Happy New Year, y’all! I think we can probably all agree that 2020 was a pretty rough year, and while I’m thankful for the growth I’ve experienced over the past 12 months, I can certainly say that come January 1st, I was 100% ready for 2020 to be over.
I know that things don’t magically change at the start of a new year, but I’ve always enjoyed taking some time for self-reflection and goal-setting at the beginning of the January. I started using Jennie Allen’s Dream Guide two years ago (last year’s post linked here), and I’ve found it really helpful when it comes to setting realistic goals while keeping Christ at the center of your life.
This year’s guide, however, is a little different. Instead of the Dream Guide, it’s called the Life Inventory, and it takes into account how difficult 2020 has been and how much uncertainty there still is, while also prompting you to look towards the future with hope.
I remember being so excited writing last year’s resolution post, and looking back at my 2020 goals (even though the year certainly didn’t turn out the way I had envisioned it), I can confidently say that I actually managed to achieve quite a few of them!
That just goes to say that while you may not be in control of your circumstances, you are in control of your actions and how you choose to spend your time. So, instead of looking at 2021 as an extension of the misery of 2020, choose to look at it as an opportunity to change, grow, and mature into the person God intended for you to be.
Today I’ll be sharing a few of my responses to the Life Inventory reflection questions as well as a few of my goals for 2021. My hope is that they will inspire you to set aside time to reflect on your own life and aspirations, so you are able to step out of the mindset of fear and experience a season of growth.
Things to Grieve:
• HAVING TO BE LONG DISTANCE •
The time I could have spent in-person with my boyfriend, Jacob, that I instead spent at home in quarantine. We were long distance for 5 months during the spring and summer, and are long distance again for 10 weeks this winter. I love him so much, I love spending time with him, and while we’ve found ways to make it work, being long distance for so many months has been really hard.
• LOSING OUT ON QUALITY TIME WITH FRIENDS •
Notre Dame didn’t allow us to enter each other’s residence halls or dorm rooms, so no movie nights, baking parties, late-night hallway chats, or fun house parties.
• NOT HAVING BREAKS •
This past fall was by far my most difficult semester of college. Because of COVID, I lost out on a week-long vacation for Fall Break to regain my sanity after midterms, I had to learn how to be successful in online classes (which is actually much harder than it sounds, so props to everyone that’s had to do online learning in the past), I couldn’t hang out with Jacob indoors to just relax (watch Netflix, cuddle, play a video game, etc.), and I was definitely pushed to my breaking point by the time finals rolled around.
• LOST FRIENDSHIPS •
The friends that I had before spring break are not the same friends that I have now, and honestly, I know I’m way better off (shoutout to my lovely gal pals that encourage me to keep my heart set on Jesus!), but nevertheless, losing people that you’re close with still hurts.
Things to Celebrate:
• MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS’ HEALTH •
Thankfully, no one in my family has gotten sick with COVID (which I’m especially thankful for because my parents are both in their 60s), and none of my close friends have gotten sick either. I know a lot of people have struggled with the loss of loved ones this year, so I’m so grateful that my friends and family have made it out of 2020 in good health.
• THE OPPORTUNITY TO JUMPSTART MY CAREER •
I was offered a summer internship in commercial real estate with a Notre Dame alum at a point where I didn’t really know what I was going to do after college (I had just switched majors, added a minor, and applied to nearly 100 internships without a good offer), and my experience over the summer gave me so much more direction and exposure than I could have dreamed!
• BUILDING UP MY SAVINGS •
Between the summer and this winter (I’m working with the same commercial real estate firm this winter), I’ve been able to build up a good nest egg that will come in handy when I move into my first apartment senior year (and God-willing a big and fun event that will take place soon after graduation!).
• MEETING NEW FRIENDS •
My first couple of weeks back at Notre Dame were pretty lonely without any girlfriends to lean on (so thankful for my sweetheart for being my best friend and my boyfriend through it all, though!), but I met a wonderful, Christ-centered group of girls this semester and I’m so thankful for all of their love and encouragement!
• MY 21ST BIRTHDAY •
Since I couldn’t throw a party or go out to a bar, Jacob and my mom organized a Zoom call with a bunch of my friends and family members at my birthday dinner! We went to Bru Burger (which is one of my favorite food spots in South Bend), and I was so confused when Jacob whipped out his laptop at the dinner table, but it was an absolute blast and a such a memorable celebration!
My Goals for 2021:
Learn more about traditional Catholic practices and implement them in my spiritual life (novenas, lectio divina, praying litanies, veiling).
Participate more in campus ministry.
Prioritize quiet time for reading my bible and listening to worship music every morning.
Attend daily mass a few times each week.
Go to confession every week.
Be more intentional with my friendships and reach out first more often.
Hang out with my brother more often.
Continue to work towards marriage with Jacob.
Write down 10-15 easy (and healthy) recipes for lunch and dinner that I love, and learn them by heart.
Exercise at least for at least 30 minutes five times each week.
Take off my makeup every night (really bad habit of mine).
Learn how to keep a non-toxic home (cookware, cleaning, beauty products, candles, etc.)
Learn how to sew clothing (particularly dresses).
Take more weekend trips with Jacob and my friends.
Get through my reading list (will post about this soon!)
Improve on my financial and pro forma modeling skills.
Save at least $5,000 in a high-interest savings account for my first apartment expenses and post-grad life.
Finish my Bloomberg Market Concepts certification.
Make the Dean’s List at the University of Notre Dame again.
Post more consistently on my blog, Instagram, and LiketoKnow.It.
Verse of the Year:
“There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.”
Word of the Year:
This is a virtue that I can most definitely improve upon. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stressed myself out trying to make things happen within a certain timeframe, and it’s a habit I really want to work on this year. God’s timing is perfect, and looking back on my life (especially these past few years) I can certainly say His plan has been and will continue to be much better than my own.
And that’s a wrap! I’m wishing y’all a peaceful and joyous 2021, and I have all the hope in the world that this year will be better than the last!
I would love to hear what your goals and resolutions are for 2021, so feel free to leave a comment down below with anything you want to work on or prioritize as we enter into the new year!
Let me know if you end up using the Life Inventory, and stay tuned for all of the fun posts to come!