Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Goals, Resolutions and One Word

by Mindy Obenhaus


Ready or not, a new year has arrived. And like a new calendar waiting to be filled, January presents us with a blank slate. A new beginning. But like any journey, it’s best approached with a sense of direction. As a compass points our way, we, too, need something to guide us through the coming year. A reference that keeps us moving forward instead of allowing speed bumps and unexpected detours to determine our course.

How do we do this? 

Goals – Goals are specific. Maybe you want to lose ten pounds, get a better paying job or get your book published. Whatever your goal may be, you must take action in order reach it. If you want to lose weight, diet and exercise will play a key role. A better job typically doesn’t just fall into your lap. You need to actively seek that new position, perhaps improving your skills along the way. And even if publication doesn’t happen for years, you still need to keep writing and learning.

Determine your goal, then make a list of steps that will help you reach it.

Resolutions – People used to ask me, “What’s your New Year’s resolution?” To which I usually replied, “I don’t make resolutions, because I don’t make promises I can’t keep.”

For several years now, I have made it a practice to go to the gym on a regular basis. And if there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it’s that the gym gets more crowded on January 2nd. Seems everyone and their brother resolves to eat healthier and get fit. The second thing I’ve noticed, though, is that by March, most of those people are gone and we’re back to the same sweaty faces we saw the previous year.

A resolution is a promise, typically made to one’s self. Yet while we may resolve to lose ten pounds, that doesn’t mean it’s magically going to happen. As with a goal, a resolution requires action to become a reality.

What steps do you need to take to fulfill your resolution?

One Word – This has become increasingly popular in the past few years, particularly among Christians. Prayerfully choosing a single word to be your focus for an entire year is really about attitude.
In 2018, my word was grateful. No matter what life threw at me, good or bad, approaching it with gratitude changed my perspective. This year, PEACE is my word. Something I'm still trying to wrap my brain around, but I have 363 more days to better understand.

You can learn more about your One Word at myoneword.org.

Whether you choose only one of these tools or pair them together, you can feel more confident marching into 2019 with a sense of direction. Even if you wander off the path, the right focus can put you back on track.

Now it’s your turn. Do you run headlong into each new year or do you approach January with a goal, resolution, one word or something else? I’d love to hear about it, so let’s chat.


Three-time Carol Award nominee, Mindy Obenhaus, writes contemporary romance for Love Inspired Books. She’s passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren at her Texas ranch. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com

68 comments:

  1. I don't have a one word but a phrase Keep on Keeping on and staying the course. These apply to my Spiritual Life as well as my writing life.

    This year I am glad that last year has ended and look forward to a new year. Only I want to leave the grief and difficulties behind but bring the blessings with me to the future. As well as knowing the Lord is moving with me as I begin a new year. He is my strength.

    Every year I desire to grow closer to the Lord.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wilani, isn't it a comfort to know that He will never leave us or forsake us? We can call on any time and He is there to listen, to comfort us, to encourage us. Keeping on with Jesus is the best this we could ever do.

      Praying that your 2019 will be full of brighter days, Wilani.

      Delete
    2. Wilani, you have a great attitude. 2018 wasn't nice to a lot of people. Your idea of "bringing the blessings into the future" is key. We need to look for the blessings.

      Delete
  2. Mindy, I love this. I have had several years where my One-Word really kept me focused and learning what God was trying to teach me. In 2018 I never did settle fully on a word. I had several that I heard people mention that gave me a spark of "recognition." But I never wrote one down and truly focused on it. This year, I will do that as soon as I find the word God has for me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Missy, I never fully settled on my word for this year until just a couple of days ago. I find that if a word seems to pop up a lot, that's probably the one He wants this hard-of-hearing gal to go with, but I still have to pray about it to make sure. And then see it a few more times before saying, "All right, I got it." ;)

      Delete
    2. Mindy, maybe God was just trying to teach me too much last year to pin one word on it. :)

      Delete
  3. Good morning, Mindy, and Happy New Year to all!

    Ever since reading Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen's "My One Word: Change Your Life with Just One Word," I've prayerfully selected a word for the upcoming year and coupled it with a fitting verse. Then I've framed them in 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 Dollar Store frames and put them at my home desk, in the bathroom, on my nightstand, and on my desk at the day job so I see them as a constant reminder throughout the year. You can tape them to your car's dashboard or put them on a magnet on your refrigerator, too.

    This year, as was last year, my one word for 2019 is "Led."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glynna, I love the idea of an accompanying verse and especially framing it. Keeping it forefront of our minds, at least my mind, is key. I need those reminders and you've given me a great way to do that. Thanks.

      Delete
    2. Glynna, I love the idea of "Led." Because we really shouldn't be doing anything if we're not.

      Delete
    3. Glynna, I love the idea of placing our word around the house!

      Delete
    4. Glynna, that's brilliant. I would not have thought of that!

      Delete
  4. Mindy, thank you for this!

    I chose "Kindly" this year, a reminder to me to focus on charitable words and less snark... even when my snark is quite funny. :)

    Kindly reminds me that the crazy of social media, the anger of politics, and the constant rhetoric of one side or the other isn't where I want to be. Sometimes it's better to just be a peaceful oasis.

    How much better to be a port in a storm rather than a strong wind, eroding the shore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ruthy, I can't imagine you being snarky. :P That's one of the reasons we love you. You make us laugh.

      But yes, it sometimes feels like the world has forgotten how to be kind. I think that's why I enjoy the Christmas season so much. It brings out the best in people. Well, except for some of those crazy shoppers, but for the most part people are kinder.

      A port in a storm rather than a strong wind eroding the shore. There's a lot of wisdom in that quote. Thanks, Ruthy.

      Delete
    2. Ruth, I'm snarky too and I've had to learn to dial it back. There were SO MANY times this year I could have said something, especially about events on the national scene. But that's not who I want to be.
      And anyway you're not that bad. Except sometimes with Mary.

      Delete
    3. Ruthy said: "How much better to be a port in a storm rather than a strong wind, eroding the shore."

      YES! I love that.

      Delete
  5. My Word for last year was KIND from Ephesians 4:32. I saw it everywhere too. In books, devotions, a little sign I picked up at TJ Maxx. I tried to walk it out all year, being kind and forgiving, mostly hits but some misses.

    I never give one of my Words for the year up, I just continue to build on them.

    I had not thought a thing about a new word, but then I happened upon Isaiah 60:1 Arise, SHINE, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
    I'm not feeling so much like "shining" these days, but I guess that's the point of a one word focus. With the Light of the world shining His Glory on me, my goal is to reflect that Light and SHINE for Him.


    I love Ruthy's last line, "How much better to be a port in a storm rather than a strong wind, eroding the shore." This reminds me of a favorite quote,
    "Don't let people pull you into their storms, pull them into your peace."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tracey, it sounds like you're a repetition kind of girl, too. Sometimes it's just that we're more perceptive to that one word after we've chosen it. And what a beautiful verse. Thank you for sharing that.

      Delete
    2. Tracey, this is perceptive because none of us SHINES on our own.

      Delete
    3. Tracey, I love that word and your explanation! It sounds like you've made a great choice.

      Delete
  6. My one word is to serve. I want to serve Him with love and anyone else He calls me to serve or any role He asks me to step into.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Toni, have you ever been hesitant to accept a word God has given you? I say that, because I know I have. Wondering what that word might entail. Serve would do that for me. Then I would have to buck-up and acknowledge that if God called me to it, He will equip me. Obedience is tough sometimes, but God always knows what's best for us. What will prosper us and not harm us. And I see your obedience in what you said here about serving Him with love AND anyone else he calls you to serve. Bless you, Toni. You have the heart of a servant.

      Delete
    2. Toni, I love that. Your word really spoke to me this morning because I sometimes chafe at caregiving. This is one I need to consider. Thank you for sharing!

      Delete
    3. Toni, what a beautiful word. Thanks for sharing!

      Delete
  7. I don't have a word yet. I may go with "Gratitude" or "Grateful." I was reading Jeanne T's 'gratitude" posts last month, there were at least a dozen, and I realized I COULD NOT write a dozen posts on that subject. So I may go with that, but I'm still open. All of the above are good.
    My husband was off work last week so I got very little done in writing, but we had a good time. Went to Boston for New Year's Eve Day. Trying to get back into both my fiction and newspaper grooves. It is cold here, probably below zero, and sunny.
    I have begun the process of Restoration for the files I lost in the crash. Not as nasty as Restoration in the South (no carpetbaggers), but a lot of work as I reconstruct the files that were not in Dropbox or on a thumb drive. Hey, here's a place I can practice Gratitude, copies of ALL my novels were on the thumb drive! So I guess there's that.
    Back later,
    The 2019 edition of Kaybee

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy, I, too, am grateful all your books were on your flash drive! You'll have to let us know when you settle on a word.

      Delete
    2. Yes, Kathy, knowing all of your books are safe is definitely something to be grateful for. Computer issues always stress me out.

      I'm looking forward to hearing what word you choose. Or should I say, which word God gives you. Again, I go back to repetition. If a word seems to cross your path a lot, give it a ponder.

      Delete
  8. My word for 2019 is faith. I bought a marble square with the word FAITH painted on it and it sits on my desk by my computer.
    I hope you all have a great 2019!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Faith is a great word, Jackie. It's something we often need more of. Faith is God, faith in ourselves... Good word.

      Delete
  9. Thanks for your post, Mindy. My one word is going to be determination. What ever I'm going to do needs that little bit of oomph, whether it's for church or writing or healthy choices.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Betty, determination is good. Sometimes we need to dig our heels in and push through.

      Delete
  10. Good morning, Mindy!

    I've chosen my one word for several years now, but this year it just isn't coming. Every time I think my thoughts are going in the right direction, something pulls me back.

    After an up and down 2018, full of changes of all kinds, I realized that maybe it's time to just sit back and let God do what He's going to do. My job is to be open to what He has for me this year.

    Maybe that's my word! Open. Open to the possibilities...open to the discipline...open to His gifts...

    Hmm. I'll have to pray about it...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jan, as I read your post, I was thinking the same thing. That OPEN is your word. Just think of the possibilities. But definitely pray.

      Delete
  11. My resolutions are goals. I get tired of hearing people say, "I never keep my resolutions, so why set them anymore?" It's not the resolutions fault. It's the way we set them. They need to be realistic and measurable. They should be about setting new habits that you'll take with you into the next year. "Lose weight," "read the Bible more," or "keep my house cleaner" are not going to get done. "Exercise 3 days a week," "spend at least five minutes a day reading the Bible Monday-Friday," and "set one day a month to declutter a room in the house" are things you can do. These are some of my "resolutions." Something that is easily doable and can be inserted into your schedule to become part of your life as a new habit.

    I like to set a yearly goal, like "publish the next book in my Christian romance series," and then break it up into measurable goals for the quarter or monthly. For instance, since this is my goal for 2019, I will work toward a publish date of my birthday in October, then work backward. So January and February will be spent in drafting the rough draft. March and April will be revisions. Then after I hand it off to my beta readers, I will spend May and June on formatting and setting a marketing strategy. Then that will give my July and August for editing and finalizing, and an extra month in case one of those steps takes longer than expected. I know this will work, because I've done the same thing with my previous two books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lila, now that's the way resolutions should be approached. You set a goal then form a plan of action. Precisely what needs to be done. Sounds like you are a very organized person. Sigh. That is something I aspire to.

      Delete
  12. I don't know if I can pick just one word for this year, but I do have several goals. Mostly just continuing goals from last year: being more patient and understanding, shining God's light in all I do, tightening up this saggy belly, working towards another contract while continuing to market the others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those are good goals, Amy. And if you have a plan of action for each one of them, you'll be unstoppable. :)

      Delete
  13. I am approaching this year with goals in hand. I bought The Ultimate Authorship Planner and have gone through the first several pages. Great motivator for writing, crocheting, and exercising!

    My word for 2019: inheritance, as in harvest. Expectation was my word for 2017, reap was my word for 2018. Looking up the definition of harvest I found: gathering a ripe crop (a finished book or something else) The completion of harvesting marks the end of the growing season-once you're finished with a book you harvest the rewards when it's published. The social importance of this event makes it the focus of seasonal celebrations-once you're published you celebrate, and then start the process all over again for the next book, cycles. This is speaking to me in my writing, but also into my Christian walk. Can't wait to see what 2019 brings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is so interesting, Sally. I like the celebration part, when the book is finished. The other parts, not so much some days. But it's all part and parcel.

      So how is The Ultimate Authorship Planner a great motivator for crocheting?

      Delete
    2. You set out goals you want to accomplish for the month and then break them down. For writing, how many words a day, a week, do you need to get to the number you want for the month. The book asks what would make you feel successful for that month so I added a crocheting project and running time. Looking at it on paper helps me visualize getting these things done, because I want to crochet and run but run out of month. This book helps put it all in perspective, broken down by days, weeks, etc. so I can see at a glance what I need to do when to get it all done. If at the end of the month I've met my writing goal, crocheted, ran, etc., I will feel like I've succeeded for that month. Seeing, for example, on Tuesday I have time to crochet will motivate me to crochet at that time because I've worked on the other things when I stated I would and will now have time to do that too. (It sounds good-we'll see how it went at the end of the month lol.)

      Delete
  14. Hi Mindy:

    I've really enjoyed the One Word idea since I read about it here on Seekerville several years back. I've found that if you really work on your One Word choice in January, it sets you off in the right direction for the rest of the year. I think a lot of it is unconscious. Once the One Word is in place it can direct the rest of the year without you even thinking about it again. It's like getting the trajectory right on a long space flight. Just get the takeoff right and afterwards you'll need only small midcourse corrections.

    My One Word this year is "Adapt". I've discovered as one ages no one sends an email putting you on notice that there are now some things you can no longer do without hurting yourself. It's nice to anticipate these changes without having to pay the price in pain. Falls and back sprains coming from doing things you've done for years are dangers that can come unannounced and unexpected.

    Not only should one adapt but adapt ahead of time. Pay attention and stay in the present.

    After your three score and ten the warranties that things will work as intended start expiring.

    Adapt and prosper!

    Happy New Year.

    Vince

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vince, adapting is something we all need to learn to do. Life is always changing, and when someone can't or won't adapt, they can get bitter. God didn't intend for us to be stagnant. He's always stretching us and taking us out of our comfort zones. And let's face it, telling God "no" is never a good thing to do.

      Delete
  15. Gamble Paid Off!

    Right nou can get both the Wishing Bridge book and the Audible version for just $1.99 each. I actually thought the Amazon price of the Audible file would go back up to $14.99 when the Kindle price dropped to $1.99 on the first of the year. But I still waited, gambled, and just bought both for $1.99 each. I don't know how long this deal will last but it is a big savings to start the year. (BTW: the reader does a great job on the Audible production. And note: hearing it makes it a different book. It's a wonderful experience to read and then hear the same book and learn how they differ and what this can mean for your own writing. I love doing this.)

    You might want to check this out. The books are by Ruth which were mentioned a few days ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vince, I didn't know you were a gambling man.;)

      Delete
    2. Hi Mindy:

      You mentioned above that it was not wise to say 'no' to God. Funny thing about this gamble: it turned out that God was covering my bet by seeing that I won a $20.19 Amazon gift card this New Years Day! This is the first big prize I've won and I've been to all the Celebrations past! What are the odds of that? With God all things are possible.

      Vince

      Delete
    3. LOL, Vince! Yes, with God, ALL things are possible.

      Delete
  16. I just ran across this quote: “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible”-- Tony Robbins

    Exactly what I'm hoping to accomplish this year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That quote is exactly right, Sally. I just might have to print that off. Thanks for sharing it.

      Delete
  17. Happy New Year, Mindy! I'm not much on the resolutions/one word thing, but I do believe in goals. Making them quantifiable and tangible is the key for me. If I make a goal too nebulous, I can't measure my progress, and I tend to let it evaporate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm the same way, Erica. And we all have to do things a in way that works best for our individual personalities. As long you have a plan of action, you're on your way.

      Delete
  18. I've never have been one to set goals or make a resolutions each year. The last couple of years I have had a "One Word": Faith and Seek. I haven't really settled on something this year, but what I keep getting is "New Creation". So I think I will concentrate on that for 2019! I know there are many, many areas in my life I can improve on with the Lord's help that will make me more into the new creation I am in Him.

    Looking back at the last two years, I have seen where my faith and seeking God has strengthened. Situations and circumstances where they have also been severely tested, but I see growth too. I think when we intentionally look for how God used our one word for the year, He can show us exactly where He has. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trixi, the concept of one word really does change one's perspective, doesn't it? It's like we suddenly see that word everywhere so it stays in the forefront of our minds.

      New creation is a good one. No telling where that will lead.

      Delete
  19. Great post, Mindy. I haven't really embraced the one word concept, but if I were going to use one from the list you have in your post, I think diligence would be a good one. I need to focus much more on my writing goals this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sandy, you never know, that word may stick with you throughout the coming months or you'll notice it more often. If so, you'll know that's the word God has for you.

      Delete
  20. Hello Mindy, I'm not one to make resolutions but goals are another story. I'm a goals and list kinda girl. My one word for 2019 is Balance because I need to learn to do a better job with making time for the things I need to be doing as well as time for play. I tend to be a bit obsessive with whatever I start and have a hard time stopping for the 'next thing' ha.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pat, I'm the first to admit that I could use a little balance in my life too. Like you, I like lists. There's just something fulfilling about crossing an item off of that list, isn't there?

      Delete
  21. Hi Mindy, my word for 2019 is Contemplative. For me, this means to lead a more contemplative lifestyle - slow down and meditate on the things of God. It's actually a little scary, as I'm not one to slow down!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Edwina, it's sometimes difficult to accept those words that scare us because we know it's going to be a challenge. So kudos to you for accepting that challenge. God will reward you for your obedience and give you the grace to do what He's called you to.

      Delete
  22. One word...hmmm...I never thought about that. I may have to think about that over the next few days or weeks. I'm like you, I don't make some cheesy, shallow resolutions. Having worked in health and wellness before I started writing, I have learned to not have that mindset. The better word is goals. One goal I have is, instead of feeling sorry for myself for what I don't have, can't do, etc, I'm going to help others. I've been through lots of struggles, myself; it's only fair to help others who have gone through similar things. God didn't get me through all of that just to have me sit at home and be a recluse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hard Rock, I love your perspective. Your willingness to help others is inspiring. We would all do well to do the same.

      Delete
  23. The last few years I have pretty much run headlong into the new year. Resolutions were often guilt producing when not followed or completed and who needs guilt! I saw the one word concept last year and chose 'hope' for 2018. This year I have chosen 'joy'.
    The joy of the Lord is my strength. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
    Here's hoping to be a more joyful person this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anne, joy is a great word. And those verses are perfect. We could all stand to reflect on those each and every day, then we might all be a more joyful. I pray that you will bring to joy to all around in the coming year.

      Delete
  24. Mindy, I choose one word for the first time last year. My word was discipline because my writing life overshadowed every other aspect of my life, and I didn’t like that. When my mom got sick in February, I set my writing aside to focus on caring for her until she passed. With my writing low on my priority list, I re-engaged in several areas of my life. But exercising discipline in 2018 wasn’t by choice. So I think I am going to stick with discipline as my one word for 2019. As I re-enter the writing world, I don’t want to end up back where I was, consumed by writing goals that overshadowed all the other good things in my life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karen, I'm sorry to hear about your mom. You did the right thing in caring for her.

      Yes, writing can sometimes be rather all-consuming, if we let it. I often struggle with compartmentalizing the different aspects of my life, too. I find that lists help me. I write down those things that I have to do, then once they're all crossed off, I can write freely, without those thing hanging over my head.

      Discipline is a good word. One of those challenging ones, but good nonetheless.

      Delete
  25. Hi Mindy:

    I just love that picture of the compass. It caused me to think up a slogan for 2019:

    "Plotters Know Where They Are Going."

    In a way, one might say that plotters are narrative's navigators. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! That's great, Vince. Can't tell you were in advertising at all. ;) Narrative's navigators... Love it!

      Delete
  26. Thanks Mindy for your post. I'm not one to make resolutions but try to take it one day at a time and enjoy life's moments as they come.Lee-Ann B

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy New Year, Lee-Ann! You know, sometimes, taking it day by day is all we can do.

      Delete