Photography by Taylor Cole

Merrick's Art Topknot

Outfit Details:

Suede Jacket — on sale for 30% off! (Similar under $50 Here and Here, Similar under $100 Here), Sold Out Gray Dress (Similar Here and Here (only $21)), Fringe Ankle Boots (Similar Here), Crossbody Bag, Rose Gold Sunglasses

2016 has definitely been the year of #Goals. It’s a funny little way to compliment someone on social media, but with the new year, I’m have actual goals on my mind. Ways I can improve myself, my business, and my family life this year.

Merrick's Art Fringe
Merrick's art Gray and Suede
Merrick's Art Rose Gold Sunglasses
Merrick's art Fringe Ankle Boots
Merrick's Art Cropped Jacket

My dad loves goals, and every year growing up he would create these spreadsheets at the beginning of the year and have each of us fill them out. The spreadsheet would have different goal categories — educational, spiritual, health, financial, etc., and within each category would be three sections for us to write specific goals, steps to accomplishing them throughout the year, and a completion marker.

As a kid, I found it helpful to have this very specific system, but as an adult and a mom, I find my plate already very full. So piling a lengthy list of goals on top of the every day things makes me feel overwhelmed and instantly guilty about what I know I won’t accomplish.

The purpose of goals is to feel motivated and renewed, and so I’ve been thinking the last few weeks about how to set goals in a way that’s helpful and realistic for me.

Something I’ve struggled with this past year is focusing. When I have a long to-do list, or a lot of creative ideas, or a busy day, it tends to send my brain into overdrive and I have a hard time accomplishing anything. Or when I sit down to work, I easily get distracted and find myself checking social media or reading random buzzfeed articles and suddenly have wasted an hour of my time. Or when I’m with my family, I hop on my phone for a second and then get sucked in. I’m sure some of you can relate.

I feel like I’m good at being in the moment, but I struggle with staying in the moment. My attention span is short. And in the spirit of new beginnings and improving myself, this is one change that will take a lot of discipline, control, and effort, but can result in big changes that affect my entire life.

Over the last few weeks I’ve had this word FOCUS running through my brain over and over. Less distraction. Less wasted time. More focus. More attention.  So instead of a long list of goals this year, I’ve chosen this one goal as my overarching theme of the year.

To help me achieve this goal, I’ve chosen four sub-categories within my Focus Theme: God, Family, Work, and Myself, and for each of these I’ve chosen a few sub-sub-categories that give me more specific and concrete goals. For example, under Focus on Myself I want to limit my sugar, exercise at least twice a week, and be in bed by midnight. All of these are goals that will fall into place IF I discipline my attention span. It’s a snowball effect that will affect all areas of my life.

So instead of feeling overwhelmed on day one of the new year, I’m feeling really excited and motivated. Last year really was incredible in so many ways, but a feel like this will be the best year yet.

Are you guys setting goals this year? I’d love for you to share!

p.s. Have you participated in my Merrick’s Art 2017 Reader Survey yet? By filling it out you’re entered to win $100 to Nordstrom. Find it right here!

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  1. Ashley Baxter says:

    This is a great resolution post. Happy New Year!

  2. Carole Gates says:

    I see a little Gretchen Rubin influence here with your one word theme! Love it!!

  3. Susan Stange says:

    I love choosing “word goals” for the year. 2016’s word was “smile” and I felt like it helped me to not take things too seriously. This year, I haven’t decided what word I’ll use yet, but I know something I’d really like to improve on is balance, so maybe focus would be a good word for me, too! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Julia Manfredi-Hobbs says:

    I feel the same way as you. I tend to have too many ideas and projects on the go. Which is good in a way, as my creative juices just keep flowing. But it can also be very overwhelming at times. I also have my time divided among a million responsibilities, what with running a business, working full-time, and having a family. I saw this sign the other day and I felt that it should be my motto for 2017. Sometimes by doing less we actually do more. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/89406214cf0cb1704e31bfa4456031189d93596d589e5a0107794adcf8017934.jpg

  5. Cassandra Fuimaono says:

    Glad to know I’m not the only one whose attention span is shot! I used to be so focused, set goals and actually achieve things in my life. I had my third baby 10 days before you and cannot for the life of me do anything for too long. My kids have ruined my mind! I used to teach gospel doctrine class but now I don’t go as much as I should because I can’t stay attentive and contribute to the lesson. I love my kids little but I can’t wait until they don’t require such constant attention and I get my mind back 😀

  6. Natali says:

    Great way of thinking! All the best of wishes to you in 2017!


  7. Jazzy4Grace says:

    I struggle with the same thing. I have really high expectations for myself and set up all these goals for each day, but by the time I get into bed and look over my list, I find I only did 13% of them. So I get discouraged, and feel like a failure.

    I’m finding that writing about my list, then “logging” in what I did helps to keep me accountable for doing everything. Obviously not everyone has time to keep a journal (last night I stayed up till 12:30am writing in it), but I find that it keeps me aware at least of the goals I’ve set for myself this year.

    A couple years ago I had a really good routine going: eating on a primal diet, working out every day, reading/blogging, etc. But this last year everything just fell apart, right through my fingers, and I didn’t have the motivation to try to put it all back together. This year, though, I’m determined to stay on track. I’m trying to read through my Bible from cover to cover this year, workout/eat healthy, down size my wardrobe (which does take me a while lol), get off of social media and my smart phone more often, smile more!, praise Jesus more, and a few others. 🙂

    This was a great New Years post, I really enjoyed it!

    Jazzy | http://thrivinghope.blogspot.com

  8. Nina Piccini says:

    I always set goals and an overlying theme for the year. 2016 was #YearofTheGirlBoss I wanted to own every decision I made; good, bad, ugly, and at the time I was striving to get ahead in my career and start a wave of online income via a blog and personal training. Some goals change through the course of the year and mine did, as far as my extra income and business. But I soared through the other aspects. So, this year I set a theme of #YearoftheBadassGoddess with the thought of self love. Saying no when needed, saying yes when I want and carving out time for work life balance. I find that if i have too specific of goals they go unattended throughout the year.

    xoxo, Nina

  9. Megan says:

    I’m setting goals this year! I used to always only set goals that I KNEW I could achieve, however, now I’m setting goals to push myself.


    Megan at Lush to Blush

  10. Courtney says:

    Good post 🙂 what’s your lip color?

  11. Sheva says:

    I keep getting Database errors when clicking through the rest of your blog! Was trying to look at your sewing tutorials!

    • Merrick says:

      I’m so sorry! My site crashed earlier today and it’s still getting back up so only parts of it are working. Hoping it will be back up completely by tomorrow! Cross your fingers 🙂

  12. Mish Young says:

    Oh My Goodness – Focus is my word for 2017 too!
    Although I have to admit that even though its January 4 here in Australia I am yet to complete my list, so thank you for the encouragement needed to get this done 🙂

  13. I love your categories for focus. I have resolved to read the entire bible in 2017. I think if I do this 15 minutes every morning, my focus will be on what it should be the rest of the day. Read my plan here: http://www.thelostapron.com/2017/01/read-bible-in-2017.html

  14. Heather Hoeke Longnecker says:

    I love your Dad’s categories, Merrick! Such a good idea to start kids with goal setting when they are young.

  15. danielle says:

    Im obsessed with this jacket, you style it so cute in so many different ways. I think I’m going to purchase it. Can you tell me what size your wearing so I can choose the right size for me. Im a bit taller then you. Thanks

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