Thursday, January 3, 2019

What is your plan for the New Year?

By now, the Christmas decorations are being put away. The ball has dropped in Times Square. New Year’s Eve celebrations around the world are over, and the black-eyed peas, turnip greens, and cornbread—or whatever your New Year’s Day meal consisted of—has been eaten.

2018 is in the books, and a brand new year stretches out before us, filled with possibilities.
Some people welcome the upcoming year by making resolutions. Others choose a word of inspiration. Some just take each day as it comes.  

My partner, Cate Nolan, and I thought it would be fun to poll some of our fellow Love Inspired authors and see how they prepare for a new year and its challenges.  

Laurel Blount is a planner. “But I try to leave wiggle room in my plans. Life happens, and if I've left some space for that, I don't have to throw out all my goals the first time I hit a glitch. My resolutions range across the board--I make both personal and professional ones. In fact, I have multiple categories! (See previous comment about being a planner, lol.) I basically pick out the areas of my life I am most committed to at this phase of life and formulate my yearly goals for those areas. Since I get energized by resolutions, one thing I've learned is to re-evaluate them throughout the year. So, I usually make New Year's resolutions and reassess on my birthday in June. I'd say my success rate is somewhat spotty-- for example, my annual weight loss goal tends to be a challenging one to meet, but I do much better with some of the other ones! Overall, making resolutions helps me clarify what's really important to me right now which in turn helps me set a daily agenda that reflects my current priorities.”

Vannetta Chapman likes to have resolutions. “I love new calendars, new years, new beginnings. For 2019 I plan to live more intentionally (which is a broad goal) and shop much less (a more specific goal). As far as writing, I have my deadlines pinned in on a wall calendar (a nice big visual reminder) as well as an excel chart which is much more detailed. There I have 52 rows that list how many pages of a book I need to write or edit or proofread, as well as vacation time so that my work life doesn't take over my personal.”

Dana R. Lynn does the word of the year. “My word for 2019 is GRATITUDE. I try to reflect on the word, although last year was a bust. I can't even remember what my word was. This year, I am incorporating my word into my prayer journal, so it will be a part of my daily routine.”

Jenna Night tends to have a word a month throughout the year. “My word for January will be CONSIDER. I don't know the other 11 yet & I don't choose them far ahead of time. I know that at the time I need it, a word will stand out to me. And I'm generally a loose planner. I have a clear overall goal for a year or a book, but then break it down to 3 month, or 3 chapter, blocks so I can adapt as I need to.”

Cate Nolan admits to having difficulty with planning. “Unlike Laurel (who amazes me!), I'm a terrible planner. I want to be a planner, I try to be a planner, but my brain rarely cooperates. That meme about deriving inspiration from deadline-inducing panic - that's me. I'm a little better with resolutions.
The year I resolved to write 1k a day, every day, I did it for 365 straight days. The downside of that was that some days I wrote pure drivel just to get the words down.
So choosing a word to guide me always seemed like a better idea. Until the year runs away with me, and I only remember my word when I look at Facebook photos where I posted it.
I really like Dana's idea of incorporating the word in a daily prayer journal, and I think Jenna's idea of a monthly word is inspired. I might just try that this year. I do know that I'm beginning the year with the word TRUST. Last year, trust was forced upon me as I had to deal with so many things beyond my strength. I learned to trust in God to get me through the hard times. This year, I want to work on trusting by choice - all the time.”

Terri Reed does have a few goals for the year. “The term resolutions doesn’t resonate with me. I have in the past picked a word to meditate on for the year. I have several action goals for this year: to get back to a regular writing schedule and exercise regularly. The past several years have been a roller coaster ride, and I’ve been dizzy trying to keep everything from crashing. My word and ultimate goal for this year is BALANCE. Happy New Year.”

Lenora Worth says she doesn’t usually make a lot of resolutions other than eating healthy and getting organized, both a constant struggle. “I’ve rarely done the word thing. But this New Year, I am going with a word that keeps popping into my head. SIMPLIFY. Thoreau suggested it hundreds of years ago. I need to simplify and sort out some things in my life! So that’s the plan. Decluttering both mind and home can give us a certain peace. I’m striving for that peace.”

As for me, Mary Alford, well, I struggle with planning as well. Years ago, I made resolutions, but could never seem to keep them. That’s when I decided no more resolutions. But I love participating in the word for the year. Last year, my word was WAIT. Looking back in 2018, I can see God’s hand in every challenge that forced me to wait for Him and not be in such a hurry. God’s timing is so much better than mine. This year, like Cate, the word TRUST has popped into my head quite a bit lately. I believe God is asking me to trust Him more, both personally and professionally, and I want to strive to do just that.
So what about you? What are your plans for facing 2019? Is it a word? A resolution? Or are you planning to face each new day as it comes and welcome all the surprises that will part of 2019?

Happy New Year!

Mary Alford  


  1. I'm a planner, too. I have my cladnear and I aim for 1000 words a day. It worked for 18 years. The last two years though, it seems my habits have been off kilter. I need a new plan :)

    1. I wish I was a planner. I've tried, but it doesn't seem to work for me.

  2. I love to make plans, fill out calendars with word count goal and feel I've got a handle on my writing and my life and then "poof" it all goes out the window. That may seem like a downside but the upside is I get to re-plan the year and feel in control again until the next time the window pops open. Dear Lord, PLEASE shut that window.

    1. Exactly, Patricia. It's a constant moving target as far as my writing goes. I do set word count goals for myself each week and it never fails. Life gets in the way and messes it all up.

  3. This was so interesting! I've never done the words thing, but this year I think I'm going to borrow Lenora's word--simplify! Simple does sound awfully good to me after all the over-the-top craziness of the holidays!

  4. Ugh, long day at work and I couldn't check in. Thanks everyone for commenting and sharing your thoughts. It's always fun to see how others work.

  5. Really interesting post! I’m not the best planner but I would like to be! That is a hugebgoal of mine for 2019!

  6. Simplify, simplify, simplify. I’ve always been a clutter bug but becoming more minimalist might help me to clear my fuzzy brain. Or just confuse me more!

  7. I don't pick one word each year. I believe God gives me different words throughout the year. I plan to write more stories this year and hope to have more published. :-)


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