What does honoring the New Year mean when you’re a parent to a child under 5? As a working mom with a 10-month-old, I don’t have a lot of time to sit and reflect on the year that’s just whizzed by me. Sure, I’d love to sit down with a cup of cocoa, gaze out the window and think of all the good times I’ve shared with my loved ones and consider how all the challenges of the past year helped me grow and learn. Realistically though, I’m lucky if I get an extra five minutes in the shower.
Yet, as I look forward into 2018, I want to set some goals. I want to be intentional. I want to make this year better than last year! (I at least want to clean out my closet!)
Resolutions just don’t work. I tend to make too many with no idea how to actually make them happen. So this year I’ve decided to make Declarations instead.
What’s a Declaration?
A Declaration is an explicit, formal statement or announcement.
Declarations are declared!
Declare – to announce officially, publicly; to state emphatically; to manifest, reveal, show.
We state these Declarations bravely and resolutely to ourselves and the people who love and support us so we can be held accountable.
So how do you do it? Great question.
- Schedule it. Schedule 30-60 minutes to spend some time with yourself.I know that’s a big deal when you work 40+ hours a week and have a kid or kids that constantly need a nose wiped or a booboo kissed or a shoe tied. This is a must, though. In order to start the year off right you have to make yourself a priority. YOU ARE WORTH IT!
- Connect on a deep level.What is God putting on your heart to do? You know… what is it that you absolutely know in your gut that you need to work on this year? This might be something big, like finally buying your dream house or losing 60 pounds. It could be something small, such as creating a more organized home so you’re not always looking for your keys at 7:50am when you have to be at work at 8:00am.
- Listen. Close your eyes for 5-10 minutes in a quiet space and listen for an answer (maybe from God, maybe from your own intuition).
- Set your priorities. Based on what you heard or felt when you were listening, what are your top priorities this year? Name two for each of the following areas of your life:
- DECLARE! Write your Declarations for each of those priorities following the RIMS method. RIMS = Realistic, In-Writing, Measurable & Specific
- R – Realistic
- Declarations should be attainable. They should challenge you but not be so challenging that you get discouraged along the way and give up. You can achieve anything if you plan wisely within an established timeframe!
- Example: If you’ve never run a mile in your life, you wouldn’t declare that you’re going to run a marathon by the end of the month. Instead your declaration might be: “I will stick to a weekly running schedule so by March 1st, I am able to run 3 miles. I will increase my distance incrementally from there so that by December 2018 I am able to run a marathon.”
- I – In-Writing
- Statistics show that people who write down their goals have over an 80% chance of achieving them. It doesn’t have to be in a dedicated Goal Journal (though that’s a great idea!) just write it down somewhere you can go back to. Even the “Notes” app on your phone works!
- M – Measurable
- Declarations should be measurable so you have tangible evidence that you’re accomplishing them. Knowing how you’re progressing is essential to getting there!
- Example: If my declaration is that I will organize my entire house by June, I can make it measurable by writing incremental declarations. “I will clean out my bedroom closet by February 12th and donate to charity anything I haven’t worn in over a year. I will clean out the hall closet by March 15th and throw away/donate anything we don’t use on a regular basis.”
- S – Specific
- Declarations should be written in simple, clear language.
- Example: “I will save $1000 every month in 2018 so that we can have a down payment for our dream home by January 2019.”
- R – Realistic
- Share your Declarations. I suggest sharing your Declarations only with people who love and support you. If you’ve followed the first few steps then these Declarations are close to your heart. You will need to be encouraged. Share your Declarations with a trusted friend or spouse who will lift you up if you begin to doubt yourself.
- Start again. Life is full of peaks and valleys. Some days we feel like we super heroes and we can do absolutely anything. Other days, we’re lucky if we get our shoes on the right feet and our teeth brushed. You will have setbacks. You will want to give up. That’s okay! Give yourself some grace and when the time is right, simply start again. That’s right, just start over. Reset your declarations if you need to, adjust them to be more realistic and more attainable if you feel like you’ll never get there.
The point of all this is that you start this year off with intention. Instead of just walking into 2018 blindly and just hoping you make it through, stop for a moment and consider what you want to achieve this year. Then courageously and clearly DECLARE it! 2018 is a blank page and you’ve got the power to write whatever you want!