With the end of the year in sight, I've noticed a reflective feeling edging into my thoughts. I'm looking back, thinking about everything that 2018 held, and looking forward to what 2019 will be. Since I started making annual goals in January of 2011 (my first blog post ever!) the clean slate of a new year has become significant to me.
Twenty-eighteen was a big year for me and for our family (although I think I say that every year!). The year included: quitting my job, my little sister getting married, and the boys starting at a new school including Dashiell starting kindergarten. Along the way the rhythm and pace of our weeks has changed significantly and, wonderfully, for the better. I started the year feeling stretched too thin and like I was fraying at the edges. I'm ending the year appreciating the slower pace that allows time for my two priorities: family and writing. As I look to 2019 I'm thinking about how to make the most of the time I spend on each one.
I haven't settled on my 2019 goals yet but I have ideas percolating. I've found that I love to have a few weeks to decide on my goals. It's something that's done without writing anything down; it's only a mental exercise. First, I think about the past year and ask myself a lot of questions: what did I accomplish? What went well? What was challenging? What do I want to change? Then I start thinking about the clean slate of a new year and what I want to do with the next 365 days. I always have too many ambitions than could be fit in a single year so giving myself time to think them over helps me make realistic goals for the year. As I start to settle on potential goals I think more specifically about them: what would accomplishing this goal really look like? What habits would I need to practice to achieve the goal? Is it in significant conflict with parts of my life I'm not willing to change?
Making goals is always an exciting exercise to me. With a clean slate and whole year ahead of me I get the feeling that I can do anything. It's energizing! But I've learned over time that I have to temper my energy with gentle reality. Through the years I've learned to be wary of the "should" goals. These are the goals that vie for a spot on my list just because the collective internet seems to be doing it or perhaps someone I admire has done it. I'm getting better at digger deeper into the why of a goal and ferreting out the ones that don't actually support my passions and values.
Recently I read Meet the Frugalwoods and The Year of Less which left me feeling strongly inspired to make 2019 a year of less spending and buying. My writing is also on my mind. Specifically, I'm thinking about how ambitious I want to make my writing goals for the next year. Finishing my book proposal is a definite and that's a pretty big one. But there's so much else I want to do! On the one hand there are plenty of blogs/books/inspiring people who cheer, "Just go for it! Find those extra chunks of time, even if they're at 4 a.m. and write, write, write!" And that sounds really appealing. At the same time, as my weeks go now I don't write as much as I would love to but I'm not sure what part of my week I want to swap out for extra writing. Although as I think about it, I'm sure there are a few more dedicated work sessions to be found each month. It would just need some planning ahead with Chris. There are likely ways I could be more strategic with the days when both boys are in school each week. That leaves me feeling like I want to have writing goals that push me, but realistically.
I haven't done this before but I like the idea of setting goals or intentions for different areas of my life like finances, parenting, marriage, friendships, health, home, and writing/creativity. Maybe that's something I'll try this year.
For the past few years I've also chosen an intention for the year: Connect, Choose, The Year of Kelsey. I'm on the fence about doing this for 2019. I like the idea of it but then I also don't like picking out a theme for the year without seeing how the year actually unfolds. For someone who loves structure and ritual I feel a weird rebellion against the one word intention for the year. I've thought that instead perhaps I'd like to choose a phrase or quote. That's something to think about.
I'd love to know how you go about thinking about goals for a new year if you make them. Or if you can convince me to stop being such a grouch about picking a one word intention for the year. ;)