of just saying I want to lose a few pounds, I want to look at the overall eating habits of our family and get a better grip on them. (If anyone has good books or blogs on meal planning, please send them my way!)
3) Finish the work on the shed: When we bought our home, we bought all the contents as well. Everything we didn’t want we shoved in the shed. My goal is to finish going through the house to make sure we don’t have things we’re not using sitting around, and then to have a garage sale to empty the shed. I’ve been working on this goal for two years now. This year it’s going to happen. How? I’m going to enlist help. I think I’ve tried to do this on my own and it’s just not working. I need help.
4) Continue the re-modeling of our home: My respect for general contractors has risen dramatically over the last few months as I’ve tried to wrap my brain around how to go about the remodel of our home. It seemed straightforward when I started and then took a sudden turn for the crazy. I will continue to plow through this project. It’s very challenging to try to decided who to use, what products to use, colors, cost, look, and long-term durability. Trying to weigh what I can do with some help, and what I need to pay a professional to do is frightening. This is a long-term goal.
5) Time Management: Somewhere between the weddings, showers, conferences, a new niece, and the holidays, I feel like I lost control over my schedule. I feel like I was so busy running that I was never home. And I don’t mean ‘never home’ like I didn’t have time to watch movies and eat bon-bons, but like numbers 1 – 4 were not being tended to. I’ve been a homemaker for almost a year now and I don’t feel like I have a handle on my home. I want to help everyone who needs me. I want to spend time with so many people. This year I’m going to figure out how to manage my schedule so that I can do both. I’m going to set goals to work on my house, and leave room for people. I want to leave myself time to do some Bible Study, some exercise. I want to feel less frantic, and more useful. I want my first neighbor, my husband, to have a well-managed home, not whatever I got to this week. I know from running our business that if I can find a system, I’ll have time to do what needs to be done and do what I want to do.
Life is an adventure. Life is a battle, a war even. Are you ready to go? What are your goals for this year? Do you set Resolutions, or make Goals?