Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.

And with the rising of the sun streaming through the curtains came a new year – a new year of the Lord’s unfailing love and mercy. A year of blessings and no doubt pain. A year of adventure and memory making. A year of patience but also one of yearning for a time to come. 

Last week I drove Sydney to the Gold Coast solo. Interspersed with The West Wing Weekly podcast (I’m so late to the party I know…for anyone else slow think a book club but for TWW). I started thinking through goals for the new year. I maintain resolutions without an outcome are likely forgotten soon after we step away from the holiday season and back to the reality of routine. Compare “eat healthy”, “lose weight” or “read more” to those below.

Last year I didn’t set any specific goals (and if I did I didn’t write them down so they’re lost in the ether) and I was a little uneasy as I reflected on the year. I wasn’t sure what ‘achievement’ or perhaps ‘progress’ looked like.

However, I also don’t want to be so results orientated that ‘success’, whatever that even means, is the ultimate end game. Though, I do want to be someone who continually propels myself forward, not settling and getting comfortable.

In reality I believe we have an end goal – the restoration of order by the creator, where all things are made new. It’s keeping that at the forefront as I set my personal goals and ongoing adjustments in focus to keep me running the good race.

This year I have 6 categories for goals: intellectual, physical health, relationship, character and professional.

Intellectual: Read 17 books in 2017

In 2015 I managed 12. One per month, but in a time where Netflix is the default I don’t want to succumb to that. We’re so conditioned for distractainment – entertainment that distracts. So as awesome as watching all 3 seasons of Nashville, it really didn’t add much to my life, beyond a soundtrack for the month that follows drowning my sorrows of the news of the cancelled series. I want to read for pleasure but also for intellectual stimulation, for knowledge.

I’m aiming for a fairly equal split of novels, career building, theology and character building books. It works out to be about 1 book / 3 weeks (which in the tranquillity of holiday life seems heaps achievable…we’ll see).

Physical health: Complete a half marathon in under 2 hours

Yesterday morning:

“Hey Mel, how about you make enjoying hugs your New Year’s resolution?”
           “Hmmm. No.”
“Well, you’re running a half marathon, but I wouldn’t want you to push yourself or anything.”

While many find my hug aversion something comedic, I’ll be retaining my personal space in 2017. Instead, I’ll add another 7km to last year’s 14km Brisbane City to South. Thanks to some weddings (Shout out to Em + Andrew and soon James + Ros), I’ll miss the Gold Coast Half Marathon for the second year. So looking at you, all 21km of you, Run Noosa – 28 May! Anyone crazy enough to join?

Relationships: Walk across the room

This is the least measurable goal. I’m not sure how to make it so because it’s a change in behaviour that will hopefully have a favourable outcome: growth in friendships. So often I’m at a friend’s BBQ, church, work meeting or function, bar etc and there are people I don’t know. Perhaps even someone who doesn’t know anyone. I might smile. I may join the conversation. We may laugh. We even drink together. But it occurred to me that so often I leave without ever even knowing their name or who they are. Or worse I notice them across the room and stay in my comfort zone. I want to challenge myself to walk across the room meet new friends, love the outsider (or even meet a dreamy blue-eyed suitor).

Ethical consumer goal: Shop local + buy local 70% of time/budget (wherever possible)

Last year I bought some asparagus from my local markets. When I got home I realised it was from 12 00km away in Mexico. It was likely out of season, or just much cheaper, but that’s a lot of food miles. This year, where a local option exists I want to choose it. Be it getting my haircut in my suburb rather than the one across town, buying in season Queensland or Northern NSW produce at weekend markets, buying Australian made or making my own clothing.

Character goal and Professional goal: Ask me offline

“Mel, is there anything you won’t share online?”

Yes. But I try to live a pretty transparent life, so just ask.


And there are my 5 goals of the year. Feel free to ask me about them, or share yours. It was great being away with some friends and hearing theirs for the year. And as I tear myself away from holiday daze of the beach, pool, eat, drink + sleep on repeat and return to work tomorrow, I’ve got a vision and a plan for the year ahead.