2021 mid-year goals review

8 July 2021

From the beginning, this has seemed like an off year for goals: I had a hard time naming them in January after a strong 2020, and felt a bit hobbled in sharing plans and progress before y’all knew we were expecting our third child. (And having a baby in July certainly bisects the year in an interesting way!) While I haven’t made as much progress as I might have envisioned at the beginning of 2021, I’m grateful for the opportunity to reflect on what has been accomplished – all good things! Besides, I think I heard somewhere that little by little adds up, amiright? :) Let’s take a look!

Goal no. 1: Make room for God’s presence by reading the Bible. 
Progress I’ve made: This goal is simple: a commitment to “Word before words,” or habit stacking reading my Bible each night before I pick up my current fiction or non-fiction read. Simple, but effective! Whether I read a few verses or multiple chapters, I have read the Bible before anything else probably 95% of evenings this year. So far, I’ve completed Mark, Acts, James, and Luke. I also read Jen Wilkin’s Women of the Word!
What I hope to accomplish in the next six months: More of the same! I’d actually like to slow down and choose one shorter book (maybe James!) to read several times and apply some of Jen’s suggestions as a first go at her method.

Goal no. 2: Set joy before us. 
Progress I’ve made: There are so (SO) many things vying for our attention these days, and I named this goal to thoughtfully direct my eyes, heart, and effort to what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. It has! Though we have enjoyed new joyful things this year, this goal has also been a helpful encouragement to simply maintain some of our old standbys in the face of pregnancy tiredness and John’s injury. June and I have baked together most weeks, we traveled to Jekyll Island and Charlottesville, we celebrated Valentine’s Day with 14 days of mailbox fun, June and I had pedicures and afternoon tea, we’ve been strawberry picking and blueberry picking many times over, and I hosted a garden dinner party, among other things.
What I hope to accomplish in the next six months: I would love to host my ill-fated potluck party, canceled in 2020. We’re also looking forward to traveling to Florida with all of John’s family in September, attending the Nutcracker, making our favorite summer desserts, backyard camping, hiking once John’s back on his feet, and hosting our annual pumpkins and soup party.

Goal no. 3: Do those things we’ve always wanted to do for our home. 
Progress I’ve made: Because we feel settled in this home for the next few years, I wanted to make a concerted effort to complete the upgrades and changes we’ve largely decided on, but haven’t pulled the trigger. Going room by room, we’ve made some progress: we’ve replaced the light fixture in our foyer, added more lighting to our family room, painted our master bedroom and switched out the curtains (and added a mirror!), and switched out the roman shade in the Magnolia Room.
What I hope to accomplish in the next six months: In this time frame, I imagine baby girl will have moved into the Magnolia Room, so I’d like to have that room complete: crib in place, artwork chosen and hung, dresser replaced. I’d also like to have completed my plan for the master bedroom, which at this point includes refreshing our decorative pillows, purchasing the bed frame we’ve chosen, hanging a grid of gold frames, and purchasing a new desk chair for John. I’d also like to paint June’s room. The two other larger projects that I’m not sure will be completed but am considering are having our kitchen cabinets painted (!) and replacing the stone surround of our fireplace. This all might be wildly ambitious – we shall see!

Goal no. 4: Refresh our home. 
Progress I’ve made: This goal goes hand in hand with the one above, but focuses more on small, boring projects to make our space sparkle like the day we bought it. It’s not the most exciting goal, but it has been satisfying! So far, we’ve reorganized our cleaning supplies and cleaned out under our sink, cleaned off the tops of our laundry machines (a perennial dumping ground), magic erasered all the things, cleaned out our master bathroom drawers, hired out carpet cleaning, and cleaned out our pantry and a few other closets.
What I hope to accomplish in the next six months: I have more cabinets and closets in my sights! Plus our main book shelf is overflowing – as is the top of our dresser – and our refrigerator could use a thorough cleaning out.

Goal no. 5: Build our family culture as we transition to an elementary-school family. 
Progress I’ve made: This is my catch-all goal to remind myself to focus on small ways to love my family well, intentionally nurture the character and family traits that are important to us, and make our home the most joyful, loving place to be. In the first half of the year, I’ve focused on prepping for kindergarten and for baby sister and we’ve watched June blossom into a full-fledged reader who has a soft spot for Jennie Allen’s series. We bought a new car with cash to accommodate our growing family and decided to take John’s six full consecutive weeks of parental leave. (We were debating splitting it up, but in the end, when considering what matters most to us, it was a simple decision – we will never get this time back!) We’ve also done many smaller, fun things, like post a summer calendar, take trips to the library, and grocery shop together.
What I hope to accomplish in the next six months: We’ll make the official transition into an elementary-school family! We’ll also be learning new rhythms as a family of five.

Goal no. 6: Prioritize memory keeping. 
Progress I’ve made: I set this goal to prioritize finishing last year’s Advent calendar, completing our second and third family albums, and keeping up the rhythms of things like yearly videos and photo organization. So far, I’ve culled and sorted our 2020 photos, laid out half of our 2010-2014 photo album, took maternity family photos with Ally, and filmed June in June Volume 6.
What I hope to accomplish in the next six months: Newborn photos with Graham are on the books, and Sheptember filming is slated for September. I am determined to finish the 2010-2014 album and am hoping little-by-little progress on the Advent calendar will be the perfect hands-on, pick-it-up-and-put-it-back-down activity for maternity leave! I would LOVE to have it finished by December.

Goal no. 7: Encourage each other to grow strong through cycling, strength workouts, and stretching. 
Progress I’ve made: What I didn’t say at the beginning of the year but can say now was that I knew this would be an unusual year for fitness, with a baby due right in the middle! Little did we know we’d have another wrench thrown into our plans with John’s injury. Progress has been inconsistent so far this year, but I’m looking forward to getting back up to speed together as I recover from birth and he from his surgery!
What I hope to accomplish in the next six months: In addition to getting back into stretching and strength training rhythms, I would love to beat at least one of my PRs on the Peloton.

Goal no. 8: Make a book of the first 10 years of EFM. 
Progress I’ve made: I have long thought of this place as a repository of stories, memories, and wisdom for my children, and I’d like to create a physical book for them of the best posts from the first ten years of my writing here. There has been absolutely zero progress on this goal so far, ha!
What I hope to accomplish in the next six months: I’d love to complete the book, but that may be a bit ambitious given a new baby and also trying to finish the Advent calendar and family photo album. If I’ve chosen a means of design and printing and got the project underway by the end of the year, I’d be happy to roll this goal into 2022.

Thanks for always cheering me on, friends! I’d love to hear how your progress on your 2021 goals has gone so far, if you’d like to share. Big or small, it’s worth celebrating!!

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July 9, 2021 8:39 am

I’m also attempting to turn a (now-retired) blog into a printed book. I haven’t selected my printer yet; the obvious blog-to-print options haven’t really inspired me from a design standpoint. So far I’ve been copying every post and the accompanying images into separate Pages documents while I procrastinate on a decision. Would love to know what you decide on when the time comes!

July 9, 2021 3:44 pm

Thank you so much for this thorough update. Your goals’ posts are always a favorite of mine, in part because I just love catching a glimpse into the inner workings of someone else’s life and in part because I find them so motivating to keep making little-by-little progress on my own goals. I have a few very similar 2021 goals as yours, including doing the things that we’ve been wanting to do for our home. We rented the house we are living in for the past year, and just bought it, which definitely made hanging curtains seem like a good thing to do :) It has made such a difference in creating a sense of peace and joy in my life (another goal!).
Best, best wishes for the arrival of Baby Girl! Sending lots of good vibes your way, and eagerly anticipating hearing the news. Thanks for including strangers in your life, and please know that your sharing is a source of delight for your readers!

July 11, 2021 8:19 am

Love this Em – and I am so inspired by how intentional you are with these goals. Thank you for these updates, I love them x

July 12, 2021 1:03 pm

Can you share what car you all decided on? In the market for a bigger, kid friendly car :)

Abigail Gray
July 12, 2021 3:39 pm

I love reading your goal updates – they always make me want to write my own, even if for my own eyes because I imagine writing it out is a reminder as to why you set them in the first place! I love the PowerSheets goal refreshes for this purpose, but I think writing them out in this formula may be even more helpful for me. I was able to check off a goal at the six-month mark for the first time ever – the goal had a deadline in July, but celebrating it as a first nonetheless! I created a photo album for my parents 30th wedding anniversary with photos from the last 30 years, as we well as notes from loved ones and it was one of my favorite projects ever. It involved scanning over 400 photos (I almost lost my mind, ha!), but giving it to them last week made every single moment worth it.