2017 is going to be a great year for you and your family, I just know it.
You’ve written down your 2017 goals, right? Maybe you’ve even come up with a spreadsheet to carefully lay out your entire plan. Month by month, you know what steps stand between you and Goals of Fabulousness.
That’s a real thing, you know–Goals of Fabulousness. And you shall reach them! I have all faith in you!
If your 2017 goals include lowering your debt and freeing yourself from financial bondage, I know that by December you’ll have made headway. Of course the unexpected might happen and you might not be able to totally reach your initial goal, but it’s okay– you’ll still be better off for having a plan and doing your best.
Maybe your 2017 goals include buying a new house or having a baby. We call these goals HUGE LIFE CHANGES. Good for you, sister. Go get ’em.
Maybe you just want a tidier house or a less crazy schedule. Fine! No one says your 2017 goals have to include a whole new life. Small goals are usually achievable, which makes them my favorite kind.
Okay, but here’s the bad news about your plans.
You can’t do it all. You can’t expect miracles, either. And this is okay.
Repeat after me:
My plans for the new year are just helpful guidelines to get me to the next place in life. It’s okay if I don’t experience a total life change. I will be kind to myself when things go awry.
Because let me assure you– things will go awry. Unexpected bills will show up, the pregnancy test might come back negative (or positive, which can be equally upsetting), and the house purchase might fall through.
Reaching your goals is going to require sacrifice in some areas. If you want to run a marathon this year, you’re probably not going to have as much time to build strong friendships at your church. If you have twins, you’re probably not going to be able to finish your MBA this year. You might want to be able to manage everything you’re already doing plus add in these new plans, but something is going to have to give. Something will need to be cut out.
And this is okay.
Goals are great, don’t get me wrong.
They’re awesome and give structure to our vision. They help us build the life we dream of having. But sometimes we forget that our plans are there to serve us; we don’t have to be enslaved to them.
For years I thought that failure to reach a goal meant that I was a personal failure. I was enslaved to my own plans.
This was stupid and terribly, terribly misguided.
Of course I wanted to build up the savings account and pay down the debt and keep a perfect house and build blanket forts with my children, all while having a perfect marriage. But I am one human.
After many years I realized New Year’s resolutions don’t really mean a whole lot. You know what matters much, much more? Consistent self discipline. That’s the thing that really moves us from the lumps we are right now to the glorious future we envision for ourselves.
You were probably hoping for something much shinier, right? Something sparkly and exciting? And I give you consistent self-discipline as a guide. Bummer.
But please listen to this old woman’s many years of wisdom– it’s far better to have a small, reasonable goal and slowly, diligently meander your way there. The alternative is to drive yourself and everyone around you crazy while you strain for some unattainable perfection.
Please. I beg of you.
Be reasonable, be consistent, be diligent. I’m willing to bet your year and your life will be far better off this way. I want you to succeed and I know you can do it. I just want you sane at the end of the year. Sane and successful!
Before I leave you, let me give you a few recommendations. These are all books or products I have found to be helpful as I move from one place in life to the next. (All are affiliate links, beeteedubs.)
- Start, by Jon Acuff. This book will help you “do work that matters.” Plus, Jon is hilarious.
- The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo. I can feel a new session of decluttering coming. This house is driving me mad. Marie to the rescue– she’ll give us the step-by-step directions to get it all done.
- Bullet Journal: This link takes you to a slightly different list maker than I use, but the premise is similar. Bullet journaling is a way of keeping all your papers and things in one place. I started one this summer and it has changed my life. No more yellow notepads all over the house!
- Debt Proof Living, by Mary Hunt. Yes, you can totally revamp your family’s finances this year. Try Mary’s way. She’s smart and learned the hard way.
I know you can do it. Your 2017 goals are going to be fabulous. Let me know how it works out!