Goals for a new year

It’s that time. Everyone—including me—is thinking about how they’d like the next year to go differently, how they can build on what they’ve learned over the past year, and how to finally get started with things they’ve been putting off. I’m in the club. I’ve got my list but there’s a few new things I’m experimenting with this year that have me both more excited about pursuing change and more nervous.

If there’s a single pervading theme to my goals for 2016, it’s adulting: the elusive state of taking care of stuff on your own, of owning certain things (both physical and abstract), maintaining certain practices. If I had to sum up my hope for the year it’s that I’d like to grow up in some very important, and somewhat basic, ways. Not all my goals relate to this; some are purely fun. But, most have something to do with that.

I went back and forth about whether to share the complete list and in a way, putting it out here provides some accountability (more on that later). But the disadvantage to that is that it provides some accountability. Well, I’ve decided to put it all out there. But before sharing all (read:the abridged version, cause y’all know I’ve got charts and tables and all that stuff), I’m going to back up to share some about the mechanics of implementation I’m hoping to practice this year.

A new feature of my annual goal setting is to try, for each goal, to have a buddy and a prayer support person (not necessarily in the same person). This person can be either really strong in this area or interested in improving in that area as well. The prayer person is a friend that I’d ask to pray specifically for me for that area. To each pair I would be responsible for giving some sort of regular (monthly? bimonthly?) update. Even though I’m horrible at updating the blog, I am pretty good about sending regular update emails currently, so I think this is something I could follow through with. This would provide me with the needed but dreaded accountability.

The second feature is that I’ve broken the larger goals into really bite-sized sub-goals that define what it would look like to accomplish these things as well as a learning component for some of them. So, if you imagine a table, what I have in the first column is the large umbrella goal you see below, the next column is the sub-goals and indicators of success, the third column has the buddy’s name, the fourth column a prayer support person, and in the last column suggested reading/watching material.

Even having thought through most of that for most of the goals, I’m sure it doesn’t guarantee that I’ll accomplish all I set out to. But, I feel slightly better about my chances. Over the next week, I’ll be asking folks who I haven’t yet if they’d like to be my buddy for certain things.

My last preface is that I know there is A LOT on this list. I’m up for revisiting things as the year goes on.

So without further ado, here are the umbrella goals. I’m not including subgoals. If you’re interested because you think you can help, let me know and we can chat—I’d love more buddies.

Goal 1. Financial stewardship and literacy: be better with my money and understand key concepts and practices in investing and saving

Goal 2. Health and fitness: be regularly active; get progressively stronger; and practice healthy, sustainable, and ethically-informed eating habits

Goal 3. Personal presentation and style

Goal 4. Maintain and improve foreign language skills

Goal 5. Hospitality and domestic matters

Goal 6. Live with more contentment and joy

Goal 7. Date

Goal 8. Prepare to be a foster parent in 2017*

Goal 9. Increase Biblical and theological knowledge

Goal 10. Love people better and improve social skills

Goal 11. Write more

Goal 12. Thought life: be more vigilant about my thoughts

Goal 13. To pursue none of the above more earnestly than intimacy with God

*Fostering is something I’ve been interested in for a while. For the past four years I’ve even subscribed to Google alerts for foster parenting and been reading up on it. As I’ve thought about the possibility of marriage, I’ve always considered an openness to adopting and fostering and alternative family units as a requirement for a partner. When I got to DC, I was telling a friend that I was interested in foster parenting but as a single person I wasn’t sure how I could still be involved and she told me about an organization in DC that connects churches to folks in different parts of the foster system. I thought, so there’s still stuff I can do while single. Now that 1) I think about the possibility of not ever marrying (or at least not any time soon), 2) I’ve learned you don’t have to be married to be a foster parent and 3) I attended a prayer meeting where I was challenged to think about where being open to God in this area might lead I want to be in a position where I could open my home to a child that needs it by early to mid 2017. So whatever training, paperwork, independent learning, hands-on practice, prayer, preparatory steps (i.e. mentoring, supporting foster families) I can take over the next year to both prepare and ascertain God’s will about this, I want to do this year.

So there you have it. There’s no significance in the order in which they are listed (except that 13 must come last). This is what I’m dreaming about for 2016 (and beyond). If you have a strength in one of the above areas and want to lend your expertise to that venture, please do reach out. If you want to ask me how I’m doing with any of these the next time you see me, please do!

And friends, don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten about dance. It’s nested in the second goal as a part of being regularly active 🙂 I’m still me!

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