2020 Goals

6 January 2020

Isn’t it neat how the concept of “goals” is so flexible? For me, at times it’s been most helpful to focus on daily actions and habits. In others, I’ve found a multi-year “bucket list” of sorts most useful. In still others, just focusing on ONE area I want to grow in has been best. (What has been consistent throughout my online goal-setting lifetime – since 2013! – has been posting monthly updates here for a healthy dose of accountability. I’ve literally never missed a month!)

Last year, I set 8 very specific goals for 2019, and I made little-by-little progress on all of them. I liked the satisfaction of having a very clear finish line to aim for (surprise, surprise!) and am taking a similar route again in 2020. Here’s what I’ll be working on, along with my inspiration board for the year!

Anagram Photo

1. Live a wild life outdoors. A central tenet of my parenting philosophy is that the more time spent outside, the better — but living that out does not always come naturally (ahem) with everything else competing for our attention. The importance of this was a theme that popped up all over my PowerSheets. I want my kiddos to exercise their creativity and courage, use their imaginations, grow their attention spans, be refreshed by the wonders of creation, and have FUN! (And the same goes for me and John!)
Some action steps: Organize our garage to facilitate play. Consider our back bed a natural playscape and finish planting it. Consider a sand/gravel/water play area. Build fairy houses. Do our own version of “forest school” once a month. Read How to Raise a Wild Child and The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry.

2. Be a generous friend. I say I go deep, not wide, with friends, and if that’s true, I want to go all-in on this strategy. To do this, I’m choosing a few (5-8) “focal friends” for the year to very intentionally love, delight, and care for.
Some action steps: Choose focal friends. Assemble friend dossiers :) Make prayer notes for each. Schedule a get together with at least one friend two times a month. Brainstorm possible get togethers and individual ways to love on each.

3. Grow strong by biking regularly. Last year’s goal to become a biking family was a grand success, and this year, we want to continue the fun by taking our biking year round – and doing another race!
Some action steps: Buy a stationary bike for indoor riding. Buy a bike rack for our car. Decide on a 2020 race and register. Decide on best time to ride indoors and set weekly goals for how often.

4. Read through the Gospels together with John. At our year-end dinner we talked about wanting to grow in our faith together this year, and this is how we’re going to start! We’re planning to read one Gospel a quarter. (I already bought these neat Crossway books for journaling!)

5. Build our family culture. Some version of this will probably be a goal until our kiddos are out of the house! Family is the primary responsibility we’ve been given — it’s our best chance to grow into the people we were made to be, and to have fun! :)
Some action steps: Reimagine the loft to facilitate play. Make a family mission statement. Implement kiddo dates with each parent. Have fun with our grown-up date nights each month!

6. Complete our Advent calendar as a route to analog hours. Two goals have dovetailed beautifully with this initiative: wanting to spend less time on screens, and wanting to complete our new Advent calendar! After years of admiring this DIY calendar kit, I finally bit the bullet and purchased it. With many pieces, intricate details, and the need to learn new skills, I anticipate it will be a year-long project that will keep my hands busy in the evenings and on weekends, as well as produce a beautiful heirloom for our family!
Some action steps: Open the box :) Read through instructions. Identify any new materials needed. Make a plan for completion before December. Get to work.

7. Complete our 3 family photo albums. After several years of organizing and streamlining our photos, both digital and physical, I’m excited to wrap this project up with the most fun part of all: creating actual albums we can enjoy for years! My hope is the visual record I’m building will help establish and reinforce our family story. We’re planning to create one album for every five years, so I’ve got 2005-2009, 2010-2014, and 2015-2019 to complete.
Some action steps: Organize 2019 photos. Decide on an album company. Lay out albums.

8. Streamline meal planning. It’s a huge part of our life, and it could be easier and more joyful — and therefore free up time for even more important things! By the end of this year, I want to have a seamless system in place.
Some action steps: Choose the best recipe organization system for going forward (I’m thinking binder). Compile and print favorite recipes for seasons and categories. Make cheat sheets for seasons and categories. Implement a system for knowing what’s in our freezer (white board?). Strategize meals that can be fully made the night before. Clean up Pinterest. Host a meal ideas roundtable and potluck? Make a shopping sheet? Share weekly meal plans on EFM? Buy a printer?

I’ll be back with my January goals post soon, but in the meantime, I’d love to hear what you have planned for 2020. 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. 2020 PowerSheets are still available – for now! :)

Photo credits, clockwise from top left: family snuggles, play room, strawberries, a tear-inducing scene from my favorite movie ever, Articles Club, little girl, albums, Advent calendar, play room

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January 6, 2020 8:00 am

Yay! Those are some awesome goals!!! I am inspired in particular by your Build Our Family Culture goal and Be a Generous Friend goal! The idea of delving deeper in a few friendships has been on my heart, as well. The friend dossier is such a neat idea! :) . For meal planning, have you ever tried Plan To Eat? It’s an app that has literally saved me–it organizes your recipes, you plan them out on a big calendar (I’m a visual person) and then it will automatically create your shopping list for you based on the ingredients in your recipes. Game changer!

I just bought another set of Powersheets! Here are my goals: Create a lifegiving home (we just created our family values list to guide us), cultivate a deeper connection with God (daily morning devotions, join a bible study group), have a healthy and strong body, delight in leisure (start engaging the hobbies I enjoy! and start a new hobby), guard my heart with proper boundaries (phone use mostly!), be a responsible steward of God’s provision of money, and solidify rhythms and routines for housekeeping. Excited for 2020!

January 6, 2020 9:43 am

LOVE these – you have the most beautiful heart and soul for goals, being intentional and your family.
Thank you for this inspiration, Em x

January 6, 2020 9:46 am

What wonderful and fun goals! We’re working on a more minimalist and more sustainable lifestyle, being more intentional and more play this year. Last year, we purchased a home that turns 110 this year! We’d like to have a Birthday celebration for our home. Seems odd but I love the idea of loving our home by celebrating it in some way. I’m also doing Nancy’s Contentment Challenge, but I’m taking it one month at a time. We’d also like to come up with some sort of cleaning/laundry schedule so we can spend more time playing and less time cleaning. Making memories and traditions is going to the theme of our year; family vacations to the beach, dinners around the table, Coco Bunnies cereal on Sundays…everything in the name of lasting memories for our toddler and for us. Building fairy houses sounds dreamy! I’m really looking forward to doing this with our daughter.

January 6, 2020 2:05 pm

Love the outside goal! My 4yo loves a scavenger hunt. We draw a list of things to find when we’re inside (pinecone, stick, holly berries) and then go out and collect it in a bag/bucket! It’s hard in winter, but turns into a great adventure/mission. Fresh air is a game changer for him and, let’s be honest, me too.

January 6, 2020 2:29 pm

Love these actionable goals!! I really like the idea of focusing on specific friends and planning to be intentional with them. I also like the binder idea for your meal planning. When I heard on Nancy’s podcast that Emily Ley’s mom meal plans for an entire month (!!!) I realized there is much growth that we can all take in this area, lol! Finally, I think Artifact Uprising will serve you best for the albums! I have made albums on Shutterfly (pixelated images) and MPix (too complicated), and a few others. Artifact Uprising is definitely the easiest route with the highest quality and I have made 4 books there now, the last one being a 2018-2019 yearly album. It was most cost-effective too because once you narrow down your overall page number adding more pages isn’t too expensive.

January 6, 2020 6:34 pm

Love your goal about being outside! HIGHLY recommend the book “There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather” for mommas wanted to get their kids outside!

January 6, 2020 8:12 pm

I made the same advent calendar while pregnant two years ago and it has been the absolute best! My daughter would get so excited to place that day’s ornament on the tree (and then want to rearrange all the other ornaments!). Such a fun tradition to have. Enjoy!!

Your goals are so inspiring! I look forward to reading them every month :)

Carly Zhang
January 6, 2020 10:11 pm

I love these actionable goals – you are always so inspiring, Emily! Could you do a post on how you’ve been organizing and streamlining your photos? I’d love to get a few ideas. I also highly recommend Cook Smarts for meal planning – they give four meal ideas with simple prep, plus all four meals “feed” into each other so you’re eliminating waste (and ingredients) while saving a ton of time. Happy 2020!

January 7, 2020 6:22 am

I love the way your goals have so much variety, but are all SO you! It will be so amazing to have such tangible results of completed goals around you by Christmas, between that gorgeous Advent calendar and your family albums. Ditto the recommendation to use Artifact Uprising–I’ve not even bothered trying other services because I love every book I’ve ordered from them so much (both the process and the finished product). Staying tuned for meal planning tips you find helpful and for any nugget that can convince me to get outside on my own free will, ha ;) Love you and cheering you on!!

January 7, 2020 4:13 pm

Love these goals! You’ve definitely perfected the art of setting achievable yet impactful goals!

I’ve been using the Paprika App for keeping my recipes. I don’t love that you have to pay for the app and for software on your computer, but it’s been SO helpful with meal planning and grocery shopping. It’s been pretty handy and I love how easy it is to plan your meals, automatically create a list, and check things off as you go. I didn’t buy the desktop software but you can save recipes to your account from a browser so that’s been working wonderfully for me.

January 9, 2020 11:27 am

I love reading your goals! Thanks for sharing with us. Streamlining meal planning is one of our goals too. We have found Cook Once, Eat All Week by Cassy Joy Garcia a GREAT resource! It has been a game changer for both our budget and food waste while also allowing us to have varied, fresh dinners each night. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for some new inspiration! Happy 2020 to you and yours, Emily.

January 10, 2020 8:35 pm

I feel the need to put in a mention to check out Blurb photo books, as recommended in a blog post by Young House Love. I used them for the first time this year (after using Artifact Uprising, Shutterfly, and Apple’s now-defunct photo book maker in the past) and found both the quality and the user interface to be superior to others I’ve tried. Thanks for being a positive corner of the internet! I always look forward to your new posts!

January 13, 2020 9:16 am

These are such thoughtful goals, Em! I’m so inspired reading them, and especially so as so many of my own are on parallel tracks with yours. Eager to watch you go after what matters most to you in 2020!

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