My Goals For 2018 — And Yes, It's One of Those Overly Ambitious Lists

I absolutely love setting goals. And fresh starts. So naturally, I love this time of year — a particularly natural time to set goals. I joked with my sister the other day that if I don’t start my new habit (for example: start a Bible-in-a-Year plan) on January 1, I may as well wait until next year to read through the whole Bible. But not this time! I decided to cut myself slack by unrolling my goals — or “resolutions,” if you will — slowly, and not focusing on the January 1 cut-off date. This is simply a convenient time period to reevaluate habits established (or not established) in the previous year, realign priorities, and restart new or forgotten practices.

I challenge you to do the same! In fact, it’s pretty perfect that I fell behind in writing this and am publishing this a few days after the first of January. Whether you’re reading this on January 4 or April 4, the good news is: each day is a fresh start! Heck, each hour is a new beginning. It is never too late to get back on track with how you want to live. We only get one life, after all.

Alas, here are my goals for this year. And yes, it’s one of those lofty lists that seems overly ambitious and almost laughable. I expect to fail at several of these, but at least I have taken a moment to get back on track with the things that are most important to me — from my health to my faith, and everything in between.

1. Be purposeful about connecting with people.

Set up a plan to get together with someone (or talk on the phone with long-distance friends and family members) when I think of it or right when I mention it to someone. Far too often I say, “Let’s get together!” and then months go by before I see the person. The other day, my cousin and I were hanging out and we decided we needed to catch up over the phone (we had been saying this for months). We physically got our phones out and set up a phone date for January 20. It’s on my calendar. Brilliant. I need to do this way more often!

2. Write at least one blog post a week.

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(Aaaand get ahead on writing so I’m not rushed to publish.) I get so much joy out of sharing thoughts with you all, and it is something I want to continue to do more consistently throughout the year. Ideally, I will be publishing two posts a week, but I’m making a one-post minimum to keep myself accountable. I have a long list of topic ideas (plus some floating in my head) so it’s just a matter of executing and prioritizing my down time to make sure they get written.

3. Unplug from technology at night.

I waste so much valuable sleep time scrolling through my Instagram and Facebook feeds late at night while I lie in bed. Not only is this bad for my sleep schedule, it is detrimental to my mental health! I’ve learned that comparing my life to others is deceiving and destructive, and that happens primarily while I’m looking at people’s lives on social media. I used to plug my phone in an outlet far away from the bed (and even in another room entirely!) and it was so helpful in ensuring my precious sleep time remains precious. Plus, that means the glowing screen isn’t the first thing I see in the morning, either!

4. Continue to grow in our minimalism journey.

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Not only will we be minimizing our stuff in the next few weeks, we will continue to think intentionally about the things we bring into the apartment. I accumulated a few things over Christmas, but I feel really good about where we’re at! More to come on this subject.

5. Volunteer at church at least once a month.

We just joined Ethos Church in Nashville, and we are loving it! The only missing piece is hands-on involvement, which we really delved into at our church in Denver. That was vital in helping us connect with people, give back in a small way, and feel more a part of the church. I’m hoping to help with the kids or make coffee in the morning and Brandon wants to lead worship.

6. Read through the whole Bible.

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I have failed at this one just about every year, but I am determined to read through the whole Bible in 2018. Accountability is helpful for this (and many other goals on this list), so Brandon and I are doing this together. We both signed up for the (free?!) Bible In One Year plan on the Bible app. It’s about 20 minutes of audio (or reading, if you prefer), and it includes commentary, a Psalm or Proverbs reading, a New Testament reading, and an Old Testament reading. My biggest goal for the year in regards to this: If I miss a day (or two), don’t get discouraged or give up! Just work hard to get back on track. Missing a few days has certainly derailed my perseverance in past years.

7. Increase productivity with work.

I want to draw a harder line between work and home life, since the two tend to blend together when you work from home. My goal is to get more done during work hours so I can close the laptop at night and not let work trickle into dinner or rest time.

8. Continue to work out three times a week.

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This has been a major accomplishment of 2017! Since we moved to Nashville, Brandon and I have worked out 2–3 times a week, and it has been so rewarding. I want the momentum to continue in this regard. In fact, we plan on signing up for a half marathon!

9. Tackle digital clutter.

My life may be organized on the surface, but I have so much chaos going on in the digital realm. I desperately need to organize my photos (AKA get them off my phone), figure out my personal email clutter, and minimize distractions and unnecessary apps on my phone. Thankfully, my work digital life is an OCD level of organized. That is the only thing that keeps me sane!

10. Aggressively save money.

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This one outlines a detailed plan, which I won’t disclose for obvious reasons! We hope to buy a house in the near future, so we are taking some dramatic steps to set aside money this year.

11. Finalize and stick to our budget.

This goes hand-in-hand with number 10, as we will try to be more frugal in order to be able to set aside money. We have an elaborate spreadsheet for this that I created several months ago (which surprises no one in my family), but it’s just a matter of following it. And recording each purchase. Ouch. Who knows if we’ll actually do that! I know there are lots of apps/services that help with this but I weirdly enjoy using a Google spreadsheet as if I’m a tech-savvy grandma.

12. Minimize my wardrobe significantly.

Ideally, I would like to create a capsule wardrobe of sorts. But in the meantime, I hope to simplify my closet this year. Lofty goal: have less than 30 items of clothing? We’ll see.

13. Go through bathroom cabinet, green box and kitchen stuff.

This is a random goal that means something to me and nothing to you guys. These are just spaces in our apartment with lots of excess stuff. The green box has a bunch of memorabilia that I’ve been holding onto with each move, yet have never once opened to actually use something. It needs to go.

14. Experience Nashville to the fullest.

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We have slowly but surely explored the city, but we want to be more intentional about going to new restaurants, visiting neighborhoods other than Germantown, buying tickets to events, and taking full advantage of living in such an incredible city. We also are in a rare stage where our apartment is situated in a lively neighborhood just minutes from downtown, so we want to maximize that opportunity. We eventually will move into more of a suburban setting and won’t be able to walk to the coffee shop or a restaurant!

15. Have date night at least once a week — even if it is just takeout and a movie at home.

Brandon and I spend a lot of time together, especially since he works from home quite a bit. But there’s a difference between working in the same room and eating dinner at a restaurant and talking about our day. My love language is quality time so date night is extra important to me. Brandon’s love language is words of affirmation so I’ll just spend the whole time complimenting him. Win win!

16. Go to bed by 10:30 and wake up at 7.

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I bet I will actually lol when I read this down the road. It’s ambitious to make a schedule like that but I value sleep a whole lot! It’s usually the first thing to be sacrificed if you want to succeed with other goals. I mentioned in my post about working from home that I hope to create a predictable schedule. This is half of the battle! Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day is crucial for getting into a rhythm. It improves productivity, energy levels, mood, etc.

What goals do you have for 2018?

Be specific. Be ambitious. Whatever you do, dream big for this year.