I love setting goals. I live for the closing of a cover and the opening of a new one. Give me a pen and a blank piece of paper and tell me to imagine what the next year will look like, and I will be in my happy place for hours on end.
I can’t shake the feeling that this year decided to start without me.
It all started with the dreaded passing of sickness between family members over break. We planned it perfectly. Presley would be sick while we were with his family, and I would be sick while we were with mine. (*sarcastically rolls eyes*)
Unfortunately, mine decided to stick with me long after we returned home, resulting in missing the first two days of school with my kiddos. WIN. NOT.
As a result of all this sickness, I missed my ever-perfect start to the year. It always goes a little something like this.
Step 1: Sneak away to a coffee shop. Preferably a cute one with big tables, free refills and plenty of water.
Step 2: Look back at my blog posts from the past year, Instagram posts, journal entries, and anything else that acts as a documentation of the events that passed.
Step 3: Open to a new page in my journal and reflect on what worked and what didn't work in the past year. Then, imagine what I wish for next year to look like. Usually takes about three to four pages in journal.
Step 4: From those wishes, create my goals for the year. Complete goals include mini-tasks and checkpoints.
Step 5: Sit back and revel in the possibilities of the coming year, and try not to shake too much from all the caffeine. I tend to freak people out when I do that.
Sounds perfect, right? Right.
Well, no. I did not get the chance to spend three hours journaling, soul searching, goal setting, or establishing a word for the year. (Funnily enough, I could not find a place where I've ever posted my words. I think that means I'm getting braver by the year! Also that I'm in full denial of my true self. Moving on.)
The past six months or so have been full of learning to deny the feeling of my life path being wrong just because it doesn't fit into any kind of mold.
Here, I plan to share my personal credo for the year that will result in the word I plan to use as my focus.
In the next year, I want to be unashamedly the person He created me to be, so that His light will shine through me with power and might. I want to hold firm in my beliefs when people try to sway me, but meld with fluidity and delight when someone asks for the same grace I've been given. Most of all, I want that grace to abound from me to myself (crazy alert?). Changing how hard I am on myself is not a simple decision, but a daily, fundamental rewiring. I want to take deep breaths, be consistent, practice stretching, wait an extra five minutes for french press coffee, process and pray before reacting, choose important over urgent, ask not for God to be with me, but be made acutely aware of His ever-presence. I want to plant seeds for the satisfaction of burying them deep in great soil even if I never get to see them grow. I want to cherish the moments as I linger in them before leaping to my next task.
I want to be STEADFAST.
I chose the word STEADFAST because it is less about me, and more about The One from whom I draw my strength, my purpose, my love. Steadfast is not a box to check. It is most certainly something I cannot be unless I'm tethered to God daily and purposefully. This word has always intrigued me, and I'm interested to see what I learn about it in the coming year.
This credo and focus, of course, have resulted in a few goals. My purpose in sharing these goals is simply that; to share. However, I also hope (Heaven help me) that this provides a little bit of accountability for me in the coming months, as well.
Goal #1: Read 52 books this year. I plan to vary the lengths of the books, but this is a big one. Aim high.
Goal #2: Establish a sustainable exercise practice. For me, this looks like moderately intense exercise 3x a week with some possible walks and stretching sprinkled in. The key to making this a steadfast goal is to focus on consistency and health, not intensity and vanity.
Goal #3: Submit writing for publication; aim for at least 5 NO's. I will give more info on this later. The short of it is that I recently read an article explaining that shifting your focus from acceptance to rejection is a way to rewire your brain around failure. It's brain nerdy. I love it.
Goal #4: Experiment with different ways of assessing independent reading. With this being my first year of teaching workshop-style, I have plenty of things I wish to improve. One of these is holding kids accountable for reading in a way that does not result in READICIDE. I want to be unafraid in experimentation this semester.
Goal #5: Apply to Graduate School. Mini-tasks for this goal include taking the GRE and writing a personal statement. (Things I would rather do than take the GRE may include sliding down a banister of razor blades into a pool of alcohol. Thanks for the great line, Lorelai.)
Goal #6: Apply for the Book Love Foundation Grant. I would appreciate tons of prayer for this one. This grant is very prestigious and it is quite a long shot, but it would make a big difference for getting high-interest, rigorous books into the hands of my kiddos with ever-diverse backgrounds and interests.
This is a lot. I know. But it's a WHOLE YEAR! I hope to check back in with you all periodically on my progress. Until then, remember, if you feel like the year started without you, don't spend the rest of it trying to catch back up! Start where you are. It's better than where you aren't.