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Goals & Yearly Reviews

Life is a series of moments, some seared in our memories in their significance and magnitude, but most passing by quietly unnoticed. I believe that your best life– the most abundant and fulfilling kind– doesn’t happen by accident. It’s by deliberately making the most of each moment to carry you towards your dreams.

2016 Goals

Time for the declaration of our 2016 goals! This post is a throwing of a gauntlet for us. We’ve finally settled on what areas of life we want to focus on this year, and we’re putting it out there in the hopes that it will help us stay the course the next 12 months.

This year, I fell back on an old system of mine to narrow down my ideas and help identify specific areas for work. I thought through my life in quarters: mind, body, heart, and soul. I developed goals under each of these, some as an individual and some as a couple with Tyler. Here they are… and I’m sure you’ll hear some about them throughout the year as well!


In 2015…

… the days felt long and the year seemed short.

We often talk about how our year still moves on a school kid schedule. We were in school until our early twenties, then we worked for a school, then we started moving to a new place at the end of every summer. So in a way, we’ve had beginnings and endings of years just like everyone else, but we think of them on an August to August kind of rotation.

So when we sit down to think back on 2015, it’s crazy to us that so much of what we think of from “the past year” is actually from 2014. So we immediately cut out half of our memories. And then we realize that what we think of as the last half a year is actually been a whole year!!  That probably doesn’t make sense to anyone but us, but it still blows my mind every time. I just don’t know where 2015 went.

To give you an idea of what’s gone down in 2015, here’s an overview via the same quiz we used last year, plus a few photos just for fun.


15 Goals for 2015

goals venn 2

I love a good catchphrase, and the old “# of things in # of days” is classic. I decided to follow the lead of other resolution-setters this time of year and throw a cap –or stretch goal, depending on how you look at it– on our goals for the year. Naturally, it is 15 goals for 2015. We have a few additional things we’d love to achieve this year, but this post covers our set-and-spoken ones. (And as I mentioned in our last post, setting and speaking your goals is key.)

When Tyler and I sat down together and began brainstorming, I was filled with the kind of excitement and anticipation that comes only at a fresh start of something new. As my family loves to quote,

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”
– Anne of Green Gables

And so that is how we’ve set out. Determined not to be discouraged by how many random targets we’ve set up in the past, and the seeming failure of missing the mark a few too many times, but with a clean slate and a fresh start. 2015 is a new year ready to be conquered and enjoyed!

So here you are… our 15 goals for 2015. I’ve separated them by goals unique to Tyler or me, and then the larger set of goals we hope to achieve together.


How to Prioritize and Set Goals in a New Year

The new year seemed to arrive to our world suddenly– as it often does– leaving our heads spinning and our collective voices sputtering phrases like “So soon?”.. “Can’t believe 2014 is gone already!” .. “Wasn’t it just last week I was learning to write the new date on my checks/papers/reports!?” It appears the new year always catches us off guard, regretting at least a little the lack of carpe diem over the past 365 days. 

Thankfully, this year Tyler and I had enough milestone experiences that we had a few solid memories to fall back on when reminiscing about 2014. We covered a lot of that in our year-end review so I won’t rehash it all, but it did feel good that as we were arguing about deciding on answers to that quiz, we had plenty of possible events from which to draw. As my sister says of her incredible last year,

“We dreamed a lot of dreams, and then we got to live them”.

When Tyler and I met and started to see the future as more of “ours” than “yours and mine”, we talked a lot about what we wanted. And now here we are, making that happen in small but determined ways.

During the first church service of 2015, our [unconventional] pastor launched us all right into the new year with a worksheet designed to help us recognize life priorities and form goals around those. I could not have been more thrilled since introspection and organization and imagination are some of my favorite things. Tyler was a little less than enthused, mostly because he’s not so future-oriented… but perhaps because I’d already made him do a little dreaming and goal-setting at home on January 1st 😉 However, as we worked through the questions prompting us to look at various aspects of our life, it was fun to see how we’d already gotten a good start being intentional about our growth this year.

Our pastor told us in closing that coming up with goals– and then writing them down– made us 4x as likely to accomplish them. I can’t vouch for the exact accuracy of that statistic, but in my own life that has held true. We would encourage you too to spend some time at the beginning of this new year reviewing what is important to you and making a plan to focus on specific goals for the year. To help you get started, here are some questions from the worksheet:

Consider each of the following areas: Spiritual, Family, Physical, Career/Calling, Financial, Social, and Personal

What is the best practice to adopt for each of these in the next year? Identify the:

  • Dream
  • Problem (the thing preventing the realization of the Dream)
  • Solution
  • Voice of God (speaking to you regarding the Dream/Problem/etc)
  • Step (what is needed to get going in the direction of the Dream)
  • Daily Practice 

What are the two most discouraging things going on in your life? What needs to happen to overcome these obstacles?

What ONE daily practice would make the greatest difference in your life? (Time and Place)

The brainstorming we did on our own was a little more simple, just throwing around ideas and crazy goals that we still find achievable. We like to think most things are in the realm of possibility if we: only pick a few, determine from the beginning to support each other, and start fresh each day, deciding to take advantage of what that day has to offer.

Stay tuned to find out what kind of goals we’ve set for ourselves this year, as well as some of the practical tools that help us stay on track throughout the year!

In 2014…

… we lived a full life.

We laughed, we cried, we made mistakes, and we made progress.
And to give you a little glimpse, here’s our 2014 via this fill-in-the-blank quiz.


We gained a new appreciation for the magnitude of a cross country move.

We lost the security of a predictable life when we left Marion.

We stopped at plenty of restaurants to try their milkshakes.

We started acknowledging issues in our individual lives and determined to address them together.

We were immensely fulfilled by the time we were able to spend with family.

We were frustrated by our failure to stay in consistent touch with close friends and family. 

We were so embarrassed that we did not get a Christmas card out in 2014(!!)

Once again, we tried pho in nearly every city we visited.

Once again, we didn’t find the world’s greatest bowl of pho. (We intend to travel to Vietnam to find it!)

The biggest difference between us last January and this January is we are warmer in Alaska than we were in Marion.

We loved spending time sharing meals with friends, new and old.

Why did we spend even two minutes arguing about silly things?

We should have spent more time being silly and telling jokes. (i.e. What did the pirate say on his 80th birthday? Aye matey!)

We regret buying seeds for our garden in Marion (we never planted them and then left during prime growing season anyway).

We will never regret buying a plane ticket for Hobbes to come up to Alaska even though with that money we could have bought 3 new kitties in Alaska.

We spent time staring at screens way too much.

We didn’t blog consistently enough.

Gas prices (particularly in the Yukon….$7/gallon!) drove us crazy.

Was Justin Bieber crazier than ever last year? Or was it just us?

The most relaxing place we went was the Takhini Hot Springs near Whitehorse, YT.

Why did we go to see a production of A Christmas Carol during a tornado warning? We spent most of it sheltered in the boy’s locker room.

The best thing that we did for someone else was support Mercedes so that she could go to school, stay healthy, and keep learning more about Jesus. (Meet your own child to sponsor here.)

The best thing that we did for ourselves was decide to get jobs that we enjoy, despite the pay cuts.

The best thing someone did for us was coming to help us pack and clean our entire house when we left Marion. (Thanks Katrine!)

The one thing we’d like to do again, but do it better, is sell our things, pack what’s left, and head somewhere new. (Coming in August 2015!)

What did you do in 2014? We’d love to know how you would answer some (or all!) of these questions too! Now that we’re a week into the new year, maybe you are finally ready to look back too 🙂