What I Did Instead of Setting New Year’s Goals

What I Did Instead of Setting New Year's Goals

I am tired of feeling overwhelmed. Years of goal-setting and driving hard to achieve those goals left me feeling frazzled, stretched, and out of focus. When presented with an opportunity to read Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregorie’s new book, Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanity, I knew I needed whatever they had to say to me.

The book did not disappoint. Kathi and Cheri walk readers through the whys and hows of feeling overwhelmed. They also outline some practical strategies for dealing with and avoiding that overwhelmed state of being. One of their suggestions is to develop a personal manifesto to guide your decisions.

The purpose of your personal manifesto isn’t to limit you; it’s to help you focus your time, energy and even money on the areas important to you. (Kathi Lipp)

As I think about what I want 2017 to look like, I gravitate more toward heart change than behavior modification. The desires of my heart cannot be measured by goals or accomplished through a series of checklists. My heart needs to change more than my habits need adjusting. I need a personal manifesto.

My heart needs to change more than my habits need adjusting.Click To Tweet

Instead of setting New Year’s goals, I wrote a personal manifesto. This will serve as guiding principles for me in the coming year.


My Personal Manifesto


My Personal Manifesto

I am present instead of busy.

In 2017, this will look like less time on my phone and more time face-to-face. It will look like a closed laptop when my kids are around. It will be listening ears and eye contact instead of multi-tasking when my husband speaks. I will choose what is most important (Luke 10:41-42).


I choose relationships over rules, heart change over behavior modification, and forgiveness over bitterness.

This part of my manifesto will guide my parenting and influence my marriage. My natural tendencies include control, pride, and bitterness. I don’t want to operate from that place anymore. Love wins, grace reigns, and hope blooms.


I am a woman of the Word—reading it daily, hiding it in my heart and mind.

I will continue my morning time in the Bible. I will also participate in Beth Moore’s Siesta Scripture Memory Team, memorizing two verses a month (join us here).


I pray first, plan second, and move according to the Spirit’s guiding.

Prayer is a struggle for me. I plan to join my church family for twenty-one days of prayer and fasting. I want prayer to become who I am, not just something to check off a list.


I serve others.

Signing up for ministry opportunities at church is easy. It is tangible service. But serving my family, my friends, and the strangers I meet is not as easy. I want my heart to beat love through service.


I write.

One way I serve others is through writing. I have an idea of where I want to place my focus in the coming months, but I am leaving that unwritten—because I pray first, plan second, and then act. The praying part isn’t finished yet.


I am an intentional parent, raising Kingdom kids.

I’ve grown lax in my kids’ spiritual training. I have an almost-teenager that needs my time to develop a biblical worldview. I have a perfectionist child in need of life-giving examples of grace. I have an articulate boy primed and ready for biblical literacy and scripture memory. This is my life’s work. It is the most important thing I do.


I am a loyal, faithful friend.

I am blessed with incredible friends, both in real life and abroad. I want to be a faithful prayer warrior on their behalf. I want to be present enough to recognize hurt and need. I want to celebrate them and cheer them on as they do big things.


I take care of myself.

Over the last two years, I learned I am less than if I do not take the time to take care of me. This includes getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising, and making time for life-giving activities like reading and creating.


I am intentional with my time.

Wasting time comes easy, doesn’t it? I know I don’t have time for mindless scrolling on social media. I know I do best when I plan my day the night before. In order to live by my personal manifesto, I must use my time wisely so I am available to be the woman God created me to be.


This is my personal manifesto. Living by this manifesto is my one goal for the new year. The books I read, the way I spend my time, the choices I make will be directed by this list.

Are you ready to replace overwhelmed with peace? Feeling lost with finding focus? Surviving with thriving? Grab a copy of Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanity. Let’s set our eyes toward 2017 with hope and joyful expectation! (Order before December 31 and get awesome pre-order goodies including FREE BOOKS!)

Let's set our eyes toward 2017 with hope and joyful expectation! #FridayFive #linkup #goalsClick To Tweet

It’s going to be a great year!

#FridayFive Link Up

For our final #FridayFive link up of the year, share your goal posts with us. How do you decide what goals you set? How do you plan to meet your goals? What is your “one word” for 2017? (You may have noticed I didn’t stick to five points today; always feel free to ignore the “five” in #FridayFive!) I look forward to reading about your awesome plans!

#FridayFive January

The next #FridayFive link up will go live January 13. Grab your favorite warm beverage and tell us about your winter. What do you love about winter? Have you experienced a winter in your soul? How do you fight the winter blues?

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Listen in as Kathi and Cheri discuss personal manifestos on Kathi’s Clutter Free Academy podcast.

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Photo credit: Catherine Lavery via Unsplash

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  1. Kelly, I love the idea of writing a manifesto! In March of 2016 I read Michael Hyatt’s Living Forward book and created a life plan. I can easily change it into a one-page manifesto. Thanks for the idea, and here’s to a blessed 2017!

  2. I already have a list of books I want to read in 2017 and this just got added to it! I have never thought of writing a personal manifesto, I mean I think we all kind of do this in our heads, right? Things we want to do and be better at. But writing it down, making it statements instead of suggestions, is SO awesome. It makes it final and an “I will” instead of “I should”. Love it!!

  3. I love everything about this post. I think a personal manifesto is in my future after reading this! Your pursuit of life and God is truly inspiring Kelly!

  4. This brought tears to my eyes friend! I love, love, love it! I related to so much of it. This stung – “I want prayer to become who I am, not just something to check off a list.” Yes! I nodded in agreement to almost everything you said. Thank You for sharing.

  5. Beautiful post! I feel like many of us could learn from this way of thinking. Last year, my new year’s resolution was to STOP MAKING NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS. It was very freeing–now, I am trying to focus on what is important.

  6. I love this idea and this post, and have been thinking about it all day!! Finally linking my goals up. 🙂

  7. I absolutely love this idea and this post, and have been thinking about it all day!! Finally linking up!

  8. Heart change over behavior modification, that’s the best!
    And by the way, thanks so much for this linkup and all the hard work you have put into it! 🙂
    Happy New Year! May the Lord bless you with success in your striving to know Him more.

  9. I had to stop back, and let you know I was so encouraged and refreshed reading through all the links. Awesome ideas and goals shared by all!

  10. Wow, a personal manifesto sounds like a great idea. Something even more intentional than resolutions and goals because it’s about you and who you want to be this year. I love it! Thanks for the info on the linkup and I look forward to joining on the January 13th one!

  11. I love this idea! My husband and I just came up with a family mission statement and it looks similar to your manifesto.

  12. This is a great idea. A Personal Manifesto has so much more meaning than a resolution or goal. I am looking forward to doing something similar. Thanks for the inspiration.

  13. Kelly, what a great manifesto for 2017. I must get this book. I was actually listening to their podcast on the book yesterday while driving to pick up my son from school. I haven’t finished it yet, but am looking forward to hearing the rest of it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I liked when they were talking about micro-goals (or something like that, I might have the term a little wrong.) — And, thank you for linking up at the #ChasingCommunity launch! So glad to have you along for the ride. 🙂 Happy New Year!

  14. This is fantastic! I’m so impressed with how thorough you were in laying out your manifesto. Bravo!

  15. Wow – I feel like the Holy Spirit led me to you today! I “just happened” to be listening to the tail end of Focus on the Family this morning (which is rare for me as I’m not in the car at that time normally anymore) – and the authors of Overwhelmed were on the show today so I noted that I wanted to look for the book…then I’m surfing Facebook and see Lindsey Feldpausch post in the Listen Love Repeat Launch Team group (of which I’m a member) the blogposts of bloggers that had written posts about the LLR…so I pop over to read your LLR book post and love what I find on your blog. You see, part of my new 2017 plan is to start a blog and am just getting started and wanting to search for and follow and connect with bloggers that will be in the same area as I plan to write. I love your blog and am, as of this moment, an excited new follower! So I started perusing recent posts and the very next title I open to read is this one that is about the book I just wrote down earlier today to add to my reading list! Sorry, too many exclamation points – but don’t you just love it when you see God’s hand so clearly directing your steps? How fun and amazing He is -I’m very glad to “meet” you!

    • Monica, I’m so glad we found one another! It seems we’ve been neighbors in the LLR team and didn’t even know it! Best wishes with your writing. Please let me know if I can do anything to help!

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