How to Begin

“We need a behavior chart.”

That is what my husband said to me as we were talking about the new year, and setting some goals for our family.  I immediately grimaced and replied, “I don’t do charts.”

He calmly and with a wry grin said, “You don’t do structure.”

Structure is just so confining,” I said in a really adorable whiny voice.

He proceeded to explain (again) to me why we need structure, and rules, and why we need structure to enforce the rules, and blah, blah, blah. Yawn.

This should give you some insight into our couple dynamic and how opposite we are on so many levels.  He is all rigid and focused and determined, and I am all flexible and floaty and la-dee-dah.  It really never causes friction.  (insert lightning strike)

The truth is, my whole life I have resisted rules.  Even as a dutiful first-born, the worst possible thing anyone could say to me was “You CAN’T do that.” My inner spirited self would secretly and silently respond with “Watch me.” It led to all sorts of fun for my mom and dad. That is a post for another day.  Back to my present self…

I tell you these things about me so that you will understand my dislike for making “resolutions”.  “Resolutions” feel a lot like rules.  And I break those.

I like the word “goals” much better.  It is a little more loosely defined than “resolve”, and while I can summon the motivation to set goals for myself, I can rarely claim to possess much resoluteness. It just doesn’t “fit” me well.

goals:  the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.

My son’s class is learning The 7 Habits of Happy Kids, and he walks around the house chanting the list of habits he has learned so far.  You can see the whole list here:

But for today, I have been thinking about Habit #2:  Begin with the End in Mind.  I woke up thinking about it, actually.  What do I want my life to look like at the end of 2014?  How do I want to be different at the end of this year than I am this morning, January 1? What changes do I want to see in my family, my marriage, my children, my ministry, my writing, my friendships, my health, and most importantly, my heart?

Over the next few days, I am going to do some praying and some soul-searching to define those goals.  And I am going to write about them and share them with you.  And then you can ask me how I am doing with my goals, and I will ask you what goals you have set for yourself and how you are working toward them, and we will be one big, happy, accountability-loving community, not breaking any rules.

The first thing I am doing is starting a new journal.  It isn’t fancy.  I dug it out of the “school-supply-graveyard” in the hall closet.  You know, the supplies on that list that you feel like you must purchase before the first day of school, so you spend a small fortune on stuff they don’t need and it sits in a closet waiting on some purpose.  Well, here is your purpose.  Get out one of those notebooks, or binders, or journals, and flip it open.  Here is mine… Remember, I am a writer, not a crafter.


Don’t you love the first page of a new notebook?? Ahhh.  A fresh start.

My first page is really just a list of areas of my life where I’d like to see growth and/or change, which is pretty much every area.  The journal is just a way to track progress and brainstorm and make notes and stuff.  But at the end of the year, it will be the story of 2014. And I want to begin with that end in mind.

I have no way of knowing what this year will hold.  I imagine there will be some hard things, some great things and lots of in-between things.  My biggest and most important goal is to see God in all of it.  Because He is already there, He knows what each day holds, and because of that I can jump in to this year without fear.

How about you?  How are you beginning?  Do you have an end in mind?  How will you work toward that end?

Verses for 2014:

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NLT)- “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  In those days when you pray, I will listen.  If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”

Psalm 90:12 (ESV)- So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Isaiah 43:19 (NLT)- For I am about to do something new.  See, I have already begun!  Do you not see it?  I will make a pathway through the wilderness.  I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.


One thought on “How to Begin

  1. Great article, Kari! You expressed many of my sentiments and I, too, have made many spiritual and personal goals for the new year! My Bible verse for 2014 is Phil. 3:13-14 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

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