Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Goals for 2014 (and some of my favorite resources for doing awesome things)

I am a huge goal-setting nerd.  I adore list-writing, to-do lists and planning.  I don't believe in "resolutions". I don't believe we can wake up one day and resolve to be different and never go back.  But I wholeheartedly believe in small steps.  Steady progress toward our goals. Realistic goal-setting makes a huge difference over time.

Over the past couple of years I've given myself twelve 30-day challenges (one for each month of the year), and I've really enjoyed having such focus on the different areas of my life.  This year, I don't anticipate that system working very well for me.  So I've set smaller goals, which are more easily broken down and included into small bits of time.  Newborn babies do not allow for the undertaking of giant projects  and keeping our home running smoothly and insanity at bay(at least for me).

So, with that in mind, here are the goals I'd like to accomplish in different areas of my life this year.

Attend the Temple 2 times per month.

Work through the Come Follow Me study guide  from the Redheaded Hostess.  I have been keeping a scripture journal (similar to this )for years and I love it.  I am very much a visual learner, so drawing pictures and writing out quotes/insights helps me remember them much better than just reading alone.  I bought the Come Follow Me study guide as a Christmas gift for myself.  I'm love, love, loving it so far!

Read the Book of Mormon.  Ellie and I have challenged ourselves to finish the Book of Mormon this year. This will be her first time reading it all the way through entirely on her own and I am thrilled that she has dived into it so wholeheartedly so far.  In order to finish the book in one year, you must read an average of 15-20 verses a day.  She's got charts to mark for each day she reads and each chapter she finishes.  (She is a girl after my own heart: motivated by charts!).

This year I am reading the Book of Mormon through the parenting lens.  I bought an inexpensive copy  and I mark any verse I find that relates to my role as a mother. It's been extremely enlightening so far.

Memorize one scripture per week as a family.  (My plan for this is coming soon!)

"Catch up" Daily: Jason and I have found that in order to feel connected and keep our marriage happy we need at least an hour each evening to talk about our day, our current plans/projects, funny stories that need to be shared, etc.

Weekly "Date Night".  Even if this is an at-home night (which it usually is), we set aside a full evening to just be together.

Say NO to projects I'm invited to participate in that do not excited, inspire or add to our family life.

Weekly Night Away.  We've set aside one night per week for me to work on my personal projects (one of which I am SO looking forward to sharing with you soon!), attend the temple, paint, and have uninterrrupted thoughts, all to myself.  Generally this will be uninterrupted productive time for me to recharge my introvert batteries and make progress on my goals.  I am so very excited about this time!

Read 60 books.   I read 56 books last year, so I'm not anticipating this being too much of a challenge.  Especially in light of my goal to spend less time online, and the fact that I've got a baby to feed every few hours ;).  I am not making a reading list ahead of time this year, except for a few books.

--One of my goals is to read all of Jane Austen's novels along with the Motherhood and Jane Austen Book Club.  SO excited!

--Read Hans Christian Anderson's complete works with Ellie. (The link goes to a similar book to the one we own, but ours contains more stories). This book was given to me for Christmas by my awesome little brother a couple of years ago.  I have been wanting to read it since then, but it's rather intimidating. The thing has 972 pages of small type.  I knew I'd probably never start it on my own, so Ellie and I are reading it together. So far, we are adoring it.

Keep a Gratitude Journal.  I've been in the habit for the past couple of years of writing down one thing each day for which I am grateful.  Life-changing, I tell you.

Run 2-3 times per week.

Fitness Blender workout 3 times per week.  If you've never heard of, you need to check it out. Seriously, right now! The site is run by a husband and wife team, and is an enormous, constanty growing collection of full length, top-quality workout videos.  They include a huge range of difficulty levels and training styles (everything from yoga/pilates to HIIT training and tabata workouts and everything in between).  I have been using their videos 3-5 times per week for the past year and LOVE them.

5-7 veggies/fruits each day.  (Make sure kiddos are getting enough, too).


Pay off remaining adoption fees.  We were blessed to pay {mostly} cash for our Elijah's adoption.  However some additional, unexpected expenses were added late in the game (c-section, NICU stay, etc.) so we have some debt.  This is a very stressful situation for us, we were blessed to make it to this point in our marriage (including 2 Bachelors degrees) with no debt other than our house.

We have been incredibly blessed in our adoption goal by support from generous family and friends, and because of their help we will be able to pay these expenses off over the next few months.  Our plan for the first part of the year is to drastically reduce our spending in order to pay that debt down and build our short-term savings fund up again..  We've cut back to very, very basics.  It will be a challenge, but it's one I'm excited about.

Build back up our emergency fund.  This was nearly depleted to help with adoption fees.


Limit time online/on phone.
    --After scripture study each eary morning, my phone is off til after lunch. (I use the Gospel Library App to do my personal study in the mornings because every resource used in the Come Follow Me curriculum is so easily accessible.)  I've just been doing this for the past few days and, my goodness, it's made a huge difference in how our mornings go.  It's incredible!

  --Dedicated computer time each afternoon while kids are watching a show.  Dedicated time to blog, answer emails, pay bills, do online projects, facebook, etc. (These are all things I fall behind on and then stress over when I don't have a dedicated time to work on it). I like that the restriction of completing these tasks during the kids' show time.  We're pretty strict about screen time, so it will mean I need to be using my "computer time" wisely.

Outdoor time daily (even if it's just 5 minutes for an extended walk to the mailbox).  We all need sunshine and fresh air in order to be happy and healthy.  We will spend some time outside each afternoon.

20 minutes one-on-one time with each child daily.  We've been doing this for a while and it makes a HUGE difference in the way our big kids behave.

Complete several smaller renovation projects that have been on our list for a while.  These are things that don't cost much, but are continually put off.

Maintain home management plan.
    --One load of laundry start to finish each weekday
    --kitchen tidy each night
    --one 15-20 minutes additional cleaning project each weekday
    -- clean up as we go
    -- "Cleaning Day" Fridays
    --weekly menu plan

Grow a garden.  Even though it seems like it will never be warm enough for that to happen.  It's almost seed-ordering time.  Squee!

I'm looking forward to a more intentional year.  One in which we make time for the things we love, and leave behind those that don't bring us joy or fulfill a need in our family.

What goals will you be focusing on this year?

(**Photos are from a recent snowshoeing trip.)

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