Have you made any goals for 2012 yet? I’m still mulling over mine, but I think I’ve got a basic list:

  • Take a photo every day in 2012
  • Become more physically active—specifically, working out three times a week
  • Completely save for a big purchase in the works for our family
  • Finish writing my book

I’ve got something fun—taking a daily photo, which shouldn’t be too difficult, thanks to my trusty iPhone. One involves me personally, which of course affects my family—but seeing as exercise has always been my frog (see project 1 of my book), it’s easier said than done.

The third is a family project of sorts, and it looks pretty doable so far…. we’re excited. And the last is my daunting mountain to climb, professionally—book writing is no small task, especially with three children at my skirt hem. I learned this back in 2009.

But these goals are possible. They’re lofty and ambitious, yes, but they’re not ridiculous. They walk that fine line between not being too gimme, but not impossible for a busy mama.

I believe God wants us to enjoy Him fully in the life He’s given us, which means that by addressing the practical, we’re freer to delight in His gifts. We can better hike wooded trails when we’re in reasonably good health—our bodies allow us to experience His creation, in other words.

But practical goals should never be the measuring stick that determines our worth. Not exercising three times per week does not make me a horrible person—it makes me a human being. It’s a good goal because it addresses the stewardship of my body, but God adores me regardless of my earthly accomplishments.

Keep this in mind as you make New Year’s resolutions. Keep them focused on making yourself more available to God’s presence, not on becoming perfect. It won’t happen.

My latest book, One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler, equips you with tools and motivation to tackle 52 projects that’ll make your life simpler. (This is why I thought it was such a brilliant title.)

I wonder if one of the 52 projects is one of your 2012 goals? If so, perhaps the book would help.

I’m also offering a code for $1 off—HAPPYNEWYEAR—good through Saturday, January 6.

Friday I’ll share some practical tips on actually accomplishing these goals (sticking to resolutions? Madness!), and a fun way you can use my book and the blogosphere to make it happen.

I’ll also elaborate on a nifty little concept I use to approach goals realistically. Hint: It’s project number 47 in the book.

What are some of your goals for 2012?

  • ~VA~

    2012 goals: Be less quiet, and believe the lies that Satan throws at me less while marinading in God’s truth…a little abstract, but that means that as long as I try I can’t tell myself I failed.

  • http://ajoyrenewed.blogspot.com/ Brittnie (A Joy Renewed)

    My 2012 goals are: to visit my grandmother 2x this year (pre and post baby), to complete a Family Binder (that holds financial info, imperative info, etc), exercise 3x a week, drink more water, and implement a weekly family tradition! I think these 5 goals are reasonable and attainable!

  • http://donnagiftnew.wordpress.com Donna

    To eat more healthy and lose weight.

    It’s my biggest struggle. Seems simple, it’s everyone’s goal. But I can get my weight down to a particular number and can only go up from there.

    I’d love to have your book. Bite size is perfect for someone who’s a little ADD.k

  • http://www.townsend-house.com Heather

    I think my list is too long unfortunately…I tend to be on the perfectionist side. I am trying to organize them into categories, and then it doesn’t feel quite so daunting. My big goal this year though is to read through the Bible again. When I was in high school/college I tried to read through each year, and then I kind of fell away from the daily reading to move on to other things. So that is my big goal this year :)

  • http://freedomtopraise.wordpress.com/ Becky M

    I want to learn to not put stuff down for later — in other words, keeping a neater house by dealing with stuff as I come upon it. Seeing as my husband and I are both retired this is a difficult goal. My part is to put the coat up when I take it off, not lay it down for later, to throw away trash mail, not think “oh, I want to read that so I’ll lay it . . . “. Nothing lofty here, but what a huge difference this could make in my outlook on life.

  • http://monicabrand.com/blog monicabrand

    I’m doing one of my goals right now — comment more. Less silent lurking! More engaging! There is more to online life than Twitter, right?

    Other goals include: exercise, read more classic novels, don’t sweat the small stuff.

    • http://simplemom.net Tsh @ Simple Mom

      That’s a fun one, Monica!

  • Beth WIlliams

    2012 goals: Exercise 7X weekly–at least walking 2-5 miles. Lifting weights, etc.
    Doing some home renovations
    finish reading “The Resolution for Women” & live it daily
    Love more easily–be less judgemental of myself & others.

    The first one shouldn’t be hard at all since hubby and I do it now. The others may take some more working on.

    Also would like God to give me a different job–long story, but don’t like place I’m at in work life!

    That one needs plenty of prayers!

  • http://www.susanstilwell.com Susan Stilwell

    What a cool thought: goals make us available. Never thought of it that way!
    Can’t wait to read your bites.

  • http://dianeyuhas.com Diane Yuhas

    Hi Tsh. I love what you said about practical goals NOT being the measuring stick of our worth. I posted on my blog about New Year goals and perfectionism http://dianeyuhas.com/?p=2462 – from a slightly different angle, of course, but I wanted to say that I think they go well together! Thanks for a great post.

  • http://www.lindsayblogs.com Lindsay

    I was careful in planning out my resolutions this year. I wanted them to be just far enough out of reach that I had to work for them, but not so far out there that I was not realistically going to accomplish them. You have great goals for 2012!

  • http://benashee.com Jen


    I can’t thank you enough for addressing resolutions, as goals. This is exactly the way God is moving me to view life, through Christ…yearly, monthly, weekly and even daily. I’m right with you on this…”by addressing the practical, we’re freer to delight in His gifts.” This is exactly were HE’s doing HIS work in me. GOD is picking the perfectionist out of me piece by piece.

    my goals
    -walking/running daily…
    -developing my knitting business, adding hand knits for sale to benashee.com (my Etsy shop)
    -family health
    -good homeschooling

    my New Year bible verse…

    Philippians 3:13
    The Message (MSG)

    Focused on the Goal
    12-14I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

    Words to live by…

    PRAISE GOD for HIS Promises!!!


  • http://www.thissortaoldlife.com Rita

    A timely post for me–I just got done writing on my blog about my big intention for the new year. I think language is important, and I’ve dropped the idea of resolutions and even goals. My intention for the year is to live more “real.” Real food, real connection with others, work that gives me the real things I need. I’m excited to see what looking at choices through the lens of “real” does for me and those around me.

    • http://benashee.com Jen

      I love that! So true…

  • http://alifeinbalance.net Barb @ A Life in Balance

    My plan for the year centers around 2 words: Nourish and Create. Basically, I am clearing away a lot in my life to focus on a few priorities – family, myself, and blogging.

    • http://www.organisingqueen.com Marcia @ Organising Queen

      Barb, my word of the year is CREATE :)

  • http://www.nourished-motherhood.com Keya

    Great post! You make a good point of not making too many goals that are “doomed to fail”. This year I have one “goal”. To stop comparing myself to others and simply compare myself to my “past self”. I’m with you, I want to live the life God wants me to live, which means there is simply no room for making comparisons outside of myself.
    Thanks for the good words of wisdom!

  • Emily Joyner

    Just trying to accomplish goals without God’s help – and I fail!

    I am learning to lean on God and I know He will direct me on the right path, and help me reach goals I need to reach!!

    Gpd Bless!

  • http://www.christine-mary.blogspot.com Christine

    I love your goals and your inspiring post. I posted my goals here: http://www.christine-mary.blogspot.com/2012/01/reflections-on-2011-and-my-2012-goals.html

  • http://2kidschoolhouse.blogspot.com/ Margaret

    I haven’t fully articulated any specific goals yet. Mainly I need to focus on peace (my word for the year) in my homeschool, heart, and home. That means, in great part, becoming more organized as chaos kills peace.

    Have started reading your book and love it. Your section on menu planning (I guess that was a sample chapter) was what pushed me over the edge to buy. :-)

  • Chris

    I am loving thinking about your questions (of reflection) and now the goals for the new year. The new page of the calendar certainly refreshes me.
    Here is my challenge: I get stymied in how not to be totally unrealistic. I’m the person who has 45 free minutes and thinks she can do 423 things in that time. I’m intrigued by the gals who seem to have focus– down to even a couple of theme words for the year. How do you go about figuring that out?
    Thank you for the excellent thinking all of you do!

  • http://www.mykitchenmyvice.blogspot.com Keri

    As I sat down the other night to write out some goals, I reviewed my goal list from last year. What an exercise in perspective! I especially like how some ‘goals’ were just mental fads and naturally fell by the wayside to make room for truly important things. See more details and pics here : http://mykitchenmyvice.blogspot.com/2012/01/to-do-im-done-list-of-2011.html

    Best wishes to you all in 2012!

  • Sally

    Oh, yes! Last year I had a fabulous looking 8-page document of goals in all areas of my life. Well, you can guess how that went. This year, I am looking for ways to listen to God more carefully instead of talking to God. I figure if I get that one under my belt, a lot of other parts of my life will fall into place.

    Thanks for the 52 bites! A friend bought it & is raving about it!

  • http://biggerinreallife.com/ Christy A.

    I wrote about my goals today, all wrapped up in one little word – intentional. I can’t wait to read your book! I could use some good ideas… http://biggerinreallife.com/2012/01/04/2012-the-year-of-living-intentionally/

  • http://adventureswithaudrey.blogspot.com/ megan

    My goals for 2012:
    Join a book club
    train for a triatholon
    can home grown tomatoe sause

    I joined Booking it in 2012 and am ready to start your book!

  • http://becomingmorewithless.wordpress.com Frances

    I just wrote a post about making goals for the new year too! I love how you put it though, making ourselves available to God, not on becoming perfect. The world’s definition of perfect is pretty messed up anyway! My goals for this year…it’s actually a pretty long list but a few:

    1. A new daily routine for prayer and devotional time (because last year’s routine changed when I went on maternity leave).
    2. Learn 5 songs and chords on the dulcimer, and 5 songs to sing to baby
    3. Learn basic sign language for beginners (helpful in my field)
    4. Exercise 3x a week (to help prepare for childbirth and parenting)
    5. Add tomatoes to the list of things I’ve learned how to can

  • http://enjoybirth.com/blog Sheridan

    I actually am intentionally setting NO goals this year. http://enjoybirth.com/blog/2012/01/01/a-year-with-no-goals/
    Instead I set some general intentions. A radical change from last year, but I am excited to see what happens. :)

  • Melinda T

    i’ve got several this year, but the biggest is to get organized! To get rid of the clutter in my home and to be able to stay on top of activities, appointments!

  • http://wholesomemum.blogspot.com/ Maegan

    I am trying to focus on one little word this year- intentional.

    I am being more intentional about what I eat. My goal is to menu plan for each week to make my life easier AND help my family eat healthy, homemade meals.

    My intention is to move more. I want to be at the Y a minimum of 3 times a week.

    My intention is to engage my mind. Blogging will be a goal this year.

  • http://www.archerfriendly.com Archer

    Good truth, Tsh! I love the reminder that my worth is not in the goals or how I make or break them. I make a daily goal sheet and routine, based off your daily docket & suggestions, and sometimes I just go to bed feeling like a complete failure because I just didn’t follow the plan. I needed to hear this truth! Thank you.

  • http://dustypaths.wordpress.com coleen

    Physical: do 2 pull-ups, run a 10K
    Spiritual (more ambiguous): start a bible study (we’re still settling into a new area), be in a relationship where i can give a bible or share what faith means to me
    Family: date with each kid each month (one kid with me one month, the other with dad)

    and others….

  • http://iamrefinedbyfire.blogspot.com/ Stephanie

    Ahhh.. New Year resolutions. I have a love/hate relationship with them. I am a perfectionist and this makes it very hard for me to not only be realistic, but to have some grace for myself when I inevitably fall short of my vision for myself and my family.
    I going to try to integrate these into my life this year:
    1) Really and truly turn my eating disorder over to God and stop using food as my comfort and shield.
    2) Choose joy every day and be thankful for all the blessings God has given me.
    3) Be more intentional in how I spend my time. (e.g. planning out meals and scheduling my days better)

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  • Margaret D

    1) Do some kind of exercise daily
    2) Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily
    3) Read a book a month
    4) Always start the day with quiet time with the Lord

  • http://charinabrooks.wordpress.com Charina @ Pondered Thoughts

    No goals….just to live life according to His will and plans.

  • http://www.burningbushes.org Nicole @ Burning Bushes

    I love your perspective. For me, resolutions have now become more of a plan to change habits. Not something I change completely and immediately, but a commitment to a process of change-slowly stopping something and slowly starting something better in its place.

    So, my best goals are to not read a word each day until I read God’s Word, to not speak a word in the day before I’ve spoken with God first. And I’m hoping to journal each night and memorize a large section of Scripture. My favorite resolution though is 1 Corinthians 16:14-‘do EVERYTHING in love.’

  • http://annieathome.com Annie

    I’ve really enjoyed following along here this week & am looking forward to your book. I’ve never been big on resolutions (it just hasn’t really occurred to me, since the things I’d like to change in my life don’t require a new year to do so) but all the buzz online about resolutions got me thinking about making some. I spent a long time thinking about it last week, and came back to a single focus that I’ve been circling around for years: learning to abide. I know, it totally flies in the face of measurable goals, and I’m processing through what it looks like, practically, to establish rhythms that make space and facilitate growth in this, and how those rhythms might influence my daily schedule and home and relationships – I suppose that’s where it gets more practical. I guess I’m wondering if our approach to resolutions (and possibly our effectiveness in carrying them out) have a good deal to do with personality type, how we process information and goals. I’m grateful that your take on resolutions and organizing challenge me to think outside my natural tendencies, but wondering too how successful an ENFP (Myers Briggs) can be at a practical list. I tend to process (& am more successful) when I work in terms of ideas & pictures. I’d love to hear your (Tsh & others’) thoughts on this.

  • http://www.momdropbox.com Audrey @ Mom Drop Box

    Love the message of this. I have often been hesitant to put down concrete action plans (like excercising 3x a week) in the past because I know I will fail, at some point. I shy away from diets for the same reason. But I do think it’s helpful to make goals & then do your best to achieve them, without guilt & knowing that we are good enough as we are.

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  • http://theminddoeswander.wordpress.com Steph@theminddoeswander

    I am resolving to get back to my mindfulness practice. I need it! Now if I could just stop making excuses about lack of time…

  • http://RHome410.blogspot.com RHome410

    Love this post and thanks for sharing your wise perspective. My biggest goal is about giving things over to God, living each day more fearlessly and in faith. I’m recommending and linking your post on my blog tomorrow (1/6) in my own post about goals for 2012.

  • http://thegoodenoughmom.blogspot.com Nancy

    To be more prayerful and in the process grow a quiet heart. To keep a thankfulness journal. And the usual: work out 3x/week, get through the Bible this year, and live in the moment.

  • http://familyloveinmycity.com Michelle Hernandez

    I am taking this year to work on myself and my personal goals. I think the One Bite At A Time is a great idea to help me be a more organized, focused mom and my “resolution” is to do one a week. Week one is the kaizen approach to waking up earlier – and it’s been so far so good!

  • http://www.gardenpatio.org/ Nicole

    It’s so important to have goals and a plan but to be flexible. Your goals need to be realistic and specific too. And goals without concrete action don’t amount to much. This year I have many goals and need to take lots of action!!

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