Every year, the week between Christmas and New Year’s we go to the Pocono Mountains with a crew of friends and jam-pack our family vacation home. It’s a week well-spent cooking incredible food, lots of kids, plenty of chaos and lots of rest. The afternoons are spent by a crackling fire in the stone fireplace, and after the kids go to bed we’re in our pajamas with glasses of wine, music and conversation. 

This is a tradition we started years ago. I think our first New Year’s trip was shortly after we were married, in 2010 and the tradition continues on, not always in the same location or with the exact same crew of people, but regardless, it’s a tradition important to my husband and I.


With a new year comes the opportunity for a fresh start. A clean slate. A do over. I spent a lot of time reflecting on 2017 and wrote down what went well, and what didn’t in the past year. Things that went well included business growth, exercise habits, waking up early, time spent reading, doing devotional/journaling, good time spent developing relationships with friends, and worked on strengthening our marriage in the last quarter of the year. Things that didn’t go well included work/life balance, too much time on my phone/laptop, boundaries, over committing to things, not enough travel or visiting new places, eating out/take out food too often, not enough quality time in the day to day with my husband. I wrote out all of these things on paper, in a journal. 

One night after the kids were in bed, our friends and I spent time dialoguing on this past year. We asked each other: what is your word of the year for 2018? What went well in 2017? What didn’t go well in 2017? It was a fun exercise to do with friends, and it was neat to give feedback and hear input from people you love and trust. 


So let’s talk about goal setting in a new year. After I reflected on this past year, I made a list of things that give me life. The things that motivate me, get me excited, fire me up. It’s going to look different for everyone, but some of the things that I wrote down include: traveling and exploring new places, space/margin in my schedule to just BE, time to write/read  + think, outdoors/being in nature, exercise + weightlifting, yoga, playing with my kids, a clean and tidy house, painted nails, podcasts, baths, spending time with my husband, time with friends, doing videos, plants, quality food, activating other people, helping other people achieve their goals. 

After reflecting on this past year, I looked at the things that I wanted to do LESS of in 2018. These were some of my things: less time on my phone and on social media, less time looking at what everyone else is doing, less eating out/take out, less stress + anxiety, less busy schedule, less staying up late, less committing to things that I don’t want to do and don’t add value to my life.

Make your list of the things you want to do MORE of in 2018. I wrote down the following: more praying, mindfulness, meditation, using my oils, rest, writing, time outside, self care, eating good food, quality time with Tyler, quality time with kids, creating, activating and encouraging others. 


There are countless ways that you can set goals. Some people do a giant list of goals and then work backwards with action steps to achieve those goals. Others break goals down by quarter. Last year I used Lara Casey’s Powersheets Plannerand really liked how it equipped you to be intentional every single month. It had plenty of space to brainstorm, reflect, and gave prompts to hold you accountable to your goals. 

This year I’m using a Passion Planner as my monthly + weekly planner and then using Trello to set my goals and break them down into action steps. I stumbled upon a blog post from one of my favorite instagram accounts: @valmariepaper where she shared how she tracks goals on Trello, and I just fell in love with her strategy. 

I’ve been using Trello for my business for months but hadn’t really figured out a good system for goal tracking. I’m a pretty visual person and live by lists, and so appreciated how Val walked through step by step on her blog. Read more about her tracking system here


This year my word of the year is Joy. I chose that word as my goal is to be joyful in all things. Wherever God has me this year, in whatever circumstances, it is my hope and prayer that I may find joy in that circumstance. It is difficult at times to juggle a large + growing team with two little kids and a husband who is an entrepreneur. Both my husband and I have a lot going on and in those moments when the plan doesn’t go as expected, or the rhythm gets switched up, I struggle and can get frustrated. 

I wrote this verse down in my planner and look at it every single day. “Be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead.” 1 Peter 1:6. It is my goal this year to have open hands with the year. To be joyfully flexible. To see the good in all things. Did you pick a word of the year?