January 2016 Goals!

PIC1068506062Bring on the New Year! It’s time to get down to business. I have lots of plans for making 2016 the best year yet. But it’s going to take a lot of work, a lot of perseverance, and lot of prayer. No worries, I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

In evaluating my accomplishments and struggles from last year, I’ve determined that I lacked a serious support system. I mostly made my goals myself, but nobody held me accountable and nobody pushed me if I was slacking. Turns out, I don’t have much will power when I get into a overwhelmed or defeatist mood.

Changes to my Approach

Some things I’m changing/improving to help me achieve more in 2016:

*I’m partnering with my good friend and fellow fantasy author, J.L. Mbewe, to hold each other accountable with our goals–both business and personal–using monthly video chats and weekly check-ins via Facebook.

*I’m going digital! This is the first year that I will have everything related to organization online. Google Calendars will hold my family calendar, writing calendar, project calendar, and menu planning (possibly cleaning) calendar. I’ll continue using ToDoIst for my to-do list, while expanding categories and use within the program. Both Google Calendars and ToDoIst can be used across devices, so I can update from wherever I am.

*I’m planning my schedule with “time boxes” in mind. (See more about this and other productivity methods here.) With time blocks, I’m giving myself permission to focus on just this ONE task/project for a set amount of time. Because I know the time is set, I don’t have to feel overwhelmed by the project as a whole (if it’s a bit one) but will be making progress; plus, I allow myself not to worry about “other things” because I know I will get to them in their time block. Best of all, it will keep stuff like social media and e-mails from being giant time suckers!

I’m combining this with a couple of other productivity methods, like 15-minute sprints (for cleaning, meal prep, e-mails, etc.) and anti-procrastination philosophies.

*Most important, I’m bringing God back into all areas of my life. I know this may sound hokey or weird, but I’ve found myself pushing God to the back burner, not waiting for or heeding or sometimes even seeking His guidance. That’s why this is a God-first year! More prayer, more listening, more Bible study to bring me into a place of close relationship with Him again.

With those 4 items in my arsenal, along with not biting off more than I can chew or taking my health for granted, I have high hopes for this year!

My Goals for January

  1. Re-install quiet times in the morning and make church a priority. I will start getting up at 6 a.m. to ensure I have time for Bible study and prayer before I start my work day around 6:30 a.m. I will also start preparing for church on Sunday the night before so that I have no excuses for not going unless someone is ill.
  2. Work with my doctor to start making lifestyle changes to improve my health. I have a doctor appointment today, the first one in over a year, with a new doctor. I need to go get my blood sugar under control as well as ensure that nothing else is out of control.
  3. Prepare Bellanok Part 3 for publication the first week in February. I need to finish writing/revising it by Jan. 10; get it back from my critiquers the following week; finish final revisions by Jan. 24; and then get it out to my proofreader/formatter. Whew! (This is what happens when you fall behind over the holidays.)
  4. Put out my first official newsletter to e-mail subscribers. (Sign up now if you haven’t already!)
The sweatshirt I'm wearing this morning!

The sweatshirt I’m wearing this morning!

Yes, I’m pushing myself this month. I need to. I need to see what I’m capable of with this new attitude. Like I said, I have high hopes for the year to come, and that will only happen if I’m healthy and wise.

What are a couple of your goals for January?

Let’s share and keep each other accountable! (If you leave your goals, I will put you on a list, which I will be praying over all month long. In next month’s goal post, I will list your name and goals at the bottom of the list and ask to see how you did! Won’t it be nice to share struggles and achievements?)

A “God First” Year

God FirstinIt’s hard to believe that 2016 is already here. Seems like yesterday I was promising myself to write 500 words/day and lose 30 pounds by Realm Makers. The year flew by–and while I managed to write ore this year than in 2014, I didn’t keep to the 500 word/day, and I think I might have gained some weight.

But, I’m not going to let that get me down. I’m going to face 2016 with all the hope of a blank slate and a new year. Who’s with me?

Now, I’ve made a habit of choosing a word to represent my focus for the coming year. In 2014, that word was prayer, in 2015, it was Happy & Healthy. Usually these words come to me pretty quickly when I’ve sat down to pray and peruse the Bible. This year, though, it was actually a struggle. A few weeks passed. In fact, it was only in the past week that I settled on my new focus.

God First.

Do you ever find yourself skipping out on church because there’s so much work to be done? Me too

Do you ever hit the snooze instead of getting up to enjoy some quiet time with God? Oh yeah.

Do you ever forgo your Bible time in favor of a good fiction book? Yep.

I’m sure we’re all guilty of these at time or another. But more and more these past few years, I’ve been putting these things off more and more often. I’m letting myself become an ineffective Christian.

But I don’t want to be ineffective. I want to be on fire for God. All the time.

I want to put Him first in my life. Before my family. Before my writing. Before all the other things that creep up and strangle my time and focus.

Trust the Lord with all your heart,

And lean not on your own understanding;

In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6

God should be first in my marriage, first in my family, first in my work. He should even be first when considering my finances, my schedule, my homeschool, and my health.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that He’s here in the day-t0-day, right beside us. He wants us to reach out to Him in all things–big and small. He wants s to push ourselves by leaning on Him and letting Him lay out our paths.

As I’m sitting here, considering my goals for 2016, my first thoughts are on how God can lead me in the different areas, how I can put Him first.

I know that I have a lot to learn this year. I look forward to the Holy Spirit’s guidance as I delve deeper into relationship with God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

What is your word for 2016? What does it mean to you?