Setting Goals for the New Year

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Setting goals for the new year is necessary for me to get traction on the ways I want to grow. Dividing them into personal, family, home, and financial goals for 2012 helps me wrap my head around different areas of life.

This is probably one of my favorite times of the year: the great big Mulligan. A fresh start. A do-over, if you will.

Because truth be told, I’m not always the wife, mom, teacher, cook, writer, daughter, or  friend that I wish I were. As such, I’m so very thankful for fresh starts. I know I can’t be perfect. Honestly, I don’t wanna be perfect. But, I love to get a fresh start.

It encourages me to press on.

We spent the weekend cleaning house, putting away the tree, and generally putting some order into our chaos. We did some deep cleaning of areas that hadn’t seen the light of day in awhile. And it was good. Out with the old…. and all that jazz.

We also watched the last two years in video. So fun! And so amazing to see how much our kids have changed in such a short while. If you don’t already have a favorite way to review the past, I highly recommend the slide show thingamabob set to music. So sweet!

Looking back is a great reminder of the things that we want to do more of.

  • Oh yeah, honey, remember when you took the girls on the train?
  • Babe, are there any pictures of you? We need to take more pictures of you.
  • Oh my! Those fish tacos were good. Let’s go back to that restaurant.

A glance backward reminds us of where we’ve been and where we want to go from here.

Goal setting works.

Now, you may or may not be the resolution-making type of girl. I don’t call them resolutions, though. I call them goals. You call them whatever you want. As long as they spur you on to being the best YOU you’ve got, I’m good.

But, I’m a firm believer in articulating goals for yourself. And if you do it publicly in front of dozens of people, so much the better. At least your pride will spur you on if not your friends in accountability.

Last year (and the year before that), I shared some of my goals for the year. I broke them down into four main categories: personal, family, home, and financial. This structure worked for me. So I’m doing it again.

I guess you could say my goals are generally “goals for life” since the ultimate end result doesn’t really change, though the processes do vary from year to year.

Here are some of my goals for 2011 2012:


  • Write a cookbook – Well, the book is in the final stages. I’ve had a peek at the layout as well as gone through several rounds of edits. Be expecting a lot of book talk this year as the release date approaches. Amazing that just a year ago I was strolling through the bookstore praying that my book would someday be there.
  • Manage my time better – The days are passing me by. My eldest child will soon be 15. My baby is 3 1/2! I want to make more time for just hanging with my peeps this year. Refining my time budget should help.
  • Get healthier – I got my physical last fall (just like I said I would) and actually head to the doc tomorrow for a check on something growing on my person. Hoping that it is what google tells me it might be. Either way, I am eager to get that resolved, get back into exercising, eat a little better, and otherwise take better care of myself than I did when I was 20. If I only knew then what I know now…. Losing the spare tire would be nice, too.
  • Improve my posture – I am horrible about slouching. Always have been. This year, I want to make a concerted effort to stand taller. I’m counting on exercise and better fitting bras to help with that. And yes, I’m going to get fitted! The undergarments I own are older than two or three of my children.


  • Enjoy more down-time with my husband and kids – Can we ever have enough? Last year hubs and I started taking weekly date nights, most weeks. Wow! How fun! I’m hoping to continue this practice as well as work in monthly “dates” with each of my children, too.
  • Teach my kids to cook. Believe it or not, I haven’t done a great job instilling independence in the kitchen. I’ve micromanaged instead. Part of my Pantry Challenge goals is to let the kids do more in terms of food prep.


  • Do something more with our photos – In One Bite at a Time, Tsh talks about some simple ways to store photos. Gonna see what I can do about that in the new year. My girls still don’t have baby books, so I do want to do something about that, too. And as I mentioned already, the video slideshow thingy rocks.
  • Dejunk and reorganize – It seems to be an ongoing challenge to keep clutter at bay. I’m going to start zone defense in the next couple weeks. Stay tuned for a play by play schedule of dejunking and organizing our homes. You’re welcome to join me in the Campaign against Clutter.


  • Plan for our retirement – We don’t have big dreams of yachts, private islands or any extravagant retirement. But, we also don’t want to burden our children or live in squalor. So, we’re trying to navigate these waters of retirement planning. More on that in the months to come, I’m sure.
  • Give more – I think this is going to be part of our big dream. But, I’m not quite sure yet what this will look like.

What are YOUR big goals for this year?

Top two photos: Jamie Getskow Voeltz

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  1. Hi there Jamie! Thankyou for your very encouraging blog. I just received your book “Steady Days” after ordering from book depository and it came at such a great time! I starting to homeschool my son this year and needing to set up more of a “steady routine” for our days. Thankyou for taking the time for writing this book and sharing so many wonderful ideas! God bless you!
    🙂 Martine

  2. Great post! Congratulations on your cookbook! That’s so exciting. I’ve spent the last few days tackling our home to get it back in shape {it, like me, got sloppy during the holidays} and setting goals for 2012. I am striving toward some of the same you are… reading, managing time, back on track w/healthy choices, reorganize and keep up with housework ~ and I love your slideshow idea! Looking so forward to all that 2012 has to offer and all we can accomplish!

  3. I’m setting goals this year too. I plan to break them down into categories as well.
    There is just something about a new year! Can’t wait to see your new cookbook! Talk all you want about it.
    Have a great day.

  4. I love your goals! They all seem to enable you to spend more time with your family. That’s pretty awesome to me. I have written down my goals too, still refining them, but I’ll be posting them on my blog, just for the accountability.

    I can’t wait for your cookbook to come out! That’s so cool you’ll have your name and recipes in print. Yeah, Jessica!

  5. You are soooo right! The “slideshow thingamabobby” was an amazing idea! After reading your New Year’s Eve post, I decided to “quickly” make a 2011 in review slideshow with all of our pictures. Let me tell you, it ended up being quite a project and it was not perfect (some captions somehow ended up on the wrong pics…), but my family absolutely LOVED it! It was absolutely worth the effort when my 4 kids begged to watch it again right after we finished it the first time. Hearing my hubby laugh at several of the pictures throughout was also so fun! Thank you so much for sharing such a terrific idea. Making and watching a “Year in Review” picture slideshow is now a new family tradition for us and we’re thrilled! I think I may even go back and do some years past… We’ll see! 😉 Oh, I almost forgot to mention, I used the songs you suggested too on the slideshow. (What can I say, I have little originality, lol.) Now my kids all want them on their iPods. 🙂 I’d love to see a list of more songs that your family enjoys! Thanks again!

  6. My biggest goal is to get healthy. Although I should include more than that….I just haven’t thought quite that far yet. I’m starting a Get Motivated Mondays link up specifically for people who want to share tips and recipes on ways to focus on getting healthier. Anyone here want to join me? I know you’re probably too busy Jessica, but…I do appreciate all that you have to share! I’m looking forward to reading about how you are succeeding at meeting these goals in 2012. Here’s the link to the link up:

  7. I love your phrasing about going into ZONE DEFENSE and taking out the clutter one area at a time. I have a baby on the way in March and will be working hard to organize until he arrives. Can’t wait to see what you suggest!

    1. well, I’ll be like the blind leading the blind. Clutter multiplies at my house.

  8. I resonate with so many of these! I’m looking forward to tracking your progress via Life as Mom, because I know you’ll help keep me on track, too 🙂

    Best of luck for knocking out this list in 2012, and Happy New Year!

  9. Here are mine….

    2012 goals for the year

    1. Walk or bike at least 100 miles
    2. Write 500 words a day for 6 months= 90,000 words
    3. Write 150 book reviews
    4. Read books aloud to children all year- Started in Sept. So far list of books for pleasure: Tanglewood’s Secret, Star of Light, Treasures of the Snow
    5. Have tea with friend once a month
    6. Volunteer my time for at least one year (I am already working towards that, started in Sept. once a week volunteering)
    7. Organize the laundry room
    8. Invite friends over for dinner two times
    9. Fix a meal that is outside my comfort zone, either foreign foods or other
    10. Eat a cuisine that is very different for us, more than once in the year.
    11. Go to a writer’s convention
    12. Get L. and H. to read an entire book on their own