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Make annual goals

Are you working through Tsh’s ebook One Bite at a Time yet? I’m tracking my progress through the very practical (and manageable!) tasks monthly through this series. The projects aren’t chronological and you can do them in any order, so feel free to start now! You can buy the book here for just $5.

A new year seems to always bring with it a renewed energy. A fresh start, a clean slate, a carpe diem scent wafts through the air on January 1 amid the leftover champagne and the roses in Pomona.

Resolutions are made. Everyone is geared up to go, with every intention of this being The Year. Cheeks flushed with vigor. No, really. We mean it this time. No kidding around.

The problem is that for the vast majority of us, those resolutions are broken almost immediately. And, like your favorite mug, is eventually tossed in the trash after being shattered so many times. It just gets too pathetic to even try to repair anymore.

Every year I swear I’m not going to make resolutions, as I don’t like to get in the habit of setting myself up for failure. But the truth is that the start of a new year brings a vitality and freshness that is contagious.

One of my favorite things about One Bite at a Time is that you can go in any order. You can skip around in a way that helps make the tasks more meaningful for where you are, right now. In this case, I’m taking my own advice and skipping ahead to Project 45: Make annual goals.

I like the idea of goals versus resolutions. It may seem like semantics, but goals bring with them the elastic sweatpants of life. There’s room to make mistakes. Resolutions are a bit more rigid. They split open easily. And when they do, you feel really, really bad about yourself.

Tsh’s ebook lays out four pages of very specific questions to help you figure out what your annual goals might be. A forewarning: to truly answer them, you have to give yourself some time. Maybe even a few days. They are nothing if not thorough. I set about scribbling in my notebook and chatting with my husband. From my copious notes, I culled down some of the biggies.


As I looked through my list: things like getting organized and staying organized. Simplifying. Being consistent. Taking the extra second to put something where it goes the first time. Drinking more water. All of those specific line items pointed to me to my very own Word of the Year: Intention.

I want to be intentional in how I spend my time. In the things I own. In the ways I spend my money. In how I interact with my children. My marriage to my husband. How I treat my body. How and what I blog about.

Every single bullet pointed to the same overarching theme: Living Intentionally. I need to order myself a necklace. (I realized after writing this that my 2013 goal also happens to be the Simple Mom tagline. Well played, Universe. Well played.)

It was actually freeing to realize that what I want for 2013 is not a list of to do’s, a goal weight, or a strict rule. While I have pages of detailed specifics to refer to, I am comforted by the fact that what it will really take to make my 2013 different is a change in perspective and heart. While harder to measure quantitatively, the rewards are so much sweeter.

Will you join me this year? Every month I share my thoughts on the projects outlined in One Bite at a Time. The ebook is only $4.99 normally, but you can get $1 off with code HAPPYNEWYEAR.

What are your goals for 2013? Do you have a word/theme of the year?

Reading Time:

3 minutes





  1. Ashley

    You make such a good point here. I have made and kept New Year’s resolutions, but more often than not I have broken resolutions. I like the idea of making annual goals. I have some new ones for the new year, but the thing I’m trying is One Little Word. The word I chose for this year is choose. It’s that I have a choice to do things, I’m not just stuck or reacting, I’m choosing to do that or not do that.

  2. Gina

    Yes! There is so much wisdom in your words.
    My word for this year is HABIT.
    When I chose my goals for this year, I framed them in terms of who I want to become, rather than what I want to accomplish. It really helped me to fine tune my priorities. I’m a very visual person so it’s helping me to envision my year as a mountain. In January, I’m at the base, waking up day after day, laying the foundation for new habits, one morning at a time. I actually just shared a little printable calendar I created to chart my journey through the year.
    Thanks again for this post. I’m always encouraged when I come here!

  3. Philip Shimer

    My word is Finish. I am not going to try to attempt something to help improve this year. I am going to Finish tangible, valuable, trackable goals that I can Finish. At the end of the year I will not wonder if I completed my new years resolutions. I will look back at the landscape of the year and see me journey. I will see these are the things I Finished. I made a Finish List and you can too check out how here:
    Here is my Finish List :

  4. amy

    Oh my gracious! I do NOT do New Years Resolutions but I have been thinking on things and YOUR WORDS were a thunderbolt. It hit me…my word for the year: PRESENT. I will do my best to live in the present, the now. Last year brought amazing things – instead of a word I unintentionally was all about the symbol of the nautilus – growing and becoming better throughout life. But so much of that good stuff was overshadowed by my worries for some future negative. This year will be about relaxing into what is now. I will be in the present. Bless you!

  5. Victoria

    My word for the year is “steward” as in what does it mean to be a faithful steward of God. I ended the year with a purge of the closet that was a huge eye opener for me am I really being a good steward of the resource God has given me when I over buy or keep things I don’t use so long that they are no longer useful to others (out dated clothes) . I have been digging into the word and what it has to say about “stewardship” this week and already I have learned a tonne and have so much to digest this year.

  6. Twiz

    I chose intentional last year, but felt I had a few things still to resolve so this year, like Victoria, I’ve picked stewardship and we’re focusing on time, finances and stuff (I have plenty of ‘stuff’ to deal with!). I like the necklace idea – I put a rubber band on my wrist to remind myself, the necklace is more attractive!

  7. Pam@behealthybehappywellness

    I agree with your thoughts on goals versus resolutions completely. I also create annual goals versus resolutions – they are around business, health and personal!

  8. Tami -- Teacher Goes Back to School

    My goal this year is connection. I, too, have given up resolutions in favor of cultivating a feeling rather than a list of do’s and don’ts.

    Cultivating connection will hopefully bring all aspects of my life together. Since becoming a parent, I’ve definitely felt scattered and barely a step ahead, so with this connecting intention in mind, I’ll plan my days, weeks and months.

  9. Sarah @ Your Healthy Home Biz

    Jeanett, hearing about your frustrations with resolutions connects with so much that I do as a family fitness coach. We tend to get stuck in the big picture without breaking it down into meaningful steps. Even worse, we tend not to put the pressure on ourselves to start right now and focus our determination on today and the immediate tomorrow. The longer vision can be daunting and easy to give up on.
    One of the best goal-setting pieces of advice I got was – 1. What can I do tomorrow (immediately) to move me closer to my goal? and 2. Do it.
    Oh yeah, one more: Every morning, envision your life with this goal accomplished. Envision yourself doing this. This puts it in your subconscious and helps with commitment.

  10. Savvy Aggarwal

    Firstly I like that part the most where you differentiate between resolutions and goals and point out how it’s much more sensible to have goals. My main goal this year is to secure an internship with my dream company. The others are to wake up early every morning and exercise regularly. My words for this year would be ‘I CAN’.

  11. Joquena

    I totally agree with you about the differentiations between goals and resolutions. My husband and I have a trusty word document of goals ranging from 6months to 30 years. The 6 months goals contain really specific stuff like “fix broken light switch in the green room”. I have how old everyone will be figured out. There’s something about realizing the 7 year old will be 17 in 10 years that helps give context to those goals. Goals help us to focus our priorities to make sure our lives don’t end without us giving time to the things we REALLY care about.

  12. Kelly Wiggains

    Changing “goals” to “resolutions” helped me make a new start every year without getting frustrated. I also started to realize that I’m making goals for the YEAR not for TODAY. I can make a list of things I want to do for the year without having to start all of them RIGHT NOW! I have a whole year to work on these things. I don’t need to get overwhelmed with too many goals or lose my focus because I’m not specific enough. I can make goals and start plugging away at them one day at a time.

  13. Nina

    I have a few goals for 2013, and like yourself, was never a resolution type person. I also like to break down goals in smaller increments, sometimes focusing on one goal per day, however small it may be.

  14. Prerna@The Mom Writes

    My word for the year is Change because it sums up how I would be moving through the year, changing what doesn’t work in my home, business and life. I will totally be joining you on this but probably at a different pace:-)

  15. Lory Atchison

    The air on January 1 amid the leftover champagne and the roses in Pomona.

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