I have never really been one to make new year resolutions.  There is no real reason why other than I am not good at keeping them long term.  I think most people would agree that we always start the new year with good intentions, but then life gets in the way and those resolutions fizzle out.  Instead of new year resolutions, I create small goals for myself all throughout the year that help me to achieve the long-term goals I have for my life.  I have found that to be a much better way for me to stay focused on what I want to accomplish all year long.  At the start of each month, I sit down and think about the things that I want to accomplish that month and I write them down in my calendar and my phone as a constant reminder.  Narrowing down my focus each month, seems to make my goals more manageable and more likely to be accomplished.  This has been a very effective practice for me and is something that I will continue to do. 

Two years ago, I started coming up with a single word that I wanted to focus on throughout the year in addition to my monthly goals.  I saw this idea somewhere, and I really loved it.  I wanted to choose a word that would represent my year as a whole. It was to be a word that I posted around my house and would impact every decision and thought that I had throughout the year.  I wanted to choose a word that would be impactful on my life.  It sort of became my mantra for the year.  My word of the year in 2019 was JOY.  It was something that was really lacking in my life at that time and desperately needed.   I wanted JOY to be my focus for that year as a way to change my mindset and the way that I looked at day to day things going on in my life.  I wanted it to be a constant reminder for me to choose JOY in all circumstances.  It allowed me to focus on the positives instead of the negatives, and by the end of that year, it had become a habit. It was completely freeing.  I feel like it truly made a difference in my life that year and really helped to change the way I looked at everything.  My word for 2020 was RELENTLESS.  My goal was to be RELENTLESS in the pursuit of my goals. That word was placed on my heart after hearing a song that I love.  It was like God turned on that song at the exact moment I was praying about my new word. It turned out to be the perfect word for this past year.   I wanted to focus on being RELENTLESS in multiple areas…relentless in love (for my family and friends), relentless in faith (growing in my relationship with God), relentless in work (making a global impact with my Trades of Hope business), relentless in pursuing my dreams (not giving up on reaching them), relentless in personal growth (becoming a better version of myself), and relentless in joy (continuing to choose joy every day).  While 2020 did not turn out like any of us had planned, I stayed true to my word of the year.  I never gave up and keep pushing forward in all of those areas.  I really was RELENTLESS.  I am proud of myself for continuing to choose joy in the midst of everything that went wrong in 2020.  I chose to see the good that came from it as much as I could, and it brought me so much joy this year.  I also spent more time with my family (thank you COVID) and was really focused in on cultivating my relationships.  My biggest accomplishment of the year, though, was remaining relentless in my work.  I was able to grow my Trades of Hope business in ways I never imagined I could, especially in the middle of a pandemic.  I am very proud of myself for that.  It just proved to me that hard work and persistence are important and can really make a difference.  We should all be relentless in pursuing our goals.

We are already 5 days into a new year, and I have been struggling to find my word of the year for 2021.  The last two came to me so easily and were the perfect fit, but this year’s word has taken a lot of reflection and prayer to find it.  I’ve been toiling around with several words for weeks now.  I’ve had a running list of possible words in my phone since the beginning of December when I started reflecting on the past year and began looking forward to this year.  None of them seemed to be calling to me, though.  If I am being perfectly honest, I still didn’t have the word when I sat down and began writing this post this morning.  It’s true.  I was just kind of hoping that it would come to me as I wrote, and that didn’t happen.  I actually had to stop writing after that last paragraph thinking that I was going to have to postpone this post to another day. I decided to close my computer, close my eyes, and begin praying for the word to come.  I finished my prayer and just sat here with my eyes closed for a few minutes.  I wanted to be still and present.  I wanted to take the time to push out everything around me and just listen to what God had to tell me.  It was in that moment that my word for 2021 appeared in my head.  As I sat here letting the word sink in, it became clear to me that this word was placed on my heart at this very moment because it is exactly the word I need.  It even kind of goes along with my word from last year.  

My word for 2021 is INTENTIONAL.  The Oxford dictionary says that intentional means “done on purpose; deliberate.” I think for me that it ultimately means choosing to make all of my decisions and actions about things that are important to me.  It means taking an active role in my life and with my time versus living my life just reacting to what is happening around me or waiting for the storm to end.  That reminds me of that saying, “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It is about learning how to dance in the rain.” I want to dance in the rain.  I want to truly live.  Prior to COVID, my life was crazy.  Most days were spent just going through the motions, trying to make it through.  The pandemic brought with it a much needed break from all that insanity.  It allowed me time to do things that I wanted to do instead of simply doing all the things I thought I had to do.  That is how I was able to grow my Trades of Hope business.  I became more intentional with my time.  I really want to keep that going this year.  I don’t want life to go back to the way it was before this extended break.   I no longer want to live my life reacting and simply surviving as I weather the next storm.  I want to continue to be intentional in my decisions, actions, emotions, and time.  I want to be INTENTIONAL with my quiet time with God—not just asking and repenting but choosing to listen and be still, INTENTIONAL with my work—continuing to be relentless in my pursuit of my goals and using my time wisely, INTENTIONAL with my time—choosing time with family and friends over things that are much less important and keeping my focus on the things that matter, INTENTIONAL with my pursuit of becoming a better version of myself—actively working to become the person I want to be instead of just waiting for it to happen. It is time to take control of my life and start living it the way I want to. It is time to stop merely surviving and start truly living. The more this word is swimming around in my brain, the more excited I am becoming about the future.  This is definitely the right word for me for this time in my life. It came to me when I got INTENTIONAL with my time of prayer. How ironic is that? All I can say is that it is all God! I can’t wait to see how living out my word this year is going to change my life. I just know it is going to be great!


New Year, New Goals

Happy New Year!!! Can you believe it is 2019? I’ve seen the meme going around that this will be the last time we will ever see “teens” in our lifetime.  Does that make you feel old or is it just me? Maybe I am feeling extra old because my birthday is just a few days away.  Maybe it’s because I woke up this morning with everything aching and that happens more an more every day. Maybe it is from the reminiscing about the past year that I’ve been doing the last couple of days. I don’t know but I feel old!  I am sorry to say that this post may be a little sentimental and a little long today! Sorry! 

As we all rang in the New Year last night (some of us with our eyes closed in bed), I think it is only natural that we look back over the past year and all that we have or have not accomplished.  For me, 2018 brought with it many lasts and lots of changes for my family. We had our very last deployment ever, which is probably the one I am most excited about. Being a military wife for going on 19 years has taken its toll on not only me but also the family as a whole. I don’t know the number of times my husband has been deployed.  I know that it is too many to count. The relief that came with that last deployment is one that I am not sure I could ever describe.  While he will continue to take a few small “trips” here and there, he should never have to go on a deployment where he is gone months at a time ever again. That is something to surely celebrate! This news brings about change as well.  We all have to adjust to a different life where he doesn’t leave all the time. We have to figure out our new normal.  While I know there will be some growing pains, I honestly don’t care. Having him here all the time will be completely worth it. With that last deployment came another last.  It was the last time that my husband will ever serve on a submarine. He has been in the Navy and serving on submarines for over 25 years.  That is pretty much his whole adult life.  Not only will he be adjusting to not deploying every few months, he is also adjusting to a completely different job in the Navy, which also brings growing pains.  At his Change of Command Ceremony this past summer, we said goodbye to people that had become our family and to the only way of life we have known together as a family. Good things are coming!

2018 was a big real estate year for us as well.  No, we aren’t in the real estate business, we just have moved a lot and owned 2 houses. We sold our house in Georgia, got new tenants in our other house that we rent out, rented the house that we are currently living in, and began the process of purchasing the house that we will be moving into in the spring. This brought about some lasts and changes as well. I realized that 2018 was probably the last time that I will ever live in the state of Georgia, which has been my home for the majority of my life.  I was born there, lived there until I was 14 years old, went to college there, and lived there for 6 years of my married life.  If you were doing the math in your head, I have lived in Georgia for 24 years of my life. Without giving away my exact age, I will tell you that it is over half of my life. Most of my favorite life memories have been in Georgia. It is kind of sad to think that I will likely never live there again. Thankfully, I have lots of family and friends that live there so I will get to go back and visit often. The change in real estate also brought us to a new place that we will hopefully get to call home for many years.  It is our plan to at least be here until both of our girls graduate from high school. It is important to us that we not move them during the life shaping years of high school.  While starting over somewhere new is always daunting, the idea that this will be home for a long time is such an awesome feeling. Stability and no deployments has been something the whole family has craved forever. 

There are so many other highlights from 2018 such as a family trip to Disney with my parents and nephew, a great trip to NYC with my girls and some of my best friends for gymnastics, my annual beach trip with my peeps that I look forward to all year long, and so many more amazing memories. One of the biggest highlights for me personally, though, was taking the leap and starting this blog.  I cannot tell you how much joy it has already brought to my life, and I know that more greatness is to come from it in the future. Thank you to all of you that show up and read what little old me has to say each day.  It means more to me that you will ever know.  Please continue to share it with the ones you love as well! 

Now on to 2019.  I have never been one that makes New Year’s Resolutions.  However, lately I have been setting monthly goals for myself, and it seems to be working. The key to achieving your goals is to have a plan from the start on how to achieve them.  Words mean nothing if there is no plan of action in place.  We all know that all the gyms around have an influx of new members and attendance in January and that by March they are all empty again. That’s because people make huge resolutions that aren’t realistic for their lives or that they had no long-term plan of action for achieving their resolutions.  I personally think it is better to set goals that are realistic and attainable.  I think you can set big goals for the year, but the key is to make smaller goals within the bigger goal so that you have a chance of achieving it.  For example, one of my goals since November has been to choose gratitude and joy every single day.  This will be a goal that continues into the New Year.  My plan of action for achieving this is to focus daily on things in my life that I am grateful for and that bring me joy.  To help me do this, I have purchased one of Rachel Hollis’s Start Today journals, which encourages you to write down 5 things that you are grateful for each morning, 10 goals or dreams I have for myself, and the one goal I am going to focus on first.  This only takes me a few minutes each morning, which makes it feasible for me to do each day.  Having to come up with the 5 things I am grateful for each day forces me to look for moments throughout each day which in turn helps me to choose joy over negativity.   Also, writing down your goals everyday keeps them in the forefront of your mind and helps you to achieve them.  As a visual learner, this one is key for me.  Seeing my goals in writing every single day really helps me.  I even write my goals, as I have shown you before, in my planner for each month.  I have 3 goals each month that I am working towards that I write in there on top of the 10 goals that I write in my Start Today Journal.  Now, do you need a fancy journal like the one I bought? No, you can pick up any spiral notebook or pretty journal from Walmart or Target and do the exact same thing, which is what I will do when I fill up my current one. 

I also have big goals for this blog for 2019.  I could say that I want to reach 1000 followers by the end of the year, but I am not going to do that.  Instead I am going to set smaller, monthly goals of things I want to achieve. Setting monthly goals that are really attainable will actually make you achieve those bigger goals overall. Another thing that I am doing starting today is following Mel Robbin’s Mindset Reset. If you have not read her book, The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage, you should! You can purchase it here (Amazon). Anyway, she is leading a 35-day mind reset through a series of emails and videos on Facebook that starts TODAY.  You can join through her Facebook page here. I feel like this is going to really help me to achieve all of my goals for the year. Check it out! 

I encourage you all to join me and set small monthly goals for yourself. Make sure that you have a plan of action for achieving that goal.  Write them down every day. Don’t give up. Even when it gets hard, don’t give up. Keep pushing through and you will achieve your goals.  I have faith in myself, and I have faith in you! We can do this! 

Anchored in a New Year,