January 2024 goals

9 January 2024

In this month, the first of the year, my attention is narrowly focused. I am aware that the demand of writing weekly on The Connected Family for a paying audience could easily become a stressor if I don’t carefully manage it, and so here at the beginning of the year, I consciously restrained myself on almost all other goals to create the space to start strong and get ahead in this one area. It’s a bit challenging (I’m excited about every one of my goals!), but I know this short-term narrowing will give me the most peace of mind and pave the way to branch out a bit more in the months to come.

Also, while we’re talking about TCF, I thought it might be helpful to do a little expectation setting here at the start.

For the last few years, my intention has been to share two posts a week on EFM. I didn’t always realize it, but that’s been the goal! With splitting my time between two platforms, going forward I plan to share one post on EFM and one post on TCF each week. TCF will be the home for all things family culture, kids + tech, and low-screen living – a deep well, considering everything that feeds into it! EFM will hold the rest: my goals, our travels, personal finance, faith, books, home updates, recipes, etc. My signature deep thoughts will feature on both :)

While this is, theoretically, the same amount of content, I recognize that only paid subscribers will now have access to all of it, and that is a change from the past 15+ years of blogging. I’m grateful to each of you that’s able to take the leap with me on this new venture. I also understand it’s not in the cards for everyone right now for various reasons, and that there might be disappointment that comes along with that. Please know I am very grateful for you and your support, in whatever form it takes.

And now, on to January!

My labor-of-love book ornaments! They capture the favorite books of our three kids from this past year: Magic Tree House, The Circus Ship, and The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street.

On my calendar:
— Our 19th dativersary! We’re taking a pottery class (part of John’s Christmas present!) to celebrate.
— A goals night with our church community group. They asked me to lead a little session and I’m delighted to – it’s always an interesting challenge to translate CWM’s teachings for a new (and guys + gals) audience.
— June’s birthday celebrations. She chose a “day of fun” this year (versus a party), and so we’re following her lead to visit the Museum of Life and Science, have lunch at Noodles & Co, play at a ninja gym, and have her very first sleepover with her BFF.

What I’m loving right now:
— As a mom who works outside the home, I loved this essay from Coffee + Crumbs – and then one of my dearest friends texted it to me saying it had struck a chord with her, too!
— I recently discovered that you can buy Olive & June items at Target. Did you know this? Their cuticle serum and polish remover pots were sitting right there in my local beauty section. Both are items I use and love! (I keep the serum in my bedside table drawer to apply right before I go to bed.)
— Alstroemeria. They are not, like, the most beautiful flower God ever created, but they are in every single grocery store flower bin and they last for – I kid you not – a month in a cut vase. Perfect to brighten up cold January days.

As a reminder, you can find allll the things I’ve loved over the last few years neatly organized right here!

What you’re loving right now:

This is where I highlight a few items here that have been popular in the last month with fellow readers, based on my analytics. Here’s hoping this will help you find something you’ll love!

Heavenly Hunks, and rightly so.
— These stretch twill cropped pants in a faded green, one of my favorite purchases of 2023.
— The delicious-smelling and effective tangle spray we use for Annie.
— My daily face sunscreen! One of the products I MOST love to push on others :)
— The snack box June uses for school. I bought one for Shep’s stocking but it didn’t fit, so I just set it aside for his Easter basket!

What I read in December:
The Hiding Place | Essential reading, for Christians and everyone else. The courage and moral clarity of Corrie and her family – who risked their lives to save Jews and underground workers in World War II and were sent to concentration camps for it – is frankly shocking to our modern sensibilities, but so needed.
How to Stay Married | This book was making the rounds of our community group and so I hopped on the bandwagon, too. A (true) tale of a wife’s infidelity and the havoc it wreaked on their marriage, it’s an unflinchingly honest and specific look at what contributed to drift in their marriage (on both sides) and how they fought to stay together. (And, weirdly, it’s funny.) It’s also a window into what the church and community can and must do well to help real people in the very real tragedies of their lives.
The Magician’s Elephant | June passed this Kate DiCamillo book to me after reading it and I enjoyed it! It’s a short, moody tale with poetic language and a happy ending. I’d recommend for third grade-ish.

Revisiting my December goals:
Finish our 2015-2019 photo album (Not done yet but I am chugging away! I don’t have the heart to officially put it on my goals list for January, but do plan to continue working on it when I can!)
Prepare well for my family’s visit
See what I can do to continue to customize The Connected Family’s home on Substack
 (I did a little more customization but am also embracing simplicity for the moment! Banking on quality content over fancy graphics here at the start :))
Plan out content for Q1 of TCF, including brainstorming at least 100 newsletter ideas (Confirmed I will not run out of things to write about, ha!)
Tackle our laundry room
Tackle our downstairs linen closet
Savor the Christmas season by focusing on loving the ones I love most, and loving those who need it the most.

January goals:
— Kick off The Connected Family well with five weekly posts
— Write ahead to complete drafts of February’s TCF posts
— Complete at least 85 hours of deep work
— Send an inquiry to our top builder candidate
— Begin the Bible Recap reading plan
— Read the first three chapters of Outlive
— Take the Birds and Bees course
— Prep for our Valentines mailbox

I also am tracking a daily habit of making kid lunches the night before in my PowerSheets, which has been going well so far!

Grateful for you, friends! Please feel free to comment on anything I’ve mentioned here or anything else on your mind!

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January 9, 2024 11:05 am

Just so excited to see all that you have in store for TCF and so proud of you for taking the leap on it! One of my 2024 goals is to seek more guidance and expertise in parenting and implement what we learn (this is the type of goal we who are not your enneagram type have to set ;)) and following along with TCF alongside Dave is absolutely part of that! Birds and Bees is on our list as well, so will look forward to your thoughts on it.

January 9, 2024 12:24 pm

Love reading your goals, as always. Even though I am not a parent yet, I am so excited to follow along with The Connected Family. I am eager to think about how I’d like to parent in this digital age when the time comes and also use it to reflect on my own current habits (all connected, right?). Thank you for all of the work you are putting into it!

January 10, 2024 1:58 pm

Love this! I really appreciate slowing down a bit and focusing on one main goal. I also have the intention of packing lunches the night before, my morning self will really benefit from that prep. Curious how you are tracking/organizing your topics for TCF? Do you use a spreadsheet, doc or app?

January 10, 2024 6:52 pm

Those ornaments are SO adorable! Would you mind sharing how you made them? Happy 2024!