My 2018 Goals

My 2018 goals have been a journey. Usually I just jot down goals for the year and go with it, but for some reason this time around was different. I started back in December and kept coming back, dreaming bigger, refining the purpose + vision being birthed in my heart for this year.

The goals that made it through the refining process to the “final 10” are all ones that I believe will be extremely valuable as I seek to grow and use this life for the glory of God.

This is pretty personal, but I feel led to share in hopes that you will be encouraged to set some scary, life changing goals as well.

“If you aren’t going forward, you’re going backwards.”

My 2018 Goals:

Habits

  1. Schedule a time of fasting weekly
  2. Practice unplugged evenings
  3. Plan undistracted times for relationships + rest

Achievements

  1. Learn to study the Word of God instead of merely reading it
  2. Run 8 miles straight
  3. Do 2 items from my Bucket List per month
  4. Practice wise stewardship by sticking to my budget and meeting my income/saving/investing goals

People

  1. Intentionally invest in my team members thru encouragement, incentives, education, and empathy
  2. Go all out in serving my family
  3. Learn to better honor and communicate with my parents as an adult living at home

Obviously some of these goals encompass more, like the Stewardship and Bucket List ones. I have several separate financial goals that I lumped together, and the bucket list contains alot of random things related to personal travel, work, family, education, etc. It is a fun way, apart from my “Big 10” goals, to have a running list of things I want to do.

Additionally, in the coming months, I plan to share more about each goal and practical steps I am taking to accomplish them.

What about you?  What goal are you setting this year that really scares you (like I wrote about here)? Is there a particular goal you are most excited about? I’d love to hear!I’m cheerin’ for you!

Allison

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How I Make My Yearly Goals

Happy New Years to all of you!

A new year is always like a fresh page, and this year especially, I am so excited for the days ahead. My heart is fairly bursting with fresh ideas, new dreams, and open doors. 

I am looking forward to sharing my 2018 goals next week, and I plan to continue posting on goals and productivity occasionally throughout the year.

I had a lot of feedback from my readers saying that you all seem to enjoy those posts. I guess it makes sense- I always love to hear about others’ goals and how they prioritize their time.  We all have the same amount of time, but there are so many ways to use that time!

Today I wanted to share just a few thoughts from my goal making progress:

1. Make your goals measurable.

This is really huge. Don’t set vague goals such as “get in shape”. You may want to get more in shape, but what does that mean to you? Set a very specific goal such as “run 12 miles per week” or “lose 10 pounds” or “workout 3 times per week”.

2. Set 10 or less goals.

Everyone is different. If you haven’t done much goal setting in the past, or if you like things to be simple, you may want to start with 2 or 3 goals. Even for a visionary or long time goal setter, more than 10 goals is going to be a lot to manage, track, and remember.

3. Take a risk!

Your goals should scare you! Don’t make goals that are all easy to achieve. I recommend having at least 1 or 2 goals that look really scary to you! As I will share next week, I have a few goals that make me quiver in my boots- in a good way! But I want it that way. If they were all easy and comfortable, it would be pointless. Most of the growth in our lives happens outside of our comfort zone.

4. Choose a mixture of goals.

I don’t want all my goals to be fitness and financial, although I definitely want to work hard in those areas. If you want to be a well rounded individual, it seems reasonable to set a variety of well-rounded goals that will help you become more of the person you want to be this year.

I would love to hear from you! Do you set goals? 

much love,

Allison

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3 Hacks for Planning Your Day

Have you ever tried and tried to stick to an hourly schedule but found it impossible?

Do you ever get to the end of the day and half your things are still on that to do list?

Have you ever stayed awake worrying about all the things you need to do tomorrow?

Yeah, me too! Today I want to share with you 3 Hacks for Planning Your Day. These are three things that have revolutionized the way I approach my schedule + daily to do lists.

1. Paper vs. Memory

I used to keep a running tab in my mind of the things I needed to get done. Remember earlier how I talked about staying awake worrying about things you need to do? I used to lay in bed worrying I would forget something that I needed to do! I finally realized that I just am not very good at remembering it all! I now keep runnings lists a variety of places (work lists are on my computer, blog post ideas in a notebook, other projects on a note on my phone) so I don’t have to remember it all! This has been so freeing!

2. Routines vs. Schedules

Some people love their schedules, and that’s so great! But in my life currently (and I’m guessing many of you are in the same boat), a daily schedule where I plan out each hour just isn’t possible. My days are too different and unpredictable to possibly plan for how I am going to use all the hours. Instead of trying to stick to a “schedule”, I embrace the beauty of routines. My morning routine is probably my favorite. I even have a few different routines, for my different kinds of mornings: bus mornings, hotel mornings, + home mornings. I try to plan to night before things like the following: what time I will get up, when I will have quiet time, what exercise I will (or will not:) be doing, what time I need to be ready for the day, and whether I will be eating breakfast on my own or with others.

If you’re struggling to stick with a “daily schedule”, I highly recommend building some routines in your life in place of the schedule.

Last evening, I figured out what time I needed to be ready for the day, planned what I wanted to do this morning in the time I had, and set my alarm for a time that would give me a decent night’s sleep while still giving me enough time to do my morning things.

3. Top 10 vs. Everything

When I used to sit down in the morning to write my to-do list, I would write down everything I could think of that I should, could, wanted to, or was supposed to get done that day. And it was just too much. I ended up overwhelmed, discouraged, and frustrated more days than not. I simply wasn’t being realistic. Most of us can’t get done everything we can think of every day!

Here’s what I did: I started categorizing my lists and numbering them. I choose the top 10, or 20, or whatever number! These are the things I decide are most important for that day. I usually have a running list (like I mentioned in #1) of other things I can do if I get all the things on my list done with time to spare. But I specifically try to make the list doable. I want to be able to get the whole list done, unless something catastrophic or completely unforeseen happens- and there are days when it does.:)  But most days, I can get it done!

The number is different every day according to the things I need to do and how long various tasks will take, but the goal is two-fold: 1. To organize the items into categories 2. To keep the list realistic. I try to watch the number…..if I have 15 or 20 items in each category, then I probably need to re-evaluate and cut some things!

Today, my list looks like this:

Hotel:

  1. call new hire
  2. send scheduling email to new team member
  3. schedule employees for this week
  4. work short evening shift at hotel
  5. check work email
  6. do payroll

Home:

  1. make lunch for the family
  2. refrigerate fermented cabbage
  3. help unpack bus from San Antonio trip
  4. put dahlias in sand
  5. do a short ministry task for Dad
  6. cook + freeze big batch of black beans

Personal:

  1. send invitation for bachelorette party
  2. run 3 miles
  3. write a blog post
  4. organize bedroom
  5. do Scripture memory
  6. get package ready to send

 

And now I’m off to complete that list!

I’d love to hear what you think!

What is your biggest struggle in planning your days? Would one or all of these hacks be valuable to you?

much love,

Allison

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6 Things to Do instead of Being on Your Phone

I have really been convicted recently of how easy it is to live distracted, yet ineffective. I have come to realize that it takes intentionality to not mindlessly overuse technology. If I just do what comes easy, what doesn’t take any brain power, I reach for the phone, surf social media, scroll through blogs, etc.

But it’s not who I want to be. There is more to this life than keeping up with everyone’s statuses, and reading the inspiring posts, and following the celebrities and fitness gurus.

Last night I had an epiphany. I had a nice long supper break ahead of me at work, and I was about to do something mindless like sitting at the computer and surfing when I heard the still small voice say, “Come away from the noise. You need something else more right now.” I grabbed my Bible and journal, turned my phone on airplane mode (I still had my work phone on for work calls or family emergencies) and proceeded to have a leisurely, quiet supper digging into the Word of God, quieting my spirit, reflecting, meditating, and praying. And it was SO REFRESHING!

Media can be a powerful tool, but in those times when we need refreshment, “escape”, or rejuvenation, media isn’t usually the best option.

Would you join me on a journey of freedom from the pull of the noisy unnecessary?

Try one of these next time you have some alone time and are tempted with the “media escape”:

1. Read the Word

The Word of God is rich. I am amazed at the new truths that are always there no matter how many times I read it! I am currently reading in Job, and have really been amazed at all the nuggets of deep truth I am finding there.

2. Memorize Scripture

Memorizing Scripture is good for the brain (all you students out there should take advantage of this!) and most of all, it is good for the heart. “Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” Psalm 119:11

3. Pray

Prayer is powerful, and Satan knows this. There is a reason that prayer is one of the greatest struggles for many Christians. Sid Roth said, “The enemy will try to limit your praying because he knows your praying will limit Him.”

4. Go on a Walk

Fresh air does wonders to clear brain fog, alleviate headaches, and bring balance physically and emotionally. And the exercise of a vigorous walk is always good!

5. Study an Informative Topic

The other day I had some time, and I started browsing some articles on leadership. This is something I need to do more- purposefully study topics that will help me to learn and grow. Study is hard, especially in a life that is already full of work and responsibilities. But study can be a surprising source of refreshment and clarity in the work that we do.

6. Read a Book

It has been said that “Readers are Leaders”. Many of the best leaders of history and our day have also been readers. Reading is not only profitable to our minds, but settling in with a good book, even if for only 15 minutes, can be very relaxing.

What about you? What is your greatest temptation with technology? Which of these 6 things do you want to start doing more of?

-Allison

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Hard Workin’ Gals: 3 Tips for Finding a Job (Part 3)

Hey girls! I am super excited to share with you 3 Tips for Finding a Job.

Sometimes it’s hard to know what you should be doing. I hope these ideas and some personal stories from my life will be an encouragement to you. Maybe after reading you will have a fresh perspective on how to find work you will thrive in!

Also, if you’ve missed the other parts of this series, find them here:

Part 1: “Hard Workin’ Gals: Should Christian Girls Have Jobs?”

Part 2: “Hard Workin Gals: How to Find Your Work”

1. Think Creatively

You don’t have to be highly skilled or have years of experience to enter your dream field of work. Sometimes you just have to be willing to stick your neck out. Other times, you have to think outside the box.

I have loved violin ever since I was a toddler. When I was 13, a mother asked me to “assistant teach” her daughters violin. Although I wasn’t really ready for the responsibility of being a solo violin teacher, having these sisters come to my house every week for me to give them input during a practice/teaching session was the perfect way for me to get my feet wet in a job that I knew I wanted to pursue. Within a few years I had my own small business teaching violin students.

Specifically if you are young or very inexperienced in a field you know you want to pursue, think creatively and find ways to learn.

If you are interested in business, take some business courses, intern with a businessperson, or start reading lots of business books.

My brother loved mechanics but didn’t want to got to 4 years of school to learn the trade. He volunteered to help an older and very experienced mechanic friend work on buses many a winter evening. In his spare time, he read mechanic books (getting suggestions from good mechanics, and picking up other titles at Goodwill), and joined online forums to learn from a whole community of mechanics.

Before he was 20, he was offered a job at a large farm implement dealership, which he ended up turning down. He started buying broken four wheelers to fix and resell, and soon his name got out and farmers started asking him to do complicated mechanic work on their farm equipment. He now has a growing business doing what he loves most.

“Never despise small beginnings.”

Apprenticeships can be a great thing. When I was 14 years old, my mother (knowing I had a passion for flowers) encouraged me to meet our neighbor lady, a professional landscaper who had stunning flower gardens. “You should ask her if you can come work in her flower beds in exchange for her giving you some landscaping tips for our flower beds” my mother said. Mostly to honor my mother, I did as she suggested. After an afternoon of working with my neighbor, she came to my house, gave me landscaping suggestions, and proceeded to offer me a job. It was an incredible opportunity, made possible because my mother encouraged me to learn from someone who was a professional in the field I was interested in. I absolutely loved that job, which I held for the next four years. My boss was an incredible person to work for, she was a really good teacher and I basically got a free mini-education in landscaping, while getting paid to do something I loved!

2. Face Your Fears

I am a third born. I have two older siblings that are both really great leaders, and I was always content to follow them. I actually grew up preferring for someone else to be in charge, and to get to come alongside them and join in.

Leadership wasn’t my thing. I didn’t think I was good at it, and I didn’t like it.

It was literally a fear thing for me- being in high responsibility leadership positions made me panic!

I think God has a sense of humor, because four years ago, I exchanged my landscaping job for a completely different kind of work at our small town hotel. When I started the position, it was mostly secretary, advertising, and marketing related work. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t know what I was getting into, because I might have been tempted to run in the other direction if I would have realized I would need to become a much more assertive and confident leader as I became responsible for finding, building, and leading a team of employees, troubleshooting problems, planning team meetings, and making countless decisions.

In the end, sometimes we need to face our fears and do the very things we think we are least gifted at. If it’s truly a weakness and something you continue to really not enjoy doing, then it’s probably not a good idea to make it your life work. But be willing to give it a shot, because you just might end up thriving where you thought you’d miserably fail!

Our greatest passions and talents are often formed by doing the very things that scare us the most.

3. Pursue Your Gifts

If you are trying to find the right job, a really good place to start may be just sitting down and making a list of things you enjoy, would like to learn more about, or have dreamed of doing. A few of them may scare you a little (like we talked about above), but really, you should just go out and do them anyways!

While it can actually be a really good experience to do something you don’t particularly enjoy, there is nothing wrong with pursuing a job in a field that really excites you! After you’ve made that list, start brainstorming! It can be a good idea to find a main job/source of income, and then work at developing another one of your passions on the side.

Maybe you love people, and can get a waitressing job that allows you to interact with customers 24/7. If you are an artist, you might work at making that into a small business by selling art or teaching art classes on the side.

If there’s something you would really like to pursue, but isn’t a viable money making venture or job opportunity yet, use your spare time to work on it! Your hobby could possibly be your work down the road! The key here is to be diligent and patient. Don’t quit your job just because there’s a hobby you want to turn into a business. It would be smarter to continue your work while researching and working towards whatever business venture you might want to start. Then, once it is actually a viable, revenue producing proposition, you can decide where to go with it.

Questions? Thoughts? Comment above- I’d love to hear from you!

-Allison

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