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My Goals for 2021

Some Reflections on 2020

I look at this picture, I look back on 2020 and my heart is full.

It was the year I learned to value community and face-to-face relationships like never before.

It was the year I began appreciating my three older kids and my relationships with them more than ever.

It was the year I discovered anew that I really, really like my husband and we are not only best friends but we make a great team, too.

It was the year of experiencing God’s faithfulness in a tangible way as we navigated so many unknowns and had to just take one day — or even one hour — at a time… and trust Him for whatever the future held.

It was the year of shaking my head in amazement at the fact that — after years of infertility — God gave us the gift of sweet Kierstyn Michaela. She has been the wildest surprise of our lives and getting to be a brand-new mom all over again has been such a profound gift.

It was the year we said yes to opening up our home and hearts to a precious, tiny preemie boy who has forever changed our lives.

It was the year of great grief and loss as we said goodbye to this boy who captured each of our hearts at the deepest level, but also the year that we got to be a small part of a beautiful redemption story with him and his mama. We wouldn’t trade that for all the world!

It was the year I took my first-ever 6-week maternity leave — and then ended up deciding to cut way back on my work hours and responsibilities when it was done… and it’s been so amazing to realize that I truly do not find my worth in my work (something that has been one of my biggest life struggles).

2020 challenged many of my core beliefs. A lot of what usually fills my time was stripped away. And in the stillness and the quiet, in the unknowns, in all the weirdness of the year, in all the constant changes, in the multitude of cancellations, in the ups and downs and highs and lows, I got to cling to Jesus like never before. And I learned yet again that He is Enough.

On the hard days and the good days, in the grief and the gratitude, He was and He is and He will be faithful.

Why I Didn’t Set Yearly Goals Last Year

In 2020, because I knew I was going to be writing a book and having a baby and likely fostering another child or more, I decided against setting yearly goals and just set weekly goals instead.

Little did we all dream what 2020 was going to hold! I look back and am so thankful I didn’t set big yearly goals because I would have likely not been able to accomplish a number of them.

I had thought that I would continue on with just doing weekly goals in 2021 because there are still so many unknowns in the world. However, the more that I thought about it, the more that I felt like setting some goals — mostly around things that would really be life-giving (such as lots of reading!) and family time, would be motivational to me and would be just the fire underneath me I need right now in my life.

I’m still planning to break these down into weekly goals, which I plan to update here every week.

My Goals for 2021

You’ll notice that my goal list is shorter than usual and that my goals are simpler. I think this is the perfect balance of motivating me in the season of life I’m in while also not setting me up for pushing too hard or exhausting myself in the process.

Plus, I want to allow plenty of wiggle room in my schedule and calendar and on my daily to do list for being able to live out my phrase for the year: Show Up.

I’ve broken these goals up into the four areas of priority in my life right now:


1. Go through all of the She Reads Truth studies for the year. (Jesse and I decided to sign up to go through these again this year — after taking a break for a few years. I’m so excited!)

2. Finish 3 books a week. (At the end of the year, my goal is to have finished: 52 audiobooks, 52 fiction books, and 52 non-fiction books. I know that this goal is a little audacious, but it excites me, so I’m just going for it! I’ll be sharing my list of books I plan to read next week!)

3. Fill out my habit tracker every week. (This idea was something I learned a number of months ago from Atomic Habits and it has made such a difference for me. I got out of the habit and want to get back to it! If you are interested in me sharing more about this, let me know and I’ll try to put together a post about it.)

4. 8,000 steps a day = 56,000 steps/week. (I track my steps daily with my FitBit Alta HR.)

5. Complete at least 1 craft per month. (I plan to use some of the craft kits that I’ve gotten from Annie’s Creative Girls’ Club and Annie’s Creative Woman Craft Club. Since so many of you purchased the fantastic deals I posted from them, they signed me up for both subscriptions as a thank you! While crafting is not something I’m really gifted at, I find that it is relaxing for me and something that challenges creative parts of my brain that I don’t use very often!)


5. Have a monthly date with each of the three older kids. (I’m planning on having the kids help me decide what they’d like to do each month. I love hanging out with my kids and I cherish our time together even more as they get older.)

6. Read 5 books aloud as a family. (After taking a break from reading aloud for a few years, we brought it back this past year and finished a few books together. I’m committing to do a little more of it this coming year — even if it’s just a few pages from a book a few times per week.)

7. Read 12 chapter books aloud to Kierstyn. (I’ve been reading a chapter from a classic children’s book + a chapter from the Bible every morning while I nurse her. While she’s still little and much of it is over her head, I love to establish this habit when my kids are tiny so that it becomes an important part of their family culture for the most formative years of their life. Plus, it’s fun for me! I’ll be sharing the list of books I plan to read aloud to her next week.)


8. Have a monthly date with Jesse. (While we hope to occasionally get an actual date night out, since we will likely be saying yes to another foster care placement soon, we plan to at least do one Date Night in a Box kit at home every month — even if we can’t get out for a real date every month).


9. Launch my new book, Love-Centered Parenting. (It launches March 16, so the next few months a big portion of my online time will be focused on media interviews and promotional stuff. I’ve never been more excited about a book launch!!)

10. Decide on the topic for my next book. (I signed a 3-book contract with Bethany House in 2019 and we have some possible topics for the next two books, but I wanted to wait until I had launched the first book to nail them down. But I would like to have the topic and premise for the next book finalized by the end of 2021 and then plan to write it in 2022.)

There you have it! My 10 goals for 2021. I’ll keep you posted on how things go with my weekly goal check-ins. 2021: let’s do this!!

Did you set goals for 2021? If so, I’d love to hear what they are!

Photo by @emilyasheyphoto

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  • Missy says:

    I love kingdom mom planner. It has a habit tracker

  • Julie says:

    I would love to hear more about your habit tracker!!

  • S.T. says:

    I would like to hear more about habit tracking and perhaps you could share a link to the habit tracker you use, please. 😊

  • I’d also love to learn about how you do habit tracking. I want to this year, but am a bit overwhelmed by it, concerned it’s going to take a lot of time, as well as wondering what habits I should focus on (two, five, ten?).

    Can you also tell me of you’ll be having a book launch team and how to join?! I’d love to read and help promote a parenting book written by you, after watching online your gentle loving approach with your older (than mine) children and I was so happy at the beginning of this year that you were blessed with a baby girl, because I know you’ve always wanted a big family. As an introvert who struggles with my emotions, I’m wondering if you have any suggestions for me 😉

    • We will be having a launch team! We will be sharing more details on the requirements for that when it launches in early February. We’re doing it differently this time around and it will be a perk of pre-ordering. In addition to getting to read a pre-release copy, you’ll get access to some fun extras + opportunities to have your social media posts/blog posts promoted on my channels, too! It’s going to be fairly limited so that we can make it a special perk for people who are really invested in the message and want to help promote it. Stay tuned for details!

  • Jackie says:

    I’ve looked into the She Reads Truth studies a couple times but never committed. As a “newish” bible reader (as an adult), I’m so intrigued but also a little intimidated. But one of my main goals this year is to become more familiar with, and grow my relationship with God. Do you recommend this for a new bible reader, or is there something else you would recommend to start? Also, will you be using the monthly/yearly subscription, or just the monthly app subscription? Thanks in advance!

    • diane says:

      I know you didn’t ask me, so feel free to disregard, but if you like listening to the Bible or reading things on your phone or tablet, Youversion is a free app that has a lot of good plans. I like the ESV through the Bible in a year plan and then it has it already divided up for each day.

    • We signed up for the yearly subscription. If you are new to Bible reading, I recommend looking on the YouVersion app and picking a simple reading plan on there to start with.

  • Scotti says:

    I have been stalking (is that an okay word to use?) the blog for a goal update and I am SO glad you shared!

    One of our priorities this year is to play a board game as a family once a week. I realized recently that my 14 year old has never played Monopoly and it got my wheels turning! My husband and I decided that Sunday nights will be for a family game, popcorn and hot cocoa. Tonight, we are having a Checkers tournament, bracket and all!

  • RobinY says:

    Yes! Please share your habit tracker experience. I read Atomic Habits, but I read so many of these type of books, I can’t remember the details :/

  • Alison says:

    Enjoy reading your goals 🙂 I am curious, why do you read chapter books to your baby? Does she listen in your lap?

    • I read to all three of our older kids from the time they were newborns to establish the habit of reading aloud. When they are really tiny, it’s more just about them hearing my voice and developing the habit, but as they get older, it becomes really fun as they start engaging in the stories. Oh and I read to her while I’m nursing her in the morning.

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