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Simplify to Thrive: My 2017 Goals

Last Monday I shared my word of the year for 2017, SIMPLIFY. But that word would not be complete without the rest of the phrase, the rest of its purpose in my life this year. 

Simplify to thrive.

Simplifying is a good goal, and can be achieved in a number of ways, but there had to be a reason why. I didn't want to just be "on trend" with the hunt for minimalism. I wanted simplify to mean something bigger, to create space and margin in my life so I could really live. I want to simplify so I can thrive.

With this phrase in mind (and with three of my best friends in a cute Fixer Upper in Waco), I dug into my 2017 PowerSheets to set meaningful, achievable goals for the year. In 2016 I set goals by season, and I kicked off the year with 10 goals for January - March. Some of these goals carried on throughout the year, and some of these will reappear below. This year, I have a better view of how things are going to be, since I know where I'll be living and working throughout the year instead of expecting a change come-May like I did last year with graduation. I still expect some of these goals to shift and change with what the year may bring, but for now, here is where I will begin.

My 2017 Goals:

1. Be in the Word and His presence daily.
2. Prioritize my physical health.
3. Practice financial responsibility.
4. Blog consistently + authentically.
5. Simplify to thrive.
6. Become a better teacher.
7. Read 75 books.
8. Make time for joy and gladness.
9. Invest in discipleship, accountability, and community.
10. Savor my season. 

Some are broad, some are specific, and some tie into one another pretty well. I love that the PowerSheets allow me to state these goals then assign specific action steps to each of them to make them more achievable. Every three months there is a "Goals Refresh" section where I will be able to look back at what is working and what isn't, and make adjustments as needed.

For each of these goals, I took the time to write more of the vision/meaning behind them in my journal, and I thought I'd share those with you as well.

1. Be in the Word and His presence daily. Specifically this year I want to study the New Testament and its authors, really understanding the timeline and the journeys of the apostles and Christ's ministry. I want to take time to read scripture either in the morning before school or at night before bed, and pause in my schedule to listen to the Holy Spirit more. 

2. Prioritize my physical health. This was a goal last year that I tended to for a season then let fly out the window. I want to create heart healthy habits that are sustainable and that will help me have the energy and ability to chase the dreams God has for my life. I want to treat my body well and listen to its cues, not looking to food for a treat or escape when things get hard. I want to get active in a way that is feasible with my schedule and fun! I really miss dancing, so taking a ballroom or swing class is on my list.

3. Practice financial responsibility. I am (mostly) financially independent at this time, and I want to become more wise with how I view, spend, and save money. I want to value experiences over things, and I want to get out of debt. I want to put money in savings, travel this summer, and be able to give generously and consistently. I don't want to spend money on trinkets I'll donate to Goodwill in six months or on fast food when I've already purchased GOOD groceries the weekend before. I don't want to room the aisles of Target for a quick fix when I've had a rough day. 

The above three goals are the priorities for the year. Hold me to them ;)

4. Blog consistently + authentically. I want to treat this space with care, digging in deeper than twice a month product reviews and book lists. I want to write from the heart and submit more of my writing elsewhere. I want to create content that is meaningful to me and my readers, here and on my other online avenues, utilizing the platform that I've been given to encourage others and share the gospel. The Blog-tember Challenge will be back in September, and I hope to engage and comment more with those whose blogs I read as well.

5. Simplify to thrive. This means putting my word of the year in action. Read more about it HERE, but with this goal I want to simplify my belongings, my routines, and my schedule. I want to say both no and yes with intention, and I want to thrive instead of functioning in survival mode.

6. Become a better teacher. While I've joked many times that I dream in six different directions at once, I have wrestled with those dreams with the Lord and I feel very clearly that I am to put my all into pursuing teaching theatre until He tells me to do otherwise. It's my first year of teaching high school, and I've already learned so much. This year I want to prepare well, plan with intention, invest in the lives of my students, and always be learning. I want to pray into the places where I lack and look with expectancy for God to show up. I want to spend this year utilizing and exploring my resources, being fully present with my students, throwing procrastination out the window in exchange for being prepared well ahead of time.

7. Read 75 books. Last year I surpassed my goal of reading 52 books in 52 weeks, so this year I bumped up the number to encourage myself to read even more. I want to spend more time in the pages of a good novel or in a non-fiction volume that will challenge me instead of scrolling scrolling scrolling the night or day away. I want to read more books about theatre, going back to favorites from college and reading new plays, and I want to study history and habits and women in ministry. I want to re-read old favorites in preparation for the release of several final books in some series, and I want to relive my childhood by diving back into the Harry Potter series before the 10th anniversary of the release of Deathly Hallows arrives in July (10 years! Crazy right?!).

8. Make time for joy and gladness. Lara Casey calls this "doing more of what fires you up," and some might say it's filling your tank. I've only recently learned to value self-care and to understand that I cannot care for others well if I am not taking care of myself. I want to do more things that bring me joy and that delight my heart, so that I may be delightful and a positive presence around others instead of running on empty. The last half of my verse of the year, Isaiah 51:3, says, "...joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song." Yes, and amen!

9. Invest in discipleship, accountability, and community. I've been in my new city for five months, and in that time I've been blessed to find a church, a lifegroup, and a discipleship group. I have also begun a system of accountability with a few friends and plan to see it through. Achieving goals and spiritual growth are great efforts to be taken alone, and you will go exponentially further when surrounded by like-minded people. This year I want to dig roots down deep, not fearing an unknown uprooting in the future, and grow this circle of friends here in town. The online community is wonderful and I have friendships that I value greatly, but I want "face-time" with people I'm living daily life with, too. 

10. Savor my season.  Oh, you. This one means so many things. I want to enjoy this year and squeeze all the life I can out of it. 2016 was rough and I spent much of it under a cloud of negativity and what-ifs and why-don't-I's that made it really hard to savor where I was and what the Lord was doing. This year I want to dive in wholeheartedly, choosing joy, and not wishing away this time. Yes, there are desires of my heart that are yet unmet, and I plan to pray into those places both asking in faith and surrendering (what a lovely tension that is!), but I want to learn more about what it means to truly BE where I am. I want to write Savor Your Season finally, but I'm not going to put a timeline on it. Maybe not even an outline. Yet. I want to write as He leads.  I want to be where He is.  I want to savor every second 2017 has to offer. We'll see how this goes.

There they are! 10 goals for the next 12 months!

In my classes last Monday, I walked my students through the basics of goal setting, and I had each of them write out the sentence, "2017 is the year I will ___________," then fill in the blank in their class journal. The answers ranged from "get a job" to "graduate from high school" to "go to New York City" and beyond. One of my girls (who calls me Ms. Bear)  suggested I write "find Mr. Bear," and I just had to laugh ;) 

So if you're new to goal setting, why not start there? 2017 is the year I will _________________.

For me, 2017 is the year I will simplify to thrive
My goals are what will get me there.
What about you? What are your goals for 2017?
How are you keeping yourself accountable?

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