Towards the end of 2017, I sat down with a long list of questions to answer. I only ended up getting through 3 of them, but those few questions have been so helpful as I’ve thought about the year ahead. In case you enjoy thinking intentionally about the upcoming months, I thought I’d share these 3 questions with you too:
1. What are the big things on my schedule in 2018?
Obviously, I can’t see the future. Many things will happen this year that I don’t yet know about. Vice versa, there may be things on this list that don’t happen. But that’s God’s department, not mine. So I just jot down the things I think will happen in 2018. Here are several things I wrote:
Jonathan’s dissertation due (February)
Speaking obligation for Jonathan and me (March)
Finish homeschooling year (May)
Travel to Kentucky for Jonathan’s graduation (May)
Potential 10th-anniversary trip (June)
Begin homeschooling (August)
2. What do I need to get rid of from 2017?
Before thinking about new goals, it’s helpful to think prayerfully about what I need to remove. It could be a good thing I need to let go, or maybe it’s a negative influence or habit. Either way, I want to take out what God reveals before moving on in my thinking and planning.
The biggest thing I wrote in this area was undisciplined habits. Things like sleep schedule (no babies waking up in the night now, so I want to get up earlier!) and how I schedule my time in general.
3. What do I want 2018 to look like?
This is when I start getting into the nitty-gritty of thoughts for the new year, as well as specific, achievable goals.
I love to pray through this part instead of just scribbling down goals because:
A) someone else has them, (I love getting ideas from others! But I want to pray about the goal before just slapping it on my “to do” list.)
B) I did them last year, or
C) any other number of less-than-awesome reasons.
I also like to go through this list with my husband. This has a two-fold purpose:
1) I can share my thoughts with him. Since he’s my husband and all. We’re kinda supposed to be on the same page.
2) He can give me input. Sometimes that input might sound like, “That sounds like a lot. Maybe you should focus on ______ instead.” In which case, I put on my boxing gloves and we duke it out. Errr, I mean, I humbly submit like the good wife I am. Orrrr sometimes it’s a mixture of those two responses.
In all honesty, I love talking through my goals with my husband because I genuinely want and need his feedback.
Here are ten goals I have for 2018:
Continue in-depth Bible study (on even days) while also reading through the Bible chronologically (on odd days).
Begin the five-year Christian reading plan from Mark Minnick.
Pursue evangelistic relationships with those God puts in my path.
Regularly memorize Scripture. (currently working through Philippians)
Homeschool my children in love while also challenging them to develop.
Create Richmond books with the kids. (visit 10-15 iconic Richmond places and write about them.)
Diligently and creatively pursue my husband.
– Read his dissertation.
– Plan one date/month.
– Read What Did You Expect?
Develop my writing by reading well-written books, writing regularly, and publishing something at least once a week.
Exercise 3 times per week for 25 minutes per time.
Drink one green smoothie per week and take one sweet-free week per month.
There are several other goals percolating in my head that I’m not sharing either because they’re not fully developed or because they’re too personal to share on the good old internet.
My ultimate test for goals?
Walk through a cemetery.
If you can’t do that, spend time thinking about eternity. How do your goals tie into eternity and what Jesus wants you to do with your life?
I spent some time walking through a cemetery last week and asking God to make my life count for Him. It was clarifying. These words were ringing in my head:
“Only one life – ’twill soon be past.
Only what’s done for Christ will last.”
God, help us use our lives for you. With who we are and what we have right now. Help us start today.
“And whatever you do, in word or deed,
do EVERYTHING in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
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