Goals for the New Year

The year is almost over & as I slowly shop for Christmas presents for my loved ones, I'm also seeing the new year creeping closer & closer. I usually wait until December (AKA the last minute) to start thinking about this topic. By then, it seems too late to gather any resources. Plus, the holidays sweep in, taking over any margin I might have in my days.

This year, I'm taking some time a little earlier to set myself up for success. Hopefully.

Here are a few of the goals I'm setting for this new year & how I'm prepping for them.

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How to Set Goals for the New Year

Before I get to my goals, I want to share my thought process in setting them.

  1. I usually start with a big picture in mind. What do I want life to look like at the end of next year? Is life too busy or too stagnant? Where do I want to see growth?
  2. Then, I start categorizing some goals: personal walk with the Lord, family, health, etc.
  3. Next, I break these goals into measurable steps. Any other Patch the Pirate kids remember the "Little by Little" song? A big goal like "read 60 books" can be broken down into "read 5 books each month." "Lower blood pressure" would need different steps like "eat vegetables & fruit at every meal" or "exercise for 30 minutes 5 times a week" or "practice a regular quiet time & meditation."
  4. An optional last step is to find some habit-forming, goal-setting resources. Whether that's a podcast or a book, these types of experts have some of the best strategies for how to achieve your goals. This might also involve some type of accountability, so share your goals with a friend who would be willing to come alongside you.

I wrote a post a couple years ago about setting goals, so be sure to take a peek at that if you want a little more detail.

My Goals for the New Year

So, what are these goals that I'm hoping to accomplish?

New Year Goal #1 - 1000 Hours Outside

If you know me in real life, you probably have gathered that I'm not very athletic or very outdoorsy. However, I do like to garden. I don't mind easy hikes or walks through nature. Best of all, I like how much better my mood is & my kids' moods are when we've had some time outside.

I am also fully aware of where I live. Winters in New Hampshire are long & cold! Stocking up on the snow basics will be essential, but I'm fully expecting a slower start to this goal than I would usually want. I'm confident that we will make up for the winter months with the others! Have you heard of the forest schools in Scandinavia? They have preschoolers outside for the majority if not all of their time at school.

If you haven't heard of the 1000 Hours Outside movement, you should really look into it. Ginny Yurich started writing & researching this topic. It quickly caught on & became a worldwide movement of families who saw the benefits of spending more outside. She has a new book coming out November 2023 & another book full of ideas that will keep your family enjoying the outdoors through any weather. There are trackers to help you log your hours on her website. I'm really looking forward to seeing how we do!

For more ideas & inspiration, here are a few other books that might be helpful in getting you & your family outside a little more, too!

stack of outdoor books

Materials I'm gathering for goal #1--

  • 1000 Hours Outside Tracker
  • Books with outdoor activity ideas
  • Outdoor toys (sleds, jump ropes, sports equipment, scooters, gardening items, & other things we find interesting)
  • Nature study tools (binoculars, field guides, magnifying glasses, etc.)

New Year Goal #2 - Read Through the Bible in a Different Version

For the first 20 years of my life, it was the old King James Version of the Bible & nothing else. I'm not bashing the KJV at all - some of the verses that I memorized back in AWANA still hang out in those far back recesses of my brain.

When I got married & we moved away, we started attending a church that used the English Standard Version. Having already been using that version in my personal devotions, I was excited to hear it used regularly as the text of the sermons preached & Sunday school lessons taught. Since then, we've only been in churches that use ESV. Over the last few years, I've enjoyed reading through this version of the Bible & getting very familiar with it.

So, this year, I bought myself a Christian Standard Bible. (I bought mine in YELLOW for sunshine, of course!) The CSB comes highly recommended by people much, much smarter than me, so I'm eager to get to know yet another translation of God's Holy Word.

I'm not sure what reading plan I'll follow, so if you have a recommendation, send it to me! (UPDATE: I just found this one through a post from Melissa Kruger & might give it a try! It looks very similar to one I did before & that's exciting to me because I really loved it but it was a 9-month plan where I'd like to stretch it out over the full year. Our church is also going to be doing a plan together, so that might be more helpful to have a study group to read along with. I haven't seen the schedule yet, so I'm still undecided.)

If you'd like some resources for your own Bible study, here are some recommended tools & a list of Bible journaling prompts.

Materials I'm gathering for goal #2--

  • CSB Bible with study notes
  • Bible Reading Plan
  • Pens, etc.

New Year Goal #3 - Keep a Nature Journal

Blame it on all the Charlotte Mason homeschooling accounts I follow, but I've been wanting to start a nature journal for a couple of years now. I also want my kids to get into this habit, too. I just keep putting it off over & over. So, this year, I'm going to get my materials ready ahead of time & I'm going to set the example of mindful observation & recording of God's creation. I'm planning to start small & then add as the habit becomes more well-formed. As a bonus, this will go really well with my first goal!

  • Inspiration:
  • Phenology Wheel: There are so many ways to do this, but I was thinking of doing one for the whole year & maybe one for each month. You can track the weather, temperature, moon phases, etc. I've seen some really beautiful ones, but I'm sure mine will be very amateur. But that's OK!
  • Journal Prompts: I'm pinning some blog posts with helpful prompts to get me started. I'll put that board here so you can look at it it, too.
  • Books:

Materials I'm gathering for goal #3--

  • Notebook
  • Pencil & Pen
  • Watercolor Supplies

A Few Other Goals...

While these are the big changes I'd like to make, I'd be lying if I didn't want to accomplish a few more things this next year. I do have other more personal goals, but these are a couple more goals that I'm setting.

Reading Goals:

This has become an annual tradition for me. (If you've been keeping track of my blog for a bit, you probably know that I've documented the past few years of my reading lists.) I think I'll probably end this year with around 70 books doing a slower, more methodical approach with monthly book review posts. If I keep writing those posts I will probably set this goal around 60 to encourage myself to keep up the more careful reading habit.

As far as determining what to read, I have a STACK of books that need to be read (see the picture below). I also need to start pre-reading some books for homeschooling for next year. We follow the Ambleside Online curriculum which schedules rich, living books in accordance with the educational philosophy of Charlotte Mason. As my kids get older, they need to be more independent, but I also want to read what they're reading.

my to-be-read pile

Blogging Goals:

I'd like to get back to a more regular writing schedule. To do that, I'm working on lists of topics, & I'm tweaking our schedule to leave more margin for this.

The Sunshine Reads series has been helpful in getting me to my reading goal & also get me back in the habit of regularly showing up here.

Health Goals:

Ugh! These are the stereotypical goals, right? But after a year of stress due to a chronic diagnosis in our family, my health needs my attention! I think I need to reframe my view of these things & put more focus on the habits I have. Snacking between meals or after dinner, scrolling through social media before bed, not exercising regularly - all of these habits aren't healthy & thus need to change.

So, I'm planning to print out some monthly habit trackers. I'm going to plan out some exercise rhythms that will encourage strength/bone health, heart health, & posture. This will most likely mean a combination of weights, cardio, pilates, & yoga. And it also means consistency for me. That's the hard one!

What goals are you excited about for the new year? Tell me in the comments, so we can cheer each other on!

Cheering you on!


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