no goals. just grace.

Hello, long lost friends! I’m returning from my unplanned, lovely hiatus to throw together a little obligatory au revoir to 2012.

Today is the day when everyone starts to finalize their goals and resolutions for the new year.

Lose 20 pounds. Read 50 books. Blog every day. Volunteer for a new charitable organization. I have seen some really fantastic goals and resolutions.

But this year? I’m just going for grace.

I want fewer goals. Because goals that aren’t met cause my heart to worry and then the worry puts little wrinkles on my forehead.

I’m going for fewer things on my to-do list. Fewer meetings, fewer commitments, fewer obligations.

Honestly? I’d just like to find a house in 2013. January would really be the best in my plan. But if there’s anything I learned in 2012, it’s that my plan isn’t the one that matters.

Sure, there are a couple of things that I’d like to do for myself like take better care of my skin and try to prevent the random breakout that stays for weeks at a time. And I’d like to get the last of that pregnancy weight to be gone for good. But I have no intention of eating up my time with obsessing over what I’m eating and stressing my kids out while we rush off to the gym.

I know my family. I know how we thrive. And we thrive on quality time. Quality time is my love language.

So in 2013, I’m going for grace. And quality time with my family. Because that’s when I’m happiest, and that’s when they’re happiest.

2013 needs fewer nights with Todd and me doing the childcare shuffle when one of us rushes off to a meeting or event and the other stays home with the boys.

My favorite week of the year is the year between Christmas and New Year’s when we spend an incredibly quiet week at my parents’ house. Without interruption and without a to-do list.

I may blog a lot less. Life may be less eventful. I may actually have time to read 50 books. But my goal is to let go of the self-induced pressure.

I know I’ll be more relaxed and I’ll have more time to cook the meals I want to cook and I’ll have more time to read the books I want to read at night. I’ll have more time for hitting the pavement with our double stroller. But, most importantly, I’ll have more room in my mind for laughing and playing.

At the end of a year where November and December felt like the rat race of all rat races, I am praying that I can be strong enough to do it differently in 2013.

And I’m eager to see the positive results that come from that decision.

What are you hoping for in 2013?

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  1. says

    Your plan is a very wise one. I have three boys; 13, 11, and 7 and they grow up so darn fast (as I’m sure you are aware). I need to have the same plan as you, but it’s really hard because I also teach 7th grade math and the demands of my job are more challenging every year. I hope 2013 is the year you find that life balance. I am hoping the same for myself!

  2. Beth says

    You are spot-on and have learned what matters far sooner than I did. All my best to you and your family in 2013. My goals for the year are good health, peaceful times, and rest.

  3. says

    Awesome…I am going in the same direction. Here are a few that I listed on my blog: More time with loved ones, Volunteering more, Making memories, Having fun, Enjoying life. I am currently reading The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren…I want to live life on purpose. That is my goal!

    God bless you and your family. I am a follower and love reading your blog post.

  4. Amy says

    I can so relate. My only ‘goal’ is to be into the house we’re building before the condo we’re renting sells. And, yes, it’s a tad comforting to know those events are out of my control so I can take that worry fully to Him. Happy New Year, Caroll family!!

  5. says

    I love your goals. I cut back on my commitments this past year. My 3 children are a bit older than yours – elementary and middle school aged. It felt so good to cut back and focus on what we as a family wanted to do. Sure I have friends who are surprised I am not on PTA or volunteering at every event, attending every party or at every church function, but our family functions best with less on our plate. While I know my friends have questioned my desire to be less involved, as I see them doing just what you said – dashing in and out while one of them stays home with the kids, stressed because they have too much packed into one weekend, I am “calm as a cucumber”, knowing that we are good with what is on our plate.

    Now my schedule allows for time on my blog – which I find personally fulfilling and time to watch my children do what they love, sports, dance etc. Still a busy life, but a better balance than the one we had before.

  6. Lauren says

    Great post. Exactly my plans for 2013. I always get so discouraged and insecure when I don’t fulfill a resultion I made!

  7. Linda says

    Great post. I read an interesting piece yesterday, somewhere onlne (can’t remember nor find it) suggesting rather than go for a resolution – such as lose weight, go to gym more – claim a word to live by and with. I claimed “create”: stronger & deeper relationship with God, a calmer & more organized & less hectic home for my family, go after some of my dreams. Well, it’s only been a few hours, but I think this is a way I can be better and stronger in 2013, and actually stick with!

    Happy New Year to you, Erin. All the best in 2013 for y’all.


  8. HeatherM says

    You are always so good at blogging about the things that are really important in life.., putting everything in focus. On a completely unrelated note related to skin care- I recently discovered help for my persistent breakouts (from Pinterest, of course). Buy a bottle of liquid Vitamin E. it is in the vitamin aisle, and costs $4-5. Soak a q-tip in the vitamin E oil for 5-10 seconds, and rub it on your acne or acne-prone places. Don’t get it in your eyes- it burns in your eyes! Leave it on for an hour or two (or less, depending on how much time you have on your hands). Wash it off- after a few rounds of this (once every day or two)my skin cleared up nicely, and my wrinkles faded a bit too. Actually I got carded and a girl looked shocked that I was 21 (I’m 30). So I guess this is working. Anyway, now i do the vitamin e oil thing once every 2-3 weeks and it works well. Also, take a little champagne on a cotton ball, wipe on your face, leave for 15 minutes, and wash off- its a great skin brightener.

  9. says

    What a wonderful post to read on this first day of 2013! I’m already overcommitted and I have spent some reflection time today trying to figure out how to keep my focus and perspective. I am hoping to make quiet time in the morning with Him a priority this year. I always make excuses about not wanting to get up earlier and make time but I know it makes the day better for me. If you don’t mind, I’ll pray on those things for you that were mentioned in your post. I have really enjoyed following your blog over the past few years! Blessings!

  10. Dee says

    What a great plan! My children are 25, 20, and 18. The oldest, our daughter, is getting married on February 2. I want to be fully in the moment for all the activities we have planned in celebrating her marriage to a precious young man we will call son-in-law! I commend you on your wisdom at such a young age; your children are blessed.

  11. says

    Praying for grace was actually a conversation with all the moms at our family Christmas gathering. I’m looking forward to enjoying every moment with my toddlers while they are still at home with me! Happy New Year!

  12. says

    In the world of do more and be better, I love your simplicity. If everyone focused on their own family and their own happiness, imagine the ripple effect it would have! To fulfill my needs and my family’s needs – that’s my goal.

  13. says

    A grand idea, Erin! Is it sad that one of my goals for 2013 is to UNPLUG? To let go, and to just BE. I think that’s the theme for a lot of us right now. Great post!

  14. Lydia Schmitt says

    Love this post so much. You have really have just beautifully stated EXACTLY what is on my heart. Thank you!

  15. says

    Just love your heart so much. Love everything you said here and agree 100%.

    Alex and I always sit down and make our goals as a family. We pull out our goals from the previous year and see what % we achieved. 🙂 I hope to blog today about my goals!

    Happy New Year, friend! Praying that perfect home appears very soon!!

  16. anonymous says

    beautiful post, erin! my resolution this year is to be nicer to and easier on myself this year. 2012 was a big one for me. lots of change: marriage, family, a few hospitalizations for my mother, 3 moves, several deaths in the family, lots of incredibly challenging (and gratifying) work…oh and a new dog! i had a tough time adjusting to all my new roles – while taking good care of myself. i think i’ve figured out that you really can’t have it all. or maybe you can…just not all at once. i’m going to try to figure out this life balance thing better in 2013. i’m very happy with what i gave to my marriage and family (and to my work), but i feel like it cost me – personally. i’m going to live with a messier house and maybe take on a few fewer work assignments so that i can have more me/down/restore time… in addition to all of the wonderful family memories and experiences we shared in 2012. thank you for all that you did to make my 2012 brighter, funnier or easier. thanks for all the parenting and marriage and just being an all around wonderful person tips i learned from you along the way. thanks for inspiring my faith. all the best to you and your family in 2013. xoxo

  17. says

    This sums up my New Years Resolutions too! My word is SIMPLIFY. I put so much pressure on myself they way I run around. I have never been as busy as I was in 2012. I want to slow down and enjoy. Doing things simpler is on the top of my list. Thanks for sharing!

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