Saturday, January 6, 2018

2018 Ramblings + Reading Plan

This new year for me is hopefully going to be a year of simplified, focused vision. My husband and I created a vision board for this year with lots of fun and challenging goals. One of my goals is that I hope to blog at least once a week. Maybe more...we'll see. I've moved across the country away from home, and last year I quit Facebook (best thing I've ever done), so it seems like one of the easiest ways to stay in touch with my people back home plus reach out to new people and network.

With that said, one of the goals I have set for 2018 is to read 100 books. Yes... It's lofty, especially since I didn't meet my 2017 goal of 60...but I'm going into this year with a better plan. I am more focused and should have more free time this year since I've moved to Nevada.


In 2017, I kept my own list of books I read in order to keep up with it. This year I am using the Reading Challenge feature by Goodreads. It's an app you can download easily if you want to do the same. I am also going to do a monthly post on what I've read. This way, I can keep track of it, share my reviews, and get your thoughts and new ideas for other books to read. I want to include a more community feel to my 2018 reading. I'm also looking into maybe doing a book of the month club with a couple of my friends.

So however my reading for this year pans out, I'm looking forward to it...reading, learning, and growing.

As I mentioned before, this year for me is going to be about simplicity and focus. We moved from a four bedroom house to a one bedroom apartment a few months ago, and then last week, like I mentioned, we moved across the country. Talk about having to simplify...

It helped that I reread "7" by Jen Hatmaker while in Mexico at the end of last year, but simplifying can still be stressful. I got rid of so much STUFF...donated, gave away, threw away, passed on, etc. And it honestly helped to not only declutter my life but my mind. I am on a road to wellness, and this has been one of the best things for me.

There's no point in overcomplicating things, but I fear we make life much more complex than it needs to be. There's always going to be difficulties and challenges, but at the end of the day, I think life can be so much better if we simplify and focus.

So in addition to simplifying my life, what am I focusing on? Well I want to be a kinder and gentler me to start (Shout out to my friend Chrisy for this). I want to be mentally strong. I’m typically a quiet person, but I want to still be assertive and confident...in an encouraging way. Graceful yet bold, I want to be dangerous to darkness. I want to release my negative emotions and just focus on pursuing joy...which I think comes from being kind and gentle. Keep it simple by just loving others.

How does this work on a practical level? Let me give you an example. One of my best friends is walking through a very painful situation right now, so for me, that means loving her through it. No, I can't fix it and I can't take the pain away. But I can LOVE and be kind and gentle (yet honest), and so I think by focusing on that, we can get through her situation together. Isn't that what life is about, anyways?

I also want to focus on my relationship with the Lord and on serving others. I am able to serve the sick through my job, but I want to take it a step further outside of my vocation. What will this look like? I'm not sure. My friend's company is launching a service initiative in CLT, and I hope to translate that culture of service over into my own city. I want to challenge myself, sacrifice, and step outside my comfort zone...which is so important if you want to truly make a difference.

Lastly, I want to continue my focus on wellness. Like everything else, this looks different for everyone. A big thing that it means for me is zero soda. I've cut back 99% on it, but I am not leaving even any room for that 1% in this year. I’m strictly water with the occasional tea or coffee. It also means MOVING and exercising and eating well...taking care of the body I've been given. It's a temple, and it's up to me to take care of it so that I can be the best me that I can be for those around me, especially my husband. It means taking initiative to eliminate stress in my life. Do what it takes to take care of yourself. Self-care isn't selfish, and you'll be thankful that you made the investment.

I'm very Type A when it comes to planning. I have big dreams and goals for this year, and I know what's it going to take to reach them. That's what I am choosing to focus on and I'm simplifying my life in order to get where I want to be. I'm praying for the mindset and energy that it's going to take because I know it won't be easy nor come without a lot of hard work and determination. I'm not naive that this year won't contain challenges and difficulties, but by implementing this mindset and lifestyle, I can be better equipped to face them head-on and empowered to conquer whatever is in front of me.

So I welcome 2018 with open arms. I have no idea what's in store. I have faith that, in Jesus, the best is always yet to come! I don't think I've ever been as ready for a new year as this one. My vision is set, my goals planned, and I just want to make the most of this life I've been blessed with. We honestly never know when it's going to be our last day on earth, so I'm a big believer in making the most of it...which of course can look different for everyone. It might mean getting your passport and booking your first international flight. It might mean moving to a new city. Seeing the world outside of your own little corner. Starting a new job. Building your family. Whatever it may be, simplify and focus...and I think you will be surprised by whatever comes your way. 

Simplify. Focus. Visualize. And go for it!
If you made it this far, you're a trooper for reading my ramblings about this new year. If you decide to do the reading challenge, add me on Goodreads. I believe 2018 is going to be a year of wellness, breakthrough, and deliverance for so many...and hopefully many good books. ;)
Cheers to 2018! Be well, my friends.

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