(And who loves Rocketman? I do!)
Since I was born on New Year's Day, it's only appropriate for me to have a special place in my heart for the changing of the year. I love closing out the old year and reflecting on the things I've experienced and learned and then starting fresh with new goals and purposes for the coming year.
I'm also very cool with a 50% success level for New Year's resolutions.
Sometimes I incorporate a theme for the New Year, if I feel so inspired. It's not something I do every year, but there are some years where I feel drawn to a particular focus. As 2017 approaches, and I've been pondering about my life and what I want to achieve, the word "stewardship" keeps coming to mind.
Can I be honest? I don't care for the word stewardship. It's not a pretty word. So from the moment it came into my mind, I have pushed it aside. But yesterday, I took some time to brainstorm goals for the New Year, and in doing so, I created a concept map. The word came to mind... stewardship, and I thought, "Fine. I'll mess around with it, but only for a minute."
I wrote stewardship, and then I began to list all of the things I am a steward over. As soon as I let the word in, I had so much clarity and direction. I feel like I was truly inspired to focus on stewardship in 2017. But since stewardship isn't my favorite word, I've decided that my theme for 2017 will be...
Safekeeping will be my pretty word for stewardship, and here is what I mean by those words:
The careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care.
The responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving.
Stewardship is about recognizing blessings and managing them well.
-A Diving Encounter (blog)
My purpose for 2017 is to become a better steward over the things that have been entrusted in my care - in essence, I am focusing on the safekeeping of my blessings.
After I listed several of the things I am a steward over, I chose five to focus on for the year, and I made some goals in each of those areas:
1. I am a steward over my finances
Goal: Improve our budgeting system and use our money more responsibly.
This is a goal that we already have a good foundation for, but I want to make it better. We have been pretty good about living within our means and staying out of debt, but I want to do a better job at saving money. I want to put more money toward our car and get it paid off much earlier than planned (perhaps by the end of 2018). I would also like to do the same for our house (we are hoping to pay it off within nine years). This year, I want to get a good budgeting system in place than includes finding a way to put more money toward things now so we can free up our finances later. Or as Dave Ramsay says, "Live like no one else so later you can live like no one else."
2. I am a steward over my body
Goal: Weigh less on December 31, 2017 than I do on January 1, 2017.
Goal: Have ten or fewer encounters with soda.
I know it's cliche to set a weight loss goal, so I'm keeping it nice and simple. I know that I need to be a better steward over my body, but I don't want a quick fix that I can't maintain. If I am going to make changes to my health, I want them to be permanent lifestyle changes, so I need them to happen slowly over time. This year, I am hoping to:
- Improve our family diet
- Consume less junk
- Overcome emotional eating
But I'm not ready to be drastic about it. Baby steps to better health!
My soda goal is a goal I set almost every year, except this year I am allowing myself a little bit of soda. I feel like I should be able to enjoy an occasional Coke with a friend.
3. I am a steward over my family
Goal: Improve Family Home Evening and Family Councils.
Goal: Implement weekly family goals again.
This is another goal that we a;ready have a good foundation for. We have worked hard to make FHE a weekly practice, and we have family councils every Sunday night (read more about how we do our family councils here). My goal is to make them a little more meaningful and useful.
I also want to start doing weekly family goals again. A few years ago we started setting goals each week during FHE, and we got out of that practice when I went back to school and started getting more overwhelmed. I want to reinstate the family goals.
4. I am a steward over my knowledge
For this one, I wanted to set a goal for secular knowledge and spiritual knowledge.
Goal (secular): GRADUATE!!!
Goal (spiritual): Complete my current course of scripture study.
I think GRADUATING is self-explanatory. In addition to that, I want to actually complete a scripture study plan. I'm really good at making a plan and starting a plan, but I don't always see it through. A few months ago I outlined a study plan for myself with the Gospel Principles manual. I want to finish that plan! The way I am going, it will take a few months, and then hopefully I will be inspired to start a new plan.
5. I am a steward over my happiness
Goal: During the month of January, study the topic of happiness and make a list of "best practices" for maintaining happiness, then set goals that will help make those "best practices" a part of my daily life.
Happiness has been a big part of 2016, so I want to continue learning how to manage my own happiness in the coming year. I believe that a lot of my personal happiness is up to me, so I want to be intentional about bringing it into my life and safekeeping it. Plan on hearing more about thisnext month.
I am looking forward to 2017, and I am already starting to work on some of my resolutions. I'm feeling positive about the direction I want to take this year, and while I'm at peace with a 50% success rate, I'd really like to have more than that this time!
For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures.