2013: What Worked, What Didn’t & Lessons Learned

At the end of last week, I posted Part 1 of the #2014GoalSetting series from Lara Casey and my process as I begin preparing for the new year. Lara delivered Part 2 today on her blog, so check that out if you are following along in the process.

Before continuing to Part 2, I wanted to share my lists from Part 1 of What Worked and What Didn’t Work in 2013:

What Worked: 1. Getting plugged in to the Matthews campus of our church. We felt led to begin attending the campus that will be closest to us once we are married, and it was a great decision. I am so excited to continue to grow there together. 2. Communication with Zach. Our relationship has always been candid, but this year we dove even deeper. We survived a long-distance semester (with him living in a new city) and grew so much together as a couple–all because we seek to be completely honest with one another. 3. Moving home. Boy, am I glad to be home! I love that I get to spend my last year of singleness with my family in the midst of all the craziness that comes along with the first year of teaching and wedding planning. Having their support and consistency is so wonderful. 4. The blessing of a new, reliable car. My poor old Dexter (2002 Rav-4) struggled this year after I pushed him to his limits with all the commuting I did while student teaching. He survived through the summer, and I was able to get a new car in September. It took us a while to name him, but we finally settled on Huey. 5. Learning how to build a budget. I have to be honest- I’m not the best with my money. So sitting down and building a budget was a huge deal for me in the second half of the year. And it is such a blessing now that I’ve done it! 6. New friendships. I was very nervous about this upon moving home in May. But God has provided us (and me individually) with some wonderful friends and accountability partners to call on, laugh with, and simply do life with. I am so thankful for all God has provided this year.

What Didn’t Work: 1. Overcommitment and stress. Yuck! I’ve struggled with overcommitment since high school. I need to learn to say no to avoid stretching myself too thin. This also caused me to struggle with time management. These are things I plan to tackle head on in 2014. 2. Soul-sucking social media. I love connecting with people through social media. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram are my go-to’s on my iPhone– and they drain so much time. I can’t tell you how often I lose track of time looking through Pinterest or Instagram– or catch myself re-opening the app I just looked at. While I’m very intentional about putting my phone away during time with friends and family over meals, I am terrible about it around Zach. I need to put my phone away and be where I am in that moment 100%. 3. My goal for 2013 of reading 24 booksWhew. This was a lofty, unreachable goal for me in this season of my life. I actually read 2 books on this list (Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst and One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp– both excellent!)– and several not on the list—The Paris Wife by Paula McLain, Jesus Is by Judah Smith,  and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. These 5 books really spoke to me this year in incredible ways– and I am looking forward to planning better to make more time to read in 2014. 4. Leading a healthy lifestyle. I did not do myself justice in 2013. I ate junk, drank my calories away, and did not exercise. And I can feel it. Zach and I set our health goals last week and began our fitness journey on Friday, so I’m already on track to change this for the new year. 5. Reading my Bible daily. It makes me sad that I have to write this one down, but I honestly did not set aside enough time to really dive into this Word on my own this year. My lack of time management and the lure of social media really affected me here. I would love any tips on how to create distraction-free quiet times. 6. Intentionality in the day-to-day life. I would say I’m an overall intentional person, but I can glaze over things in moments throughout the day that could really be much more significant. There were days  at a time in this first semester of teaching that I did not have a conversation with my mom, dad, or sister–and we live in the same house! Nothing was wrong between us; I just didn’t make the effort to initiate meaningful conversation. This is something I want to change with everyone I interact with.

Onward to Part 2. I’m only going to share a brief portion of Part 2 tonight. It included Steps 4-6: writing down the 3 lessons learned from what did/didn’t work and making a list of what fires you up.

3 Lessons Learned From What Worked: 

1. Community is essential for survival and growth–AKA binge sessions on Netflix aren’t the best way to spend my weekends when I could be interacting with humans over the age of 16– which is important in my line of work.

2. Having a budget actually makes spending decisions easier rather than harder.

3.  I love where I am– in my home, in this town, with these people.

3 Lessons Learned From What Didn’t Work: 

1. I don’t need “likes” and they don’t need me. I need to put aside social media, and retrain myself to be less inclined to pick up my phone to pass the time.

2. I need to take better care of God’s vessel (me). This includes a daily quiet time, exercise, eating well, and getting enough sleep.

3. Intentionality makes anything (and everything) more meaningful.


So there you have it– what worked, what didn’t, and how I learned from it all. There are plenty of other lessons I could have chosen, but those were the 6 I really feel hit me the hardest. Tomorrow I will post the list of “What Fires Me Up”– I still have more to add before sharing.

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