A Wish for the New Year


This New Year’s Eve, Kyle and I sat down at the table with bowls of ice cream and a notebook. Together, we started reminiscing about the year and setting our intentions for 2020. A few minutes in, his brow was furrowed. “What’s wrong?” I asked. He tapped the paper in front of me—already half full of our to-dos for a better life—and said, “This isn’t fun! It just feels like another list of things we have to do.”

At first, I protested. This was exciting! The way to live an intentional life! Goals! Dreams! But as I skimmed the neatly written lines in my notebook, I could see his point. We were already setting a high bar for 2020. It occurred to me that the buzzing in my ears might not be born of eagerness but anxiety. We were already behind.

Resolutions are usually my jam. I’m an enneagram one—a goal-setter, list-maker, and thing-doer. I’m constantly moving. I measure my worth in achievements, accomplishments, and boxes checked off. Honestly? Setting goals makes me feel like I’m in control.

But this year I feel a tightness in my chest. My social media feeds are bombarded by calls to exercise more, clean out my closet, see a therapist, set a reading goal, put down my phone, lean in at work, date my spouse, and play with my kids. These are good and worthy goals, but I’m already overwhelmed.

Maybe I’m coming at it all wrong.

As we enter 2020, I want to hold my hopes and dreams loosely—not in a death grip. I want to be gentler with myself and to slow down. I want to sit in discomfort and give myself grace to make mistakes. I want to remember that I have innate worth, regardless of the things I do or achieve or produce. I want to offer the same to the people I love.

Maybe then, the goals that really matter—serving my King faithfully, loving my people well, and offering my gifts with humility—will fall into place.


This post was originally shared on my Instagram.

2 thoughts on “A Wish for the New Year

  1. Hi Jessica,

    I often feel overwhelmed with resolutions as well.

    This year I decided to do Gretchen Reuben’s Happiness Project. This involves choosing a category for each month, such as home, love or work and picking 4 or 5 resolutions for each month. They can be one off tasks or ongoing changes.

    I have also chosen a “word of the year” which will guide me through the year. The word I chose was “mindful”.

    The last thing I chose to do was make a 20 for 2020 list with things I would like to complete within the year. These can be linked to your resolutions or entirely separate.

    I feel like this is a more manageable way and you can change things as you go if somethings not working out. It certainly beats trying to start everything on Jan 1st.

  2. Exactly, Jessica! Your final 2020 goals are very similar mine. Even tho they may appear to be more “laid back” to some of your readers, I believe they will present a unique set of challenges for you and for me. Good luck!

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