The week between Christmas and New Year's Day seems like the natural time to think about and set goals for the upcoming months and year (or make resolutions, if that's your thing). This year I'm attempting to be a little more systematic and intentional in my goal setting and what I would like our year to look like.
Before I look forward to the year ahead, I think it's necessary to look back at what worked and what did not work in 2017. Heading into 2017 I did not give much forethought into what I wanted the year to look like, which was somewhat good since everything took a turn when I quit my job in April and we began homeschooling in June. However, the year felt disjointed without a real focus and I often felt like instead of a set course for our family we were often drifting without real purpose. Constantly reacting to variables around us, rather than finding a real direction.
While I want our family to be flexible and able to adjust course if needed, I think it's important to at least have an idea of the end goal. Even without that, 2017 wasn't a loss. We had plenty of wins and growth opportunities.
Some areas we excelled in -
- We made the tough decision to pull the girls home and homeschool. This can be such a controversial decision, I feel like not allowing others opinions sway us and doing what we know is right for our family is a huge win!
- Our oldest graduated from high school and is doing well in college. Plus, he's happy and healthy, well adjusted, and a responsible young man. While our work as parents isn't ever really done, I feel like this is a huge win - 18 years in the making!
- My tea business is up and running. I am making more than I'm spending on tea, which is the goal!
- We had many great experiences together as a family. We traveled to Mammoth, Las Vegas, Ventura, and plenty of Disneyland trips. While not all of us went on every trip, we did have a lot of great experiences and many wonderful memories made. We love to stop a lot of places on our drives and check out interesting places. We visited the Seven Magic Mountains art exhibit on the way to Las Vegas, the railroad museum and village in Lawn, the San Buenaventura Mission in Ventura. We played in the Pacific Ocean and hiked in Devil's Punchbowl.
We had plenty of areas that need improvement as well. It's easy to call them failures, however if we learn from things that don't go right, is it really a failure? Here are the areas we have growth opportunities -
- Therapeutic Parenting - we parent a child who went through trauma as an infant. This kind of parenting is drastically different than traditional parenting. We've spent many years studying trauma and how to parent out daughter the way she needs. The trouble is that it can become exhausting and it's very hard to keep up with what needs to be done because it's not how people "naturally" parent. In order to therapeutic parent, you really need to constantly be learning and reminding yourself through books and courses, plus support from other parents walking this road is crucial (because it's HARD. Yes, all parenting is hard, but this is just so much more.) This year we did attend one conference on therapeutic parenting but overall we didn't take the time to learn or implement the things we did learn. This causes a lot of regression in our daughter. With kids who come from hard places, there's no standing still. There's forward or backward only. One of our long term goals is to become therapeutic parent trainers ourselves, so it's not only important for our daughter that we continue to do our best to learn for her, but also for our long term goal. This will be an area of great focus in 2018.
- Budgeting - let's just say this is always a struggle... we will be focusing on this much more this year in hopes to overcome our pitfalls in this area once and for all.
- Spiritual - Since moving in 2015 we have yet to find a church home. We've tried out quite a few in our small town but have not found a good fit. There are so many personal reasons we want to find a church and attend regularly. It's something we talked of often in 2017 but unfortunately allowed other things to take priority over.
- Sewing/Crafting business - with the start of homeschooling and my tea business, I haven't sewn or sold any items since May. I had hoped to have two sources of income to help offset what I was making when working at the local foster agency. That just didn't happen though.
While we had many more wins and growth opportunities, this is a good start!
Share your wins (and growth opportunities if you'd like!) in the comments below and come back tomorrow to read some of our goals for 2018.