A New Direction :: Give Yourself the Grace to Begin Again

Near the end of 2019, I did what many of us do. I made an assessment of the past year and considered some goals for 2020.

Notice that I said goals, not resolutions. I’ve set resolutions in the past and I’ve learned that giving myself the ultimatum contained in an actual resolution works AGAINST me more than it works FOR me. Goals are more manageable, more achievable. They can be handled in bites and once I’ve reached one goal, I can move on to another one.

Resolutions say “I will begin (or stop) doing this and I’ll keep at it until I’ve mastered it.” I almost never master the things I resolve to do.

So, I set goals. The thing I appreciate most about setting goals is the act of placing markers that point me in the direction I’m wanting to head — to the goals I wish to achieve. In order to do that well, it helps to start with reflecting on the past and assess where I stand right now. The Cultivate What Matters Goal Planner  (which I am using for the first time this year) gives us these steps toward goal-setting:

  1. Begin with listing what worked in the past year (the good).
  2. Look at what didn’t work in the past year (the challenges).
  3. Consider what lessons we have learned from both the good and the challenges.
  4. Admit what remains confusing, unanswered or unresolved in light of those assessments.
  5. Write a statement declaring what you are choosing to believe despite those unresolved issues.
  6. Finally, set some goals and plot how you’ll reach them.

What I’m choosing to believe and using to direct me toward to goals for 2020 is embracing the freedom to begin again. I may have regrets, notice missteps, tally failures from the past year, but unless I’ve really blown it, each day, each week, every month and certainly every year offers the promise of a new beginning. A fresh start. Maybe even a “do-over.”

I call the opportunity to begin again GRACE.

My first goal for the coming year is to extend grace to anyone who has caused hurt or offense in my life in the past year, whether I let them know it or not. I want to let go of those things that I’ve carried around and allow the offender the chance to begin again. There aren’t many, but there are a few and they are baggage I do not intend to carry into 2020.

What about you? Have you set any goals for the coming year? Feel free to share them here.

I wrote for 5 quick minutes (more or less) on the word “direction”, linking up with other bloggers at Five Minute Friday. Click over to read other essays.


Did you choose One Word for the year?

I considered letting that pass, but I keep coming around to something I want to carry with me into 2020 — the quote “Always we begin again.” The line from the Rule of Saint Benedict has popped up in various places in the past several months, including in a book that was probably my favorite read of the year, On the Brink of Everything by Parker J. Palmer. I’ll likely be sharing other nuggets from this profound book about “Grace, Gravity and Getting Old” in the weeks to come. For now, Palmer has given me my One Word for 2019 — which is actually two words, but I’m okay with that.



  1. Jolene Rose

    My one word is shalom. I want to rest in the peace of God, and be a peaceful presence in the lives of others. I am stopping by from Five Minute Friday.

    • Ingrid Lochamire

      Shalom is such a beautiful word and peace is so needed in our world today. Blessings to you as you live out your “one word”.

  2. Annette

    just as making resolutions works against you, choosing a singular word or verse for the year works against me. I don’t particularly set big goals either. but goals…. to write 12 ebooks. Pulling material off my blog and from books I enjoy. visiting via FMF #25,

    • Ingrid Lochamire

      12 ebooks is a great goal! Blessings to you as you follow through with that this year.

  3. Tara

    Grace is such a gift!

  4. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    For goals beyond two-oh-one-nine
    I was really at a loss;
    cancer’s got me out of time,
    and then I thought of Motocross.
    Don’t mean nuthin’ if I die;
    death is coming, I can’t hide,
    but I can hit the throttle, fly,
    and show the kids old men can ride.
    And so it’s time for dirt and smoke,
    for sweat and blood and pounding heart,
    and though the tumours my breath choke,
    I will be with you at the start.
    If I am now at end-of-story,
    let it be in a ride for glory.


  1. The Greatest Accomplishment in Life - Ingrid Lochamire - […] Recently, I mentioned Parker J. Palmer’s memoir On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity and Getting Old. In this, his…

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