Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Focused Ambitions: 2015 Goals Recap

Last January, I did my goals for the year a little differently- a little more strategically. First I picked my "one word" (it was the first time I've done this) and then I picked several areas I wanted to focus on. From that list I made some yearly goals and I used those to inform my monthly goals that I made each month. 

My one word was FOCUS. I said in my post where I shared my goals that it would be a list of things that would "hopefully help propel our family into a  year where our actions, our commitments, our bank accounts, and our time reflect our priorities." And you know? I think in a general sense, we did do very well with sort of realigning ourselves. It was a hard, stressful year in many ways and I'm thankful that I had a list of things to strive for that helped center me in a way and helped me not to lose focus on the things I think are important.

And here were my focus areas for the year...

Target Goal Areas:
1. faith
2. family
3. relationships
4. health
5. education/edification
6. finances
7. simplicity
8. joy/gratitude 

I want to grow in my knowledge and love of the Lord and I want to reflect His love and grace to my family and community.
1. start my day with a devotion I did well with this some months and some months not so much.
2. establish patterns of prayer and keep a prayer list Well, I didn't keep a prayer list but I do think my prayer life grew I established better prayer habits.
3. engage in Bible study consistently Again, this was less consistent than I'd have liked, but I would so it was an improvement. I did one organized study with a group and then I've started trying to do She Reads Truth most days.
4. prioritize books and blogs that nourish my faith I would say I definitely did great in the blog area =) less so in the actual book area and I hope I can improve that in 2016
5. once back in Mississippi, establish ourselves in a faithful church community This was a difficult journey (as I somewhat expected) but the children and I have found ourselves a lovely home at Northside. We still miss our faith communities in NYC so, so much and sometimes it's a very deep hurt.
6. serve our city in some way I didn't do much of this outside of Mistletoe but that will change in January when I start my full placement with the League.

I want to nurture and encourage those closest to me and serve them joyfully.
7. pray for Peyton and the children daily- with boldness, authenticity, and faith I wouldn't say daily and if I'm honest, that's a source of great shame and guilt in my life. However, I'm learning that there's grace for that and as I said, I would say that my prayer life has improved overall.
8. pray for our extended family I did this when I felt compelled to but I wish I had been more intentional about it.
9. set specific goals for each of the children I did this this Summer (I realized I never recapped those goals) and it was a real benefit. The Fall has been decidedly more laid back but I plan to set some semester goals for them for the Spring soon.

10. get out with Peyton alone once a month We did pretty good with this one! It's been really nice to take advantage of having grandparents close by again.
11. read three books together with Peyton Um, no. I may keep this (or something similar) on the list for next year.

I want to be a loyal and faithful friend, daughter, and sister. I want to prioritize people above activities and high above things.
12. spend time with people in ways that are meaningful and that make sense I did pretty good with this one. Carrie and I have been having a girls' night every couple of months and it's been SO nice to have some time to hang out apart from the children. And Mallory and I went walking together weekly this Summer and earlier in the Fall, which was a fun way to get some exercise in, as well as enjoy time with another close friend.
13. establish and execute a tangible system for keeping connected I didn't really do this and I think it might benefit me, but I'm not sure it's necessary.
14. prioritize people over "accomplishing things" and never let a dirty house hinder issuing an invitation There's a learning curve on this one, but I think I'm getting a lot better at it.
15. continue to make space to communicate over email Yes! I still have a handful of friends I email with regularly and it's such a blessing to me.
16. have our parents over to dinner at least twice Nope and nope. I really would have loved to do it, but it never happened.
17. prioritize our children's friendships I think I did pretty good with this one but I know I could do better. I learned (again) this year that it's very hard to find the balance between play dates, school, family time, and other necessary obligations. 
18. write a handwritten note once a month Sadly, I hardly did this at all.
19. write our sponsored child monthly We actually ended up totally reassessing our charitable giving and decided to stop sponsoring a specific child. The main reason we did it, instead of just giving to an organization, was because we wanted the children to develop a bit of a relationship with the child and understand what we were trying to do and the ways we were trying to help that child, her family, and her community. However, we were rarely intentional and we just felt like, for our family, other avenues of giving made more sense. 
20. make every effort possible to attend each and every wedding we're invited to We did really well with this one, I think! I'm pretty sure we went to all the weddings we were invited to.

I want to work toward healthier habits in all areas- physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
21. continue taking weekly food challenges We did this for awhile and then stopped when we moved and I just didn't feel like it over the Summer and then it just didn't seem to very realistic when I got pregnant. So, no.
22. plan meals and cook regularly This one (as it always seems to) goes in spurts. I really did pretty good over the Summer and I sort of felt like (for the first time ever!) I had found my stride. But again, once I found out I was pregnant, and subsequently started getting sick (all day, every day at first it seemed like) it didn't happen. I'm okay with that progress, though.
23. exercise three times a week Um, I'd say for awhile I was averaging two to three times a week, but again (I sound like a broken record) Babykins #3 sort of killed my motivation.
24. establish patterns of silence and stillness in my day I did establish some (in the morning, around naptime, and at night) and I think it helped my mental state tremendously.
25. daily practice some form of self-care I wasn't as intentional about this one as I could have been, but I have been taking care of myself better than I have at some other points in my life.
26. explore the things that "center" and relax me Yes! I did pretty good with this in the Summer. I read my devotions, read poetry a bit, explored my personality and had good conversations with friends on this topic, and tried to determine practices that helped ease my anxiety
27. continue to create monthly playlists Nope, not at all. And it's a shame. I need to get back on it.
28. search for, and surround myself with, inspiration I love this one and I think I did really well with it. Especially in November when I was thinking about and writing about Ordinary Wonder, I really felt inspired.
29. practice patience This is something that I've thought and prayed a lot about. I have been so impatient with the children these last few months of trying to navigate a (somewhat) difficult pregnancy. I try to take a lot of deep breaths and I ask God (and them) to forgive me alot.

I want to learn new skills and strengthen my mind. I want to contribute to society and I want to teach my children well. 
30. Ready twelve books on varying and diverse topics I definitely didn't read twelve books. I went back and looked and I read eight books (and I counted my two devotions which is not really fair since I missed days and didn't read them cover to cover). So six if we're being conservative. I guess half isn't terrible, but it's not where I want to see myself as a reader.  A couple were spiritual (Restless and Law and Gospel, some were very practical (For the Love), and some were totally fascinating (One Writer's Beginnings). I also read one classic (Their Eyes Were Watching God). So I will say it was a pretty diverse mix.
31. watch twelve documentaries Apparently this was really ambitious (I mean, for a person who doesn't watch many movies, which duh). I watched four documentaries. Could have been better. Could have been worse =)
32. learn some form of hand sewing Uh, no. It's still a goal, but maybe a longer term one.

33. use my sewing machine I did! I think (?) only once, but I made some pretty cute curtains (if I do say so myself) for Annie's little play kitchen
34. use my big camera weekly (in addition to weekly family pictures) We got better at this for awhile (and were even taking videos on it) but we've sort of slacked off lately
35. set educational goals for each child Again, I did this this Summer and it was really beneficial. I plan to do it again.
36. decided what I want our homeschooling curriculum to include, in addition to math and English, and execute Yes! We had a great Summer and a nice, but rather slow paced Fall semester. It seemed sort of backward but it worked really well during a season of business and early pregnancy.
37. be specific in my read aloud goals I was with a few things, but this is an area I need to pay more attention to next year.
38. teach the children a hymn each month This didn't happen. I may keep it on the list.
39. sign Annie and Graves up for one extra curricular activity each They did soccer and blastball, respectively, this Fall and loved it. I think we're going to do it again in the Spring and we're thinking about if we can handle the swimteam commitment this Summer!

I want to practice good stewardship and save like never before with an end goal in mind.
40. spend money on necessities, with a few exceptions Hmm, I don't know that I can honestly say that I did this. I DID however become a lot more disciplined and a lot more intentional in my spending.
41. discuss even small purchases with Peyton Yeah, I didn't do this if it was the money I made subbing or whatever and he didn't care. I DID discuss clothing items and such for the kids with him.
42. make the most of opportunities that are free or low cost I think we did pretty good with this. Especially on our date nights during the Summer, we went to a street fair several times. That was really fun AND free (except what we wanted to buy to eat).
43. appreciate the ways the Lord will use this sort of discipline to sanctify me I think I really am learning that this way of life can be hard, but it can also be extremely rewarding. Very similarly to our Brooklyn move, I feel like it's something I never thought I'd be EXCITED about, but I am.

I want our lives to be marked by simplicity and I want to be satisfied by a life that is distinctively simple
44. do a complete purge of our house in Mississippi shortly after moving back Whew. We did our whole house this Summer and just this last month we did the attic. Both were HUGE projects but I'm so glad we tackled them.
45. be very discriminating in the activities we commit to and the purchases we make Peyton and I both learned some lessons with this over the first few years of our marriage and even more so maybe in New York. I think we really used what we learned to make wiser decisions for our family this year.
46. challenge myself to hold things loosely Hmm, the purge definitely helped with this. Also, our time in New York helped with this more than I realized. I came home with a renewed sense of what matters in this world. Heads up-- it's mostly relationships.
47. examine ways to better manage my time I started keeping a planner a lot more consistently and more meticulously and I think it's helped in almost immeasurable ways. I've also tried to structure my days in a certain way that seems effective. That said, I think I could still stand to improve a ton in this area.

I want to cultivate a more thankful spirit and live with joyful abandon.
48. make thankful lists at times other than the month of November I did it in November and it was a wonderful practice, per usual, but not at any other time.
49. find other specific ways to express thankfulness I have tried to just be more cognizant about gratitude. I'm the type of person where if I'm aware of something, it's usually expressed, so it's really just keeping it forefront in my mind. Sometimes this was hard when I felt like I had a few good reasons to feel "down" about things, but overall I think it's in those moments that gratitude helps the most.
50. learn how to be content without buying things This is a journey I'll probably be on for the rest of my life, but yes, I think I've learned some valuable things in this area as we've tried to simplify and budget more.
51.  be vulnerable in telling others how thankful I am for them Again, I'm pretty much one to express what I'm feeling, but even for me, this can be awkward. I really did try to tell the people I love how much I love them and also WHY I'm thankful for them and I think it benefited my relationships on every level.
52. surround myself with words, music, and people that bring joy This is such a good one and a good place to end, I suppose. I think that I did surround myself with words that brought me joy- through the books I did read, through blogs, through a few podcasts I've come to love, and through quotes around my house. Certainly, I surrounded myself with people who bring me joy and that may be one of the most important goals I accomplished this year. And as a bonus, it was nice to have the car stereo back (I could never do earphones on the train, mostly because it wasn't practical with the kids).

When I look back over these a few things stand out:

First of all, I think with relational goals and goals related to my mental/emotional health and overall attitude, I did pretty good. With more specific, tangible goals I didn't do as well. That COULD be me misjudging, but I'd really like to think it's where my focus naturally gravitated this year and that feels good. I'd take the former over the latter any day.

Secondly, I mentioned this already, but I do think that we were successful in working toward the overall theme that I wanted to focus on this year. I think we lived our priorities much better than we have in the past and that's huge to me.

But, perhaps most noticeably, I feel like I did pretty alright with these goals this Spring/Summer but then here lately I've been relatively terrible. I know I have a good excuse, but it's still hard for me to accept. I think, for me, that's part of the merit in making these lists and tracking my progress. It's just another reminder that I AM going to fail and fall short and there's abundant grace for that. I think being honest with myself, and with others, is really helpful and ultimately (though this may seem bizarre to some) leads me to the cross where I encounter, yet again, my own inadequacy and insufficiency and see that before the throne of God my "lists" don't matter a hill of beans and I am justified apart from anything I can accomplish on my own.

I'm so thankful for this year and all it's taught me and I'm looking forward to coming up with some goals for 2016.

1 comment:

Rebecca Petersen said...

I love how you organized your goals into different focus groups. I may add some of your goals to my 2016 goal list.