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Here we go, y’all! It’s January 1st, 2013, and I am so ready. I’m also incredibly grateful for a clean slate each year… aren’t you?  That we get to “start over” in a sense. That we get to look back and learn from where we’ve been, then look forward with great anticipation with where we are going. I CAN change things about my life, and so can you. This year can look completely different from your last if you need it to. I’m convinced the Lord created time and seasons with a reason and for a purpose – because we all need a regular fresh start!

So, before we begin, I want to share some tips that help me with my goals, and hopefully they will help you as well as you join me in this journey. I believe in keeping goals simple and attainable. I also believe in pushing yourself and dreaming big. I believe in writing it all down.

First, prayerfully visualize the life you want to live. Ask the Lord to guide this vision in every part, every detail… how to cook, look, shop, eat, dress, spend time with your spouse and family. How to run your business, sleep, exercise, love on others, give your time, budget your money. How to rest, vacation, and make time for what matters. How to involve yourself in your church. How to live to the fullest.

From this vision of your life, your goals will simply flow. What parts of your life do not line up with this vision right now? Write those down. Don’t be overwhelmed at the distance you might feel from this vision. Don’t be discouraged by your imperfection. Write down simple, attainable steps for you to take this year to get closer to the life you want to live.

Write them down! Write out your goals for 2013, then delegate them over the timespan of 12 months. This will be your guide for your monthly goals throughout the year. Remember, only write down goals that correspond with your life’s vision.

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Here are our guidelines for setting goals, and why we need to stick with these guidelines. A big thanks to Dave’s Entreleadership for these guidelines. Then we’ll dive in!

1. Be specific.
2. Have a timeline.
3.  Own them.
4. Measure them.
5. Write them down.

Be Specific.  If you say something vague like, “This year I’m going to be healthier!” you won’t get far before eating another piece of pie. However, if you say ” This year I’m going to run a 5k,” then you have a specific goal to aim for. Make goals, and your “resolutions” will follow.

Have a timeline. If you do not put a timeline and deadline to your goal, it will not get done. That’s why it’s so important to stay on top of your goals, then reevaluate your progress every month. Once you decide to run that 5k, sign up for one. Put it on your calendar. Make sure you have a deadline in place!

Own them. If your mama / husband / friend / wife / pastor wants you to accomplish something, but it is not resonating with who you are, then don’t put it down. You have to own it! These goals have to be goals of your own, no created by those around you. 

Measure them. Your goals have to be measurable. “I want to lose weight” won’t work. “I want to lose 15 pounds” will work. “I want to learn the guitar” won’t work (one of my own goals this year!). “I want to learn how to play 30 songs well” will work. 

Write them down. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again – there is something so powerful when you write down a goal and it stares back at you. It goes from being on your head to being tangible. If you’ve never done this before, begin this year.


Here we go!  Introducing my 2013 goals + my January goals

2013 Goals

Learn to play the guitar well
Run an official half marathon
Purchase and learn to ride a Roadbike
Complete a sprint triathalon (hence the roadbike)
Learn Calligraphy
Host a Dinner Party
Be a 6am morning person (5 out of 7 days/week)
Complete the Whole 30
Celebrate our 5th Anniversary in style!
Become completely comfortable shooting in film
Expand my business [outsource more]
Change the way we shop for groceries (ie: local, organic, farmers market, whole foods)
Mentor a group of girls at church
Be intentional with rest
Read 15 Books in 12 Months

January Goals

Read 15 in 12: Seven by Jen Hatmaker
Schedule my first Guitar lesson
Look into after-Christmas sales for bikes
Schedule the Dinner Party and decide on a theme (!)
Wake up at 6am Sundays – Thursdays
Complete the Whole30. (Feel free to join us on Instagram : #awhole30newyou . My Instagram friend and fellow photographer Kristine Neeley is encouraging many of us who have never done it before, and it’s wonderful to have a community! I’ll be doing the Whole30 January 3rd through February 1.)
Complete budget for Anniversary Trip and narrow down destination options
Research Local farmer Co-ops


I cannot wait to hear your goals, and I cannot wait to journey throughout 2013 with you! Remember…

– You can modify your 2013 list of goals if needed. It is YOUR life after all.
– If you forget to post on the first of each month, that is okay! Post on the 2nd or 5th or 10th, but post anyway. Don’t be discouraged. As my dear friend Emily says, I will hold myself to a standard of Grace, not perfection.
–  We are in this together, so don’t forget to leave a comment with the link to your blog at the beginning of every month! We will all be able to gain inspiration and encouragement by sharing our goals with one another.
– Always always remember the following :

(Taken from my 2013 Making Things Happen Pinterest Board, thanks to the amazing challenge from Lara Casey.)

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[…] is an inspiration for many when it comes to setting goals.  Check out my favorite of her insights here, here, and here.  You can also see all her posts mentioning goals, so […]

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Hi Nancy:

You forced my hand :) I don’t have any year long goals at the moment (still working on those), but I did just post my January goals (please add to this, not FB after 8pm! Just thought of that one):

[…] Thanks to Micaela Hollins and her post Goal Setting in the Dark. Thanks to Nancy Ray and her post Happy New Year! January + 2013 Goals. Thanks to Angie Wyatt and her post 15 New Years Resolution Ideas. Without y’all, hitting the […]

Nancy, you have inspired me to set goals this year, not resolutions. So my husband and I did just that. You can view mine at:


I love your blog and genuinely respect you as a photographer and sister in Christ. Thanks for the inspiration you’re continually providing! Here are my 2013 goals :)


Thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to see what this year brings! Here are my goals:

[…] are still just items in a list. 2013 is my year and it can be your year, too! A special thanks to Nancy Ray for posting her goals monthly and inspiring me (and many others) to do the same. So here are my […]

I am always inspired by your consistency! I am going to be writing my goals down, I like this idea of taking ownership and putting it into handwritten word.

Here are my goals:

Great goals and a great reminder to first prayerfully consider your decisions! Here are my goals!

You rock, Nancy!!! So proud of you :) You are fabulous in so many ways! I always enjoy reading your goals and I’m really going to do my best to make it happen this year with mine! Here they are:

Love the goals! For your calligraphy goal, I thought I’d share the class I recently took and loved!
Also, congrats on the HUGE financial goal! My husband and I decided this fall we wanted to try to pay cash for a house in a few years. It’s a big goal but I’m so encouraged to hear y’all did it!! I’d love to hear more of how y’all did it!!

Hey Nancy! I am loving this post! Thank you for the constant inspiration you provide. Jason and I are starting our Whole30 January 14th–I can’t wait to hear how it goes for y’all!

Here are my simple 2013 goals:

Happy New Year!

Nancy! I love how you wrote this! I have had writers block on my 2013 goals and had been feeling very overwhelmed, and this was such a great perspective for me. Thanks for all you do and how you LOVE Jesus and let Him shine through all you do. This was wonderful and so helpful for me to read! Love you.

Thank you for being such a big inspiration!
Would you mind expanding on what you are outsourcing? If it’s editing where do you choose to send your images?

Hi Nancy, I have been following your blog for a while now. I continue to be challenged and inspired by your posts (and your photography!)

My 2013 goals are here:

Happy 2013!

I adore these goals, friend! Along with my 101 in 1001, here are my 2013 goals:

Great blog post! It’s is important to be detailed with goals so that they can be accomplished!

& Yes for Whole30!! I started eating low-carb/paleo 1.5 years ago and have not looked back! There are a ton of awesome recipes online if you ever need food inspiration. :)

Wonderful goals! You’ve given me some further inspiration for this year…

[…] you want more Resolution Inspiration.. I loved this post. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. Published: January 1, 2013 Filed Under: A Women's […]

Love this! Thanks for sharing!! : )

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