setting goals and sticking with them

Do you love setting goals for the new year or do you find it pointless?  Goals can be a great way to give us purpose and keep us intentional with what we are doing with our time. Now I set goals for years and by summer I would have completely forgotten what they even were or I felt like I hadn’t made any progress up until this point so what were the odds I was going to actually achieve it?  Might as well give up and try again next year.  That was until I figured out what worked for ME.  In this post I’m going to share what that is and maybe it will turn out to be what works for YOU too! 

I have found that the only thing that works for me is to have a word that sums up what I want to work on for the year and then to do a checkin every 3 months. Some of the words from years past: Fit, Growth, Intention, Service. This year, my word is CLEANSE and I get excited and sigh a little sigh of relief every time I think about it.

When you look up the definition of cleanse and look at the noun description it says, “a process or period of time during which a person attempts to rid the body of substance regarded as toxic or unhealthy…” and that perfectly sums up what I want this year to look like.  I’m not just talking about cleansing my body of toxins by drinking more water, I’m talking about removing ALL toxins from my life.  The people, behaviors, habits, and lifestyle choices that I feel are having a toxic effect on my life.  Riding our house of unnecessary items that are becoming distractions or creating chaos where I want there to be only peace and beauty.

Now that I have a word and understand the main goals I hope to achieve with that word, I then like to break it down to what the first steps are going to be to get there. I break it down into 3 months because if not I feel like I’m biting off more than I can chew and it feels overwhelming to me, more like a daunting task than something that motivates and excites me because I feel like its attainable. Another key for me is to remember that there is no “end game” with these words.  It is not a goal that you can achieve and cross of your list in December and say, “Good, I did that this year, now I’m done.”  I choose words that will help me create better habits that I will continue to do throughout the rest of my life.  So when the year begins to come to an end I can reflect on how far I’ve come and look forward to continuing the journey with the word moving forward. 

Ok, so back on track to my first steps.  In these first 3 months I’m going to focus on cleansing my social media & my relationships. I’m going to do this by:

  • unfollowing/hiding people who bring feelings of contention to me as I read their post (important to point out that I’m NOT saying anyone who disagrees with my beliefs. what I am saying is ANYONE who feels the need to tear others’ views down in order to make their point…bye bye to them.  I have so far unfollowed many who have the same views as I do but they go about it in a way I disagree with and I continue to follow a handful that have different views than I do but I appreciate their approach of teaching and it helps me to see things from a different perspective, which I always LOVE and encourage)
  • following people that uplift & inspire with their post
  • saying “no” to being around people who I feel uncomfortable around (contention is again a key word for me here) or who I feel do not accept me for who I am
  • spending more time with people who bring me joy, uplift, inspire me to be better and who I can be myself with
  • less time on social media & tv and more time listening to uplifting/fun podcasts and uplifting/fun music & most importantly more INTENTIONAL time with my family

Around Easter I will have a little “checkin” with myself to see how I’m doing with these?  Have I stuck with it?  Do I still have room for improvement?  If anytime before April I feel like I’m doing well with these and want to “checkin” sooner and start adding to my list I absolutely do, but I will still spend some time around April to look over my list (which, FYI, I keep in my journal).  Also, it’s great to have an accountability partner if you can.  My husband doesn’t set goals OR have a word for the year like I do but he is a great listener so every so often when we’re on date night I fill him in with where I’m at and what I think I can continue to work on and I ask for his feedback on any progress he has seen or areas he thinks I can still improve.  So, your accountability partner doesn’t have to be someone who is willing to do this with you, just someone who cares enough about you to support you.

Some other areas I hope to CLEANSE:

  • decluttering every room of the house (this is a great year for this since we have remodeling going on)
  • negativity – less negativity and more gratitude
  • self doubt – cleansing myself from nasty self doubt and having greater faith in God’s plan for me

I will continue to add to my list things that could go under my “CLEANSE” word so if you have ideas, please comment and let me know!  Also, if you need an accountability partner guess what?  You are in luck!  I can be one!  And everyone reading this can be one.  Comment below with your word for the year and when I check back in around April you can comment again and let us know where you are at with your word.  The most important thing to remember with setting a word/goal for the year is this: its ALL about progress and intention and NOT about perfection or crossing a finish line.  You CAN do this.  You can start taking steps to a healthier, more fulfilling life and it doesn’t matter if it is January or November…you can start RIGHT NOW.


Growth through journaling

Growing up, I often thought of journaling as something we should do for our posterity’s sake. So they would have a record of what life was like for us, how we handled trials and what type of things we looked forward to and found enjoyable. I do think this is an added benefit of journaling, a huge blessing that comes from it, but I no longer hold this as the most significant purpose of journaling.

Brad Wilcox has said, “A personal journal is an ideal environment in which to ‘become’…it is a perfect place for you to think, feel, discover, expand, remember, and dream.” You see, a journal is where we can grow. We can reflect on our day, dream of what lays ahead and plan for how to get there. We can reflect on things we are grateful for, contemplate areas of our life that could use some modifying and sort through all the feels we have been bottling up all day (or week).

There are many different types of journals we can have as well. Some may like to keep all their thoughts, dreams, hopes, gratitude and fears in one place while others may choose to have different journals for different purposes. Travel. Gratitude. Planning. Personal. I’m sure you could think of more!

When we are very intentional with our journaling we can create a space where we can truly tap into our spirits, draw closer to our Savior, and grow stronger into who we are meant to be. We can also create a book full of stories, lessons and memories that will help posterity to follow learn from our joys, mistakes, trials and strengths.

Below is some ideas for journals you can start and ideals of what to include in them. You could just write in your book(s) or you may choose to also tape in ticket stubs, pictures, leaves, etc. Have fun with them. Turn them into a mixture of journaling and scrapbooking! I also have on here an “all about me” paper that I think is great to write down in a journal once a year. It helps give you time to reflect on where you are, where you have come from and where you want to be heading but its also lets your posterity see how much you may, or may not, have changed from year to year. It’s also fun to look back on. It’s the adult version of the birthday questions. 🙂

(print friendly version if you’d like!)

Who should keep a journal? EVERYONE! You don’t have to write in it daily. Maybe you take time each Sunday to write about the week, maybe once a month, maybe it’s only once every few months or only right after something big has happened in life…however often it is, it’s better than not at all! Strive for improvement, not perfection.

I personally have chosen to have 1 journal each year and I keep everything in it. Personal notes, spiritual experiences I have had, I journal trips, take notes at church and during my personal scripture study, I tape in pictures of big moments, tape in movie stubs of a movie that I loved so much I saw more than once (this is rare but yes, The Greatest Showman ticket stub is in my journal from that year), I write about things I am struggling with, lessons learned and the goals I am working on.

I also keep a journal for each of our children. I tape in awards, write about accomplishments at school, home and in their various activities, note who their friends are, what they like to play, what their favorites are, why we are proud of them, struggles they are having and I put their answers to their birthday questions all in their journals. When they turn 8 they begin their own journals but I still keep on with mine as well and when they leave the house for college/marriage/work I will give them the journals I have kept so they can see their childhood through my eyes.

We do have a family journal as well and it’s kind of like a calendar/journal. When something big happens (move into a new house, start a new job, have a baby, go to Disneyland etc) we turn the journal to the date and record very simply what happened and include the year. So, as the years have gone by we can see, “Hey we went to Disneyland today and 3 years ago on the same day is when Tyson started his job at Infusionsoft!” It’s fun to see and yet takes so little time.

The most important thing that will come from journaling is seeing an improvement in your attitude on life. Those who regularly take time to reflect on their life will be taking much larger strides to becoming their best version of them and much swifter than someone who is just going through the motions of life. Make an intentional choice to slow down, reflect, meditate, record and grow!