I’ve been putting off writing this post. Because there is a certain amount of accountability that comes with writing things down.
I like to make goals at the start of every year, and usually I do this is a very planned-out, specific way. (You can read more about that method here: http://mops.org.au/archives/5463)
Last year, I anticipated my time would be filled up with caring for our existing little ones, and the one who was going to join the family. So I purposefully set the bar a bit lower for myself in my goals. I mean, they were certainly still a challenge, but rather than “aiming high”, I aimed lower, with simple goals that I felt I could handle. For example, in the area of “homemaking”, instead of writing something like “Get the whole house organised”, I wrote “Consistently stay on top of the dishes, laundry and cooking.” In the area of “marriage”, instead of writing “go on a date every week”, I wrote “pray for my husband every day”.
As I began to reflect on the year 2016, I realised that I hadn’t even managed to keep my goals, even with the bar as a low as it was. And I wondered – what do you do with goals you didn’t keep? Do I just discard them, and start again, focusing on all new things? Or do I write down the same goals, acknowledging that I have made progress, and working to continue that progress?
Well, there are many different methods for goal-setting and yearly planning. And one I’ve read a bit about in other years is the idea of picking your “one word” focus for the year. Some people simply pick one word, others pick one word and use that as the basis for more specific goals.
And as I started to think about this idea more – the idea of “one word” – and talk about it with my Mum and husband, I found answers to my questions.
The thing is, I know what I need to do – in parenting, in marriage, in homemaking, etc. Of course, there are always ways I need to grow and things to learn. And the kids are always growing up and into new stages.
But where we are, right now, I know what I need to do. I just struggle in the actually doing it.
And that’s how I got to my one word for 2017: Discipline.
I want to have more discipline in my prayer life, in Bible reading, in craft projects, in reading books, in disciplining the kids, in my housework, etc.
I need discipline to get up and spend time with the Lord at the start of each day (or later in the day when it just doesn’t happen). I need discipline to consistently read the Bible.
I need discipline to love my husband well sometimes, to meet his needs not only when it’s fun and easy to do, but also when doing so requires a sacrifice on my part.
I need discipline in my relationship with my kids, to discipline them properly and make the most of each opportunity I have – it’s all too easy to let things slide because “I just sat down” or I just started doing something in another room. But the work of motherhood is largely the day in, day out, laying the foundations of character and applying the Bible to their little lives.
I need discipline to eat good, nutritious foods and to exercise regularly. (As an aside here, my husband bought me a Fitbit for Christmas and it has been a great motivator! I used to think, “I’m really active, I bet I’ll log heaps of steps each day!” Nope! I’m no where near as active as I thought, so that has been a great wakeup call.)
I need discipline to finish what I start, to do things well and to not overcommit.
My Bible verse for the year is 2 Timothy 1:7:
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
This is a great verse for me, because it reminds me that self-discipline is not something that I can just will myself into. It’s something that comes from God.
It is a fruit of the Spirit in the life of the Christian, therefore, I need to rely on the Spirit to develop and hone this characteristic in my life.
Honestly, I need that reminder. Because for all my list-loving and plan-making, I can tend to think that I’m the one to create change in my life… That I can be more disciplined if I just try harder.
But what I’m finding, even less than a month into this year, is that developing self-discipline takes complete dependence on God through prayer.
Practically speaking, I’m also choosing to focus on one “discipline” at a time. For January, this is reading the Bible and praying daily again.
I’ve also enjoyed printing off and hanging up this “Daily Disciplines for Homemakers” sheet from Young Wife’s Guide: https://youngwifesguide.com/getting-track-daily-disciplines/
I find it helpful seeing on paper what I want to get done every day, like, read the Bible, pray, read books with the kids, do the dishes, etc. For some people, these things might seem obvious and you wouldn’t need reminders, but for me… well, I really do need the reminders!
What are your goals for this year? Is there “one word” that captures what your focus is for 2017?