January Recap + February’s Goals

Hey friends! Yeah, so, I guess I’m a true adult now that months and years seem to just be flying by. I’m currently enjoying my Texas February (I’ll take every 70 degree weekend the Lord sees fit to give me), and planning a trip to Kentucky this weekend to celebrate my sister and her marriage.

In January, Chris and I really settled into the church and sunk into a new routine. It’s an adjustment to go from having nothing going on to Chris working 2 jobs and have lots of activities, but we are really enjoying the church and the students. Chris worked lots of overtime at his financial job, which meant he was home for maybe 30 minutes before we went to bed each night, but we still found ways to rest and watch lots of episodes of the Office. We also got to have an amazing weekend with his mom and Grandpa and checked out the Fort Worth Stockyards.

As for my goals for January, I really did not do so hot. A few unexpected things happened that took up more energy than I was expecting, but that made me glad I first set my guides for the year. I’m not feeling like a failure, but instead, I can look at what I did and didn’t accomplish and set even more realistic goals for February. Here’s what I’m looking to do:

FEBRUARY

Here are my goals for this month:

1.       Make more veggie-heavy meals. Last week we had spaghetti squash and sweet potato, eggplant, gnocchi, and carrot hash, and it reminded me veggies don’t have to be the boring this on the side of my plate. I’d like to have at least 1 night a week where the meal is almost entirely vegetables.

2.       Celebrate Kayla. My older sister is getting married in April, and I want her to know how much she’s loved by the Stepp family as she’s walking down the aisle to make her own family (insert cry face here).

3.       Blog 2x week. I’m cutting back from last month because I get to do some other fun writing projects this month that will take up time. Look for new posts about Grace and Relationships all this month on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

4.       Meet other writing goals. I have a fun project I’m working on for this space, one for For the Love, and a few others for work I’m looking forward to. I’d like to get lots of legwork for these done this month.

5.       Tithe. Chris and I give to some nonprofits, but we need to get better about consistently giving to the church and other projects.

6.       Clean out my closet. I’m eyeing purchasing some high-quality wardrobe staples, so I want to sell some clothes to help cover some of that cost. (On a wardrobe note, is anyone else excited Un-fancy.com is coming back?!?)

7.       Try making money online. I have an ambitious goal this year that I want to pay for an Alaskan cruise for me and Chris making money on a few user-testing websites. This month is my first full month really going for it, so I’m figuring out how much money is even possible to make.

It’s funny, the last three are financial goals. Chris and I are pretty frugal with our money and committed to staying debt free. Since we’ll probably buy a house in a few years, we’ve gotten to have more money talks (YAY! not) and set some ambitious goals financially. Hopefully we do better with those goals than I did with my January goals!

So what do you want to accomplish this month? Any ways I can cheer you on?

Pssst….are you looking to set goals this year that you’ll actually accomplish? Do you want to not feel like a failure if you don’t meet every goal in exactly the time frame you want to? Get my F-R-E-E workbook, Setting Goals with Grace, here!

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Setting Goals with Grace: The Goal Part

I’m so pumped about goal setting this year that I outlined the process in a new workbook: Goals with Grace. It includes five days of worksheets guiding you to set goals with God’s plans in mind. Click here to sign up for this FREE workbook!

Part I: The Year of…

Part II: Setting Guides

After setting my verse guides for the year and boldly praying over them, I was itching to set actual goals! Since SO much can change in a year, I am holding off setting goals for the entire year. I have an idea of where I want to go and things I want to accomplish, but I am going to take one month at a time.

Something one of my professors in college talked about was setting SMART goals. Goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound. So a non-SMART goal would be to get healthy. A SMART goal would be to, say, only drink water for the month of January.  I typically try to follow this in goal setting.

My first list of goals for January had about 20 goals….blah. Since I’m trying not to fail the first month out, I kept myself to 5 fairly simple goals I want to accomplish in January:

Read a marriage book about supporting your spouse. I checked out Power of a Praying Wife last week and have already started reading! This is definitely an area I need to grow in.

Blog 3 times a week. If you’re reading this, the first week’s accomplished!

Pray intentionally for the youth group. Daily.

Only eat out one dinner a week. This weekend I made 4 freezer meals to help prepare for this—too bad I want to eat them all ASAP. (I made a version of The Pioneer Woman’s Chicken Pot Pies and Annette’s Enchiladas from Shauna Neiquist’s book Bread and Wine).

Memorize Romans 15:13. This is my “guide” for my personal growth in 2016.

In addition to these goals, I am going to continue praying my guide verses and see where that leads me. Looking at the list, it seems like kind of a lot, but it’s all things I’m looking forward to. At the beginning of next month I’ll update you on how I did!

What are your goals for this month? I’d love to pray you through them! Leave a comment or shoot email to lifemeetsgrace@gmail.com!

Setting Goals with Grace: Guiding the Way

This week I’m talking about what happened when I prayed for my goal meeting process to meet grace. Stay tuned to the end of the post for a F-R-E-E workbook outlining how you can follow this process, too!

I do love setting goals every year, but don’t always/hardly ever meet them. This year, instead of putting together a huge list of resolutions, I wanted to really submit everything in prayer before I made my list of things to change. This seems so simple now that I’m writing it, but I don’t think that I’ve ever spent time in prayer before setting goals or guides for the year. I typically make my list of things I know I need to change (“Eat healthier” “Pray more”), then maybe pray one time over them. But this year, without really setting out to, I took a different approach.

I think my heart was prepping for this for a while—my year of dwelling really set my heart in a place where I just know I need God in able to do anything. I feel like my tendencies for perfectionism, while still tangled in this heart of mine, have been loosened as I spent this year learning about God and myself.

The very first thing I did, again, unintentionally, was start praying about a fresh start in early December. Nothing crazy, just a quick “God, please guide me to start fresh where you want me to this next year.”

Then early last week, when the word try wouldn’t leave my mind and before my work day started, I got out a piece of paper and wrote TRY in the middle, then wrote out categories for my life: Personal, Marriage, Finances, Spiritual, Creativity, Career, and Health. Throughout the day as I worked, I would write whatever came to my mind for these areas. All of them were realistic, but some were more ideas that goals. When I went home from work and looked over the paper, I saw some really broad ideas that made me so excited and hopeful.

I pared down these ideas into what I’m calling guides. For instance, under Spiritual Goals, I wrote that I really just want to fall in love with Jesus. That’s not really measureable or specific, but it really shows what I want to happen in my heart this year. All the other goals I wrote down in that category fall under this general idea.  So that was my guide for Spiritual Growth in 2016—all of my goals and ideas throughout the year, I want to help me fall in love with Jesus more.

My guides looked like this:

Spiritual: Fall in love with Jesus.

Health: Be strong.

Personal: Have joy.

Creativity: Commit to consistency.

Marriage: Be a support.

Career: Work diligently.

Finances: Be faithful.

Missions: Serve my community.

I mulled these over for a few days and talked about them with Chris, too (let me tell you, he absolutely LOVES goal talk…NOT!).  I really really didn’t want these goals to be just from or for me, another way I would keep striving to become the “Perfect” Woman. Instead I want to listen to what the Lord is asking from me, in my career or with my creativity or marriage and allow him to refine me. I want to be intentional to accomplish things that I feel like God is asking from me.

So, last Saturday, I woke up and instead of turning on the Pioneer Woman, I pressed record and then sat with my Bible, my journal, and my guides. I felt really great about the guides I had written out, so I set out to find verses that would match these and put them into perspective (aka about God’s glory and not about mine). I used Google search and my Bible to search these out, and here’s what I’ve got:

Spiritual: Isaiah 61:10 “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul will exult my God, for he has clothed me with garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness.”

Personal: Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

Creativity: 1 Peter 4:10 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

Marriage: Ephesians 5:22 “Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord.”  (Side note: I was surprised by how much I really wanted to find a different verse, but this is what God stuck on my heart and wouldn’t budge from. Looks like I have some learning to do in this area)

Career: Colossians 3:1 and 3:23 “Seek the things that are above…whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord.”

Finances: Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, for he had said, ‘Never will I leave you nor forsake you.’”

Missions: 1 Peter 4:10 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

You’ll see Health is missing, because I’m struggling to find one there! I don’t want to take a verse out of context (i.e. Philipians 4:13 isn’t at all talking about working out), so I’m waiting on that one.

I was really surprised to see how God allowed me to find the perfect verses that really summarized what I wanted to ask for this year. And ask is right—I am going to put a lot of work in, but this year one thing I am trying is to pray boldly and frequently. I have a feeling God is going to move some mountains in my personal life this year, and my expectations are through the roof.

Another thing about these guides is that I am going to use the verses, instead of the original words I wrote, as my guides for goal setting in 2016. That way, each month when I look these over, I am reminded that God is the source of change and refinement in my life, not me.

I’m so pumped about goal setting this year that I outlined the process in a new workbook: Goals with Grace. It includes five days of worksheets guiding you to set goals with God’s plans in mind. Click here to sign up for this FREE workbook!