My goals came quickly and clearly this year. That’s in part because there’s one – number 4 below – that I know will require an incredible amount of effort, diligence, heart, courage, focus, and time to get off the ground, and then continually shape and manage. My other eight goals are slotted in around it, aimed at maintaining or furthering the things that matter most to me.
This is an unusual year of goals for me. It’s more concrete, it’s more public, and it’s easily the most ambitious and challenging list I’ve set in a long while – maybe ever. I feel nervous to share that this is what I’m going after (again, looking at you, no. 4), because hitting “publish” immediately gains me many new accountability partners :)
At the same time, I feel grateful to be in a place where I can set this goal. Many years of goal setting with my PowerSheets have gotten me – and my family – to here, where we have rhythms, routines, and foundations that support what matters most to us. With those in place, it feels possible to move on this one thing that – to me – feels outrageously ambitious.
Without further ado…
1. Recover the armchairs. Let’s start with something simple and straightforward :) Our two cream armchairs, purchased in 2018, are a centerpiece of our main room. They’re comfy, they’re elegant, they’re incredibly well-made. Five years in, however, they’re also… dingy. Despite splurging for Crypton fabric at the start and diligently spot treating them over the years, the wear and tear of three small children and dark jeans, etc. has led to an overall dinginess that I can no longer deny.
So! The plan is to reupholster them in a performance velvet/microsuede/whatever our brown sofa is because that thing looks spotless after more than a decade, likely in a deep blue or soft green. While part of me is mourning the cream, I actually think another tone (and potentially a darker color) will give some more dimension to the overall room. And of course, I’m excited about us all feeling just a bit more at ease in our space.
2. Read through The Bible Recap’s yearly reading plan. The last time I read through the Bible in one go was 2010-2011. I did it on my own, with no guide or study materials, and though God’s word never returns void, let’s just say I probably didn’t get as much out of it as I could.
In 2023, John used a plan from the Bible Project to read through the Bible in a year, and it was incredibly impactful for him. (He followed along mostly on audio, which meant I caught snippets here and there throughout the year!) The BibleProject’s (free! all free!) resources are phenomenal, with great depth of knowledge delivered in a light and friendly way, flawless illustrations and videos — and always designed to point you toward Jesus no matter which book you’re reading.
My original plan was to follow the same plan in 2024, but when John expressed interest in doing another alongside me, we pivoted to The Bible Recap’s plan to give him something new to chew on. We’ve had many friends use this plan and I’m thrilled we’ll get to do it together! This goal is intimidating to me, but I also feel confident that there are few better ways I could spend my time in 2024.
3. Read through and apply Outlive. “For all its successes, mainstream medicine has failed to make much progress against the diseases of aging that kill most people: heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and type 2 diabetes. Too often, it intervenes with treatments too late to help, prolonging lifespan at the expense of healthspan, or quality of life. Dr. Attia believes we must replace this outdated framework with a personalized, proactive strategy for longevity, one where we take action now, rather than waiting.”
John and I bought this book soon after it came out last year, and it landed with a thump on our doorstep – it is a tome. While I’m sure we won’t agree with everything Peter says, we’re excited to work our way through it together and apply what feels right as we go, little by little. Spanning mental health, exercise, nutrition, testing, sleep, and more, I know this goal will likely spin off many action steps over the course of a year.
4. Launch The Connected Family’s audio course. From secret goal to out-in-the-open goal! While the initial forward-facing work of TCF will be delivering on my promise to Substack subscribers, behind the scenes I’ll be working away on our first major offering – an audio course for parents. Eep! (EEP!!!!!!!) This feels scary to say out loud and even scarier to consider actually launching one day, but I remind myself daily to just keep putting one foot in front of the other as I try to make something that might help people.
Speaking of which…
5. Log 1,000 hours of deep work. I read Cal Newport’s Deep Work as part of my 2023 reading list and loved it. As a writer, most of what I do for my job, my main hobby, and now my fledgling business requires me to think deeply and write eloquently. Because of this, it behooves me to aggressively protect my attention span.
Like everyone else, the siren song of a text message, Instagram, completing a quick to-do, or acting on some stray thought that pops into my mind takes effort to resist. For this goal, I’ll track my hours spent doing just that: thinking, writing, brainstorming, or researching with undivided focus. While I can’t call the hours unplugged (since many will be spent tapping away at my laptop), they might as well be.
1,000 hours over a year works out to about 2.7 hours per day, so this is, indeed, an aggressive goal (especially since I’ll log fewer on the weekends).
6. Take the Birds & Bees course with John. This was on my goal list last year and we didn’t quite get to it, though I did purchase it at a discount on Black Friday! I’m considering it healthy background for us as parents and also a case study for The Connected Family – Mary Flo and Megan appear to be doing something somewhat similar to what we hope to do, though on a totally different topic. I’m excited to learn from them in more ways than one!
7. Gut the loft. This is the one space in our home that just bedevils me. I’ve tried to make adjustments here and there over the years, and they’ve been of marginal help, but I know there things that could be done to make this more of a fun space for our kids and less of a maddening space for us parents.
I chose the word “gut” not because we’ll be doing any structural work here, but to reflect that I hope to look at the space with fresh eyes. That was a major lesson from working with a professional for our garage – she had no preconceptions for how the space could be used based on how we had been using it, and we came up with far better solutions by starting from scratch than moving things incrementally.
8. Invite friends over for 12 Sunday night pizza hangs. Our 2023 goal of inviting one family/friend over each month was a smashing success, even if we didn’t quite hit it on the nose. One set-up we ended up really liking: a Sunday night dinner on the earlier side, with takeout pizza, a big salad, and something easy for dessert. Ordering pizza for the main meal is more of a financial stretch, but for me, it almost instantly takes away all the stress of hosting – and in this season of family life, that’s worth its weight in gold. Plus, Sunday night tends to be pretty open for most people, meaning it’s easier to get a date on the books.
I am holding this goal with open hands and knowing it absolutely might evolve as the year goes on – but it feels like a great place to start!
9. Explore the idea of renovating our home. As longtime readers know, the vision for our future where I have felt the most unclear is whether we’ll stay in our home or move (locally). One outcome we’d never really considered was renovating our current home, but it popped onto our radar at the end of last year and has quickly become something we’re interested in exploring.
This goal may go no further than the inquiry stage, or we may end up with a full-blown renovation on our hands – only time will tell!
Thank you, friends. Sharing my goals here, year after year and month after month, is quite possibly the most potent factor in any progress I’ve made, so thank you, as always, for being kind, listening ears! :)
On that note, I’ll be back with my January goals post and my 2024 book list over the next few weeks. Please feel free to join in on anything I’ve written here, or let me know if there’s one of my goals that you’d love to hear more about as the year goes on! OR, tell me what YOU have planned for 2024! Have you set goals yet? I’d love to cheer you on.