2019 goals

3 January 2019

I learned something this past year.

When John and I sat down for our end-of-year celebration dinner, we reviewed the progress we’d made on our 2018 family goals. We had 16, and in January I posted them on our refrigerator. We looked at them every single day, and as the months ticked by, we checked off every single one.

In contrast, my four personal focal areas for 2018… languished. I did make progress in each of the areas (thanks in large part to my monthly goals accountability – that’s you, friends!), but the goals themselves weren’t the driving factor. My “focal areas” were a little too vague, a little too general, and they just kind of sat there for twelve months. They mattered to me, but without even a twinge of specificity, they leaned a little too far to the heart versus the SMART side of things.

Anagram Photo

To be fair, it was challenging to formulate goals in a year when we knew we’d be expecting a new baby. And sharing those goals before Y’ALL knew we were expecting a baby? Even harder. So I don’t fault myself for how I set goals last year — but I’m excited to try something new in 2019!

The eight goals I’ve set for myself are far more concrete than is typical for me, and I plan to draw a mini goal from each of them for my monthly goals each month (inspired by Lisa!). Here they are:

1. Finish organizing our family photos, and create our first two albums. I made huge progress in my photo organization last year, and am excited to complete the project! The visual record I’m building will help establish and reinforce our family story, and it will feel SO GOOD to have everything neatly organized, easily accessible, and safely stored.
Some action steps: Make a master list of months still to be culled and sorted in Google Docs. Figure out how many months I need to do each month to finish in a year, then make a schedule.

2. Ride bikes as a family, and complete the MS ride in New Bern. Over the last few years of pregnancy and newborn life, fitness has not been the highest priority for the Thomases. John and I are thrilled to get back on our road bikes and get moving as a family! We’ll celebrate our hard work by completing an MS 100 or 150 fundraising ride in September (100+ miles over two days!).
Some action steps: Take our bikes to the shop for a tune-up. Get another kiddo bike seat and a car rack. Map out a training plan. Register for the race!

3. Rest in the Lord as we carve out weekly Sabbaths. Our weekends fluctuate between restful and overly-full, but even the restful ones feel as though we’re relying on our own strength and not the Lord’s. I’m excited to explore what true rest means and how a more intentional weekly Sabbath will transform our family!
Some action steps: Research and read a book or two about Sabbath. Read what the Bible has to say about Sabbath. Talk with John about our hopes for a family Sabbath. Brainstorm what it will take the other six days of the week to open up the seventh day, and make a plan.

4. Give my best to our church. We welcomed a new pastor halfway through last year, and the energy has been contagious since his arrival. There are some opportunities coming up my skills are uniquely suited for, and I’m excited to dig in and use what I can to draw others closer to a relationship with God!
Some action steps: Choose a meeting time for the creative team. Spearhead my Valentine’s Day idea.

Each of these photos means something special to me! I’ll print out two copies and put one on our refrigerator, and one in my PowerSheets.

5. Move my body throughout the day, every day. You’ve probably heard the dire warnings about the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle (me, too). Thinking about my 91-year-old grandmother and how nimbly she still navigates her world has lit a fire under me to force myself to add more movement to my days. Bang didn’t get to where she is by sitting on a sofa all day, and if I want to end up where she is, neither can I. This is the goal I don’t really want to set but know I need to :)
Some action steps: Outline a series of goals to gradually increase my working time standing. Research best practices for working while standing. Set an alarm to take a mini walk midway through my day. Pick back up with evening walks. Set up a standing desk at home.

6. Connect more deeply in our neighborhood. Last month we got the news that our two closest neighborhood couple friends are searching for new homes (locally, thankfully, but not in our same neighborhood). Truthfully, after making so much progress in this area and being so thankful for these friendships, it feels like a big setback and a bitter pill to swallow. But instead of wallowing, I’m setting this goal to force myself to dig in and create some new bonds.
Some action steps: Plan weekly meal exchange with Katie. Read This is Where You Belong. Schedule out girls’ nights for Q1.

7. Complete our family room. We’ve made solid progress on refreshing our family room and making it work for us, but there’s still a good chunk left to go!
Some action steps: Hang the mirror. Choose a pillow fabric and work with Aunt Nan to make them. Switch out our coffee table. Finalize toy storage. Add new lamps. Incorporate June’s artwork.

8. Kick off The Years of Making Magic. I have been alluding to this project for awhile now and am excited to officially introduce it soon! If you’ve loved my past 60 Before 30 and 101 in 1001 projects, you’ll love this newest incarnation! :)
Some action steps: Share the list and start checking things off! :)

I’ll be back with my January goals post soon, but in the meantime, I’d love to hear what you have planned for 2019. Do you have a word of the year? Have you set goals yet? I’d truly love to hear, so please drop a note in the comments! I can’t wait to cheer you on.

P.S. 2019 PowerSheets are still available – for now! :)

Vision board sources, clockwise from top left: pool, books, cyclist, kiddos, home, ice cream, bird, fabric, quote

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January 3, 2019 8:14 am

Your goal posts are always so inspiring to me. And this one hits the mark, friend. Your goals are wonderful and centered. I am proud to be your friend. Xoxo

January 3, 2019 8:34 am

These are wonderful goals! Your planning and goal writing is such an inspiration. My word of the year is purpose. The aim is to dig into my life and do everything with a clear purpose and eliminate those that do not improve or enhance my life. My goals are to reduce clutter in my life (physical, digital, emotional, time), draw closer to God, steward my finances well, and create a harmonious home life. I look forward to continue reading your goals and goal process!

January 3, 2019 8:50 am

These goals were so inspiring to read through and really got me thinking about what I’d like to accomplish this year.

We just moved into our first home this past summer and I’d really love to refresh our living room with new furniture so that it can feel like a cozy place of relaxation for our family — it’s crazy how much of a difference that can make!

January 3, 2019 8:59 am

Look forward to the big reveal mentioned in number 8! Your list inspired me to write my own. :)

January 3, 2019 9:27 am

Your annual goal post is quite likely one of my very favorites to read and this one was no exception. I’m still working through my PowerSheets – this year through a different lens after a really difficult 2018 – but your post has fired me up even more. Wishing you a joyous start to 2019, Em!

January 3, 2019 9:54 am

One follow up comment, I’d love to know which album company you use to create your family albums! This is also a goal of mine this year. :)

January 3, 2019 4:25 pm

I love reading your goals! Making yearly photo books has been something I’ve wanted to do for a while too. I seem to get overwhelmed when I try to do it. Hopefully this year I will push through and get it done! My word for the year is expectant! I felt like that was the word the Lord put on my heart this year. I’m still thinking through my goals but I’m excited for 2019!

Happy New Year!

January 3, 2019 7:39 pm

I love all of your goals and I’m particularly excited about our shared Sabbath goal! We will have to swap insight and resources! : )

January 4, 2019 7:10 am

With you on the family albums goal!! I’ve been wanting to make them since we got married, but haven’t made it a priority…now, it’s starting to feel like if I wait much longer, it’s going to get too overwhelming and I’ll never do it! So this is the year :) We are adding a “memory keeping” rollover account to our budget this year to go toward albums, annual photos, and prints–that already makes it feel more like these things are going to happen, haha!

January 4, 2019 10:25 pm
Reply to  Em

Haha! That is one of the most specific categories, for sure!

I’m thinking yearly for now, but am not opposed to changing it up down the road (maybe once we have older kids and don’t take a zillion pictures of them a year?). We’ll see!

Kelly Strawberry
January 4, 2019 8:53 am

Happy New Year, Em! I have to tell you, because I know you’ll get it, but I was so hopeful and excited for 2019, but then my dog of 11 years went downhill at the very end of the year and passed away on January 2. It has been so hard for me, and now this year just seems dull. I’ve been going to work, but I pretty much feel like a walking zombie. I haven’t said much to anybody, but I know you’ve dealt with this grief before.

Anyways, I just want you to know that your blog is always a bright spot in my day, so thank you.

January 4, 2019 10:47 am

I was debating on a word for the year and couldn’t pick just one. So, I wrote a whole mission statement :)

January 4, 2019 12:19 pm

Hey Em! Happy New Year! I love this post and am SO excited for the *magic* you will be sharing with us! My word of the year is BECOME. Finishing up my Powersheets this morning and feeling really energized for the year ahead!

January 4, 2019 12:37 pm

I love that tour goals are specific this year. I, too, have recognized a need for more direction in my goals. You’ve inspired me to already revisit mine to beef them up a little bit! My word this year is obedience – to the Lord’s plan for my life mainly but also in food, exercise, savings, etc. I know what I need to do! I just need to actually do it. Cheers to 2019!

January 5, 2019 3:32 pm

Em, I could write you a novel of encouragement about your goals and ideas and such, but I’ll just stick to one area–related to sitting less (since “Sitting is the new smoking!” they say!), I bought this adjustable standing desk from IKEA a few months ago after a LOT of research and love it! https://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S49084965/?gclid=CjwKCAiAyMHhBRBIEiwAkGN6fO57PaFYV-D5Jk4P4frnRzJOrp3IS6rQ6GPr0tUPSS-OWEwqv5Sj1BoCvTYQAvD_BwE (I actually have the bigger version which didn’t cost much more, but maybe you don’t need that big of a desk at home?) Anyway, I used to have a standing desk that WASN’T adjustable in my office–for a few years, in fact, and I had a tall office chair I kept in the closet in there that I could pull out if needed, but to be honest I just got really sick of not being able to put my feet on the floor sometimes. The chair was essential in my mind because I don’t know how anyone can stand on their feet ALL day while working a full day (not to mention I feel like I can THINK better when I am making big decisions while sitting vs standing haha). It was especially annoying when I was pregnant, because I wanted to sit more than usual, and it wasn’t as comfortable as I hoped having my feet resting on a bar even though the chair was super ergonomic otherwise. Anyway, just sharing my two cents because I know you appreciate input like this and I sure do when I’m making decisions! I love that now I can stand at my desk OR crank it down to a regular height and then wheel up my normal-height office chair.

One more thing about the standing/moving lifestyle–I reread French Women Don’t Get Fat every couple years because she has such a moderate, doable approach to eating and exercise. That mindset always wears off after a while, but for at least a couple months I find myself much better at using little opportunities here or there to be more active and move my body! I guess I probably do more things than I give myself credit for–like copying my very fit mom’s classic move of always jogging in and out of store parking lots versus just strolling leisurely to her car. haha

Happy 2019 and happy standing! :D

January 8, 2019 9:47 pm

Hi Em,
I loved reading your goals for the year! It’s always so motivating to read other people’s goals. We just moved and I’m definitely going to get that book “Where you belong”. Sounds like it might be just what I need. I miss our old neighbors!! And I really hope that a year from now, we’ll have made some good progress in that area :-)
I just posted my word and goals for the year, if you’d like to check them out: http://www.meandmyhaus.com
Looking forward to another year of following along!
Happy 2019!!

January 12, 2019 11:36 pm

Thanks for sharing your goals! I, too, feel like I benefit from more specific action steps. I’m still working through my powersheets. No matter how much I intend to finish them in December, January always seems to be a month of “reflect and reset.” I can’t wait to read what you learn about the Sabbath. I struggle with this, too. I work a very irregular schedule of days/nights/weekends, which goes against my love of routines. Maybe you’ll have some new ideas for how I can more fully plan for a weekly Sabbath.