By Ashley Roe, Contributing Writer
I don’t know about you but 2014 was a year I was glad to leave behind me. As I moved into 2015, I had hopes of new things to come and finally allowed myself to dream about what this new year might hold. I started thinking and planning for what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be and how I could make it happen. But can I be honest with you? I didn’t actually set any concrete goals for how I would accomplish those things.
You see I have a tendency to do that. To have hopes and dreams but never do much more than hope and dream. As I sit here writing this, the first month of the year is coming to a close and I am struggling to not label myself as a failure because I haven’t lived up to this supposed expectation that I will suddenly be organized and have tons of goals ready to start the year with.
Feeling Like a Failure
Now don’t get me wrong, I want to have goals and plans and to be organized. I would love it if I could have it all together like that but the truth is, I don’t have it all together. In fact, I’ve spent much of the past year wondering why no matter how hard I try, I just can’t get it together on my own.
I have blamed myself for being too lazy, too tired, too sick, too much of a failure. I became depressed, anxious and felt completely worthless. Depression took it’s toll on me emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically.
At my darkest point, I forgot what it was like to even have hopes and dreams. Those days, I could barely muster up the energy to pull myself out of bed. Planning my days rarely happened and it was a minor accomplishment if I could make the house look somewhat presentable when my husband got home from work. My mind was far from planning big goals or dreaming about the future.
Thankfully, I am starting to see a light in this dark place. I have a Christian counselor who speaks hope and truth into my life and I will forever be grateful for her. One lesson, I am trying to grasp is that my worth is not defined my what I do, how many goals I set or even by what kind of person I am. My worth comes from God, the one who breathed life into me. I am worthy simply because He gives me worth.
So dear friend, if you are struggling with feeling like a failure because you haven’t set any goals or if you have already given up on keeping the ones you did set, please know that you are worth more than your goals!
It’s Not To Late to Set (or Keep) Goals
With that said, I also want to encourage you that it’s not too late to set some new goals or continuing to work on those you already have. Just because January is over, it doesn’t mean that you are hopeless. January is just a month and it is not the only time you can set new goals. Go ahead and keep setting new goals even into December!
I know there may be someone who is saying that goals are pointless because you can’t keep them anyway. So you rarely set goals so you avoid setting yourself up for failure. I will say that I have been in that place but I have learned that by forgoing to set goals, I am actually doing myself a disservice by giving up before I even start.
One of my goals right now is to get up earlier so that I can set my day up to be more successful. Over the past week, I only got up early once, maybe twice. This morning, I hit snooze on three alarms only to wake up two hours later! I wanted to call the day a failure before it even began. After a few moments of frustration, I got out of bed and told myself that it’s still a new day and I was going to make the most of it and I am so glad I did.
Setting goals is merely a way of giving yourself some direction. You may not keep them perfectly all the time but if you allow yourself the grace to not always get it right, you will be able to pick yourself up and keeping moving.
Small Goals are Goals Too
Just remember that setting goals doesn’t have to be a huge task. I think it’s a great thing to have lots of big goals and I admire those who can execute and plan out these types of goals. However, sometimes it is better to pick a few small goals to work on at a time. The purpose of setting goals is not to overwhelm you but give you a plan.
Maybe you are afraid of taking on too many goals. I’m like this too. I want to set lots of goals because there a so many things I want to work on but in my eagerness to want to do too much, I end up not even making any goals at all or if I do, I can’t keep up with them.
If you are struggling or if you feel just plain stressed out with life, you may want to set some simple goals like reading one encouraging book a month, keeping a prayer journal, spending just a few minutes a day reading your bible or journaling a few times a week.
You may even have one goal of getting out of bed everyday and you know what? That is just fine. My prayer for you is that you would rest in the arms of your Savior and know that you are not made worthy because of your goals. But I also pray that one day you will be able to hope and dream again too.
If you are looking for a great resource to help you with planning and goal setting, I highly recommend Leigh Ann’s book Live For Him: A Grace Filled Look at Planning. She guides you through planning out all areas of your life and gives you the tools you need to live it out.
Additional Recommended Resources
A note from Jami: I’ve often felt this same way as Ashley in varying degrees. It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed, buried, and like a total failure as a homemaker. I love her suggestion above of Leigh Ann’s book, but I wanted to share a few other suggestions for you depending on what you are struggling with.
Say Goodbye to Survival Mode
If I had to pick my top 5 favorite books of all time, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode would be right there up at the top. I did a series this summer going through the book and completing the challenges, and I’m already ready to go through it again.
If you feel like you are living in survival mode, just barely getting through each day, falling behind more and more…then I highly recommend that you pick up this book. It really helped me to set clear priorities in my life and for my family and get back on track.
Build a Menu
I know there have been times, especially in this last year, that my house has just totally felt out of control. We’ve ended up eating out way more than we wanted, let food go bad in our fridge from lack of planning, and really blew our grocery budget. I signed up for Build a Menu (an online meal planning software) last summer and it’s been so nice to have as a back up plan.
I don’t use it every week, but it’s awesome to have for those weeks when our fridge is empty, I have no idea what to make all week, and I need to head to the grocery store in 30 minutes. All I have to do is log in, pick my meals for that week (or month), and print out the shopping list and I’m of to the grocery store. This has really helped me on those weeks when I just couldn’t get my act together. You can see how Build a Menu works HERE.
Glimpses of Grace & Treasuring Christ
One thing I really struggled with this last year has been my parenting and trying to figure out this new identity as “mom”. I’ve struggled with losing my focus on Christ within my parenting and has caused me to feel out of control in my home.
These two books by Gloria Furman – Glimpses of Grace and Treasuring Christ – have been so impactful! They are both quick books which is really helpful as a busy mom of toddlers. But Gloria’s firm focus on Christ has been so refreshing and just the boost I’ve needed to focus my parenting.
Planning a Personal Retreat
I’ve never done a personal retreat before. But now that I have two-year-old twins, I’m pregnant and due with twins again in July, run my blog, and manage my household…I’m beginning to see that a personal planning retreat once a year would be so refreshing!
My dear friend Erin shares 3 reasons for giving yourself a personal planning retreat and she has me convinced! We are really busy this month and next, but I’m hoping to find some time before the babies are born this Summer to get away for even a night. To be able to get away, pray, declutter my mind, and set goals and plan for myself, my blog, and my family. You can check out Erin’s book on planning your own personal retreat HERE.