This is a very belated post…but better late than never.
Back in January I read the series of blog posts on goal setting that my boss, Lara Casey, wrote on her website. I found them incredibly inspirational, and mentally began making lists. On Facebook, I made two “notes”: one about my year in reflection and one about the memories I wanted to make this year.
However what I never officially posted was my true goals for this year. I went over some in my head, but had not actually established a plan for how I wanted to achieve them, or at least work towards them. So, here they are!
–Spend more time in prayer, reading the Bible, in church, and talking about all of these matters with others. For a very long time, really as long as I can remember, I have expressed my feelings and thoughts on my faith better in writing than verbally. I do feel that I have spent more time throughout the day in prayer, however I want to continue to be bold in how I speak of my feelings and faith to others. Bold does not mean shoving my beliefs down other people’s throats, but having the guts to talk about what an impact it has had on my life, how my life has changed since I actually started praying for God to have His own way in my life versus me praying for the things I wanted. So far this year I have spoken at a women’s conference, continued to write devotionals, participated in a bible study, am going overseas on a mission and am leading a young girl’s body image discussion next month (wow…I sound really busy now that I see it all in writing), but I want to continue to make small changes in my day to day attitude and relationships with others.
–Focus more on Grace, my friends and family, and less on distractions that will get me no where. People have different interpretations of what “useless distractions” are. Some feel that TV or movies fall into this category- I happen to disagree. While I can only sit still for a certain length of time, I have thoroughly enjoyed using films and TV shows as a way for my roommates and I to gather and spend time together. I certainly can see how this would not benefit some, but it has been a nice way to unwind (just not too often!). Anyway, I am beginning to get off topic. The last few months especially have emphasized to me how, even though I pray Grace will always be a part of my life, I am not going to be her nanny anymore. I am not going to be in her room with her for hours and hours each day, watching her say new words (my new favorite? I curl up in a ball with my head under my arms and say “Where’s Gracie?” She then proceeds to say “Ms. Sue? Ms. Sue….before toddling over and heaving my elbow off my face. When I act very surprised to see her she falls to the ground in a heap of giggles. Gets me every time.) and playing with her toys. This time last year a “year from now until grad school” felt like such a long time, but not in a bad way. Just in a “I don’t really even have to think about this yet” way. But suddenly, around November, time doubled in speed. It has truly been unreal how fast the last five months have gone by, and that is with me trying to be aware of making the most of my time. Am I always successful? Probably not. Have I made more wonderful memories than I can even list right now trying to have that attitude? Absolutely. So while this is a goal that I can always improve upon, I do feel pretty happy with my relationships and friendships right now, and the direction they are heading.
–Become more organized, and donate more of my current items so that I can have less distractions around me during the day, share more of what I have, and make room in my heart to appreciate those things I do have even more. This one is pretty self explanatory, but one step I have taken in this direction is to do the “No Shopping Challenge”. I don’t think this is an official thing, but I read in a blog post by Nancy Ray that she was not going to shop for any clothes or accessories for three full months. I thought this was a great idea, and decided to hop on board. This has led to a few comical moments where I have subconsciously tried to find loopholes. Perhaps old clothing from last year was too big, maybe I had left a few too many summer things in Charlotte, maybe I wanted to donate my things and exchange them for different things off Ebay or the Thrift shop (those aren’t new right??!) But even typing that makes me feel selfish. It emphasizes how easy it is for me to just walk out the door and buy whatever I want to try and make me happy or content, when in reality it’s not going to. Sure there may be a few things that are good investments, or when I get a great deal it can put me in a good mood, but at the end of the day it is all temporary. I want to focus more on my satisfaction coming from Christ, and less from things that don’t really matter, and while I admit I wouldn’t describe myself as a super materialistic person, it is more about changing or keeping in check my whole mindset.
–Become more in-shape so that I can be both more healthy and active for God’s purpose. This was a big one for me. I joined a gym last summer, noting that I was not going to the small, apartment complex one nearly as often as I would like. I felt like maybe if I was actually paying for it, it would be a good motivator to go. I have a condition called gastroparesis, which just about no one has heard of. Consequentially it makes it very difficult for me to eat healthy food. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I eat sweets and fries all the time, but essentially I cannot eat fresh fruits or vegetables, unprocessed food, or whole grain products, at least not easily. This led to a great deal of complications with my body image, feeling healthy vs weak, and so forth. Seven years later, I have exponentially more control over everything, however this was basically a way of saying that I wanted to focus more on exercise as a way to be in shape. I completely and whole-heartedly believe that nutrition is an incredibly important part of being healthy, and one that I want to try and learn more about now that gastroparesis is becoming more well-known, however exercise is something that I can try and tackle more easily. After some unsuccessful attempts at just getting on an elliptical for half an hour (despite having books or headphones I would get incredibly bored after about the 2:17 mark), I began randomly doing weight lifting along with it. I honestly do not even remember what got me started, but I just felt like I needed to try something different. And I also secretly felt hard core being one of the only girls on the weight machines. I also started doing boot camp once a week, and bought a TRX system for my room. I definitely have noticed a difference in how I feel since I have been doing strength training. I feel stronger all around, and love being able to actually see the difference of the amount of weight I can add on to the machines. What I really need to do now though is focus more on nutrition in addition to this.
Read more. Watch less TV when I am bored. Be involved in things that are mentally stimulating instead of just relaxing. This is something that I have been a bit annoyed at myself for. After graduating, the amount that I read took a huge decline. I want to make a really big effort to read for pleasure more in the next four months, since I know that once I reach grad school, my amount of free time will take a huge hit.
I am sure there are more, but these are some of the main ones I want to be aware of. I may post an update in a few months, but either way, I hope to continue to pursue and focus on these things that matter versus filling my head with activities or thoughts that take my focus away from them. What are some of your goals this year?