“Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.” (1 Tim 4:19 ESV)
“I may not be where I want to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be.” – Joyce Meyer
I don’t usually go in for New Year’s resolutions. I gave up that particular foolishness many years ago. Too much pressure. I opted instead to focus on a theme word for the year, trusting the Holy Spirit to point me in the right direction.
But for some reason—maybe the tense, floating, directionlessness we all experienced last year (and let’s face it, are still experiencing)—it feels like 2021 needs more shaping than that. I certainly have a word for this year (post coming soon), but I was moved to compile a list of small-but-mighty goals, as well. Something to help mark the passage of time as pandemic days roll on besides crushing Netflix shows and Cap’n Crunch like it’s my job.
The wonderful thing I noticed once the list was finished is that, compared to past lists, it isn’t a series of boxes I have to strive and sweat to check off. Rather, it’s a collection of soul- and spirit-satisfying transformations—a path of progress rather than perfection. I have time to get there; I don’t need to panic if I haven’t put them all in place by February. And that’s kind of a big deal for me.
So here’s what I came up with. Hat tip to The Joyful Life for the idea to create family goals rather than making it all about me—see, I’m growing already.
- Eat breakfast and dinner together, since we’re all home all the time now anyway
- Have family night once a month, just to play games or watch a movie; we’re all in the house, but we’re usually doing different things, so it’ll be good to set aside intentional time together
- Take a family vacation, just the three of us. Don’t know where we would go but we’ve never done this before, so I really want to do it!
- Put up monthly Bible verses on the bathroom mirror to help get the Word into our memories
- Read 12 books—this feels ridiculously low, but I barely hit that last year, so let’s be realistic; I also want to read more fiction than non
- Go completely wheat-, dairy-, and sugar free to see how it affects the perpetual low-grade cold symptoms I’ve lived with for years; omg there’s sugar in everything
- Have a real date night twice a month, whatever that looks like these days, because we haven’t prioritized our friendship, much less our marriage, in a while
- Have sex once a week—I know Christians don’t like to talk openly about doin’ it, but there has been damage to our intimacy that God wants to heal, and we gotta, you know, do our part
- Pay down $16,000 in debt as the first step in a 5-year plant to be debt-free; you’d faint if you saw the whole number
- Visit my US family, whom I haven’t seen since Thanksgiving 2019, assuming it’s safe and wise to do so
- Better self-care: shower twice a week, floss daily—not proud that this needs to be on the list, but it does
- Schedule four friend dates a month, probably on Facetime or Zoom, because I’m getting weird in my isolation
- Make “the Russian cake” in all of its tedious, honeyed glory
- Complete the “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible” class I started last March 🤦♀️
- Read the New Testament in 30 days, probably as a lead-up to Easter
- Print publish four articles, hopefully getting paid but I’m honestly okay with exposure at this point
- Compile my Psalms study into a devotional book, which I’d ideally give away for free
- Make $250 a month, whether from a part-time job in my field or from growing the business
- Create an online community—this has been on my mind/heart for a long time; I believe in the internet’s ability to bring people together, and I’m tired of fighting algorithms to connect
- Step back from social media to establish my own platform, similar to the above; I have a Big Vision that needs more care and functionality than Instagram