Archive of ‘goals’ category

2015 Goals

Goodness, how is it 2015? I turn 30 this year! How did I get to be such an adult? I think my brain is still stuck in 2000. The other day I referenced WWII as being 60 years ago. Nope, that was 75 years now.

Time is a ticking, my friends.

It always takes a lot of energy to enter back into the world of routine after the holidays. Even though I worked up to Christmas Eve, the days leading up to it were lax in my office and we all found ourselves loopy for a break. And during my time off, I got used to sleeping in past 8am (well, it only happened twice, but it was so nice!), wearing sweatpants until noon, going out for a long lunch, and being around the people I love the most. So to say goodbye to friends and family, take down the twinkle lights, put on heels and enter back into routine leaves me a little wary to enter the new year with gusto.

Nevertheless, I know the beauty of the holidays wouldn’t be half as brilliant if my life looked like that every day, and Lord knows I really need early mornings and routine back in my life before I turn into a sloth. And, as you may know already, I love a good new year challenge, a chance to reflect on the past year and look ahead to the things I want to accomplish this year.

I also like to ease into my goal-making for the year, too. It takes some time for me to reflect over the past year and really think about what I want to accomplish in the next. I’m not really a resolution girl, they are way too hard to keep! But goals — actionable, tangible goals are more my speed. I also find it refreshing to read what other people have to say about the goal-making process before I start mine, so here are a few life-giving articles I’ve read in the last week that I thought to share:

The Thing About Being More Awesome… - Jen Hatmaker
Burn the Candles -Shauna Niequist
Lara Casey’s Goal-Setting Series

The first half of the year is going to be full and busy — I’m taking a weekend trip to Florida with my inlaws, my sister is getting married, we are going to Europe for 10 days, and my other sister is having a baby in May. The second half, though, is a little unclear and there is very little on the calendar. Regardless, it will be neat to see what comes our way this year.

My main prayer this year is that God will give me openness. An open heart to receive his grace. Open hands to freely give and freely receive. Open to others on the things I’m failing at and am learning. Open with my time. Open eyes to see everything that comes my way, whether good, or bad or really annoying, as a gift and an opportunity for gratitude.

On to my goals….

happy new yearJ and me on New Year’s Eve. I love that guy.

2015 Goals

Go to Europe. Our flights and hotels are booked and we leave in March for two weeks to London, Paris and Germany! We have been planning this trip for the last three years, and I can’t believe this is the year it will finally happen. I also want to blog through how we’re paying for this trip (spoiler – we have only spent $11 so far), and a full recap of the memories we will make while we are there.

Run a 10k. Running is my exercise of choice, and I’ve learned I run better and more often when I have a goal. I ran my first 5 miler in the fall, and absolutely loved it! I’ve run 5ks, half marathons and even a marathon, but never a 10k before, and think it is the perfect distance. I may do a half marathon again this year if I have a few friends who will join with me, but for now I will just stick to training and running in a 10k race.

Complete the Live Life Beautifully journal and a Best of My Days calendar. I started following Gretchen’s instagram feed about a month ago, and have been so encouraged by her posts and bought her journal for each week this year. She’s a girl after my own heart. I also hope to write one thing I am grateful for, or a good part of my day, using Ashley Ann’s daily calendar she shared last month. I gave this as gifts to a few friends for Christmas, and have been so encouraged to see what they have written so far.

Don’t weigh myself for six months (except at the doctor’s office). Y’all this one is a biggie. I resolve every year, like everyone else in America, is to find and maintain a balanced and healthy lifestyle. It may seem like a silly and counter-intuit goal to not weigh yourself if you are trying to be healthy, but I’ve noticed that the number on the scale can drastically effect my mood and my activity and eating habits. If the number goes up, I start to workout like crazy and feel really bad about my body. If the number goes down, I feel like I’m doing okay and indulge a little more. My hope in taking out the scale altogether is to just be healthy, and to stop thinking about myself so much. Let the way I feel dictate my health, not a number on the scale. I’d like to try it for six months and see whether it’s a practice I want to continue or not.

Host a Galentine’s Day party. I tried to host one last year but had to cancel it because we had six inches of snow (here’s my sad IG post). So maybe this year it’ll happen.

Celebrate my 30th birthday in style! I can’t believe I turn 30 this September! I’m not sure exactly what “in style” may entail, but I’d like to celebrate it in a non low-key boring way. :) And same for J… he turns 30 in June. However he wants to celebrate it, I’m game.

Landscape the backyard. I decided to pour most of my domestic energy into decorating the house last year, but this year it’s time to focus outside! If half of this list gets accomplished, I’ll be a happy camper.

My list includes:
– add pavers along one side of our house
– create a natural area on the other side of the house with wildflowers
– get rid of the bushes in the back that have died, and maybe replace with privacy trees?
– plant peonies
– fix or replace our canopy outside (it’s been beaten up in the wind/rain/snow)

Get dining chairs for our new table. We bought our table in October for a great deal from West Elm, and are looking for chairs to match. It’s so hard to find six affordable, timeless yet chic-looking chairs without paying $1k!

Go to Lake Lynn every month. My favorite place to run or walk is Lake Lynn in Raleigh, so I’d like to go at least once a month. My goal is to have 12 photos of the lake by the end of the year.

Read 20 books. Maybe 20 is a little aggressive, but I’ve already finished three this year, thanks to my quiet break, so I’m going with it. To see all of the books I read, or plan to read, see my goodreads profile.

Write to our sponsored child six times this year. My goal last year was to write to our sponsored child through Compassion International each month, but that was hard to keep up with. I’m going to shoot for six times this year, and hopefully will end up exceeding that number.

Declutter every space in my home, and reduce the stuff we own! It’s pretty likely I will get to the end of December and have the same goal, since this is an ongoing challenge, but I still want to go through each space in my home and declutter what I can. My goal is that whenever anyone asks, “Where is____?” I know exactly where it is. A place for everything, and everything in its place.

This list includes (for my reference throughout the year):
– master bedroom closet and dresser
– master bathroom cabinets
– guest bedroom closets and dresser (3)
– guest bathroom cabinet
– desks (2)
– coat closet
– office bookcases (files and papers)
– hutch and entryway cabinet
– kitchen cabinets
– kitchen pantry
– living room bookcases
– garage
– cars

Meal plan every week. It’s amazing how 20 minutes of meal planning can help the rest of the week flow so much easier. Also, I’d really like to eat at the table more this year, and not park ourselves in front of the TV all evening. I’ve thought about sharing our meals each week on this blog, but we’ll see if that ends up happening. :)

Create a capsule wardrobe. Google that phrase, and you’ll get all kinds of resources on how and what exactly a capsule wardrobe entails. I am not looking to create a super minimal wardrobe, per say, but rather a thoughtful one. I want to be able to wake up in the morning and not have to run around finding an outfit that looks great and (the kicker) I haven’t worn in the last four days.

Go on a date with J once a month. And bonus if it’s going out to a restaurant we’ve never been before.

Follow the Chronological Bible Reading plan. The chronological bible reading plan follows the Bible through the events that happened in chronological order. I don’t know that I will finish this plan by the end of the year, because that time commitment normally makes me feel rushed, but I’d like to finish at least 3/4 of the plan this year.

Phew! I’ve got some work to do. Here’s to 2015!!

Do you make resolutions or goals in the new year?
What goals do you have this year? I’d love to hear!

January Goals

January 2015 Goals

Happy January! Time for monthly goals again. This month is all about restoring the routine and balance that December took. It should be a fairly quiet month, aside from a 3-day weekend in Florida with J’s family.

Here are the things I’d like to get done this month….

January Goals:

  • Write to Jacques, our compassion international child
  • Meal plan each week
  • Fast from sugar, starting yesterday!
  • Read two books
  • Walk an average of 12,000 steps using my Jawbone
  • Do at least 10 push-ups a day
  • Blog at least 10 times (ignore the day above, I meant to write month!)
  • Work 7:30 – 4:30 each day

What are your goals this month?
My 2015 goals coming up next…. tis the season! :)

Highlights of 2014

Happy New Year, friends! I am slowly coming out of my holiday cave and easing back into routine again. Not an easy task! It was so nice to take a couple of weeks off of work to celebrate the holidays with my friends and family.

Before I dive into the new year planning and goal-making, I want to first reflect on this past year, what went well, what didn’t go well, and highlights.

What went well: It’s really easy for me to start the new year with a list of things I want to improve without acknowledging the positive changes I’ve made in the last year. If there’s one word I would describe 2014, it would be Focus. At the end of 2013, I really struggled with my time and how I was spending it. Today, my life is a lot more balanced. I am not any less busy, in fact I think I have added more to my weekly schedule, but every commitment I have brings me great joy. And I’m able to say no more easily to the things that aren’t as important. This mindset is what spurred my 31-day challenge on how to make decisions. I also developed a habit of exercising regularly, even if it’s just a walk on my lunch break. I am learning that physical activity is something my body craves in order to feel whole.

What didn’t go well: I only finished a fraction of my goals, and rarely touched this blog. The beginning of the year was extremely busy (see April, May and June below), and I realized during this time that I probably need to scale back on what I say yes to. Looking back I don’t know what I would have cut out, but maybe if I had planned better it wouldn’t have been quite so draining. I also didn’t grow a garden or really pay any attention to my yard for most of the year, did not maintain healthy eating habits, and found myself constantly thinking about what others think of me. All of these things I really wanted to work on. But progress is better than perfection, and I’m thankful for the little baby steps I’ve taken in each of these areas.

God has definitely been working in my heart this past year, and I find myself feeling like Jacob, wrestling with him on a few areas of my life. I saw in so many different ways the brokenness of this world, and it makes me long for heaven each day. I’m hoping in the next year God will continue to teach me about his kingdom and know him better to trust him more fully.

Now, for the years’ highlights by each month:


January | The beginning of the year started off very cold! In fact some schools were delayed in Wake County because it was too cold for the kids to stand outside (only in the South!). I started a paleo-only diet, which was hard, but a good jump into the new year. I started working out at a yoga studio, and tried to take at least two classes a week. Two of my dear friends had baby showers this month, and it was so fun to shower them with gifts and love for their baby boys due in February!


February | We hosted a super bowl party and my cousin stayed with us for a few days while she was interviewing for Duke’s MBA program. We had a pretty big snow storm (for Raleigh), which resulted in an intense day of traffic jams across the Triangle, and my sister inlaw Katie was snowed in with us. My friend Allison’s baby Owen was born, and a day after he was born we learned he had a serious heart condition. The last weekend of February I went to Atlanta to meet him and be with my friends as they dealt with this sad news.


March | March was hard, as my friends’ baby was in the hospital the entire month. I felt very helpless during this time. I took a lot of yoga classes this month, and would spend that time praying for Owen. My friend Julie had her baby at the beginning of the month, and I celebrated my dad’s 60th and my sister’s 30th birthday in Charlotte, and hosted my family for my other sister’s 27th birthday. During this month I went to Blacksburg, VA, for work (pictured above).


April | Owen’s health declined in the first week of April, and passed away on April 7th. It was such a shock, and pretty much rocked my world. We went to the funeral the next weekend, and two days later I headed on a plane to Haiti for a week. My trip to Haiti was incredible, and truly a life-changing experience. I went from the luxurious first world of Raleigh to the slums of Haiti in just six hours. We also celebrated our third anniversary this month.


May | May was a bit of a blur. The first weekend we went to Hillsville, VA, with my family for a relaxing weekend away. The next weekend we went to Knoxville, TN with J’s family for a wedding. The following weekend I went to the beach with Allison, Carrie and Christen — the weather was gorgeous! We were in town for Memorial Day, and it was a much-needed three-day weekend after I had been out of town for six weekends in a row! We also hosted a cinco de mayo party, went to a reunion potluck with my Haiti group, and had our interior walls painted.

juneJune | June was my favorite month of the year. We went to Boone the first weekend to celebrate J’s 29th birthday with our friends Brady and Austin. Then we took a trip to Boston and toured the city for three days. I just love traveling! My sister Lucy started dating Adam this month, and they spent a weekend in Raleigh, and pretty much spent the whole time playing Dominion. It was so fun!


July | We hosted some friends in town for July 4th. During that weekend Allison, Carrie and I decided to go on the Whole30 diet, and pretty much consumed my mind for the next 25 days. We went to Charlotte for a family reunion, and celebrated my mom’s birthday in Greensboro. My friend Melissa helped me add wainscoting to our dining room, which took two weekends to finally finish! We also hosted J’s friend Reynolds many weekends over the summer, since he was in town.


August | The first weekend in August we drove to Athens, GA for a family reunion with J’s family. It was so great to meet so many people I had heard about for years! J went to Smith Mountain Lake with some guy friends one weekend, (which resulted in a ruptured ear drum), so I went to my parents’ annual Mardo Staycation without him. Over Labor Day we went back to the lake with our couple friends and their daughter. Also I think everyone who has access to Facebook will remember August 2014 as the month of the ALS challenge.


September | This month we spent a week in Disney World with my inlaws. What a fun trip! We went with J’s family and their family friends. On the way home my older sister Carrie called to tell me she was pregnant!! Best news ever! As the summer came to an end, our small group began to meet weekly again, and the girls in the small group started meeting every Friday morning before work. I also started meeting with three girls every other Tuesday night. Our air conditioning broke during this month and it was HOT. Also, I turned 29.


October | I had two girls weekends this month — the first one with my Hamilton Lake girls, hosted at my house, and the second one in Charlotte with some friends from college. I was training for the Savannah Half Marathon in November, so I did a lot of running this month, including participating in the Bull City Race 5 Miler with some friends. We hosted a pumpkin-carving party, and celebrated halloween at home. We also ordered a new dining room table!


November | I didn’t end up running the Half Marathon in Savannah, but am really happy I had trained for it during the fall. My parents came to town one weekend to help plant bushes and flowers in our yard. I attended the Internet Summit conference with work, and we voted in the mid-term elections. Lucy and Adam stayed with us for one night, and played more Dominion. :) We went to my family’s for Thanksgiving, which was hosted at my uncle and aunts in Winston-Salem, and went shopping on Black Friday with my sisters and brothers in law. The Saturday after Thanksgiving J and I went to a Relient K concert.


December | Ah, December! I already miss my house filled with the lit tree and all of those sweet treats! Normally Decembers are crazy busy, but we managed to keep things pretty minimal this year, at least in the beginning of the month. My sister Lucy got engaged the first weekend!! We also celebrated our friends’ graduation at a Japanese steakhouse. One Thursday evening I went shopping with J’s sister and mom and then out for appetizers and drinks. Since we were with J’s family on Christmas Day, we celebrated early with my family the weekend before, mixed with dress shopping and an engagement party for Lucy. We spent Christmas in Cary with J’s family, and went to Duke Hospital on Christmas Eve, serving food for those in the hospital over night. We celebrated the new year in Charlotte with our friends, ringing in the new year with yummy appetizers, a photobooth, and a hilarious game of Quelf (anyone played this silly game?).

Man, what a year. Here’s to the next 12 months!

December Goals

hello december

I’m about 17 days late on posting these goals, but in my defense, I did write them up over Thanksgiving, just haven’t posted them on here yet. On the long list of things to do this month, writing on the blog keeps getting shuffled lower on the list. But as I’m about 99% done with all of my buying and wrapping, maybe that’ll change soon. :)

December goals:

  • Go through this advent book with J
  • Have all of our gifts purchased and wrapped by December 19th
  • Go for a walk or a run once a day
  • Send out our Christmas cards
  • Watch all my favorite holiday movies!
  • Buy life insurance and a will for our family (two things leftover from my 2014 goals!)
  • Thoughtfully prepare for the new year, creating goals for finance, giving and personal enrichment/challenges
  • Finish a holiday puzzle

What are your goals this month? How’s everyone’s December so far? I can’t believe Christmas is a week from tomorrow. Eeps!

PS – See more December goals from 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010.

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