Happy 2017! I hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday season that has included many lovely memories to carry you through the beginning of this New Year! December was a whirlwind for us – finishing up the school semester, wrapping up my teaching job for the semester, and packing for a trip to Texas and to Hawaii (!! more on that soon!). As the travel comes to a close and “real” life is just days away, I’ve begun to muse about this upcoming year and the possibilities it contains.
Do you do New Years’ resolutions? Goals? Experiments? Boycott the whole thing? No matter what your preference, times of reflection and dreaming can be so good for our souls. For me, it helps me see not just the hard parts of the year, but also the many things the year has taught me, the areas I’ve grown, along with the sweet memories made throughout. I’m hopeful about 2017, and I would love to hear what you’re looking forward to this coming year in the comments!
Recognize and guard time for silence and reflection.
If I could choose one word to describe 2016, it would be loud. It felt like a cacophony of voices, opinions, arguments, fear, joy, anger, sadness, disappointment, and unforgettable memories. With all that happened in our world plus in my personal life, an underlying anxiety plagued me. I found if I would spend time in silence, re-centering myself on my Savior and recharging my soul with thoughts about the blessings surrounding me — peace was much easier to come by. Despite knowing this, I am embarrassed to admit how much I neglected to truly take time to be still. This is definitely a priority this year.
Limit social media.
This goes along with the above– I know social media contributes to the over stimulus of my mind and emotions, and although I did better with it in 2016, I want to continue that trend. This past year, I deleted the Facebook and Twitter apps from my phone which drastically decreased my time on each, and I gave up social media for six weeks at Lent (It was lovely!!). This year, I’m going to do the same at Lent as well as work on not looking at my phone until at least 8am each morning. Nothing ruins a morning like a stressful email or filling up my rested mind with tons of details about others’ lives.
Cultivate my real life relationships, not online ones.
Are you sensing a trend? When I first started limiting social media, I was sure I would feel like I was missing out on things, but instead what I found was that the people who were truly in my inner circle communicated in other ways. Did I still miss pregnancy announcements and cute vacation pictures? Yes. But did I have more time to celebrate those same events in my personal tribe’s lives? Yes. Hoping to improve even more in this area this year.
Read the Bible Through
I started reading my Bible through each year in high school. A few years ago, I decided to change this habit to every other year, which helps keep it fresh and not a “check the box” duty. In 2015, my husband and I read it through together, and it was a special experience that provided both discussion and accountability. We plan on reading it through again this year. (And by “read it together” I mean we read on our own time and discuss… 🙂 )
Continue to make writing a priority while respecting the season I’m currently in.
2016 was such a special year for writing! I celebrated one year of writing in this space, had an article published in Relevant magazine, guest posted on another blog, joined hope*writers, and attended the 1st hope*writers workshop! I’m so thankful for the opportunity to use my love for the written word to encourage others, but toward the end of the year, writing became another thing to check off the never ending to do list of my life — and I became really discouraged that I was not making it a priority. However, upon reflection, I realized that between full time school, two jobs, relationships, and a home — it is an extremely busy season for me…and there’s grace there in regards to writing. I am going to continue to write in 2017, but I have a peace about giving myself grace in this area…which brings me to…
Give grace — to myself & others.
Whenever I start to think I’m beginning to grasp the concept of grace, a situation in my life and my reaction to it shows me otherwise. Therefore, this will be an ongoing goal — because as I once heard — the people who have been given the most grace, give the most grace. I have been given so much grace from my Savior — but it’s up to me to live like it and not let my pride and perfectionism get in the way. Setting realistic expectations for myself and not neglecting white space in my life will help me in this as will focusing more time to running after the only perfect person — Jesus.
Be grateful for my overall health and work to maintain it.
My self-awareness grows with my age, and I’m so thankful for that. However, I need to stop ignoring the known signals that my mental, spiritual, emotional, or physical health is suffering. I started the couch to 5K program last year, but when the weather turned cold in NC, my motivation decreased with the number on the thermometer. I attended two workout classes over the break with my sister-in-law, and I enjoyed them immensely. I’m hoping to do more of those this year, and perhaps finally accept that running may not be my thing? As for the other areas of health, the goals above are focused on maintaining/improving those.
I would love to hear what goals you have for 2017 or what you’re looking forward to most with this new beginning! Feel free to share in the comments!