Jan 4, 2024

My 2024 Goals and Word of the Year

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“New Year’s Day is a good time to fix one’s eyes on the only One who knows what the year is to hold.” — Elisabeth Elliot

Like my friend Erin, I, too, feel like I’m tiptoeing into 2024, taking it slow and carefully considering each step. You, too? December was full: a month of loss, continuing to recover from surgery, doing the holidays with as much meaningful intention as I could muster, and hosting family. I didn’t have my usual stretch of time or energy to reflect on the year, but these first days of January have given me some quiet time to think and consider my steps. I’m thankful for clarity and a slower start to 2024. The entirety of January is my “January 1″—a time to try new things and get set up for the year.

Read Part 1 of this 2-part series here.

A special treat this year has been doing my PowerSheets alongside Grace. What a full-circle experience after creating them when she was tiny. She has enjoyed the process (and the stickers!), and I love that we get to do this together. We’re chipping away at each page little by little together and hope to make our January Tending Lists this weekend (January Goals post forthcoming). Affiliate links are used in the post.

Tools I’m using for 2024:

— One-Year PowerSheets in jade green for me
— One-Year PowerSheets in crocus for Grace
— The Gratitude Journal
— The blue Reading Journal for me
— Grace has the original Reading Journal she has been filling up with favorite books
— A Season by Season Weekly Planner for me
— A Season by Season Daily Planner in the kitchen for the family
— Alllll the sticker books
Use code LARA for 10% off your order at the links above if you want to get any of these.

📚 More new books (and some favorite formation books) are linked here.

What are you using? I went back and forth on planners, having failed miserably using a paper planner for several years. Life was too tumultuous to stop and write things down. To everything, there is a season, and this is finally my season for pen and paper. The weekly setup will keep several of my goals top-of-mind. My 2024 stack below with a few books we’re reading.

After the year I just lived, God led me to take a different approach to writing my goals. I finished my PowerSheets prep work, penned a rough draft, and felt restless for days. In the middle of the night, verses came to mind to replace my own words and summarize each goal. My six scripture-inspired goals will allow me to focus on God’s Word and creatively bring it to life through small steps. I’ve listed action ideas under each that I’ll consider with each month and season—some are specific to-do’s, and some are general habits I want to solidify over time. I’m sure I’ll return to this post and add, edit, and fill things in as I go. For now, I’m grateful for this new beginning and to try new things. May these six goals help me love God and others in NEW ways this year:

1. Allow God to establish my steps (not me) (Proverbs 16:9)

Inspiration and encouragement:
– Seek God with my whole heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)
– Love God with my mind, heart, soul, strength, and mind. (Matthew 22:37)
– Remain connected to God. (John 15:5)
– Seek God first. (Matthew 6:33)
– Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
– But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him. (1 Corinthians 6:17)
Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light

Habits and action items:

— SOLITUDE – enjoy silence and quiet
— Go to a service at Duke Chapel
— Light Shabbat candles and do Havdalah each week
— Enjoy the Jewish holidays; host our Passover seder for friends
— Practice contemplative prayer – understand this with God‘s help
— Go to quiet places in nature—open fields, hikes, the beach, gardens—to listen to God
— Take three spiritual retreat days this year
— Embroider my newly-covered Bible
— List my spiritual habits in order of priority – make a list
— Cultivate gratitude in my journal daily
— Calm my nervous system through the whole of 2024 – guard my heart and mind by letting Him have more of my time than any other thing, worry, anxiety, or unexpressed tension/needs
— Unschedule and let myself rest – 2023 was full and it’s time to rest and process all that happened
— Use my planner to take sermon notes and plan all of the above
— Make my TBR list for this goal. Any favorites?

More action ideas to come on all of these as I pray and process more in these first days of the new year.

2. Number my days (Psalm 90:12)

Inspiration and encouragement:
– Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. (James 4:14)
– Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow. (Psalm 144:4)
– “O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! (Psalm 39:4)

Habits and action items – I had to make categories for this one to help me organize my thoughts:

Home
— Generously give 20-30% of the things in our house
— Enjoy the space and time this gives us back; make my version of minimalism – let God be our vision at home
— Do Sweedish death cleaning; get professional guidance with this from a local organizer I found
— Get better at cleaning the house – already started, but I am soaking up new cleaning techniques and rhythms
— Consider getting rid of our grass and replacing it with a lavender garden – our HOA may flip, but I think this is totally possible
— Consider renovating parts of our kitchen to love our kids in the future – bigger island area, fridge space, vent hood that actually vents to the outdoors
— Get a ‘slow children at play’ sign approved for our cul-de-sac

Family
— Enjoy our nightly family liturgy and character reading to plant seeds of faith and legacy in all of us – you’ll see this pop up under several goals
— Finally finish the photo albums for the kids
— Finally finish the family movies and have a big movie viewing night in the spring with popcorn and movie tickets!
— Help the kids memorize scripture together and love good words

Grief
— Take time for my grief – noted above about grief retreats, but also take time on various grief milestones
— Take the final step to begin hospice volunteering
— Make my project idea – just for myself at first and maybe to share with others

Health and Wellness
— Do the good habits I know I need to do each day to have energy for the family and continue to heal: red light, infrared sauna, brisk walking outside, breathing, music, weights, and SLEEP
— Focus on longevity with Ari in our health and wellness – begin trading ideas
— Grow in strength – begin my strength training again on January 15th (hopefully getting the doc’s clearance next week)
— Finish Why We Sleep and Outlive with Ari – gifted to him for Christmas
— Make this the year of SLEEP to continue to heal – morning sunlight, afternoon sunlight, in bed by 7:30, lights off in the house after dark, gratitude journal at night to close the day worshipping God
— Heal my gut again after antibiotics – this will take the majority of 2024
— Grow more herbs to cook with – I loved this last year and want to grow more!
— Refresh my skincare routine for my age

3. Love others as I have been loved (John 13:34)

Inspiration and encouragement:
– And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
– And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, … (Acts 2:42-47)
– For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; … (Romans 12:3-13)
– Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. (James 5:16)

Habits and action items:
— Finish Made for People
— Get to know people at our new church
— Grow in covenant friendship
— Organize our Memorial Day BBQ with neighbors
— Pray with friends regularly – on the phone or in person on prayer walks

4. Renew my mind (Romans 12:2)

Inspiration and encouragement:
– Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
– Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)
– But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (John 7:24)
– I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, LORD; teach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. (Psalms 119:11)

Habits and action items:
— Read the Word – we just started the whole Bible in 3 years again
— Hide God’s Word in my heart – memorize the book of Ephesians
— Study my Word of the Year (at the end of this post!) in the Bible
— Read wisdom to be discipled by others – two chapters / day
— Become a better reader by practicing – read the Kindle in dark mode for my eyes
— Get my eyes tested for vision therapy needs
— Read poetry to the kids, and for me
— Enjoy our nightly liturgy and character readings
— Make my TBR list for this goal. Any favorites?

5. Be generous; live the life that is truly life 🌟 (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

Inspiration and encouragement:
– As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace (1 Peter 4:10)
– In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
– As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
– And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:38-40)

Habits and Action Items:
— Delight people 🙂 : ) : )
— Have a gift closet
— Cook for fun to delight the family and worship the Lord : )
— Plan the spring garden party with Em
— Write children’s books for others – I have wanted to write another children’s book and have a few ideas to try
— Be generous! ⭐️ ✨ 🙌 🎉 ❤️

6. Let all I do be done in love (1 Corinthians 16:14)

Inspiration and encouragement:
– This goal is centered on our family. Grow in relationship with our children and Ari. Take less offense in tension—see each person’s need before my own. Love others out of God’s love for me.
– A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
– Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. (1 Peter 3:8)
– Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)

Habits and action items:
— Grow in relationship with other families at church
— Dig into therapy with Ari – we just started sessions with a therapist who specializes in helping special needs families
— Grow our marriage frienship and fun – take 3 small trips together this year, set a date night every week, and encourage each other daily
— Test out a different vacation plan this year, focusing more on individual time with each child and fewer big group trips that are hard for one of our kiddos
— Embroider the kids’ Easter gifts again – new sweatshirts 💗
— Set two weeks for homeschool planning in June instead of July; start school on August 1
— Enjoy our family liturgy reading time at night in the living room: knit, talk, connect, pray and relax
— Do more fun and simple weekend things here locally and at home
— Set up more play dates with friends
— Make gluten-free sourdough each week for the kids – any advice for this beginning baker? I just started my starter today!
— Make a life-giving school plan for next year, syncing everyone up instead of everyone going to various locations for out-of-the-house lessons

There you have it! I’ll return and add to these action ideas as the month continues. I’m so thankful for this new start. My 2024 Vision Board brings so much of this to life visually for me and is my favorite from all the years I’ve made them! Find more on my Pinterest.

For my Word of the Year, I wrestled with the words ‘abundance,’ ‘peaceful,’ and ‘formation.’ I want to experience spiritual formation, maturity, and connectedness with God and community like no other year before. I want to be transformed by the renewing of my mind. Then I landed on one little question in the PowerSheets: “What does success look like at the end of 2024?” My answer: evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in my life for others to enjoy. Instead of fretting, joy. Instead of rushing, patience. In place of control, gentleness. I reframed my thoughts and asked, “What needs to grow in my character this year? What do I want to be more of by the end of 2024?” I want to enjoy God abundantly and be made new—walking in the newness of life with our family. This will take doing new things, resting in what’s already been made new, and enjoying His Word and presence with anew each day.

My word for 2024:

NEW

Happy NEW year, friends. I’m grateful for you and His wisdom to direct our steps.

Your turn! What are you focusing on in 2024? What is your word for the year? Any favorite goals? I’d love to hear.


Up next: my January Tending list.

keep reading

27 Comments

  1. Casey Davis on January 4, 2024 at 12:15 pm

    I am so grateful for our Bible study group! It is already one of the delights of my year and something I wake up looking forward to every morning! 🩵

    • Lara on January 5, 2024 at 2:04 pm

      Same! I am very grateful for our group and His Word. 💛

  2. Katrina on January 4, 2024 at 5:05 pm

    Oh Lara – I LOVED reading these goals! And so inspiring! I love all the action items and how God led you to format them. I’m especially excited to hear about the individual trips! And to see that embroidered Bible cover! Oh the lavender front yard – my mom is a cut flower farmer here in Michigan and she has a large lavender garden (next to her peony field…which is nestled near the dahlia field…with their behives behind – yes it’s as dreamy as it sounds) and I think a lavender front yard is totally do able! The HOA should make it a standard 😉

    I got married a few weeks ago (December 9) and am SO excited to be enterring this season alongside my sweet husband. Because of this, I’m just not even sure what my goals look like yet. It has been a whirlwind to say the least – my sister got married in September and my sister in law in July (3 family weddings in 5 months) so I think we are all recovering from all the wonderfullness but craziness of the last year. I know that this year will be full of just “being” and figuring out what life looks like for us as a new family. Excited to carve this out with sweet Troy!

    I am celiac….and have been fully GF for years. I love to cook and bake and have tried ALL the recipes. This one: https://www.natashashome.com/buckwheat-sourdough-bread/#recipe I have had AMAZING success with. I did find a bit of a learning curve….but now we LOVE THIS RECIPE. It is amazing! My 2 best friends are also celiac (which is odd! we were all “normal” when we met!) and they can attest to the amazingness of this recipe as well.

    • Lara on January 5, 2024 at 2:03 pm

      First of all, CONGRATS! This is wonderful news!! And thank you, as always, for your kind encouragement. Thank you also for this recipe – I can’t wait to try it!

  3. Jessica on January 4, 2024 at 5:44 pm

    I heard in a sermon, “Strengthen that which remains.” It’s been 3 years of hard…. and it doesn’t look like it will get any easy. And I just kept thinking how do I LIVE through it all. Regardless, in the end I want to say, “Glory to God. Look what He has done!”. And mean it. And to not let the negative and unknown take over me. I felt I needed a whole new reset in so many ways. So I picked 2 words!! Reset & Strengthen. I will reset my mind, my trust, my hope on God and I will Strengthen that which remains.

    • Alli on January 7, 2024 at 2:55 pm

      I needed to read this today. Thank you.

  4. Jenifer Metzger on January 4, 2024 at 10:00 pm

    Love this, Lara!! Love your word and your goals. My word for 2024 is THRIVE. After much loss and deep grief, and suffering depression, I’m ready to thrive. My Powersheets goal areas are my faith, marriage, family, ministry/work, home, health, finances, and community.

    • Lara on January 5, 2024 at 2:04 pm

      We sound similar in season, friend. Sending love as you dig in!

  5. Em on January 5, 2024 at 9:18 am

    As I read this post, my thought over and over was, “these are the goals of a seasoned goal setter.” It’s a lengthy list, and ambitious, but clearly compiled with such care and prayer. And delight! I can’t wait to see how you bring it all to life in this next year!

    • Lara on January 5, 2024 at 2:05 pm

      Thank you! I’m excited to chat through our goals together as the year goes on!

  6. Lissa on January 5, 2024 at 10:00 am

    I ended up, coincidentally, accidentally, and somewhat ironically, settling on Cultivate what Matters as my phrase for 2024. (I was leaning toward intentional).

    Fun & Recreation: Cultivate intentionality and rest
    Work & Learning: Cultivate positivity and clarity.
    Relationships: Cultivate joyful connections
    Spiritual Growth: Cultivate devotion and focus
    Health & Wellness: Cultivate personalized wellness
    Home & Spaces: Cultivate a joyful environment
    Finances: Cultivate financial stability
    Personal: Cultivate vibrancy and authenticity.

    • Lara on January 5, 2024 at 2:03 pm

      I love this, Lissa. Always one of my favorite words for its meaning!

  7. Julie Roberts on January 5, 2024 at 10:48 am

    You always have such a way with words. Your goals are so thought out and I love how you use Bible verses to solidify them.

    My verse for the year is Job 14:5
    Since his days are determined, the number of his months is with You; and his limits You have set so that he cannot pass.

    My WOTY is encourage. I’ll spare you the full definition, but the synonyms for it are development, inspire, urge, spur and foster. This year I want to encourage the habits that help me live more like Christ. A huge goal for me is to declutter 25% of my belongings. Less stuff equals more time to focus on the things that matter.

    Thanks for sharing your goals!

  8. Juliana on January 5, 2024 at 11:42 am

    I love the idea of doing Havdallah! Do you have a liturgy for doing that which is Christo-centric? We are very good at starting our Sabbath on Saturday night, but we don’t have good practice closing it out. I love the idea of Havdallah!

    • Lara on January 5, 2024 at 2:02 pm

      I would also love to find a liturgy for this. We say the Havdallah prayers that Ari knows and say a blessing for a sweet new week as we smell the spices. I will do some hunting on a liturgy. Let me know if you find something as well!

  9. Brooke on January 5, 2024 at 2:21 pm

    I’m always so inspired by your yearly goals! I’m excited to see what 2024 has in store! My Word of the Year is “Rebuild.” Hope to see you soon!
    PS I love the gift closet. I don’t have a whole gift closet, but I do have a gift shelf…in a closet. : )

    • Lara on January 6, 2024 at 12:29 pm

      Haha – I just realized I should have clarified! Not a whole closet, although that would be wonderful. I’m thinking of using part of our unfinished storage in the attic for a couple shelves full of gifts on hand. Also, another goal is to see you at the farmers market this year!

  10. Bevin on January 5, 2024 at 2:26 pm

    Love this and am taking some inspiration! Also, please share details on your starter! I’m GF and have been wanting to make some sourdough. We are about to leave our growing town to move to a 20 acre farm next door to my parents, and I feel like sourdough baking is almost mandatory in our new setting.

  11. Shayna on January 5, 2024 at 3:50 pm

    There’s this – looks like they simply added a couple references to Yeshua (Jesus/salvation) and bringing the message of Messiah during the week: https://shema.com/havdalah-prayers-end-sabbath-4551/

    Seems one could also read the verses about being “the aroma of Christ” in 2 Corinthians 2, that would fit perfectly!

  12. AnnaClaire on January 5, 2024 at 8:24 pm

    If you haven’t already read it, you might enjoy “The Tapestry” by Edith Schaeffer, wife to Francis Schaeffer. It’s her autobiography in which she traces the threads of every piece of her life through the years and dives into the wonder of time, our moment here on earth, and how God brings the most incredible continuity to it all for His glory. An absolute favorite!

    • Lara on January 6, 2024 at 5:49 am

      Thank you for this book rec! One of my favorite books of all time is For the Children’s Sake by their daughter. I had not heard of this title, so I am very thankful for you sending this note!

  13. StephanieR on January 6, 2024 at 8:58 am

    Your goals are always inspiring! I love how you base them in living your faith. I too need to take January to contemplate and refine what I hope for in the year to come. Sometimes all the changes I’d. like to make are overwhelming. I am leaning towards EMBRACE as my WOY. Embrace my husband, my children, Embrace changes and new experiences, Embrace our home and choose the good and necessary as I declutter, Embrace our community…. Spending a rainy Saturday reflecting. Thanks for writing Lara!

  14. Carol White on January 6, 2024 at 2:03 pm

    Lara, you are such an inspiration and encouragement; thank you for continuing to post and share. I had COVID between Christmas and New Year and need to take January to finish my Power Sheets and determine my goals and finalize my Word of the Year. I’m thinking of Thrive, but it just doesn’t feel right. Praying that the right one will come up as I continue through my PowerSheets Prep Work.

    This Christmas was difficult, as was New Year’s as I was missing my mama on those days for the very first time, after she passed in May. It’s still so hard, but God is good and helps my grief. Thank you for understanding it takes time.

    Your children have grown! My goodness, Grace looks so like a tween, which I guess she is! They’re all as cute as ever!

    May 2024 be a year filled with God’s grace and mercy as he walks in you and with you these coming days.

  15. Dawn on January 7, 2024 at 6:43 am

    Lara, I love reading your goals and thoughts with them each year. This was beautiful!! I love your word too and the ways you will apply it this year. I want to make my first starter this year too. The vacation one on one is a good one. I have wished I did this with mine when they were younger. I read somewhere that they do this around each child’s birthday.
    My word this year is gratitude with a lot of praising God more and in all things. My verse this year is 1 Thessalians 5:16-18. I struggled last year with some things and want to change my heart in those areas. I want to write/journal more this year. I would love to have a small book written on my life to give to the kids this Christmas. I am jumping back into scrapbooking again. I did it for so many years and once we became empty nesters I stopped. So this year I’m starting again and excited! My husband and I want to make health more if a priority this year. Eating better and moving more. These are some of the goals/plans for this year.

    I just finished a book before Christmas that’s I think you will like. It’s called 365 Thank You’s. It’s about a man who is struggling and receives a thank you card which has him really thinking about his life and sends out a thank you note and keeps it going. I’ve already gifted it this year and told others and they all love it. I plan on making this a reread every year like your Cultivate book is for me.
    Happy New Year friend!! So excited to see where our journeys go this year. Hugs and love 💚

    • Lara on January 8, 2024 at 11:30 am

      Dawn, I so enjoy keeping in touch with you here! I love hearing all of your updates. And thank you for recommending the book — I found the audio included with my Spotify membership and started listening. It’s wonderful! I look forward to listening more. I’ve already laughed several times and felt inspired to write more snail mail. 🙂

      • Dawn on January 27, 2024 at 12:28 pm

        Hi Lara! So glad you read the book I suggested and enjoyed it. It’s the simple things in life that can bring such joy and smiles to us. So glad you’re blogging and connecting with you this way too. Hugs 😊💚

  16. Emily E. on January 13, 2024 at 7:55 am

    Friend,
    Your goals are beautiful and authentically you. It is such a JOY to see how God keeps growing you and where He is going to take you in 2024!

    Have you tried Einkorn flour for sourdough? It’s not GF but it is an ancient grain and MUCH easier to digest. I LOVE baking with it and just made sourdough pretzels yesterday with my niece.

    Also, have you read Ruth Haley Barton’s “Sacred Rythms” or Jen Pollock Michel’s “Keeping Place”? They are both excellent spiritual formation & every day living in the gospel books that I have re-read!

    Love you ❤️

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