Setting Goals as an Act of Hope

A new year means new motivation for projects and goals, right? Ringing in the new year in the dead of winter seems a bit counterintuitive. We’ve put most of the Christmas IMG_8058decorations away – we’ll save the lights for after Epiphany tomorrow. We’re still on Winter Break from school so our schedule is wonderfully relaxed but it’s still thrown off. It’s dark out early and I find myself struggling to get motivated. (I realize this is a Northern Hemisphere problem – my guess is that our Southern neighbors have a completely different view of new year’s goals.)

Maybe we need to set goals while we’re in hibernation mode? Maybe ringing in the new year right after the shortest day of the year is a way of keeping hope and looking forward to a season when it’s just easier to be motivated.

What I’m learning about my new year’s goals and hopes is that they don’t need to be achieved in January. Setting these goals is an act of hope for the entire year – for direction during those cozy, lethargic winter days as well as those bouncy, energetic spring days.

Many others have linked the season of winter to our own spiritual growth – of letting our roots dig in without signs of life; of giving ourselves rest to produce fruit later. I’m learning to take this approach even more globally.

As I read and learn about global conflict and am motivated to examine my own participation in activism, I’m also recognizing this season of growing my roots, of setting down a foundation before I act. As I look ahead in our family’s next stages, I remember that this is a season of growing strong roots in our girls – that this time before we send them off is mundane yet incredibly valuable.

I’m learning to view my goals and resolutions and one word as a long-term vision, not a quick checklist. That I’m on a slow walk through life, not a spirit or even a marathon.

How do you pace yourself in January? How do you balance goals with resolutions; short-term ideas with long-term visions?

Linked with Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing. Today’s prompt is “motivate.”

14 thoughts on “Setting Goals as an Act of Hope

  1. Hi Annie,
    Great ideas. And I know God will lead you to His purposes as you listen to Him.
    I love this sentence. “I’m learning to view my goals and resolutions and one word as a long-term vision, not a quick checklist.”
    Long term visioning is very important and day to day faithfulness too.
    Blessings
    Janis Cox FMF #24
    I tweeted your post.

  2. Great thoughts, Annie. I try to keep long-term goals in mind (even when the concept seems absurd for me!) and set short-term and modest goals that will at least allow progress…but without pressuring myself. I’ve reached the limit of how hard I can push, and now have to rely on simple Grace.

  3. I really liked your post about reading negative reviews. I never thought that that small act would open a door to understanding. I pace my goals by doing what I want to do right away. That seems to quicken my pace for those “should do’ goals.

    1. Thanks – I’m trying to remember that it really is the small things that make changes… I’ve read about prioritizing goals like that – may need to try it out!

  4. Even in our warmer days with more sunlight, I’ve been thinking hibernation sounds good. I’ve also been thinking about its purposes and appreciate you touched on that here.

    1. I kinda like hibernating… If only the girls did, too! 😉 I need to remember that God orders our rhythms and the seasons thoughtfully and I need to pay attention…

  5. Hi Annie, thanks for sharing this! I have a really hard time when I leave for work in the dark and come home in the dark- it just feels so depressing and I lack motivation. Thanks for giving permission to extend your goals beyond just January and be more realistic!

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