My 2016 guideposts

4 January 2016

There’s something wonderful about our girl’s birthday lining up fairly neatly with a new year – it’s allowing me to think about not only what I want my 2016 to look like, but what I want her first year of life, and our first year as a family of three, to look like.


Longtime readers will know that I am not big on setting yearly goals. I love to set monthly goals, and have used a daily goal system in the past. In 2015 I focused on cultivating the fruits of the spirit. Other than that, I tend to work with a longer time horizon, as with my ongoing 60 Before 30 project.

But 2016 seemed to call for a year-long structure. And though I didn’t necessarily want to set goals, per se (my long-term goal focus will still be squarely on 60 Before 30!), I loved the idea of having something to measure myself against throughout the next twelve months – a touchstone to refer back to in this year that has the potential to be tumultuous.

Because you know, the one thing people love to tell you about kids is that they will change your life in ways you could never imagine. And while I welcome that, I also don’t want to start at zero on January 15. I want to protect and preserve the best parts of the life John and I have built together over the last ten years while welcoming the changes that will inevitably come. So, knowing that this Big Change has the potential to throw us off track and derail the progress we’ve made, I wanted to establish guideposts that I could look to to remind myself of what matters most to us as we integrate our girl into our life over the next year.

So what are these guideposts? I’ve listed them below, along with a few thoughts on how I might know whether I’ve been successful for each!

1. Stay healthy in mind and body. Continue weekly meal planning, pick back up with running and biking, play tennis with John, go on lots of hikes, recover from pregnancy and get back to a place where I feel great about my body, spend lots of time reading (I’m joining in Nancy’s book club!)
2. Stay adventurous. Go berry picking, plant our garden, introduce our girl to our favorite outdoor concerts and movies, explore the Triangle, take day trips, embrace the whirlwind of bigger vacations and road trips (Maine and Michigan) with grace
3. Stay faithful. Attend our church when we’re in town, continue visiting new churches when we’re traveling, listen to Adam’s sermons weekly, fill idle time by listening to other favorite sermons, lean on our family group, continue to make progress as stewardship chairs, adjust prayer and Bible rhythm as necessary, sing hymns and listen to worship music throughout the day
4. Stay financially free. Stay on track with our 2016 budget (it will probably be the hardest year we’ve ever faced!), stay on track with our plan for paying down our mortgage early, open a college fund, make wise decisions on baby purchases, continue to give generously
5. Stay in relationship. Be intentional about involving our far-away families in our girl’s life, make new friends in our neighborhood, continue Articles Club, go camping, host another adventure dinner party, keep up our monthly tennis dates, have a Southern meet-up with Kim
6. Stay strong in love. Hug every day, go on nightly neighborhood walks, prioritize conversation together, cultivate patience, kindness, and peace, laugh a lot, read The Meaning of Marriage


A peaceful home, family singalongs, simple time together, reading good books, camping and time outside, trips to Michigan, Maine, and Bald Head Island, laughter, a new backyard, and lots of love. See all my 2016 inspiration board sources here.

To wrap things up, here are my goals for January!
— Organize coat closet and install hook for Ergo
— Read “How to Win Friends and Influence People” for NR book club
— Research landscaping companies for our backyard project
— Pack our hospital bag
— Re-read first chapters of Babywise and The Nursing Mother’s Companion
— Order favorite Instagram prints from 2015
— Prep several EFM posts for after our girl’s arrival

If you’ve posted your monthly (or yearly!) goals somewhere, I’d love to take a look – leave a link in the comments! :)

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January 4, 2016 9:04 am

As always, I love the way you approach your yearly goal setting and how you truly prioritize what’s most important to your family. So much will change for you all this year, but I’m sure it will be a year filled with an abundance of joy as you welcome (and integrate) baby girl into your lives!

I’m working through my PowerSheets + goals this week, but I did a brief recap of 2015 on my blog today — mostly about my word of this past year (“open”) and how that impacted my year :)

January 4, 2016 9:04 am

This is such a neat and meaningful idea, especially as y’all get ready to welcome your sweet baby girl! I appreciate that they cover the different areas of a balanced life rather than putting more emphasis on one part. I am doing the Nancy Ray book club too! This month’s book has already got my mind thinking in new ways. WhileI am still praying over my 2016 goals, I shared my January goals this morning :)

January 4, 2016 9:35 am

Love your goals and how well balanced they are with what’s most important to you! I especially admire how y’all will be working towards protecting & preserving the best parts of your lives now as you welcome your marvelous change this year! Excited for y’all! :) I posted our annual recap + goals today too!! Happy 2016!

January 4, 2016 10:10 am

Who is Adam? (Listening to Adam’s sermons)

January 4, 2016 10:15 am

I love this approach. I’m not a yearly goals person either. Because of the way my life is (chronic illness, frequent hospital visits) I find daily, weekly and monthly goals are easier to manage and achieve or revise as needed .

January 4, 2016 10:44 am

I love posting an end-of-year blog post to just go over what worked, didn’t work in the past year…as well as my resolutions for the new one! I did Lara Casey’s power sheets this year, which I think made it the hardest year to do resolutions – but all of the goals I’ve set really seem to align with what makes me happy! I’m so excited about making 2016 the best year yet! Love your post – can’t wait to see how your year moves forward! Oh, and BEST of luck on the arrival of your sweet baby girl. Can’t wait to see her beautiful face!

January 4, 2016 10:56 am

These are wonderful; a really great way to think about life with a little one. I have finally started blogging again, so mine are up on the blog. Happy 2016!

January 4, 2016 11:08 am

Good luck with your goals! I just discovered your blog this weekend and I love how financially responsible you are! Happy new year!

January 4, 2016 11:29 am

I love following you as you work on your goals! These are great to remember to cultivate the life you want to live! Here are mine for 2016:


January 4, 2016 12:17 pm

Love this post so very much! I think yearly goals are wonderful when keeping the big picture in mind (staying healthy versus losing 15 lb); just the way you did it. I’m still praying over my 2016 goals but have set aside 2 days next week to finalize them.
Also, yay for doing the Nancy Ray Book Club too! I’m looking forward to reading at least 12 books this year ;-)

January 4, 2016 3:40 pm

Your approach to setting goals is always so inspiring, thank you for sharing! I just started “How to Win Friends and Influence People” as well :) I am so excited for the Nancy Ray book club!

January 4, 2016 7:05 pm

So excited for you, Emily! God’s blessings on the Big Change. :) Love that you capitalized it. ;)

Here’s my January goals post!

See you at MTH in March? :)

January 5, 2016 9:30 pm

I love this – what an amazing way to guide your year – and an exciting year at that!

January 7, 2016 8:35 am

Isn’t it funny how expecting a baby can kick us into goal setting gear?! I love your approach to the year and the month of January. Here are my goals for January: Wishing you a wonderful and healthy 2016!

January 7, 2016 3:02 pm

I’m reading along with #nancyraybookclub as well and “How to Win Friends & Influence People” has already challenged me SO much in my daily interactions with people! SO good! One of my goals for 2016 was to start a blog, and my very first post was posting my goals: Praying for a great start to 2016 as you prepare for your beautiful baby! :)

February 8, 2016 6:17 pm

Another year of goals has me excited! I see a few in your guideposts that ring true for me too. Reading is a big one on my list this year as well as traveling, exploring and financial freedom. I love your heart for embracing the change of a baby, while also clinging tightly to the values that have built your family and that you will want to share with June.

You’ll notice my 2016 goals look quite different from my 2015 list and I love it! You can find them here: