Last Updated on February 15, 2024 by Stacy Averette

Teach us to number our days

At 11:30 pm on December 31, 2021, Eric and I were home alone watching something on Netflix. I couldn’t hold my eyes open or my head up. “I’m going to bed I announced. 2022 will be here tomorrow whether I’m awake to ring it in or not.”

I should’ve done some calisthenics or drank some coffee or something to stay awake because here we are about the begin the third week of 2022 and I’m still saying “next year” as if 2022 hasn’t happened yet! I’m stuck in 2021!

After hearing Emily’s podcast, What Worked in 2021, I thought it might be helpful to do my year-in-review. I tend to overgeneralize, exaggerate, and “awfulize” when I’m feeling negative and I was pretty negative about 2021. Can anyone relate?

Taking 15 minutes to sit and think about last year and look over my 2021 goals, served as a healthy reminder. I didn’t accomplish most of what I’d intended but I did accomplish a lot that I’m proud of.

2021 was a hard year for a lot of people. I doubt it would take you 15 minutes to list some of the hard times you had last year but I hope you’ll also take time to acknowledge and celebrate your victories.

year in review

What Didn’t Work in 2021

1. Fitness Goals

2021 was gonna be the year that I lost some weight and got in better shape. So was 2020, 2019, and every other year for the past 10 years. The first six months of the year were a bust. I didn’t even try. At all. (insert laughing emoji here) I have no explanation.

Summer was half over when I decided to start running again but Covid and a knee injury derailed me. I threw in the towel in mid-October and decided I’d start over in 2022. You know, Thanksgiving and all . . .

2. Bible Reading Plan

I was fairly consistent with my Bible reading plan (Read Through the Bible in Year) mainly because I’m a recovering legalist and I like being able to check “Bible Reading” off my mental list every day. I know for sure that reading the Bible every day is a good habit and a life-changing one but last year I fizzled out in November.

3. Decluttering

2021 was gonna be my year. Bahahahahaha! I’ve been trying to declutter my house for several years, especially since we became empty-nesters. I did great during the first few months of the year.  I was on a roll. Then summer arrived and I decided to start running again and I was sore and grumpy and then I got Covid and I promised the Lord if I could ever stand upright again I’d declutter my house and never go back to the thrift store. Okay, so I didn’t promise I wouldn’t go thrifting but I thought about it. I kept my promise to declutter for about a month. By mid-October, I was over it.

4. DIY Projects

My kitchen cabinets need painting. They’ve needed painting for years. Several years ago I decided on two colors I liked, bought small samples of each one at Lowes, and painted a swatch of each color on one of my kitchen cabinets so I could decide which one I liked best. The paint swatches are still there and it’s become a game where everyone who visits gets to vote on which color they like best. Half like one color and half like the other. Also, my laundry room is half-painted. Another project I started and never finished. It’s a long list.

5. Writing another book

I wrote and published a book in 2020. It’s called When Life is Hard: 50 Reminders that God is Near. You can buy it on Amazon or if you’re local you can come by our office and get a copy. But that’s not the book I’ve been working on FOREVER! There’s another book I want to write and it’s probably half-written already. (I’m not mad that I didn’t write it last year. God is still working on me and I believe in His time I’ll finish it.)

6. Blogging

In March of 2012, I decided to start a blog as a fun, creative outlet and a place to share what I’m learning. I’m still learning and I still love to share but over the last 10 years, I allowed comparison and criticism to rob me of the joy of doing something I love. I’ve been inconsistent here and I regret that.

What Worked in 2021

1. Journaling

Journaling has been a lifelong habit of mine. I have a drawer filled with journals that hold my ideas, prayers, lists, Bible study notes, and whatever’s on my mind. My mind is always at work and a journal is a place to help me keep track of what I’m thinking and feeling and ideas I have for future projects. I always keep my journal and pen with me!

A secondary benefit: I sleep better when I journal regularly throughout the day! Journaling is just a “brain dump” for me and by having stuff written down in one place I don’t worry about forgetting anything.

Journaling is also how I pray. My mind wanders all over the place when I pray silently (more than a sentence or two) but writing it down helps me slow down, stay focused, and get honest with God about what I’m thinking and feeling. And my mind doesn’t seem to rehearse, rehash, and worry when I go to bed if I “talked to God” in my journal all through the day.

2. Reading Books

I read a ton of books in 2021. I love to read and I made it a priority last year.

3. Whole Food Plant-Based Eating (WFPB) AKA: Vegan

Yes, we’ve been vegan since 2019. We’ve always been in excellent health and require no daily medications and we’re very thankful! Of course, we want to do whatever we can to maintain our good health as we age and a whole food plant-based diet is what we’re choosing. A WFPB diet means no meat (beef, chicken, fish), no eggs, and no dairy (cheese, milk, yogurt, ice cream). The majority of what we eat are plants, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts. Yummy!

We enjoyed lots of meals with friends and family in 2021 that weren’t WFPB and we have no regrets. We’re flexible when we need to be.

This year I’ve added lots of new and delicious WFPB recipes to my list.  (Maybe I’ll share some of those this year.)

Update: We’re no longer vegan.

4. Letting Go

Last year I let go of a lot of things and I learned that letting go works!

  • situations and people I can’t and shouldn’t control (Just pray and move on!)
  • legalism—some of it—it’s hard to unlearn some things. (“It is for freedom Christ has set us free! Stand firm, then, and do not allow yourselves to be burdened by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1)
  • stuff—clothes, books, home decor. (I feel lighter already!)
  • Idealism/Perfectionism (I’m more of a Christian realist now. Less cynical. More hopeful and joyful.)

Ask Yourself Why?

Is it enough to make a list and place a gold star beside what worked and a big red X by what didn’t and vow to “do better and try harder” next year? You can do that if you like (and I’ve done that plenty of times!) but I believe there’s a better, more life-giving way to assess our life. Simply measuring something as a success or failure isn’t very helpful. There’s more to us and our story. (I’m going to talk about that in a future post.)

If you’re like me and have a list of plans/goals that didn’t work last year, maybe we need to ask ourselves “Why?” and consider this:

  • Maybe there’s a better goal more suited to the season of life we’re in now.
  • Maybe it wasn’t the right time to achieve a certain goal.
  • Maybe the goal we set was someone else’s goal and not our own.
  • Maybe we try to make too many changes all at once?

I believe it’s important to examine our life—how we spend our days and hours—to think about what matters most and how we show up to our actual life. It’s just too darn easy to go with the flow and breathe in and out without actually living and feeling alive.

What I’ve learned is that new seasons of life demand new rhythms. I’m creating some new rhythms and routines that I think better suit my life right now and I’ll be sharing those later.

So here’s to learning from and letting go of 2021 and moving on to 2022!

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