Ease, Not Squeeze – Start Your Year Well!

Sienna mastering the mighty ‘S’ yesterday; first day back into the ‘books’ after our Christmas break!

So here we are, 6 days into 2016 and If you’ve clicked on this you’re either reading all the ‘goal’ blog posts you can get your hands on or you’re just really kind and always read my posts (thank you…smile)!

Starting a new year can be a frenzy of change and ‘must do this’ or ‘stop doing that’; even the word resolution screams of failure before we start so why go there? But, I LOVE a new year; I love the fresh feeling and sound of begin again, I love getting back into routine, starting my day with a bounce and entering January with vision and vigor.

I set goals, not resolutions – but I’m pretty resolute about making them happen! I set my sights on what I can achieve in 90 days as a starting point, 12 months is just way too far ahead (and so much pressure) for anyone,  and then I speak a word or phrase over my year.

If you’re a natural list maker/goal setter gal like myself then you’ve probably been busy; but over the years I’ve learnt (and still learning) that too long a list or too high a goal post only results in unfulfilled dreams.

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible – Tony Robbins

So here are 3 things that I’ve learnt about goal setting that I’m putting into practice in 2016:

  1. Simplify

Write your list (always write them down; you’re MUCH more likely to achieve your goals when they’re down on paper) and then scrub at least two things off it, go on – seriously, scrub them off and then breathe.

2.  Work With What You Know

Avoid starting new ventures every year; set your goals  building upon and strengthening what you started last year (or the year before). God doesn’t change His mind about what He’s got planned for your life – go back to the blueprint and revive those dreams you had this time last year. Life isn’t a sprint, it’s a blooming looooong cross-country race (the word ‘marathon’ evokes images of miles and miles of flat road and there’s not much flat road in my journey, so let’s go with the cross-country analogy hey?), great things take time, don’t give up!


The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals – Melody Beattie


3.  Do Something Towards Your Goals Everyday, Or Every Week

Work to a plan, break it down and make your goals realistic and part of your daily rhythm, Rome wasn’t built in a day! A friend of mine self-published his first book by committing to writing for 20 minutes a day over a year. Fitness goals can be achieved by starting with a 10 minute daily walk…then building up to that gym membership! Healthy eating goals can be established by changing ONE thing in your diet today (i.e. have eggs instead of cereal for breakfast), reading goals can be conquered by adding to your daily ‘to do’ list ‘read for 15 minutes‘ (that’s what I do as a baseline minimum). We generally fail because we over-achieve, I know because I am that woman!

Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success – Pablo Picasso


So where are my fellow goal setters? How do you start your year?

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My Year Of Paying Attention!

New Year 2015 021

To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work – Mary Oliver

Happy New Year to all those who spare a moment to click across to my space here on the big wide web; I appreciate your support, encouragement and friendship, both spoken loudly in real life or quietly whispered through your comments.

I pray that you’re able to embrace 2016 with hope and expectation; may it be a year of great opportunity, boundless strength and abundant joy!

You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.
Psalm 65:11

I generally face the new year with scribbled notes, quiet contemplation and a spider diagram of how I envision this coming year to look. This year is no exception; I’m busy goal setting and schedule planning to boost the beginning of what will be a great year. I’ve often approached a new year with a specific word or scripture that has delicately marked my path; but this year I’m naming my year, a bit like a banner perpetually hanging over the days and weeks to come. I find that intentionally naming your year, after prayer and process, is an incredible prophetic declaration covering the next 365 6 days of opportunity.

So, 2016 will be my year of ‘paying attention’ – I will be paying attention to my God-given:

  • Passions
  • People
  • Places
  • Pursuits

I’m still processing the details of these; but I’m more and more aware that focus isn’t just honing in on one small space, but it’s more often the art of taking away what shouldn’t be there. I want to pay attention to what God has placed in my path in this season; I want to be content to emerge strong out of that place and establish rich ground for each of these areas of my life, some of that might be practicing the discipline of saying ‘no’ or even moving things out of the room for a while ever.

When we pay attention to something it grows and flourishes; the small things become the big things and the insignificant become magnificent.

I want to focus my attention and set my affection on Jesus – He leads me into all truth and that’s what my heart desires most.

So, have you named your year? What’s the banner over 2016 for you?


Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it. – Mary Oliver


Owning Your Year – 5 Tips To Getting 2016 Off To A Great Start!


You will never see the full path. The important thing is to do the next right thing ― Michael Hyatt

December is such an unusual month isn’t it? You want to stay in the story, soak in the spirit of advent and keep a peaceful attitude but we’ve got lists and stuff and shopping and pressure from all corners of our lives. We’re 7 days away from Christmas day, I’m not ‘ready’ (so many shop assistants have asked me that!) but I will be and we’ll make fun memories and eat good food! I’m out of routine, I’m SO not on the Whole30 and I’m secretly longing for new year already!!

I love a fresh start and am excited about 2016; I’m drafting goals, dreaming up ideas for the months ahead and choosing to own my year! But dreaming and drafting won’t change a thing – we need to write it down and do it!

So here are 5 practical tips that you can do over the next 5 days to get you ready for a great 2016.

Day 1 – Clear Your Email

Seriously friends – this will give you wings! Clear the clutter in your in-box, file what you need to file and ditch the rest. Start 2016 with an empty in-box.

Sign up with Unroll me and get unsubscribed from all those billions of companies you’ve given your email address to over the years (I’m embarrassed to tell you how many I had!!)

DO it!

Day 2 – Make Simple Goals

Grab a piece of paper and write a list of ALL the area’s of your life (i.e. church, home management, homeschooling, blog, job etc.); write down ONE THING for each area that you’d like to improve/work on/get better at…just one!

These will form the beginning so some simple goal setting which I’m going to talk about in a post next week – stay tuned!

Day 3 – Fill A Bag – Fill 5!

This one I’m doing with you – take a black bin bag, one a day over the next 5 days and fill it with ‘stuff’ you really don’t need or want. This a pre-Christmas decluttering exercise; donate it, recycle it or throw it but don’t fuss over it AND don’t store in the hallway for the next 5 weeks! Fill the bag and get it out of your house TODAY!

Let’s go!

Day 4 – Pick A Habit, Any Habit 

Doing the same thing at the same time everyday can TOTALLY change your life. Today we’re going to choose something that we can do for 10 minutes a day, just 10 minutes (or less) and decide when in the day you’re going to do this. Maybe it’s drinking a glass of water as soon as you wake up, maybe it’s committing to reading a chapter of a book everyday, maybe it’s choosing to pray for 3 people at 9am every day – be creative, be real, be you, but do it!

No matter how many children you have, how busy your job is, how much you travel or if you have a crazy schedule – we can all find 10 minutes a day to do something!

We become what we repeatedly do ― Sean Covey

So what did you choose?

Day 5 – Name Your Year!

Pray and pick a word, a phrase or a short sentence that will mark out your year. Write it down in various places around the house, journey all areas of your life into that word and live it!

I’ve chosen one for 2016 which I’ll be talking about in a blog post in early January – you’ll have to come back (wink).

Here are a few to choose from if you’re totally lost for words: freedom, intentional, joy, fun, fly, saying no, create…

 Have fun with it!

So what are you waiting for? Put on some Christmas music, grab a bin bag and fill it – then make a cuppa, head over to your computer and clear that noisy in-box…then breathe, breathe deeply!

Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans.

Proverbs 16:3