Why I Am Starting This Year Without New Goals

Sometimes we get so excited to execute new goals that we set ourselves up for failure.

When I was a teen, our pastor announced that he was going to focus on the fruits of the Spirit. Each week he would discuss a different fruit.

Well, I was humble enough to know there was some room for improvement in my life, even if I thought I was well on my way to being practically perfect.

So, I devised a plan for myself. Or a goal.

Each week I would focus on learning and practicing the fruit discussed that week. Within nine weeks, I would have mastered those 9 different fruits and would be able to then focus on improving myself in other ways. (Like learning to speak German well enough to raise bilingual children!)

Instead of working on new goals, we sometimes need to keep working on our old goals.

Executing my plan and setting the goal.

 

Well things started out pretty good, with the first fruit being love.

My heart was already pretty much full of love. At my tender age I didn’t have any enemies I hated. And while my siblings would get on my nerves, I still loved them.

The first week coasted by and I thought things were going just fine. I seemed to have this love fruit down. Maybe a tweak here or there, but basically one fruit mastered.

The second week was joy. Yes, the pastor talked about joy in trials, which I was experiencing none of at the moment, but I was pretty certain that I would be joyful during a hard trial. Afterall, I was a cup-half-full kind of girl. A spot-the-positive, and keep-moving type.

Yup, I had joy and love down. This developing new fruit goal was cruising along like a freshly released frisbee.

Week three arrived. Peace. I inwardly laughed. Were these fruits all going to be so easy?

I looked inward and examined my heart. I was at peace with the world. At peace with my peers, family, teachers, and authority. Peace reigned in my heart. I slept well and wasn’t really to worried about much.

Well except that I was anxious that Jesus might return before I had a chance to grow up and really get to live life. I was hoping he would delay his coming until I had at least gotten married. Or got to live life more than currently had.

Three fruits accomplished. Six more to go.

Instead of working on new goals, we sometimes need to keep working on our old goals.

Hitting a goal snag.

 

Week four was about longsuffering. Or as the pastor said, extreme patience.

Well my teen ears perked up. I was after all, a patient person. Living in a family with six siblings and only two bathrooms, one had to be.

Then he droned on about how longsuffering meant having already, or showing, patience during troubles, but especially towards troubles caused by other people.

Well that caused me to suck my breath inward. Maybe I had finally hit upon a fruit that would challenge me and take a bit of work.

Well I was one who enjoyed a challenge. I was pretty sure I had this.

But it turned out I was wrong.

That week clearly showed I was not oozing over with long-suffering. Patience was not a virtue I had mastered. And as the individual week days were crossed off, it became apparent, even to my over rated self-concept, that patience would not be checked off, or accomplished, within my seven-day window for self-improvement.

By now, you are probably laughing at me. And right you should be.

Because by the end of those nine weeks, I had not mastered patience. (Or as I realized years later, any of those other nine fruits.)

Maybe because I had too much schoolwork. To many siblings. Or I was confronted with too many situations that required patience (I was thinking one situation a day would provide better mastery).

But most likely, because we can’t develop patience in a week. (Although before children, I did think I was a rather patient person. Parenthood, though, helped me realize the truth.)

Here it is years later, and I am still struggling with being patient. In fact, I will be struggling with learning and displaying the fruits of the Spirit until I am called home.

Partly because they don’t come naturally. They are instead a struggle. A doing what I don’t want to do, but know I should do.

It seems so many things in life are like this.

A struggle. An unnatural fight against myself.

Instead of working on new goals, we sometimes need to keep working on our old goals.Instead of working on new goals, we sometimes need to keep working on our old goals.

When does your year and goal setting start?

 

With the start of a new year, I keep reading about setting goals. Keep hearing about the goals others are setting. And have been asked about my goals for this new year.

I don’t know about you, but January does not seem like a new year for me, but a continuation of the last year. My year instead, seems to follow the academic calendar. For me, the beginning of a new school year feels like a new year.

That’s when I am setting goals and trying new things. Committing to do things differently.

Probably because I am a mother and my life revolves around the school year. Maybe because I am a teacher.

While others are setting goals and endeavoring to accomplish and do things differently, this January I am not setting any big goals. I am just continuing to carry on and complete the goals I set last August and September.

Here’s what I have been asking myself:

*. what has been working in my life?

*. And in what areas can I keep improving?

These are the questions that are keeping me on course.

Around last fall, I started yoga, and find it very relaxing and beneficial. So, I want to continue it. Maybe even add another class time.

I also started deciding a loose meal plan for the week. I pull out 5-8 different dinner recipes, and then each morning I choose which to make for that day. I like the flexibility of being able to select which meal works best for that day and the amount of time I have.

Walking more. I have always been a walker, but often with others. This fall I started walking more by myself, and find I like the time to think and contemplate. Sometimes I listen to a podcast. But I am finding I enjoy it and want to keep improving in this area. Especially now that it is winter, and I am walking less outside.

I was doing such a good job of taking breaks and getting outside several times a day. Even just a few minutes can be such a head clearer and mood changer. With winter, though, I need to improve in this area.

Staying off my phone on weekends and later evenings has been working and I want to continue this habit.

Remembering to greet God hello first thing in the morning and pray for a few friends before I get out of bed is something, I also want to continue.

Instead of working on new goals, we sometimes need to keep working on our old goals.

How not to fail at your goals.

 

There is a joy and excitement in setting new goals. And there is a joy and excitement in seeing that you are making progress. That some things are working in your life. That you can modifying and stop goals that are not serving their purpose.

I don’t know which place you are in. Making new goals, or working on old goals, but I do know that lots of small steps will eventually accomplish big things and over time develop large changes.

Reading one chapter a day, may not seem like much, but it will get you through about 30 books in a year.

Often our goals, or life changes, take more than a week or nine. Or even six months. Things like being a good mother. Eating healthy. Getting in shape. Living debt free. Losing weight. Starting a business. Worrying less.

These are more life time goals, or a period of life goals. Not easily accomplished in a small amount of time.

There is a big difference between a to-do list item and a goal. One can be accomplished in the short-term. Things like cleaning a closet. Finishing a book. Attending today’s yoga class. Eating a healthy dinner. Goals, though, take many days of effort and consciously making the right choice time and time again. Like being physically fit. Organizing and cleaning the whole house. Reading 20 books in a year.

Tasks can be done and crossed off short-term. Goals require making a conscious choice to complete steps towards the goal day after and day.

And here is another sticky trap about goals. We can’t get healthy after a week of eating kale and chia seed smoothies. It takes making good food choices for the long-term. It requires a change to the way we think about our food and choose our food. It requires forming new habits.

And that is hard. And it is one reason we get discouraged and give up on our goals.

So many goals require doing them long-term, or maybe life term. We won’t just wake up suddenly having reached our patient-threshold after years of trying to be patient and can now quit thinking about being patient ever again.

We won’t wake up with an organized and clutter free house and never have to devote any more energy again on that task. No, we will be tossing things we don’t need or want for the rest of our life if we want it to stay organized and clutter free.

So, keep plodding away. Slow and steady wins.

And once in a while, look back and see how far you have come. (But always, give yourself grace. No shame allowed.)

You do that, and I’ll keep working on conquering the fruit of patience.

Achieving a goal requires the conscious choice to complete steps toward that goal day after day.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 


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Join the Discussion: Are you a January goal setter? What is working in your life?

Instead of working on new goals, we sometimes need to keep working on our old goals.

May link up at Kelly Balarie (#purposeful faitht), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Maree Dee (#Grace & Truth), and Kristin Hill Taylor (#porchstories).

Instead of working on new goals, we sometimes need to keep working on our old goals.

 

Instead of working on new goals, we sometimes need to keep working on our old goals.

Why We Want to Be There for Others

I am about to slide into bed, when I hear my son wandering the house.

The clock says he should have been asleep awhile ago.

I find him in the living room.

“I can’t get to sleep,” he moans. “I have been trying to for an hour and a half.”

“Did you try and lie still? Quiet your mind? Relax with . . .?”

“I’ve tried everything,” he moans.

I inwardly groan. I am tired myself. I know I would be asleep the moment my head sinks into the pillow, but . . . life calls.

“Come on,” I say, “I’ll help you.”

I follow his lanky body, taller than me now, back into his bedroom. I tuck him back into bed and sit on the edge of his bed, my hand resting on his leg.

“Breathe slowly,” I say, trying to calm my voice to soothing. “Release the stress with each exhale. Feel your body sink into your mattress.”

I drone on. My voice becoming a little softer. A little quieter.

His breath become longer. Slower. His body begins to let go.

Slowly I raise my hand until it is hovering in the air barely above his body. I used to do this when he was an infant. Ever so slowly raise my hand off his body and then hover it there to make sure he didn’t stir awake.

He remains asleep. I tiptoe out of the room. Mission accomplished.

As my head sinks into my pillow, I instantly relax.

Alt text: Being there for others feels good. Learn why we want to be there for others. And what would happen if we were not needed.Alt text: Being there for others feels good. Learn why we want to be there for others. And what would happen if we were not needed.Alt text: Being there for others feels good. Learn why we want to be there for others. And what would happen if we were not needed.Alt text: Being there for others feels good. Learn why we want to be there for others. And what would happen if we were not needed.We like being needed and being there for others.

 

I know you are like me. You want to help those around you. Love them well. Solve their problems.

Often it is not convenient. But you do it. Because you are concerned about the small and large stuff that concerns those we love.

You see your daughter’s sad face and ask her what’s wrong.

Your son asks you to tie his shoes, and you do.

You dog seems lethargic, and you wonder what is wrong.

You are in the middle of making dinner and your sister needs to talk. You pause to be there for her.

Your husband needs a favor, and you come through for him.

A friend loses a parent, and you hug her and take her dinner.

Your child has a hard time falling asleep, and you talk him to sleep. Or hum him into dream land.

All these things communicate you love them. Are concerned about them and their life. Care about them and their life direction.

Big and small, you want to be there for them. And what you do for them is important.

You encourage them. Cheer them on. Listen. Hand out advice. Squeeze hugs on their bodies.

You want to be involved in their lives. Know their problems. Be asked to help.

Yes, we sometimes get tired of being there. Of helping. Of sacrificing to do the right thing. Of caring so much. Of trying to solve problems and find solutions.

The last thing I wanted to do the night I found my son wandering around sleepless in our house, was help him. I was tired myself. Craving the covers over my tired body. But then as I am helping him, soothing him to sleep, I felt honored to be asked. Trusted to help. And that was a good feeling.

Let’s think about the opposite?

Alt text: Being there for others feels good. Learn why we want to be there for others. And what would happen if we were not needed.Alt text: Being there for others feels good. Learn why we want to be there for others. And what would happen if we were not needed.What if we were not needed?

 

Imagine if those we loved did not include us? Involve us?

Your husband tells us that he lost his job three months ago, but no worries, he has since found a new one. Sure, it was a stressful time and a lot of worry, but that is now past. He did not want to worry you.

Your son tells you that he asked someone else to teach him to tie his shoes because he didn’t want to bother you.

Your daughter tells her that she lost the spelling competition at school. She was sad for a while, but a friend helped her with her sadness. She knew you had other more pressing problems to deal with.

Your pet visits the neighbor’s when sick, so you don’t expend extra energy on them.

Your neighbor doesn’t tell you that her mother died until a year later. This way she can say she is past the grieving stage and doesn’t need to hamper your schedule.

Your sister lets you know she had a problem, but only after she has thought of a solution. Better yet, even implemented the solution and found success. She knew you were busy and wanted to conserve your energy for more important things.

Would we want to find out that those around us didn’t need our help? Our encouragement. Our listening ear and love? Our problem-solving abilities?

Our soothing voice to put them to sleep?

Alt text: Being there for others feels good. Learn why we want to be there for others. And what would happen if we were not needed.Alt text: Being there for others feels good. Learn why we want to be there for others. And what would happen if we were not needed.We were made to be there for others, by someone who is there for us.

 

We want to be needed. To be called on. To be informed and kept in the loop.

We don’t want to know after the fact.

Yet sometimes we do this to God.

We think he is to busy to be concerned with our life. Our situation. Our problems.

We think he has more important things to do, than listen to us. Or help us.

And yet, he wants to concern himself with us. To keep those lines of communication open between us. To know what is going on in our life and heart.

As a friend, parent, sibling, and co-worker we want to be needed. To be involved.

We were made in God’s image. And just like him, we want to help. Be needed. Solve problems. Come along side.

God, as our heavenly father, doesn’t want us solving the problem, getting over our hurt, and getting support elsewhere and then coming to him whole and unneedy. No, just like we delight in helping those around us, he delights in helping us.

And unlike us, he never runs out of energy, solutions, patience, love, and all those other things. We can only help so much, but he can help forever.

Remember:

1. No concern, problem, issue, hurt, worry, triumph, blessing, or thought is to little or big to share with him.

2. He cares about us more than we can imagine. His heart breaks for us and explodes in pride for us.

3. He is besides us every step of the way, just waiting for us to put our hand in his. Waiting for us to include him in our life.

4. He is not intimidated by our messes, and ultimately uses them to our advantage and his glory.

5. He sees us and what we are becoming. He knows us better than we know our self and nothing we do or say surprises him.

6. He wants only the best for; works all things ultimately for our good.

So, share the good, bad, and ugly with him. Trust him. Make him your best friend. Keep him in the loop.

And next time you can’t sleep, ask him to talk you to sleep. Because he will.

Alt text: Being there for others feels good. Learn why we want to be there for others. And what would happen if we were not needed.

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 


If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the discussion: Tell about a time you were there for someone or they were there for you.

Alt text: Being there for others feels good. Learn why we want to be there for others. And what would happen if we were not needed.May link up at Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

Alt text: Being there for others feels good. Learn why we want to be there for others. And what would happen if we were not needed.Being there for others feels good. Learn why we want to be there for others. And what would happen if we were not needed. #relationships #kindness to others

Stay at Home Moms are Working Moms


Stay at home moms are often more valuable and necessary than they think they are. Working Women. That seems obvious, doesn’t it?

Yet how many women count themselves as a working woman?

Especially if they are not employed by a company and earning a take-home-and-bank paycheck?

They are in the dentist filling out address lines and checking boxes to indicate they have no life- threatening health problem and that they haven’t had a recent mental breakdown. They then come across the question – employment.

They pause and wonder what to write.

They may decide to leave it blank and instead check that they haven’t passed a kidney stone in the last year.

And yet, I know countless working women. 

Who is cleaning the house? Making dinner? Filling out permission sheets and checking that homework is completed? Who is washing clothes and taking a sick dog to the vet? Who is volunteering at the library, the food bank, and leading a girl scout troop? Who is making a meal for the new mother at church, inviting neighbors to dinner, and leading a bible study? Who is coordinating their parent’s health care and hosting family dinners?

This is all work. Necessary and important work.

The world would collapse without mothers reminding their children to eat their vegetables, brush their teeth, and tie their shoes; if women quit reminding their mates to take their vitamins, send their mom a birthday card, and oh yes, Tuesday is trash day; or if women quit volunteering their evenings and not-so-spare hours, countless volunteer organizations and projects would fold up and close.

You may not receive a paycheck every month, paid vacations, job evaluations (unless you count such comments as, “this has too much salt,” as mini job evaluations), sick days, pre-set work breaks, and the most important kicker of all – a start and stop time, but that doesn’t mean you don’t do valuable necessary work that is as important as other work.

I am writing for The Better Mom this week. Please continue reading at The Better Mom for the rest of the article.

Stay at home moms are often more valuable and necessary than they give themselves credit for. May link up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory);  Holley Gerth (#coffeeforyourheart), Lori Schumaker (#Moments of Hope), Crystal Storms (#HeartEncouragement), Arabah Joy (#Grace & Truth).

Thanks for stopping by. Keep remembering what’s important.

Theresa

 


If you need some weekly encouragement and hope, tied up with some humor? Subscribe and join the journey. Life is sweeter when we walk alongside one another.


Join the discussion: How do you undermine your worth as a mom or woman?

Stay at home moms are often more valuable and necessary than they think they are.