To February and beyond

Resolution WagonWhether you call them resolutions or goals doesn’t really matter. The days between 12/25 and 1/1 are usually free of regular commitments, permitting time for reflection and evaluation, to set a course for the coming year.  There’s something about flipping the calendar over that fills me with renewed vigor and hope. Yet before February 1, that hope dissipates when many of us find ourselves already off track. Before you lose inertia, here are a few tips to keep you on the wagon: 

  • Bundle it. To add a new habit, pair it with an existing habit, something you already do regularly. For example, I usually watch about 20 minutes of TV before turning in to bed. As part of my goals for this year, I’m hoping to become more flexible. (I’m currently starring in Cirque de No-Way.) So, TED talks will get me through the profanity-inducing moments on the foam roller and my nightly attempts to introduce my index finger to my big toe.
  • Progress, not perfection. As someone with a black-or-white mindset, I frequently throw in the towel on progress towards a goal if I break my streak. Did you miss a day or two already on your Bible-in-a-year reading program? Don’t give up. If you don’t have time to catch up, at least resume with today’s reading. Reading any portion of God’s word is better than none! Same is true of healthy eating, daily exercise and financial discipline. God’s mercies are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)
  • Write it out. All of it. You might have one large (seemingly insurmountable?) goal for the year. Or, like me, you might have a handful. In either case, writing out your goal in a phrase or sentence will help embed it in your mind — where you’ll need to have it in order to see it to fruition. Take it a few steps further, though, and write out what obstacles might impede your achievement of it and the tools you’ll use to overcome them. Here’s what it looks like on my goal sheet this year:

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 9.49.11 AM

To be sure, none of these tips makes achievement of our goals a slam dunk. But, they are strategies that will help us inch closer to the finish line, slowly and steadily. The key, really, is simply staying on the wagon and trusting God to direct our paths.

Seek God for the Paths
Seek God for the Paths
Please share!
    • Jennifer Dandrea

      Good stuff – thanks Kirsten!

      • Kirsten

        Thanks, Jennifer! Let’s hear what YOUR goals are this year!

    • Irene Woodworth

      My Dear Kirsten,
      Girl, you are so prolific in your messages. I am so proud to know you and cheer you on! Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I can totally relate. I have decided that this year is my year to finally develop some of my speeches and speaking opportunities to be one of my top priorities in my life. I especially want to cheer you on regarding your hospitality. Actually, sometimes I enjoy having people over just to spur me on to get things done in my home. Friends are looking forward to seeing you. Oh, they may look at your home, but that is not the real reason they are there. They want to get to spend time with you, rekindle their friendhsip with you or just be with you. From someone that has been there and continues to grow alongside you. You Go Girl and I have alwa

    • Irene Woodworth

      Sorry accidentally entered before I was done.
      I have always known that you would go far. Thank you for your post today. I know how you feel. Your fellow speaker and women on finding her true self, Irene

      • Kirsten

        Thanks for the encouragement, Irene. Glad to know you’re re-entering the fray, as well.

    • Debbie

      Always just what I need. I love your idea of writing it out specifically. Are you available for one-on-one tutoring for those of us who are less articulate? Looking forward to seeing you more in 2014!

      • Kirsten

        You bet, Debbie — let’s chat!!

    • Candy Troutman

      Kirsten ~ So well said! I love how you share very practical, do-able tips while encouraging us to give ourselves grace in the process. I have had the obstacle of not inviting friends over because of the house. A few years ago my word for the year while leading women’s ministries was authentic. I tried to model authenticity to my team by having several of our meetings IN MY HOME. I was traumatized but no one else was. LOL! I’m not over it by any means but have taken some steps forward. Thanks for your encouragement to continue on this road. You are so right that most of us go out somewhere for our friendship interactions when our homes are the places of true intimacy in relationships.

      Some of the things my husband and I have decided we want to change in our life/routine (per The Tyranny of the Urgent) are to have friends and family over at least once a month, to watch less TV, to read more, to invite our neighbors IN, to enjoy solitude, to remember our hobbies. And I’ve put alerts on my phone at the end of each month to remind us to evaluate how we did. Charles Hummel (The Tyranny of the Urgent) calls it budgeting our time just like we budget our finances. So far we often drop back into our TV watching coma but are much more aware of how we spend our time. It has helped us.

      Thank you for this post. Back in the saddle. :)

      • Kirsten

        LOVE your goals, Candy, and your past determination to host even with a less-than-perfect home. I’m inspired!! What about adding a mid-month reminder to make sure you’ve hit your goal of having friends/family over before the month runs out?

    • Susan Stilwell

      Good tips, Kirsten! I love that your focus is on the people nearest and dearest. Those are the people who deserve our best. Prayers for a great 2014!