Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution? Did you decide to lose 20 pounds? to quit a bad habit? to create a good one? to write a book? to spend more time with your kids?
And what happened?
If you’re like the millions of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions each year, you probably forgot about it or fizzled out within two weeks.
I used to do that, too. My New Year’s resolutions often involved exercising more, yelling at my kids less, or spending more time in prayer.
There was something that all of these resolutions lacked, however: specifics. I didn’t state how I would stop yelling at my kids, what kind of exercise I would do and how often, or when I would pray.
I didn’t have a plan.
That is what a goal is–a plan to help you carry out a resolution.
So now each year I set goals for myself. These goals are specific, measurable, and focused. I definitely don’t always reach the goals. In fact, I have dubbed 2017 my “Year of Failure” because I fell short with so many of my goals. But, by setting goals and creating plans, I get much farther than I would if I didn’t start the year with the end in mind.
In 2018 I have decided to focus on health. Health will be my overarching theme of the year–spiritual health, emotional health, mental health, health in my family, and health in my vocation. I would like to have the word “health” at the front of my mind as I make decisions.
Ideally, I before any decision I will ask myself, “Is this healthy? Will this help my spiritual/ emotional/ family health or will it take away from it?”
That is the goal, at least.
My Goals for 2018
1. Attend a Women’s Bible Study or Prayer Group at least twice a month.
This past semester was a fairly lonely one. While I am surrounded by so many interesting women on the Holy Cross campus, I let myself become ruled by my schedule and didn’t get to know them as I would like. So, this year I am committing to participating in a women’s group at least twice a month. There is a weekly study/prayer group as well as a group which aims to help future clergy wives that meets at least once a month. Between these two, I have many opportunities and few excuses to grow spiritually and get to know others!
2. Learn the Lord’s Prayer in Greek
My husband and I are now part of the Greek archdiocese and my husband, Lord willing, will be seeking ordination within that jurisdiction. However, we are not Greek and do not speak Greek. My husband will be taking many classes to learn the language, and I want to learn as much as I can as well. This year I will focus on learning Greek often used during Liturgy and other services. So, The Lord’s Prayer seemed like an obvious place to start!
3. Read One Spiritual Book Each Month.
My spiritual father suggested this goal to me during Confession a couple of years ago. It was a wonderful idea and a goal I have been happy to work on each year.
Here are a few books I am interested in reading this year (though I often just read whatever I can find around me!):
4. Read Aloud or Listen to 12 Books with my children.
This was my absolute favorite goal last year! My kids and I spend a fair amount of time together in the car, and we love to have a good audiobook going. This year I hope to read more of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books as well as the Ramona books.
5. Take an Overnight Trip with My Husband (without kids!).
I am having a hard time believing that my husband and I will celebrate our tenth anniversary this year. In those ten years, we have spent a grand total of 6 nights away from our kids (at least, once we had children, which was very soon after we got married!). We are trying to figure out an inexpensive way to get away for a few days.
6. Read through our entire Children’s Bible together.
We have a lovely Orthodox Children’s Bible (the Children’s Bible Reader), which our children read or look at frequently. We have not, however, been reading it together as much as I would like to these past few months. So, we will find time in the evenings to read through the Bible this year.
Physical and Emotional Health
7. Research and implement a weight lifting routine for one month.
I have been reading more and more about the importance of strength training for women in their 30s for the metabolism, weight loss, and overall well-being. I am only going to commit to trying it for one month, but I am definitely willing to do more if I find the workout beneficial.
8. Complete a Whole 30.
Last year I did my first Whole 30–an eating plan focusing on eliminating certain foods that people are commonly allergic or sensitive to. The plan also eliminates sugar, wheat, dairy, and more. I found this plan difficult at the beginning, but I loved the way I felt by the end! I also lost 8 pounds, improved my skin, and had much more energy than I typically do. I am looking forward to this goal!
9. Run a 5K.
I find that I can only motivate myself to run if I have an upcoming race. The desire not to make a fool of myself in front of others is quite strong!
10. Read from my “Classics Books” Challenge. (More coming on this next week!)
This year I am not giving myself a set number of books to read. Instead I am going to read one classic book in a variety of genres. For example, I might read Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express as a classic mystery.
11. Post on Orthodox Motherhood at least Once a Week.
As I mentioned, this past semester was difficult in many ways. My increased work load, new schedule, and adjustment to a new place all combined so that I was not able to work on the blog as much as I like. For 2018 I am going to commit to posting each week on the blog. I may write additional posts as I have time, but I don’t want to overextend myself or feel guilty if I can’t.
12. Learn How to Do and Use Facebook Live Effectively.
I love watching Facebook Live videos from some of my favorite bloggers! Lately I have been watching Crystal Paine (of Money Saving Mom) while I fold laundry, and it has been a fun way to make a chore I dislike more bearable. 🙂 I would like to begin doing some Facebook Live with you guys. These videos would be a chance to get a bit more personal, share more of the day-to-day joys and struggles of living the Orthodox life, and get to know you as well. The great thing is that the videos are kept forever on Facebook, so if you can’t make it the first time, you can still watch it.
13. Create a Product that Will Serve My Readers.
My ultimate goal at Orthodox Motherhood is to help women live out the ancient faith in the modern world. The articles that I write are one method of doing this, but sometimes it can be helpful to use a different medium. I have written two e-books so far (Seasons of the Faith and 10 Days to a Tidy Home) and want to create another product to help you!
14. Submit a Book Proposal.
Finally, I love to write. I believe that God has given me various gifts, one of which is writing in a way that can help and inspire people. This year I would like to submit a book proposal for a traditionally published book as a way to use that gift to help the Kingdom.
15. Redesign the Website.
You guys, I am totally not a techie. I get nervous whenever I try to change anything on the blog because I know that it will mean hours and hours of work. Plus, it just might fail and mess everything up! But, this year I will get past that fear and redesign the blog. I am not loving the way that the site looks right now (I haven’t for awhile actually). So, I need to do something about it!
Do you have any goals for 2018? What is one thing that you would like to do this year? Share in the comments!