New Year, new you. Or not? It's not like we wake up a brand new person on New Year's Day. Reminds me a lot of how Samantha felt in Sixteen Candles. Surely she would wake up on her sixteenth birthday hotter, slimmer, and way more fabulous than her fifteen year old self.
Except everyone forgot it was her birthday and her day was pretty much ruined until the hot senior boy gave her a birthday cake and a kiss.
But what a problem that can create deep down in the soul. When we place all of our happiness on external variables; other's opinions, sickness, loss, death, what we don't have and what we desperately want and need, we lose sight of the bigger picture. When we value what others say about us more than what God says about us, our years in fact will never be new. They will always be stagnant, bitter and hard.
I've learned the more I focus on what's inside my heart and what I cultivate in my own life, the happier I am. When I shift the focus to what I can give, rather than what I can receive, the paths on which I am to walk have never been clearer. I have found joy in a 40 minute drive to a job I love and look forward to rather than a quick commute to hell. I am able to brush off offense and move forward to what God has for me, rather than sit and fester in the negativity. I am able to extend a kind word to a friend instead of focusing only on what I wish someone would say to me.
My goals last year were good goals, but they weren't specific. They were very general and vague and a lot about what I wanted to get out of 2016. And although last year was certainly not a bad year, it was a hard year. I've learned perseverance and patience in seriously trying times. I have been told I am not good enough and I am never going to be good enough. But by the unfailing grace of God and through much wise counsel and prayer, my joy has never been greater. Even though my sorrows were deep, His love was wide.
I decided it was time to be intentional with my goals for 2017. I found and bought the Make It Happen Powersheets Goal Planner designed by Lara Casey and I am pretty much obsessed with it. (Her year planner is sold out but the 6mo planner is still available!) I gifted one to my mom and sister for Christmas and I can't wait to see what all we get done this year!
I wanted to share a few of my goals with you in hopes they inspire you to live your best year yet!
Goal #1 - Grow My Faith
It's been on my heart for a long time that I need to spend quality time reading the word and communing with God every single day. I have felt convicted over how much time I waste in front of my phone and my TV and how very little time I have given God during my days. I can binge watch a television show for hours on end on a day off, so why is it so hard to sit and read the word, study it and pray? I will tell you why, because for years I have been afraid of God telling me something I don't want to hear. TV is mindless, there's nothing left after a long binge but maybe an empty carton of ice cream. When I sit to commune with God, I learn more about Him and His ways and I then become accountable to what He tells me. There's always a call to action after my time with Jesus and I am not letting that call scare me anymore. He has never led me anywhere in my life that hasn't been beneficial to me. It's been hard and scary and I have wanted to give up but He was and will always be there and will always come to my rescue when I need Him.
Scripture: "The just shall live by faith." Habakkuk 2:4
Starting Steps: Spend time in the word every day. Memorize one scripture a week. Finish the book Prayer by Tim Keller.
Goal #2 - Healthy Lifestyle
This is and has always been a goal of mine, but this year I am making it happen for real and for better reasons. I am not concerned so much with a number on the scale and I refuse to obsess over how I look. I want to feel good and have more energy to do things that matter.
Scripture: "Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well." 3 John 1:2
Starting Steps: Follow the 80/20 eating rule (eat well and clean 80 percent of the time, but leave 20 percent for fun). Grocery shop once a week for the freshest ingredients and to avoid foods that have a long shelf life. Exercise 3 times a week. (I am participating in the All In Barre3 Challenge this year!) 8 hours of sleep a night on non work nights (I work 24 hour shifts and sleep isn't always guaranteed). Drink 60 oz of water a day.
Goal #3 - Give Above & Beyond
Like I said, a lot of last year was a lot about me and this year I want it to be all about others. I want to give beyond my means in prayer that even just one life is altered by the love of Jesus. "For God so loved the world he gave His one and only son.. When you love someone, you give." - Steven Furtick.
Scripture: "Give and it will be given to you - A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38
Starting Steps: Get involved with at least one outreach a month. One generous thing per week for a friend or family member. Organize 4 drives for 4 different charities here in Tulsa on the blog. 100 random acts of kindness for strangers. Blessing bags for the homeless. Tithe 15%.
Goal #4 - Simplify My Life & Reduce Debt
On 5/7/15 I wrote a small, simple prayer in my prayer journal that the Lord would teach me contentment. I was drowning in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, had no savings and nothing to show for all the money I made except closets and rooms and a garage stuffed full of things I didn't even need. Clothes I still haven't worn. Tags still on. I have tried and tried to reduce debt and have been successful on more than one occasion (I paid off over $16k in debt last year) but I realized, no matter how much I strained at changing my financial and lifestyle circumstances, nothing was really changing without a change of heart. I had to learn to depend on Him for all I needed rather than struggling every month to "make it." I needed to stop caring about having the latest everything or the most expensive, brand names. I desired quality over quantity and this year my goal is to make a lifestyle out of repurposing and reusing more in my life.
Scripture: "Each person should live as a believer in whatever the situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God called them" 1 Corinthians 7:17
Starting Steps: Stick to my budget 100% for the next 12 months. Get rid of stuff I don't use and don't need. Unsubscribe from all marketing emails. Reduce social media time to avoid comparison. Develop a cleaning routine and organizational schedule with an aim to organize the entire house.
I hope you feel a small bit of inspiration to set some goals this year and develop an action plan to make it happen. If one of the planners isn't in your budget, have no fear! You can download a simple version of the planner for free on her website here! Get some goals on paper and give yourself some grace when you develop your plan. Be reasonable. Losing 20 pounds in a week isn't reasonable or fair. Be kind to yourself and your schedule. Know your limits and know that no two people are the same. Your goals will not look like my goals and that's okay! I've shared mine here for accountability, not for comparison. I am so excited about the year ahead and can't wait to make it all happen!
I created a group just for us goal getters over on Facebook! Click here to join!
Much love and Happy New Year friends!