Vacation Reflections: Resolutions

1-9-13 resolutions

Not-So-SMART Goal Setting

The turning of one year into another brings reflection for many people, reflection that includes evaluating and looking back on the past year in a way that provides insight as to where to focus efforts in the new year ahead. For many, this means setting Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant goals that are also Time-bound.

SMART goal setting works for a lot of people. I’ve tried the SMART approach, but it has never been very effective for me. I struggled with sticking to the “requirements” of this approach and constantly felt too confined by it, probably due in large part to my tendency to go against the flow. (If others are doing something, if something is trendy, I look for reasons not to do it.)

While on vacation last week, my husband and sons set their goals for 2013 rather quickly. To no one’s surprise, I took a little longer to set mine. While inspiration for my guys came from “this is what I want to work on and accomplish,” inspiration for me came from a variety of sources that were much less direct.

What I’ve come to realize is that not only are goals themselves highly unique to the individual, goal setting is as well. While my husband and sons can set SMART goals and find great success, I find myself going a very different route. The problem up to this point has been finding a route that truly took me in a productive direction.

This year, I am taking the One Word 365 approach. This approach seems to fit my personality and temperament not to mention my habits and preferences much better than other approaches I’ve tried. But as they say, time will tell.

The idea for a One Word 365 approach began while reading 2013 Will Be My Year to Pursue by Stephanie Spencer at Everyday Awe. Confirmation for taking this approach came while reading One Word 2013: Listen by Teri Lynne Underwood at Fresh Perspective and Cour_ge vs. Fear by Amy at The Messy Middle.


Setting goals as a family provides a great deal of accountability. But where I struggle in this area is that the accountability source is usually me. I remind my guys of their goals and ask them about their progress. They receive external encouragement from me.

While I am a largely internally motivated, I still desire external encouragement too. In fact, I think I require more external encouragement than my guys have it in them to give and in a deeper way than they can provide. I also get the sense that I am not alone in this.

I believe that no one person – not even your spouse – should be asked to fulfill all of your needs except Jesus. And because I believe He so often does this through connection and community within the Body of Christ, I am requesting accountability and encouragement for 2013.

This request for accountability comes not only for myself, but also for others within your circle of influence. Just as personality and temperament affect how a person sets and achieves goals, so too do they affect how a person encourages another. In other words, however you feel led to encourage others, not necessarily me, let me encourage you to Be Encouraging Just By Being You in 2013.

So, what is my One Word 365 focus for 2013?

1-9-13 amplify beach 1










On Friday, I will discuss how and why I chose “Amplify” for my One Word 365 in 2013.

DISCUSSION: What is your approach to goal setting? Please share that approach along with some of your goals in the comment section.

Approaching Halftime

Sorry to be selfish today, but I need to write this post for me. Why? Because this post is all about preparing me for an event I have dreaded for the last 10 years. It’s about assessing where I am and where I want to be. This post involves me documenting the process by which I have come to realize that I am aging and can’t do a thing about it.

As The 11th Anniversary of my 29th Birthday now lies just a week away (no, I still can’t say that number), taking a post to publicly assess some aspects of my life seems not only appropriate but necessary in my preparation for halftime (meaning, the mid-point of my life on earth).

Setting Goals

Just under a year ago, I decided to set some goals to reach by my, um, next birthday. My 40 by 40 Bucket List resulted from this decision. Actually, setting these goals (or at least publicly declaring them) got me started blogging, but my main reason was to find a way to come to terms with my inevitable aging.

Some goals were reached fully and some partially. Injury prevented others from being completed. Others, I lost interest in very quickly, which tells me I probably set some wrong goals. In some ways, my motives were wrong for some of my goals.

In considering why I reached some goals and why others were missed, several life lessons have surfaced for me. Lessons I believe that are helping me to age gracefully.

  1. We don’t always have control over whether or not we reach a goal.
  2. Some goals are just not right for us right now.
  3. Goals are tools for character development even if they aren’t reached.
  4. Motives play a big role in motivation for reaching goals.
  5. You’re not a failure if you don’t reach a goal.

Making Adjustments

With these lessons learned, I have one major adjustment in my goal setting.  Instead of setting another round of goals for the next monumental birthday (don’t even try to get me to say that number), I instead simply put all my goals into one Lifetime Bucket List. I think part of my mistake before was forcing myself to set a certain number of goals instead of setting the goals that were right for me regardless of how many there were.

There is a lot of advice available on goal setting. Honestly, it all overwhelms me. So, I focus on the bare minimum, what some call the SMART way to set goals. Even with this guideline, I realize that I would not get great marks from a goal-setting guru. But, I am learning what works for me and moving forward in that.

Honestly, I hate the idea of being too structured with my goal setting. I feel too confined and fear limiting the Holy Spirit’s directing in my life. But I am also aware of God’s indicating a need for balance in this area.

Proverbs 6:6-11 clearly indicates that we need to work and not be lazy with our lives and that we must make certain plans for this to happen. On the other hand, James 4:13-14 clearly shows that our lives can change from day to day and so too must our plans.

In making adjustments with my personal goals, my intent lies with creating a balance between making motivational plans and allowing for inevitable change.

Final Thoughts

As I enter my last week with an age I think still sounds young, I feel good to at least have some goals established even if I know many will change and some not come to fruition at all. Goal setting has provided, for me, a way to assess what I’ve done and map out what I want to do. It has helped me write the story of my life.

Shopenhoaur said best the sentiment I am trying to portray here:

“The first forty years of life give us the text; the next forty supply the commentary.”

I am ready to start writing the commentary on the text of my life.

DISCUSSION: Any advice for someone entering a new stage of life? (PLEASE don’t say, “Age is just a number.” I hate that.) Does my experience and struggle with goal setting resonate with anyone?

 Subscribe to Struggle to Victory by Email or Subscribe in a reader