Jan 8, 2016

2016 Goals: Some Thoughts While Goal Setting

I have always liked goal setting, but I became more intentional in 2014 after discovering Lara Casey's Goal Setting series. I loved how she focused on more than just setting goals, but on other areas as well, including finding a word for the year, and evaluating what did and did not work in the previous year. This year, I reviewed her goal setting series for 2016 and it help propel me towards what I desire 2016 to look like. Here are a few thoughts. . .

I want 2016 to be a year full of meeting goals, yes, but I want it to be more than just crossing off goals. I want 2016 to be a year of being open to new experiences and being patient while trusting in what God has in store for my husband and I. It is easy for me to jump on the goal-setting train, but not so easy to know when productivity can lead me down the slippery slope of perfectionism and people-pleasing, two P's I fight from time to time (I wrote more about this here). This year, I want to be intuitional about balancing productivity towards goals, and to be alert when it starts to steal precious quality time with those I love the most. Because, reading a whole bunch of books, running a race, or learning a new hobby are all great, but when they start to take more of my energy, time, and affections than my own husband, Houston, we have a problem

I find it helpful to review Lara Casey's reflective questions she posts during her goal-setting series. They help me review 2015 in a way that helps me learn from the good and the not-so-good that I would rather not repeat in the new year. I also am inspired to prayerfully look at 2016 with eyes full of expectancy and hope. 

If you have been wanting to make goals for 2016, but do not know where to start, I recommend Lara Casey's series for setting goals in 2016, which is what I used to help me for the rest of this post . . . 


What Did Not Work in 2015
I was not vigilant with factors that affected my mood and energy, namely my nutrition and physical activity. I was not as healthy in 2015 as in 2014. I can blame it on the busyness of planning a wedding, moving to Texas, and transitioning to married life -- but the truth remains. I did not take care of my health as well in 2015 as I had in 2014. I ate foods that I knew where going to make me feel nausea and reflux, I did not pay attention to getting to bed earlier, and I decreased my physical activity compared to 2014. What resulted was that I had many days and nights when I felt queasy or just plain awful. My GI upset affected my mood, which then affected my interactions with the ones I loved and sometimes made me apathetic or moody.

Lessons I Learned from What Did Not Work
My mood and energy are affected by many things, but one huge factor is my overall health. 

What Worked in 2015
1. Working part-time at the clinic & then leaving the clinic one month before moving to Texas. Both allowed me to focus on my relationship with Greg as well as allowed time to transition and take a breather during all the changes around the corner.
2. Greg's love, forgiveness, patience, intentionality all helped me learn to communicate better, work through conflict in a more healthy way (rather than withdrawing or avoiding conflict), and allowed us to grow in our love for one another as we worked through some difficult issues.
3. Meeting with married Christian women who I asked different questions about marriage while I was engaged. I learned a lot and was better prepared for a few areas that brought fear.
4. Counseling (both individual and premarital). I benefited a lot from counseling in 2015. It allowed me to better identify sources of anxiety and fear and helped provide tools to face them. The counseling was all deeply rooted in Scripture, which was pivotal for me as a Christian. I was stretched in many areas and was able to work through a lot of deep-rooted issues. Praise God for healing, restoration, and hope!
5. I studied and practiced selah. I was intentional in the second half of 2015 to find time to pause and reflect on my current season amidst the busyness of preparing for a wedding and a cross-country move. And while I paused, I also praised. I read through Psalms and other Scriptures, I journaled, and I spent time in prayer, praising God for His faithfulness in that season as well as every season He brought me through. I believe this was a tremendous factor in why my anxiety was lower in the second half of 2015 (which just so happened to be the busiest time of my whole life!) than late 2014 and early 2015. 

Lessons I Learned From What Worked in 2015
1. It's OK to pull back and switch to part-time. It does not mean I am a bad nurse practitioner and does not mean I am weaker than others who are working full-time (it took awhile for me to learn this). I need to prayerfully decide what works for me, and that may look entirely different than what works for someone else. Also, I was reminded that although my career as a pediatric nurse practitioner is a big part of my life, it is not what defines me. The number of patients I see a day, the thank-yous I get from parents, and my salary do not define my worth. Jesus does.  
2. Loving a man is not always the butterflies-in-the-stomach feelings that society and media portrays. It takes work, determination, humility, forgiveness, and the choice to stand by one another. It includes vulnerability and trusting that person will be there for you, even when you fail (because I do and will fail). And, as a Christian, I strongly believe that loving my husband best includes loving God most. I cannot fully and truly love Greg in the ways he needs if I am not first and foremost loving God, the giver of that love. (Francis and Lisa Chan's book, You and Me Forever is a must read, and focus on this. Click on that link for the free online version of the book!).
3. Community is essential. I learned so much from both single and married friends in 2015. I truly value each of the friends in my life who encouraged me, prayed for me, and stood with me through the various moments of 2015. 
4. Counseling is healthy, humbling, and life-giving. And as a Christian, finding a counselor who was also a Christian helped me be able to share so much more and helped me see how God is bigger than my anxiety and fears. Pre-marital counseling taught Greg and I valuable lessons we will take forward in our marriage on areas such as finances, working through conflict tin healthy ways, dealing with realistic expectations, and intimacy. I recommend pre-marital counseling for all engaged couples!
5. Finding time to pause and praise was essential in steering away from anxiety. Studying Scripture about what selah means, and then living it out intentionally, taught me that there is peace and rest even amidst busy, chaotic seasons when I rest in Jesus and His Word. 

What I Am Saying NO To in 2016
1. Comparison to other' and their circumstances
2. Apathy, especially regarding my health.
3. Allowing anxiety and fear to consume my thoughts
4. Valuing productivity (and crossing off my goals) more than quality time with people I love, especially Greg.
5. Too many commitments that will stretch me and exhaust me. 

What I Am Saying YES To in 2016
1. Praying for purposefully and consistently
2. Carving out time to study the Bible
3. Quality time with Greg, growing in our love and respect for one another
4. Being open to new experiences and service opportunities
5. Being intentional
6. Being involved with community 

Words of 2016
Some words that I am hoping will characterize 2016 include:
selah - a rollover from last year, but I want to continue pausing and praising in 2016
new beginnings - I want to cherish this new season of marriage, living in Texas, hopefully getting a new job, and all the other new experiences of this season. 
koinonia - This is a Greek work for community. I want to grow in community with our church community, blogging community, and find ways to serve our community of San Antonio.
quality - I want to focus on quality over quantity. I don't want to be obsessed with the number of books I read or the goals I cross off, but rather, the quality of what I do in 2016. I want to spend quality time with Greg, studying the Bible, and serving others.


How about you? Any words that stick out for you in 2016? What are your responses to some of these topics (what are you saying yes and no to in 2016? What worked and didn't?)


  1. This is so great.... I also love the Lara Casey! Just finishing up the book!

    1. Thank you Erica! I have yet to read the book. So far, I have just been reading her blog on goal setting the past 3 years, but the book is definitely on my to-read list!

  2. I love your goals! Anxiety can be consuming and so can comparison. I love how you made goals to achieve, but also goals of things to stop. Last year was an anxious year for me and I ended up choosing "press forward" as my word of the year to help me overcome that. I am hosting a monthly goal link up here and this would be a great post to add if you are interested! :)

    1. I love your word for 2016, press forward! What a bold and courageous word.. very awesome!! I am gonna hop on over to your link up right now! Thank you!!

  3. Great post! I love the two sections, What I Am Saying NO To in 2016 and What I Am Saying YES To in 2016.

    1. Thanks so much! I thought it would be important to think about both of those as I planned 2016 because it is so easy to get bogged down with things that we want to say NO to!


I love to hear your thoughts!

Elle Alice