Same Stage, New Act: My Goals for 2013

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Act 2012 is complete. The curtain rises on 2013. How will your role go?

The curtain may have closed on 2012, but most of us still have the same lives, same homes, same joys, same challenges. Our stage, if you will, and our role, is virtually the same. But, a new act begins when we turn the page and enter a new year.

The scene is set for change.

We get a chance to live a better story, to have a happy year, to breathe more deeply, and to stop and smell the roses.

As much as I’d like to believe a wish is all it takes to make those things happen, my forty years’ experience in the Story of Life tells me that isn’t how it goes. Sure, it’s okay to ad lib once in awhile. I’m the Queen of Making Things Up as I Go Along.

Planning and organizing helps, though. Articulating your goals, hopes, dreams, etc does, too, as does devising specific steps to help you get to your goal.

So here is what I’m hoping to find in 2013 and the specific steps I’m going to take:

Outside 365

We walked along the beach one cold evening right before Christmas. We hadn’t been in months. I realized how much I missed it. And how much my children enjoyed jumping in the dunes, chasing birds, collecting rocks and shells.

We don’t do this enough.

No, we don’t. We don’t live far from the ocean, maybe five miles of freeway driving. But, it takes a lot of mental effort to get the whole crew loaded up and out on an adventure. I decided since we live in a climate that allows us to be outside 365 days out of the year, then we should really enjoy it.

Here’s to getting out of the cave and into nature — every day of the year.

  • Keep a journal of our outdoor adventures
  • Map our closests parks, forests, and beaches.
  • Go walk around the neighborhood at the very least.
  • Try geocaching.

Countdown to France & England

As you may remember, we’re hoping to take the fam to France and England in late Spring 2014 to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. This will take a little planning and a lot of pennies.

With about 17 months to go, we need to step up our efforts just a bit. I want to brush up on my French and teach the kids some basic conversation points. We also need to save about $25,000, provided the dollar stays strong, to pay for a month abroad for 8 people.

Get ready for Euro14.

  • Start a France pinboard.
  • Keep a notebook or file of my notes.
  • Write to my French mom and sister more often.
  • Read blogs about French and English travel with children.
  • Save money whereever possible. We’re doing a Pantry Challenge in January. I’m going to put whatever I save into our France account.

Read more intentionally.

I can get caught up in mindless web-surfing. That’s fine, but I find that I feel more productive and encouraged when I’ve read a real live book. Although I won’t be assigning reading this year, I’ll still be “booking it.” I’ll be sharing my reading list later this week.

Read good stuff.

  • Keep a reading log.
  • Read for 30 minutes in a book every day.
  • Ask friends what they’re reading and check out their recs. (That’s YOU!)
  • Read with the kids daily/keep a “read aloud” going all the time.

Get fit.

I hate to say it, but I’ve fallen off the exercise band wagon. My bones cry out that this isn’t good. Add in that whole chronic pain thing, and my body says, “Fix me.” So, I’m going to try.

Get my body and health back in shape.

  • Do some type of exercise everyday: ride bike, shred, go walking
  • Find a doctor to diagnose the pain.
  • Drink more water.
  • Get back to watching my diet.
  • Make my own fruit and vegetable juices.
  • Eat more veg.

Write, write, and write.

Believe it or not, I have not one, but TWO book deadlines in 2013. Lord help me. Can’t share details yet, but I am super excited about both projects. This means my writing plate is very full once you count blogging and other writing projects.

Do a good job on these writing projects.

  • Clear my calendar of whatever I can. I’m stepping down from some responsibilities to free up time.
  • Delegate more. My kids ARE learning to cook this year. Oh, and do their own laundry, too.
  • Set a regular work schedule and stick to it.
  • Learn to “turn off.” I unplugged for almost a whole week over Christmas week. That was really nice!


None of this matters if I don’t love the people around me. Whether it’s the total strangers I cross paths with out in the marketplace or the peeps that live under my roof, I want to be a more loving, cheerful person.

Part of this means enjoying good times with my husband and kids. Now that my kids range in age from four to fifteen-almost-sixteen, finding an activity that everyone enjoys is getting a little tricky. But it’s not impossible, though.

Love people.

  • Weekly date nights with hubs.
  • Have more cuddle time with those of my children who will tolerate it.
  • Monthly dates with each kid individually.
  • Help those around me who need it, whether I know them or not.
  • Smile and be real with folks.

So, that’s it. Those are my “goals” for the new year. They’re the qualities and activities that I hope to experience and share in 2013.

What have YOU got planned for the new year?

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  1. Whew, those are lots of goals! But I believe you’ll accomplish them! Thank you for sharing!

    1. I think there are only five goals. Just lots of steps to make those goals happen. And a lot of steps that I’ll probably end up skipping and fudging.

  2. Wow! Those are great goals. Do you take all 8 of your children out on individual dates every month? I would love to hear more about that.

    1. We have six kids. Did I say eight? Only six. I try to have one date a week with one kid, so it is probably every 4 to 6 weeks, depending on what we have going on. A date could be as simple as a grocery shopping trip with a treat thrown in for good measure.

  3. Wow! But nicely delineated. One mom I know with 5 kiddos (and has various jobs/roles outside the house) has each of her kids in charge of meals during the workweek. 9yo-16yo. They are in charge of their own menu planning and cooking for a day –could be simple to fancy.

    We started geocaching this past fall and it has been a blast! We love to hike but I often don’t get out and do it. This gives us the motivation to get out there. When we don’t have time to hit the trails, there are tons of caches in town (you have to be more stealthy but still fun). I bet in your part of the country there are some awesome caches! Some, you not only get off the couch, but get that exercise too! Great way to teach map/compass and related skills to the kiddos!

    Here is too a great start to the year!

    1. I have a friend who is teaching her boys lots of cooking. It made me realize how much I hover. For financial reasons, I don’t think I can let them have carte blanche on the planning, but that is my hope, that they’ll do that, too. This week, I let them each pick a meal off my meal plan to help with.

      I’ve heard great things about geocaching, but we’ve never done it.

  4. I have similar goals. I am going to try to find BALANCE in 2013… I am homeschooling my 1st grader, pre-k , and preschooler… trying to find BALANCE in homeschooling, maintain my sanity, finding fitness and rekindling my faith. Balance 🙂

  5. We love geocaching! And like someone above mentioned, there are lots of “urban” caches now too. We have found several really close to home (like at the back of the McDonald’s parking lot!).

    If you don’t read I think you might enjoy it. She and her husband have been living in France with their six children for 18 months or so. I love reading about all their adventures abroad.

    Good luck with your writing projects—very exciting!

    1. Thanks for the tip! Her about page doesn’t say anything about France, but the top posts do. Looks like I have some digging to do.

  6. I also feel more productive when I’ve read a book instead of web surfing. Also, when I sit down to rest and that rest is at the computer, I don’t generally feel rested when I get done. If I sit down and read a book, though, I do actually feel rested. Wonder why that is? Glad I’m not the only one, and that’s a great goal to have!

  7. Impressive goals! I love reading everyone else’s goals…and am eager to hear (in time) what else you are writing. Best of luck to you with all your goals!

  8. Great goals, Jessica!

    You might want to do what I do and piggy-back the outside-daily, time-with-kids, down-time, and exercise goals so that you can accomplish a lot at once. It’s amazing how much synergy that produces!

    And if you need accountability for mommy exercise, join Fit Mommy. It’s worked for me for two whole years now.

    I’ve recently started keeping my reading log on GoodReads, and it’s great. Highly recommended. If you join GoodReads, I’d love to be one of your friends.

    Do remember that there’s only one of you to accomplish all your goals, and overdoing it can lead to massive problems. (Ask me how I know!) So remember your smell the roses posts!

    Lots of hugs to one super-achiever from one reforming super-acheiver.

    1. Great suggestions! And yes, I’m trying to keep it all in moderation. Many of these things (like saving money) are really more an adjustment in mindset, but yes, I get you. And thanks for the sweet warning.

  9. Jessica, these are such awesome goals! Congrats on the upcoming books–can’t wait to hear what they are!
    I may email you eventually as England and France are on our lists for this year as well. 🙂

    Another commenter mentioned DesignMom. I don’t know how much she has about living in France, but her family has these little episodes your kids might enjoy. Here is the one on visiting a french bakery!

    I hope you have a fabulous 2013!

    1. Fun! Thanks for the tip. Loved that, only wish it had the une or un in front of each vocabulary word. 😉

  10. Hey! Reading this reminded me for some reason if you were planning to have any reader meet ups this year. My brother-in-law and his family moved to the San Diego area about 2 years ago. They work at Pine Valley Retreat Center. Anyway, we’re taking our family across in the country in a couple of weeks to visit them. (Me, the hubby, and 3 boys- 6, 3, and 16 months. Lord help us.) Anyway, I’ve been reading your blogs for a couple of years, and I’d love to meet you if there’s a chance. It’ll be January 19-26. I know you’re a very busy blogger, and I totally understand if this is not something that would be a good thing for you and your family. But I thought I’d find out if there was anything happening at the right time that I could join in on. You can email me if you don’t want to answer in the comments box. =)

  11. Great goals…I haven’t nailed all mine down just yet, but I do agree that we need to get outside more, especially considering where we live. And I also want to spend more time reading off-line. 🙂 Going to get off the internet and go pick up my book right now in fact! Thanks for the encouragement!

  12. Great goals! I love the 365 outside. I would love to do that with my family, since we live in CA and have pretty good weather year-round. Your future trip sounds amazing! What an awesome goal to strive for!

    As for your chronic pain, have you thought about being tested for celiac? Sometimes that can be a sympton. Just a thought. Either way, hope you feel better & find that time everyday!

    1. Thanks for the suggestion. You’re not the first person to mention a link to gluten.