Jan 17, 2017

2017 Goals: Reflecting on the past & planning for the future

This is my fourth year setting goals through Lara Casey's intentional goal-planning blog series (HERE is the 2017 version). The week between Christmas and New Years is when I reflect on the year that's ending and prayerfully start to plan for the new year. Lara's step-wise reflective approach has been a great tool for me.  I am so excited for a new year that will hopefully be full of purpose and intentional living.

Before I share my goals later this week, I want to share a quick recap of some of the steps Lara recommends to work through prior to actually setting goals.

Step 1 involves looking back at certain areas of my life and grading them from 1-10. This includes looking back my health, friendships, relationship with husband and family, finances,  spiritual life, and work. I journaled and shared these with Greg but will keep them off the blog. 

Step 2 pushed me to look at what I have been chasing in 2016. Honestly, there has been a lot of comparisan that I have unwittingly "chased". I have worked on it but overall, that was a struggle along with chasing regrets (or atleast, dwelling on them far too long). 
Step 3 was a look back at what went well in 2016. A lot of things went well, including (but not limited) to getting back into jogging more regularly and eating healthier; getting involved in our church's newlywed group & small group, volunteering at the church library, and teaching English to two Burmese refugees through a church program; Bible journaling as a way to meditate on Scripture; using husband prayer cards to remind me to pray for Greg; meeting with a wise woman at church who provides free Christian counseling  (I've been able to continue to tackle my anxiety head-on this year); growth in communication and healthy conflict resolution with my husband; celebrating one year of marriage in Lake Tahoe; 9 months off work while switching my RN and PNP licenses in Texas, which allowed a lot of transition time with being a newlywed in a new state away from family;  made a big dent in my school loans (so close to being debt-free, I can almost taste it!).
Homemade chicken broth; husband prayer cards, Bible journaling, and a view during a jog with my mother-in-law

Step 4 looks at what I want to cultivate in 2017.What do I want to water and help grow this new year? My marriage, my walk with the Lord, my friendships, my creativity.
I love THIS Lara Casey graphic

Step 5 asked what was hard about 2016/what didn't go so well? My new job has been stressful and I have been comparing myself to my coworkers and feeling incompetent since I am now working in the ER and have never worked in the ER before, so there has been a steep learning curve; sometimes becoming defensive and/or shutting down emotionally during conflicts with Greg rather than working on it in healthy ways; cheating on my eating restrictions (I feel horrible after eating dairy and gluten and have been trying to avoid them but sometimes my lack of self-control gets the best of me and I immediately regret it when my stomach is aching soon after). 

Step 6 directed me to look at who helped me cultivate what matters. Greg has been my biggest supporter and encourager. He has challenged me with loving tenderness when I was making unhealthy eating choices (and having a lot of GI discomfort), he's propelled me towards making big goals and becoming more courageous. Two women have also helped me this year. One is my friend Danielle, who is my leader in Young Life Capernaum. Seeing the joy and passion she has for serving teens with intellectual and physical disabilities and showing them Jesus' love for them has been such a great example and inspiration for me. She's been so encouraging towards all of us volunteers. Lastly, Ruth, the Christian counselor at church who I have been meeting with has been such a blessing. She has pointed me to Jesus' grace over and over as I tackle areas of fear, anxiety, and bitterness. 

Step 7 was a fun one: What fires you up? Being married to my best friend; making healthier choices and feeling better because of it; volunteering (ESL class, Young Life Capernaum, the church library); reading and discussing books; hosting dinners/practicing hospitality; learning Biblical truths and being reminded of God's love. 

Step 8 looked at what I am saying YES to and what I am saying NO to.
YES: quality time with Greg, continue  fighting against anxiety, eating healthy, quality over quantity, social media breaks, active listening, limiting distractions when with Greg, and choosing grace rather than striving for perfection.
NO: Putting productivity over quality time with Greg; cheating on my eating restrictions; staying up too late; choosing to assume and to get defensive during hard conversations/conflict. 

Step 9: Choose a word for the new year. What word do I want to affect my decisions and goals? QUALITY. I want to focus more on quality rather than quantity in my goals. It's not about crossing off things from my to-do list (though it still feels sooo good) or trying to one-up myself from last year's goals. I want to focus on the quality of what I do. I want to also focus on quality time with Greg. I want to cultivate time when we are home in our apartment that is filled with deep conversations, limited distractions, and active listening. I have failed at these at times in 2016 and want to be more intentional this year at studying and practicing quality time.


Later this week, I will be sharing my goals for 2017. If you want to share how you'd answer any of the above reflection prompts, feel free to do so in the comments below!

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Elle Alice