This is one of the first years in my remembered life that I almost didn’t have a planner. I’ve always loved picking out a planner. I even keep my previous planners, which serve almost as daily journals. But this year, I decided it was a waste. After all, I was “just” a mom with a semi-weekly job completing clerical tasks on the side (not enough to justify writing down the times I worked). What was there to plan? And resolutions? What should I resolve to do besides get dressed in the morning and take care of my baby?
Parenting–one of the hardest and longest jobs many of us will ever do–is also one we spend the least time planning for and being intentional about. We take courses in our cultural heritage and music appreciation, but aside from a birth class and maybe a first aid class, we receive no formal education for being parents and spouses. Managing a home, raising a child, being a good spouse–these things are crucial to the well-being of society and thus require intentionality. Marriages that lack intentionality do not thrive, and parenting without intentionality often leads to lots of heartbreak.
Vision is essential to prevent us from wandering aimlessly through our days, finding the next distraction. Vision keeps us going when things seem painfully hard or impossible. Vision is necessary whether you define yourself as an entrepreneur or are working a job just to pay the bills for now.
Purchasing that $9 Target planner has made a huge difference in each day. I take my time seriously and realize the opportunities within a day. But daily plans require something larger behind them. That’s where a vision and goals come in.
To come up with my goals, I worked through Lara Casey’s series and finally ordered her PowerSheets. I can’t recommend these tools enough; it was so helpful to start with where I am, work on a vision, and then transfer the vision to goals. She says not to get stuck or wait for “just the right time” or “just the right tools.” Getting started is key, even if it’s messy.
All of my goals tie into my word of the year: play. Play is crucial to each goal, not just in the sense of playfulness (which I hope to maintain as a wife, mother, and friend), but also in the sense of flexibility (for example, a steering wheel having play). I try avoid rigidity in planning because I like it too much and live by it too intensely. I want to embrace the present, the messy, and the dust on my feet.
1. I want to have a strong marriage that blesses others and glorifies God. I want to be Jon’s number one fan, his support and encouragement. I want to really listen to him and know him. I want to live out the story of the Gospel.
2. I want to be a patient, wise, gentle, and fun mom to Liam. I want to teach him to know and love God and love others well, modeling these things in my life. I want to be willing (as often as possible) to drop everything and play with him, seeing things from his level.
3. I plan to write and read frequently and consistently. I want to sharpen my skills and my intellect and continue to find joy and beauty through writing.
4. I plan to make and maintain our home as a clean, lovely place for our family and also so we can welcome others. I want our home to be a place of laughter that blesses us and others. I want to avoid silly chaos and time wasted because of disorganization
5. I want to be on top of our finances–to know where our money goes and be a wise and good steward. I want us to be money-smart as a couple.
6. I want to work on telling our story. I hope to finish our 2013 book (done!), Liam’s baby book, and keep up to date on our 2014 book. I want to remember where we came from and to use our story to protect and guard our marriage and our family. I plan on blogging about this more in the next week.
At first, my goals were simple and straightforward, but as time went on, I began to think about all the thousands of things I should make into goals: measurable fitness, better meal planning, more time with friends, doing a better job of remembering birthdays. There were so many things I could add to my list. But as my sister wisely said, you should focus on what you need to focus on.
I plan to give periodic updates on the progress of my goals. They seemed simple–even vague–to me at first, but I realize that I need a direction, not daily items to check off. My goals often pop into my mind throughout the day. When I am becoming frustrated with a napless afternoon, I remember my desire to mother in a patient and gentle way. When I want to just sit down and worry about the mess later, I remember my home goal and spend fifteen minutes picking up the house.
I’ve seen that vision and direction is much more important than having a huge list of items to check off, and goals need to be broad enough to allow flexibility, creativity, and play. Most importantly, no season of life is too menial or too short for a little dreaming and planning.