2021 Goals

11 January 2021

This is by far the latest I’ve ever published a yearly goals post.

It’s funny – a few years ago, I felt pressure to post my goals on January 1, on the dot, as if no one would be interested in them on the 2nd. Thankfully, I no longer feel that way (and I know that, wonderful people you are, you’re still interested in what I have to share, even a few days later than you expect!).

As always, I’ve been faithfully engaged in the process of reviewing, evaluating, and dreaming with the help of my PowerSheets. I feel quite clear about the year ahead, but when it came time to write my actual goals and share them with you, I stalled. They felt disjointed, and overly complicated.

That hit me hard, because I loved my 2020 goals. Though I certainly had to pivot on my execution as the year progressed, I was passionate about each one, loved how they moved me forward in the big picture, and pleased with how they turned out. It turns out 2020 goals are a tough act to follow, for me!

After stewing and complaining to John all last week (and then getting derailed again by my anger and sadness over Wednesday’s events), I sat down this weekend determined. I rewrote and laid things out as plainly as possible. And I remembered what we always tell people at Cultivate, which apparently I needed to be reminded of, too: you’re allowed to change course throughout the year. Your goals don’t have to be perfect. What matters is forward movement in the right direction.

I do believe these goals are moving me in the right direction, and I’m grateful to share them with you today – because sharing here is one of the key factors in the progress I’ve made on the things that matter so much to me, year after year. As always, thank you for being here, friends!

1. Make room for God’s presence by reading the Bible. I have a two-part faith goal this year, inspired by a sermon I listened to in December. In it, Darren outlined three ways to cultivate defiant joy as a Christian, inspired by Philippians 4:4-8 (because, as he said, the only people experiencing joy in this season are those cultivating defiant joy). They are: give thanks, because gratitude uncovers joy; make room for God’s presence through time in the Word, prayer, and worship; and set joy before you (by focusing on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy).

When I am regularly in the Word, I am abiding in Him and better able to exhibit the fruits of the spirit as a wife, mom, friend, family member, neighbor, writer, etc. For this goal, I’ve started with a simple commitment to “Word before words,” or reading my Bible each night before I pick up my current fiction or non-fiction read. Excited to dig into and apply Women of the Word in Q1, too!

2. Set joy before us. This is part two! There are so (SO) many things vying for our attention these days, and I want to thoughtfully direct my eyes, heart, and effort to what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. I’m starting by printing out the above to post on our fridge as a reminder. Though this goal might look like removing some things from my life (The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry has some great thoughts on this), I am most excited to add lovely and excellent FUN in, possibly including hosting the meal planning potluck I dreamed up last year (sometime in 2021??), baking something with June every week from her new cookbook (we’re three weeks strong so far!), holiday fun (excited about my plan for Valentine’s Day), and adventures big and small.

3. Do those things we’ve always wanted to do for our home. After some ambivalence, we are at a place where we feel settled in this home for the next few years at least. If there are upgrades or changes we’d like to make, I’d like to do them now, when we can enjoy them, rather than in a rush before putting the house on the market for someone else to enjoy! Y’all know I am the world’s SLOWEST decision maker and shaker when it comes to our home, and in many cases, I’ve known for YEARS the changes I’d like to make. This year, I’d like to do those things. For most rooms, it’s not much!

4. Refresh our home. After 8 years of life with the Thomas family (including welcoming two kids!), our home is showing some wear and tear. There are lots of small, boring projects (paint touch-ups, Magic Eraser work, carpet cleaning, stain removal, caulk repairs, etc.) that would make our space sparkle like the day we bought it. In tandem with goal no. 3, we’ll go room-by-room to address any little refreshes that will help our home look and feel loved. This might be the most boring goal I’ve ever set in my life, buuuuuut… I hope it will be satisfying? Ha!

5. Build our family culture as we transition to an elementary-school family. Told you a version of this goal would be on most lists for the foreseeable future! :) This is my catch-all goal to remind myself to focus on small ways to love my family well, intentionally nurture the character traits that are important to us, and make our home the most joyful, loving place to be. This year, I expect to focus on rhythms and routines throughout the year as we adjust to having a kindergartner, including having fun with our kiddo and grown-up dates; connecting more regularly with faraway family; possibly implementing a family economy for June; and finding new ways to teach our kids about God.

6. Prioritize memory keeping. This is a bit of a carry-over goal from 2020, as I made great progress on our Advent calendar and family albums last year. Setting this goal will help me prioritize finishing the calendar, completing our second and third albums, and keeping up the rhythms of things like yearly videos and photo organization. We also plan to do a few family photo sessions this year, and we all know those take considerable effort to orchestrate!

7. Encourage each other to grow strong through cycling, strength workouts, and stretching. Something that became very clear last year is that in terms of exercise, John and I do best when we feed off each other’s energy (unlike our Bible reading goal, which is a better individual pursuit for us). The foundation of cycling, strength workouts, and stretching we set last year has been so fun to pursue together, and I’m excited to keep it up in 2021. Knowing it will look different at different points in the year, I’ll be setting monthly goals to follow through!

8. Make a book of the first 10 years of EFM. While I place tremendous value on sharing here with friends near and far (and LOVE hearing from you when a post touches you – truly, one of my favorite things!), I have long thought of this place as a repository of stories, memories, and wisdom for my children. I’d like to create a physical book for them of the best posts from the first ten years of my writing here (I’m in year 13 now!).

Whew!! With these out in the world, I feel like I can finally move into 2021 now, ha! As I struggled an unusual amount with my goals this year, talking with dear goal-setting friends and reading others’ thoughtful posts was so helpful and encouraging to me. If you are a goal setter, I can’t recommend surrounding yourself with a likeminded community enough, especially one that shares regular updates! A few of my favorites and their 2021 goals: Lisa, Rhi, Lara, Nancy, Val, Shay, Jen, and Janssen. (Have another goal setter whose blog you love to follow? I’d love to hear about her!)

I’ll be back with my January goals post tomorrow, but in the meantime, I’d love to hear what you have planned for 2021. 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. Still working on my vision board for the year – stay tuned!

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January 12, 2021 8:32 pm

I just finished setting my goals for the year this past week. For 2021, one goal I’m focused on is making our house a home. My husband and I brainstormed a list of house projects to tackle this year and ranked them in order of priority. I’m looking forward to making progress on this goal!

January 13, 2021 5:46 am

[…] After finally posting my 2021 goals, my blog comments up and quit on the same day!! If you had somanythoughts you were bursting to […]

Abigail Gray
January 13, 2021 8:21 am

I had a hard time with 2021 goals, largely because so much of the year ahead is uncertain! However, I know that what matters most to me right now will matter under any circumstance the year may bring, and so I can let that guide my goals. I am also working on memory keeping – hoping to create three yearly albums and two from big travel trips! I have loved following along with your photo organization updates.

January 13, 2021 10:29 am

Okay, SMT!! Reading this made me so excited because there is a lot of crossover between your goals this year and my goals from last year–a focus on time spent in Scripture, pursuing joy, and prioritizing home upgrades/changes. We also share goals for this year in the general categories of memory keeping, health, and family culture. I’m especially looking forward to following along with your family culture goal–I think that is something you and John are already amazing at, so I’m interested to watch what evolves as you move into this new season! Also very excited to see your house updates, as always :)
LOVE the idea of moving some of your most cherished posts into a book–what a treasure that would be!!

January 13, 2021 10:35 am

This is my first full year with powersheets and I’m so excited! Some of my big goals are decluttering my house (2022 will be the year to really decorate once we can breath a bit!), focusing on our family culture (inspired by you! Thank you!), outdoor adventures and hopefully travel, loving my far-away family well and my marriage. You provide me with inspiration and ideas every month and I’m so grateful for your realistic peek into how to put big goals into action!
I love the idea of your blog book! I want to do something similar with emails to my Mom. She does not hear well we live far apart and so most of our communication since I graduated college in 2006 has been over email. And thanks to Gmail, I have every one! I would love to put our conversations into a book, something both of us can enjoy and something my kids can have when older. Like a modern day letter collection! I’m thinking this will be another goal for 2022. I feel this is an example of a “some-day” goal easily overlooked without the long term/legacy approach of Powersheets that I have been missing in my life. This is the stuff that is important!

January 13, 2021 10:50 am

Loved reading your goals! I’ve been an avid reader of your blog for the past year but have never commented before. You inspired me to share my monthly goals on my blog during 2020, and it was such a great practice for me. I shared my 2021 goals on my blog last week and kept checking to see if yours had posted because, like you, reading posts from others can be so helpful. I already followed a few of the people you linked to but am excited to add a few more to my list. Thanks for sharing! I’m most excited by your plan to create a book from the first ten years of EFM. One of my goals this year is to create family photo albums, but I’ve been blogging for 10 years and would LOVE to create a book from my posts, too. I’m thrilled you’ll be tackling the blog book project so I can follow along and get inspired!

January 14, 2021 8:48 am

“The only people experiencing joy in this season are those cultivating defiant joy” hit me like a ton of bricks!!! That perfectly sums up how I’ve been feeling for the past 10 months or so- words that I haven’t been able to find myself! There truly is a peace that comes from God that surpasses all understanding. Thank you for sharing!

Last edited 3 years ago by Taylor
January 15, 2021 2:20 pm

Number 8 sounds like SUCH fun! I can’t wait to hear more about that from you!