I love new years. I love the confetti and the sparkles and fresh starts. I love that it's an event the whole world celebrates. I love that we all celebrate living another year together. We have had plenty of little (and big) victories in our lives that are worth celebrating. While we all look forward to a new year and a chance to continue what we’re doing or to start over, it's so important to see how far we’ve come in this last year. Maybe 2016 didn’t look the way you’d imagined it to, but you made it! Maybe you faced a fear or dealt with something you never thought you’d overcome. Maybe you tried something new or reconnected with an old friend or passion. All those little things- now those are worth celebrating. 

For the past couple of years, I’ve shared some of my hopes and goals for the new year. I’m a firm believer in setting goals, I love when my life has direction. Goals aren’t here to remind us of what we’re failing to accomplish, but I see them as guidelines for the way I want to live. They keep me in check and are there to remind me of the person I want to be by the end of the year. No matter the day or season, I adjust accordingly as I check up on what I’d written down day one of the year. Don’t abandon goals if you don’t seem to be living up to your expectations, break them down so you can take baby steps back up to your overall goal. Just don’t give up on yourself. The person you want to become is worth fighting for!

So, to kick off the year, here are a few of my dreams for 2017.

1. Always have something to look forward to

This is SO important for me. I can quickly find myself in a rut if I’m not dreaming for what's to come. Each week I want to have something to look forward to. Whether it be a coffee date with a friend, Monday night Bachelor viewing parties with my girls, whatever it may be, I want to remind myself that there is always so much to look forward to! 

2. Coming to terms with vulnerability

Just the word scares me. It’s scary to lay yourself out there for people to judge. I’ve learned that not everyone will accept me for being me, but that shouldn’t stop me from being me (does that make sense?). I think relationships flourish when we show each other our scars and when we share what makes us human. I think God allows us to go through certain things and experience joy and pain and love and heartbreak and all the other human emotions so we can connect with other people. What good does our experience do if we are keeping it to ourselves?

3. Be guided by love

Loving people is HARD. It is. Not all people are hard to love, mainly just the people that don’t love you back. When I read stories about Jesus in the Bible, I’m like, “how the heck were you so calm about that?! They are calling you names and accusing you of horrible things and you’re just going to love them?!". Turns out love is the most powerful way we can ever respond. Jesus even says it himself, "because of this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:35). People can say and do hurtful things to us, even we unknowingly hurt people! It’s not that we’re full of hate, we just stink at communicating sometimes. So this year I’m working on separating people's actions from who they are. The best way to show someone Jesus is to love them, so that's my mission this year. I’m hoping to keep myself in check by thinking about my intentions and consistently asking myself if my actions are out of love.

4. Create anything and everything

Creating makes me happy and a busy schedule shouldn’t keep me from doing what I love. It’s a passion that I’ve been handed that I want to use. 

5. The "why not?!" attitude

I hate fear. I want to continually do things that challenge my fears this year. WHY NOT do this or that? If fear is the reason I shouldn’t, I want to kick those walls down. Why not? What do I have to lose? 

6. Invest

Investing time with Jesus, in relationships with friends, money in my favorite causes, in good clothes, all of the above and more! What we invest our time and money sort of reflects what we value most. At the end of the day I don’t want that to be Instagram or Netflix (though I love those things too) I want to recognize how valuable time is and how important it is to use it wisely. 

7. Taking Care

Of myself and others. Wellbeing is a lifestyle I’ve been adopting for a while now and it's about time I just sign the papers and integrate it into my life no matter the season. There are certain times I let self-care slip (wait, I need to shower more than twice a week?? JK. Kind of.) Anyway, we need to keep ourselves in good condition so we can focus on helping others and exercising that selflessness! That's something I want to become more of, and I really think it goes hand in hand with how we treat ourselves to begin with. 

There you have it, my 2017 goals! I hope the new year finds you well and that you never stop working toward the person you want to become. Cheers to a wonderful 2017!

xx Mariah