It’s a little over a week in to 2011.  How are you doing on your new year’s goals? On New Year’s Eve, I posted 20 questions for reflecting on 2010, then on New Year’s Day, I posted questions to help you explore, brainstorm, and get excited about what you can be and do this year.  (There are also free PDF downloads for both sets of questions).

December was incredibly busy for my family, what with my book’s release, so I didn’t spend much time working on new year’s goals between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, like I normally do.  This year, I slowly let ideas percolate the first few days in January, letting my mind sift through the 2010 months as I took down our holiday decor and moved back in the swing of things.

I’d love to hear what your goals (or “resolutions,” if you like that word) for 2011 are.   Here are some of my plans.

2011’s theme

Some years I attach a word to a year, sensing a theme of the upcoming months. I don’t force it, if there doesn’t seem to be an obvious thread to my coming days.  In 2007, when we moved overseas, my theme was “leap of faith.”  Everything that year was new and different, and it took courage to do most everything.  2008 was my year of “peace,” after having endured a rough ‘07 that left me in dire need of stillness.

2011 is my year of NO. Yep, no.  It’s much more positive than it sounds.  This year, I’m saying “no” to all but the essentials to take care of myself and my family.  I’m letting rest all my ideas for new ventures and time-consuming writing projects, so that I can nurture what’s already blessing my life.

• In 2007, we moved abroad.

• In 2008, we welcomed Reed, our middle son, in the family, and I launched Simple Mom.

• In 2009, I wrote Organized Simplicity, endured a miscarriage, got pregnant again, and went through personal relationship changes offline.

• In 2010, I launched Simple Living Media, adding four new channels alongside Simple Mom.  We also endured a sudden, unexpected move back to the U.S.; gave birth to our third, Finn; researched methods to handle Reed’s severe speech delay; sold our household goods from 6,000 miles away and set up a new home from near-scratch (which dwindled our emergency savings); endured a precarious job transition for Kyle, and released my first book in stores worldwide.

So in 2011, I plan to launch… nothing. I simply want to strengthen what’s already working well — the SLM blogs, my book, speaking gigs, satisfying relationships, and most importantly, my family.  I’m saying no to most everything else.

It’s already feeling good to say no.

There’s the possibility we’ll move to another part of the U.S., but that feels like small potatoes compared to all our moves the past few years.  Other than that, I’m desperately looking forward to a year of more balance, more quiet, and more simplicity.

Photo by woodley wonderworks

My plans

I used my set of planning questions to make some family goals for this year.

1.  We’re going to bring our emergency fund back up to fully-funded, then start saving up for some more major plans, and in the second half of the year, we’d like to increase our retirement savings.  In February, we’ll be talking more about money management basics here on the blog.

2.  I hope to shed the last of my clinging friend, the baby weight.

3.  I’m going to make more time for some things that replenish me, in order to be a more balanced and sane person — and therefore, a better wife and mom.  Things like sewing, reading books, and meeting with girlfriends. I’d like to do each of these things one time per month.

4.  We’re going to continue what’s working well for us, even in the midst of potential life and geography changes — bi-monthly date nights, family pizza-making nights, working from home as much as possible, having only one car, and enjoying plenty of intentional downtime.

Making plans a reality

Photo by emples

It’s no secret that most new year’s resolutions never amount to much.  Gyms are filled in January, not quite so packed in February, and back down to the usual crowds come March.  Perhaps it’s the unreasonable expectations we make as we come down off the holiday high, or perhaps we just get too busy with life to make plausible changes.

Either way, in order to make a goal more than a dream, you’ve got to have a plan.  So with my new year’s goals:

• I’m going to use the kaizen approach, and
• I’m going to give myself plenty of grace.

I’m a recovering perfectionist, and we tend to throw in the towel if we can’t do anything perfectly. Well, I know right now that I will mess up often as I pursue these goals.  I’ll have seasons of gusto and seasons of disinterest.  I hope to do more good than harm, and I plan to make headway with each of these.  Heck, I plan to check these off as accomplished come December.

But I’m human.  I live in a fallen world.  Life happens. I depend daily on grace, so to not give it to myself is to hold myself to a standard so high I’m doomed to fail.

I’m excited about 2011. I have hope that it will be one of our family’s better years.

What about you?  What are your new year’s goals?  What’s your plan to make them happen?