At the start of every new year, most of us write out our resolutions, goals, or make a statement of leaving something behind in the old year and starting fresh for the new year. I stopped making resolutions a few years ago. I just never stuck with them. If there’s one thing I learned in 2020, it’s that I can plan all day long or have goals to achieve and things can change in an instant. This can prolong the goals I set or even stop them altogether depending on different circumstances. Sometimes I have to modify them unexpectedly. So instead of setting goals and getting disappointed as they may evolve or change, I now set and call them “Lord-willing” goals. I can always use room for improvement.
As I reflected on 2020 and what I accomplished or what I would have liked to accomplish, I started writing out my goals. I wrote these goals for 7 areas of my life that you can use to set your own “Lord-willing” goals.
Looking at last year, I let many things fall to the side and lost focus here the most. So, I wrote down goals that focus on my daily Bible reading, prayer time by myself, with my husband and with my children. I also thought about how Bible verses have helped me through last year. I set a goal to write down a specific amount of Bible verses for the year to reflect on. Lastly, I thought about how I could share the good news of Jesus with others. With this I thought about asking myself questions such as “Is what I’m sharing helpful for them in their relationship with God?”, “Is it harmful, judgmental, God-centered truth?” and so on.
Even after being married for 17 years, I definitely still need to improve on being a better wife. This will always be an area that I want to constantly grow in. I started by thinking about how I encourage and pray for my husband, how often I should tell him how much I appreciate all that he does and how often I’m really listening to him. I also thought about the many times I have not been so gracious or had the “I told you so” conversations. This helped me to come up with goals that will honor my husband, our marriage and God.
Being a mom of 5 children, I have many things going on in our household. I think about all that we have gone through last year with a global pandemic. Even more, my kids have had to adapt to a new world of school, online, as many other children have. As I wrote out goals for my relationship with my children, I thought about how to encourage them and how we communicate with one another. I thought about how much I am really listening to how they are feeling. I thought about how I can encourage them through their own goals, hobbies, and possible career paths that they are trying to figure out. As I wrote these goals out, it reminded me of how God wants the best for me and for my kids. I realize how important it is for me to grow in this area so that they can remember these things as they become parents in the future.
Personal goals are usually one of the most difficult set of goals for me to write down, especially being a busy mom of 5. So I have been thinking over these goals for several weeks on and off. Sometimes I let myself get so distracted that I forget to eat 3 meals a day. So as I began writing out personal goals, I thought about how important it is to focus on my mental health, physical health, and the time I need to take to clear my own thoughts daily. As the last couple of months of 2020 approached with all of the mental and health issues that surfaced, it was time for me to start therapy and exercise before the new year began. Still I wanted to write down those goals to continue working toward them this year.
This can be tricky especially if you’re like me and went from working full time to not working at all. My situation is a little more complicated. I was set to take a leave of absence from work to have my baby. 10 days prior to me giving birth, I was laid off. I had already started working on my blog and the idea of Heartening Forward came to me over a couple of years ago. So as I continue the job search and focusing on my blog, I will have to divide up my time to work on these two areas together. As I set these goals, I thought about if I need to update my resume, the hours I would want to work to still be able to support my children as they are still doing school from home, and focusing on the areas of work that fill me up. On the blog side of things, that meant thinking of real life topics that I can discuss here, how often I want to post to my blog and to social media as well as ways that I can help my community through Heartening Forward. I ended up with some solid goals that I’m excited to either get started on or continue in.
FAMILY GOALS (FAMILY OUTSIDE MY HOUSEHOLD)
In 2020 I saw so much less of my family that it was really tough. We love to celebrate together and last year really put a damper on our plans. Going into 2021 with some of the same restrictions on gatherings is less than ideal. So I started thinking about ways that I could still connect with my family throughout the year. I thought about birthdays, holidays, planning zoom events, sending encouragement through mail, texts, social media, etc. The goals I set are realistic for my time schedule and in line with how often I would like to have contact with my family if we were getting together in person.
Financial goals can vary depending on my circumstances. As I shared, being laid off from my job and becoming a one-income household has had it’s challenges. Thankfully we had some financial goals set last year that kept us afloat in paying our bills and still caring for our family. This year our goals look a lot different. So I’m always evaluating our finances. I look at our spending habits. How often are we eating out? Do I really need this or that? Do I have to buy coffee every day? Can I buy a couple times a week and the other days make it at home to cut some costs? Do I really need that subscription? Can I pause some monthly subscriptions and resume without cancelling? I know some monthly subscriptions have that option, especially with the whole pandemic happening. Am I able to save money? If so, how much and how often can I save with my current budget? Setting goals financially really depends on your individual circumstances, but I have found it is so necessary in all situations.
In what areas of your life do you set goals? This year it was important for me to focus on my “Lord Willing” goals. It’s never too late to start, either. While these areas are so important to me in my life for 2021, these are just guides to help you set your “Lord-willing” goals too. Remember to focus on the truth that God is in control of all things. Don’t get discouraged when things may not happen as you planned, but trust that God has a plan and a purpose for your life and He knows what’s best, timing and all.