Goals for 2015


Happy New Year! 2015. We've arrived. I hope you woke up feeling excited about the year before us. I spent most of yesterday working through my Lara Casey #powersheets. It was a genuinely wonderful way to spend the day. The #powersheets include many worksheets of prep work to complete before the time comes to set goals for the year ahead. These worksheets provide space to ponder what worked well and didn't work well in 2014. It's also a space to clarify hopes and dreams - and imagine what it will take to get there. 

I felt exhausted and thankful by the end of the evening; ready for a good night of sleep - and eager for the new year to begin. The whole program is built around "making what matters happen." It's about clarifying and focusing - so that a person can say "no" to what doesn't matter and "yes" to what does matter. My focus word for the year will be.....

Concentrate. That's my focus for this year. I am really pumped about all 10 goals. But I know that in order to reach them - and in order to "make what matters happen" - I need to redevelop my ability to concentrate. Constant access to technology and social media has definitely contributed to the dwindling of my focus. I am committed to reclaiming concentration this year!

As a way to hold myself accountable to my 10 goals for 2015, I'm going to share them here on the blog. In addition to filling out the worksheets, I also made a purse-sized book so I can keep my goals handy and in front of me every day. Life is precious, and I want to make the most of 2015! Time moves SO quickly. It really seems like we just ushered in 2000 yesterday. But that was 15 years ago! I definitely want to have a lot of fun adventures and spontaneity in the year ahead, but I also want to know that I'm really advancing my core dreams/goals/visions. I believe these 10 goals will help me get there. 


1. All of my work will connect with my core purpose: "Use words (written and spoken) to empower others to feel valued and connected." The #powersheets program invites participants to identify a core. Everything else should then be rooted in the core and branch out from it. I have a variety of hats these days: pastor, Director of Communications, columnist, speaker - I want to make sure that all of my roles relate back to this core. Hopefully this will make it easier for me to say "yes" to some things and "no" to other things. 


2. Read 2 books per month. I love to read and this is an achievable goal. I have been slacking on my novel reading since college. I enjoy entering into "book world" and I know it helps me to be a better, more relevant speaker and writer. I own SO many books I haven't yet read, and I love to visit the library. Looking forward to lots of reading in the year ahead. 


3. Develop the Post-Bulletin column with intention. Writing the column has been such a source of joy in my life, and I am immensely thankful to the Post-Bulletin and the Holy Spirit for the opportunity. I'm not exactly sure how the column will develop in 2015, but I know I want to be more intentional about planning - while also leaving space for the Holy Spirit and last-minute inspiration. 


4. Blog daily. For most of this blog's history, it was a daily endeavor, and I really enjoyed that. Then, the "Summer of Medical Challenges and Hospitalizations" occurred, and I stopped blogging daily. I'm in a place where I am ready and excited to return to a daily pattern. You can see the plan for the daily schedule by looking over to your right underneath the photo.


5. Limit work distractions and maximize productivity. Utilize daily planning tools. Only check cell phone during my morning break, lunch break, and afternoon break (be sure to take breaks!). I LOVE my job and I want to make the most of it. That being said, I am often distracted and interrupted. Maximizing productivity and doing all the things that I hope to do with the position will require a sharper focus and concentration. There is LOTS to do and limited time. A better handling of interruptions will be key (there weren't nearly as many in parish ministry). Most of the interruptions I experience now are normal, healthy, and to be expected - I am the primary communicator of the team, and there are staff members, pastors, and church members throughout southeastern Minnesota who have things that need to be communicated. 

But my people pleasing tendencies often lead me to immediately start working on whatever the person has requested and then the larger projects (and likely more important projects related to core goals) get neglected. Also, I often don't take breaks and I get distracted by phone notifications and email. The emails come in all day every day, so I desire to find a way to limit my checking of email to times when I'm really ready to address the concerns. Asana is an awesome app, and I hope to use it a lot this year. I have a good system for daily planning that I plan to utilize. 

This job means the world to me. I have learned a lot in the last 9 months. This year, I want to focus on maximizing productivity and limiting distractions. 


6. Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Sleep is so key for me. I feel SO much better with a good night's rest, and my brain is much sharper. Weeknights: no Internet after 9:30pm and bedtime by 10pm. That's the plan!


7. Daily morning meditation and devotion. Practice mindfulness. I've been continuing my morning devotional time for the last 7 weeks or so. It has been immensely grounding, and I plan to stick with it. Also, I want to incorporate meditation every morning - even if it's only 1 minute. I've been reading quite a bit on mindfulness lately; it will be a priority for me this year. 


8. Nurture and deepen core relationships. Implement healthy boundaries. As an extrovert, I love people and I love making friends with everyone. It brings me so much joy to have coffees and happy hours and lunches with new friends. I have a tendency toward building lots of friendships with lots of interesting people, but because I am so excited by the prospect of knowing so many interesting people, I don't always take time to truly nurture deeper-level friendships. Also, I tend to keep people talking by asking questions, and this means I generally don't end up sharing very much about myself. I've made a lot of progress in that area, but I'm still working on it. I want to nurture and deepen core relationships while also leaving space to develop new ones. I want to give myself permission to nurture relationships that are life-giving and step away from relationships that are life-draining: this is true for family relationships, friend relationships, and perhaps at some point, romantic relationships. 


9. Take risks in writing, especially in writing with vulnerability. The best things I've ever written have been really honest and not sugar-coated. It feels good to write in that voice. It isn't appropriate all the time - but I hope to nurture that voice this year and take more writing risks. 


10. Limit food budget to $120/month...this includes groceries and eating out. At the beginning of 2013, I set a goal to have my student loans paid off by 2015. I have two of them out of the way (YAHOO!!!), and the third and final student loan should be paid off by the end of this year! (Side note: My Mayo bill has obviously expanded exponentially in the past 2 years. But nevertheless, my primary goal was to get the student loans paid off, and I am excited by that prospect! And Mayo doesn't charge interest and I can just keep chipping away at it indefinitely as many, many people do. No stress. I'm thankful for the quality medical care and thankful they don't charge interest.) 

I do really well with specified budgets. Also, I think it's enjoyable to map out and stick with a budget. I like the challenge and the focus. This year, I will not be buying any new clothes (I did really well with that in 2013). And I am going to be quite careful with my food budget. I spend a LOT on eating out and happy hours and lunches. A lot. More than I realized. It is something that brings me a lot of joy and I can definitely afford it without any trouble, but I'm not sure I want to spend money in that way. I'd rather save it or put it toward travel or student loans.

$120 a month isn't a huge number for total food cost, but I have quite a bit of healthy, high-nutrient food in my pantry and freezer to get through, and this will be a good incentive to get through it without buying new food. I also think this will be a good incentive to cook regularly, meal plan, eat more beans and legumes, and shop the sales!

So that's the list! My 10 goals for 2015. I am so excited for the year ahead, and I look forward to sharing this journey with you! 


  1. Emily this i very inspiring and a good model for my own goal setting for 2015.

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