Once upon a time, I was a New Year's Resolution girl, back in the day when I had nothing but time in which to contemplate this stuff, and diaries to write it in. My first real set was when I was 13--I resolved to finish the novel I was working on, and I did.
So along with writing new resolutions on Jan 1, I would take Dec 31 to look back at my past resolutions and examine how I did, to look over the year as a whole. This was even more fun than coming up with new resolutions.
I didn't write any resolutions down last year (or for countless years before that), but I still like to look back over the past year as it comes to an end. This last one was rather interesting. Speaking professionally, I experienced some unexpected shifts. I was encouraged to write a second Biblical fiction, which I hadn't planned on doing back in January. Follow-ups with editors at major houses led to a lot of proposal requests. I went from not knowing what project to work on, what was next for me, to having a release scheduled for Jan 3, 2011, and another in the works for 2012. Plus with WhiteFire expanding, that's a whole new level of, er, newness as we find other authors to work with.
Speaking personally, it was also a year of change. I took the plunge into homeschooling, and discovered how rewarding (and occasionally frustrating, LOL) it can be to share that with Xoe. We watched Rowyn grow from toddler interested only in Mickey Mouse to a little boy wild over anything with wheels. This has also been a year when I realized my sanity is a lot more secure with regular, if brief, breaks from my precious little kiddos. ;-) Special thanks to the grandmothers for watching them now and then and giving me the time I need to recharge--by writing, LOL.
I'm still probably not going to write down resolutions, but I've already started some of the things I want to improve on this year. I've started exercising again (ugh), and have started prayer journaling. I've toyed with it throughout the year (both, LOL, but primarily the journaling), but never kept it up for various reasons. Both my mom and grandmother got me beautiful journals for Christmas though, and nothing inspires me like a beautiful journal. So since Christmas, I've been starting each morning by reading a bit in my Bible and then journaling.
Here's why I like it. With two small kids and no guaranteed quiet time, having a time for praying just doesn't always happen. I try. I do. But it often sounds something like, "Dear Lord, thank you for--"
"Mommy! I need you!"
"Just a minute, please. Lord, I thank you for my beautiful family and--"
"Mommy, he's hitting me!"
"Mommy, Xoe take my toy!"
"Dear Lord . . . what was I saying?"
Focusing was always a challenge, and half the time I forgot what in the world I was trying to pray about. With journaling, I'm writing it all down, so when I lose focus, I can get it back very easily by rereading my last sentence. Ah, writing. (Which is, of course, its own reason for me to do it this way.)
Another thing I love about it is that it's a record, so you can go back days, weeks, months, even years later and see how the Lord has answered your prayers. When I've done journaling in the past, that was what I loved most about it. In looking back, I would discover things I'd prayed about that I'd totally spaced after a while, but which I could then see that God had faithfully answered. Pretty cool!
Oh, another quick, cool idea someone on one of my writing loops mentioned a couple years ago. Rather than making resolutions, they ask the Lord for a word each year, one word that they are to live up to, strive to achieve, or which will be important that year. I'm asking the Lord for a word for 2012 too. =)
So while I may not be making traditional resolutions, I've already seized the spirit of the thing. How about you? Do you write resolutions, or maybe set goals? What's the one thing you want to work on this year? Or the one word the Lord has given you?