Halfway There & Literally Living on Prayers

Oh, hey guys. 

Guess what.

We’re halfway through 2018! How that can possibly be is beyond me!

Remember all those goals and plans you made back in the bitter cold of January? (At least it was bitter cold for me in the Midwestern tundra--Ohio)

Well, it’s time for a check in!

I know, I know, you’re probably rolling your eyes at that or counting months on your fingers to see if six months since then could have possibly happened. You may even be trying to remember what goals you even set or thought about in the first place.

It’s okay.

I have absolutely been there!

New Year’s resolutions are great in theory. The whole concept is lovely. This fresh start every 365 days when we get to reset and refocus and head in whatever direction we want. We always have the very best intentions! But, if you’re anything like me, a couple of things happen in the midst of all those warm and fuzzy holiday feelings flying around.

#1 We get over-inspired and go a little bit crazy (If that’s even a thing.)
#2 We forget to make a practical plan to see our goals through from theory to success.

I, for one, was tired of this pattern--this vicious cycle of sorts. Every January first, I was filled with hope and inspiration and great intentions to make lots of changes and improvements in the coming year.

By July I was fading.

By the following January, I was defeated and disappointed in myself and right back where I had started 365 days prior.

Every. Time.

So, back in December of 2017, I started thinking about how I could change that. How I could finally break that cycle and that pattern. I wanted to find a way to set reasonable, practical goals and create a plan and a system to see them through all 12 months. Now granted, that’s just who I am. I need systems to carry things through. (Ask D about my obsessive Google Drive folder-ing for the blog.) I need boxes to check and things that keep me accountable or else they just get swallowed up in the daily chaos that is life.

However, the other trick for me, is to not overcompensate. Often I get so excited and so inspired that I go a little bit overboard. I think of all the things I need to change and fix and decided I should change and fix them all at once. Then I come up with some insanely complex plan/system that is certainly thorough and also most certainly not maintainable. So, for me, goal setting at the onset of 2018 was all about finding some sort of balance between those two. 

Here, I’ll walk you through my process step by step--because it’s finally working for me and so I think it’s worth sharing.

#1 Make a List
I started in my journal making a simple list of words and phrases. Character traits I wanted to work on, practical and physical things, phrases I wanted to be true of my life and myself, etc. I didn’t think too much here, I just got it all out of my head and onto paper.

#2 Sort
I started looking for patterns and categories in the list. Did several words and phrases connect or fit under one umbrella? For me, they did. So I decided to make FIVE categories and then sort everything from my list into those. Of course not everything fit perfectly and technically there were more than just five, but this gave me a way to see all the stuff that had been buzzing around in my head on paper and then prioritize them and choose where I would focus. Here were mine:


#3 Create a System

Here’s where I thought through how I was going to live this out and keep these things as priorities all year long. I went to the Target dollar bins (where anything is possible) and picked up a very simple $1 2018 planner. I didn’t spend a ton of money on a fancy one, because I didn’t even know if the system would work. I also didn’t want to make it too complex and overwhelming as I had done so many times in the past.

I came home and started transferring. I made sure there were some spaces for notes in the margins and also in each day. I knew that for me, I needed to make this a day-to-day thing or else it wasn’t going to work. I needed to see all of the goals in one place and have a way to physically see myself achieving them or at least moving in the right direction.

Another way I challenged myself this year, was to take honest looks at how I was progressing from month to month. Something I am guilty of is biting off more than I can chew. I often pile on more things to change and fix before I’ve actually changed and fixed the things below them. I loved this little calendar system because it allowed me the chance to reevaluate at the end of every month and see if I was ready to continue growing in an area or if my focus should stay the same for another month.

In some areas I found that I could easily add on and grow more each month, others have stayed the same since January and I’m still fighting to gain any ground. But, at least I’m able to see where progress and growth have happened and where I need some more still. I love that there is some space for notes as I am able to lay out the month and then reflect at the beginning and the end of each month. It was important for me to be able to do this all in one place and not have thoughts here and in journals and who knows where else.

**You’ll notice small V’s that I wrote into each day. I wrote them in at the beginning of each month as I took a few moments to reevaluate the previous month and see where I should go in the next. This year I also chose one specific spiritual thing where I needed to see victory every day. This honestly has been the best strategy that I’ve ever found for overcoming strongholds in my personal life. If I found victory that day, I highlighted the V, if not, I left it alone. It was a very simple and practical way for me to look back and see how God helped me overcome and to start fresh when I had taken a step back.

I would say that as I look back at the first six months of 2018, I can certainly see some major growth and I can also see some areas where I continue to struggle. I’ve made huge strides in living a healthier more natural lifestyle and in being intentional about many things. I’ve gone deeper in my devotional time but still have a lot of room to grow in diving deeper into a new church community. I have struggled the most with discipline--in the simplest things like drinking more water--and I see that I constantly need to refocus there.

But, I can say that for the first time ever, I’m feeling on track at the halfway mark. I’m feeling like I didn’t lose all of my steam somewhere back in March and that I may actually approach next January with a feeling of hope and success that I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced before.

I am halfway there, we all are, and really the only thing to do is live on a whole lot of prayers to carry us to 2019! I constantly need reminding that I will not accomplish anything on my own--in spite of how bomb.com my system is. It is only through Christ in me.

What goals are you keeping up with this year? What January plans have worked for you this year or in the past?

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