Goals for the New Year

new years resolutions and goals

I know that New Year’s Resolutions often get a bad rap these days, but I do love the clean slate that the new year provides and I do like to be more mindful of areas of my life that could use a little more structure or improvement.  When I was younger I’d set unattainable or even harmfully obsessive goals (normally revolving around weight and calories, as I struggled with disordered eating in my late teens and early twenties), but these days, as a 34 year old mom of 3 with a (finally) healthy relationship with my body and with food, I know that any tendency to start counting calories or tracking fat is a surefire way to end up with an unhealthy mindset.  I try to eat intuitively and listen to my body, and refuse to have guilt if I decide to eat a burger for dinner or have ice cream for dessert.  I try to be mindful of what I eat and aim to enjoy everything in moderation, but the past few months have been a bit of a free for all without a whole lot of self control.  We got takeout for dinner way too often (easy to happen, as we live within walking distance of so many good restaurants), I relied on chicken nuggets to feed the kids more often than I care to admit, I haven’t taken the time to workout in the way that I’ve always enjoyed…life has really lacked focus and I can see it in the behaviors of all of us.  I spent most of 2020 flying by the seat of my pants in all areas of life, and it made me feel overwhelmed, distracted and frantic.  The pandemic plus 3 young kids has made it really easy to make excuses these past few months, but I’m making some changes right now so wanted to share them with you here today.

running in Charlestonstriped dudley stephens park slope fleece

My word for the year is INTENTIONAL

  • I want to be intentional about my fitness and not just attempt to fit it in during the day.  I still haven’t lost all the baby weight after having Tate over a year ago and physically I don’t feel as good as I did after having my first two children (I trained for and ran a marathon after having each of my older two kids, and I did not do so this time around, so that’s part of it).  I think that it’s possible to be body positive while also wanting to make improvement.  I’m happy with how I am now, but I know I’m not at my peak performance-wise and am also not as firm as I’d like to be.  The biggest contributor to not feeling totally comfortable in my skin right now is the lack of running.  I’ve been a runner all of my life and I truly love and enjoy the sport.  I also love what it does for my body.  I love it for a multitude of reasons, yet it’s been so easy for me to say “I’m too busy” now that I don’t get as much time to myself as I did pre-pandemic.  I need (and want) to change that!  I also need to buckle down and finish the Glowbodypt 10 minute plan (code WHIMSY10 will save you $10).  I was pretty religious about doing her 12 week post pregnancy plan (full review here, and code WHIMSY10 saves you $10) but have given myself too much leeway while doing this plan.  I should have finished before Christmas but I’m only on week 8 of 12.  Again, I have been pretty lazy compared to how I used to be, easily finding excuses to not push myself and stay disciplined.  I want to carve out time to do these workouts because they make me feel good and strong, and also because I want my clothes to fit like they did before I got pregnant the third time.  I’m still carrying extra belly fat that I’m not used to, and I know that a mix of running and strength training will do the trick, I just need to make that time a priority!  The way I’m doing so is by dedicating to waking up at 5AM a few times a week.  I am NOT a morning person.  I hate it and I’m bad at it…but it’s now the only time I’m able to get a good workout in, so Tom and I have decided that we will BOTH be getting up at 5AM.  The key is that we are doing it together.  That way I can workout at home (treadmill and my Glowbodypt videos) and he can go run outside, weather permitting.  We’ve done this a few days in a row now, and while the first few minutes in the morning are difficult I feel so good about how the day starts and end up really enjoying it once I get moving.  I’m in a happier mood when the kids wake up, I know I’ve made myself a priority, and I’m excited to start the day on my toes, rather than on my heels.  That part right there is key for me, because I feel so discombobulated if I wake up when the kids wake up, and that has been happening 90% of the time this past year or two.  In order to make these early mornings easier we need to be intentional about going to bed early too.  I often get a jolt of energy right before bed and then spend too much time on my phone, and I know I need to disconnect and help my body wind down in a better way before bed.  Choosing to turn the tv by 9PM makes the most sense for us, as we often end up watching tv at night since it’s our only time to truly relax.  This will also give us more time to read and more time for each other 😉
  • I want to be intentional about what I feed my family, and not just throw something together right before meal time.  I want to make family meals a priority, as they haven’t been because of my lack of meal planning and us eating a separate meal after the kids go to bed.  My goal is to set aside time on the weekend to plan the meals for the week, and then do the shopping that weekend so we don’t have to run out for random things during the week.  This will allow us to have more family meals (since I will have planned things that we can all eat), and it’ll prevent us from falling into the takeout trap.  It’ll help clean up our diets a bit too.  I love to cook but my lack of planning has made it especially stressful since we had our third child, and I know that by being more intentional with meal planning and cooking everything will fall into place.
  • I want to be more intentional about my business (blog, Instagram and Beautycounter) and set aside blocks of time to work on blog posts, answer DMs on Instagram, share outfits, etc. rather than doing so throughout the day when I should be focusing on my kids.  This business I’m in makes it so easy to have my phone in my hand all day long, and I know that it’s not the best example for the kids, even though this is my business and how I pay for school and other things for our household.  I need to be intentional about setting aside blocks of time for me to excuse myself and truly focus, rather than flitting about from task to task, checking social media a million times a day, and never truly accomplishing anything with 100% dedication.  I want to really grow (authentically and organically) this next year, and I know I need to treat this as a job, rather than a hobby.  I think I’m on the right track (I’ve recently outsourced my Pinterest management because I have no clue how to do that properly and have not capitalized on that area of blogging) and plan to work really hard at providing consistent blog content, rather than just posting when I’m able to.
  • I want to be more intentional about making my marriage a priority.  Life has been so hectic lately, with a move across the globe during a pandemic, a new job for Tom, 3 kids 5 and under, the list goes on and on.  I wouldn’t say that Tom and I are ships in the night, but we haven’t been spending quality time together like we used to, and we noticed this when we were recently at Fripp Island with my family and we were able to run together and get away for 24 hours, just the two of us.  We are so much happier (and our relationship is so much healthier) when we make our marriage a priority.  I wrote a blog post about making our marriage a priority a few months back and we need to get back to doing so.  Evenings spent playing cards or Scrabble, encouraging each other in our workouts, intimacy…all of that needs to be a priority and I think that the overarching goal of managing my time better and doing things with intention will organically allow all of this to happen.
  • I want to make my Christian faith a priority.  In weak/challenging moments of motherhood I realize I’m not relying on Him as I should, so my daily devotional and time spent in the Word needs to be a priority.  I’m now able to carve out the time a bit better since I’m waking up earlier, and that makes me really happy.  I also want to work on listening to faith-based music more often in the morning (the Rain for Roots channel on Pandora is my favorite to listen to with the kids) rather than relying on the tv to set the tone for the day.  Our days are so much better when they start with the tv off and uplifting music on instead.  I don’t know why, but the kids play together better and I feel so much more peaceful as we start our day.

Well, those are my goals and priorities for the year!  Do you have a word for the year, or goals you’re working on for 2021?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Katie Vail
Katie Vail

Find me on: Web | Instagram | Facebook


  1. Sarah
    January 6, 2021 / 5:14 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing. You’ve outline some great goals around intentionality. So much of what you are striving for reminds me of my own intentions and desires, but I lack motivation. I want to be fit, eat and feed my family better, read more, be more present with my son and partner, but find myself overwhelmed with working from home, in a demanding job, a kindergartner doing remote learning, all the the cooking and cleaning, etc. And not having anytime for self care. But your approach makes me think maybe I need to be more intentional too.

    • January 7, 2021 / 9:43 am

      It’s an incredibly tough time right now, on top of the fact that having kids on itself is incredibly demanding! I can’t imagine having to oversee remote learning for a kindergartener, you’re doing a great job with all life is throwing at you right now! One thing I did at the end of summer was outsource the heavy cleaning twice a month. It’s an added monthly cost but the stress that has been lifted has made a huge difference for us. Not sure if that’s a possibility but it may be something worth looking into to help take something off of your plate right now.

  2. Allison
    January 7, 2021 / 3:11 am

    Katie, thank you for sharing such honest words. It’s crazy, and I promise I’m not just saying this, but you literally just wrote out my heart and I chose the same word for the year! I also have 3 kids (3 under 6), I’m 34, and have very similar feelings about being more intentional in so many areas. My husband and I finally feel like we aren’t treading water anymore, and it’s time to put that intentionality to work, in ALL areas. So if it’s any encouragement, you are not alone in your thoughts. 😉

    • January 7, 2021 / 9:46 am

      Hi Allison, thank you so much for the note! This has been the oddest year and I bet we aren’t alone in feeling like we’ve just been treading water for a while now. Best of luck putting that intentionality to work! We’re only a week in but it’s making a big difference for our family, I hope that same can be said for you and your family!

  3. Sarah Zappone
    January 7, 2021 / 5:21 am

    One of my favorite blog posts yet! Every word of it resonated with me and I’ve recently been thinking about how getting up earlier would allow for much-needed time & dedication for certain things that have been pushed to the backburner. Thanks for sharing and the extra push 🙂

    • January 7, 2021 / 9:47 am

      Thank you, Sarah! It is SO hard to turn yourself into a morning person, but after only 4 days of doing it I can’t believe how much better I’m feeling. Best of luck as you get into your groove, you can do it!

  4. Alyssa
    January 15, 2021 / 6:13 am

    Katie, thank you for sharing this and opening up to us and being vulnerable. It is so refreshing to know that there are people like you who are so pure and genuine and willing to share these things. I really appreciate your words and feel similarly about all of those things! Your work as a whole has really helped me and has a positive influence on my life. I look forward to your stories, advice, and tips on life, style, motherhood, and I consider you a role model. I’m a military spouse just starting out this unpredictable journey but seeing how you navigate your life with such grace comforts me and empowers me to do the same. I’m not a mother yet but I’m praying you will still be doing this work by the time I am because it is so helpful!! Thank you again for sharing this. I’m so grateful that I found your blog 😊

    • January 15, 2021 / 11:31 am

      What a kind and thoughtful message, thank you Alyssa! This is the type of feedback that means so much to me and it helps affirm that I’m doing things the right way, even if it does mean being vulnerable and candid. I truly appreciate you following along!

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