New Year 2018 {GOALS}

I’d been thinking a lot lately about what I wanted my goals for the new year to be. What mattered? What was going to drive me forward? What was going to change me, and ultimately bring me closer to God?

To be honest, I was hesitant to publish my posts on purpose and resolutions because I wanted to make sure that was where I was at. But, I decided to do it because those posts were aimed just as much at me. I want to be kept accountable to those things, and it’s the same thing with my goals.

This is kind of a late “What I learned in 2017” post as well as a 2018 goals post. And, warning, it may turn into a rambling mess of personal stuff. But I’m hoping that y’all can take something away from this like i did.

So, after a lot of thought, I decided on a word and a verse for the year. My word is forgiveness. My verse is Philippians 4:4-8.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever thing are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy- meditate on these things.” NKJ

In 2017, more than ever, I struggled with stress, and with bitterness. A lot of the time, my stress and bitterness had the same object. Sometimes someone, sometimes something, and other times a situation or something I was doing. And whether I was worried, had a deadline, or had something I needed to get something done, I was constantly stressed.

I knew this verse; I’d had it memorized for years; I knew what it meant; I’d heard it quoted numerous times. But I think that if I’d been living by it, I wouldn’t have had to endure all the stress that I did last year. I wouldn’t have been anxious. Because, as the verse clearly tells me, I would know Who to bring all of this to.

So, this is a verse I want to live in assurance of. I want to strive to live by it. Here’s where I struggled, and what I learned:

In the area of bitterness…

The first line says, “Rejoice in the Lord always.” That’s really hard sometimes. Even being children of God, and constantly being told we have the joy of the Lord, it isn’t always easy to have a positive attitude toward everything. In fact, it’s pretty hard. I found myself complaining a lot last year. And it got quite depressing. When I realized how often I complained about my circumstances and situations, I would think to myself, gosh, do you have anything good to think about? Do you have any reason to be happy? It doesn’t seem like it.

Sad, right?

If I had to choose one area in my life that God was working on the most last year, I’d have to say it was forgiveness. Until just a couple years ago probably, I held grudges against people who had done me wrong in kindergarten. Yeah, *hides* I’m not proud of that. And there have been many people between then and even to this past year who I hadn’t forgiven- who I’d been bitter against. And I’m sure I still haven’t forgiven everyone I ought to. Last year was crazy, too. Stress and bitterness had to same antecedent this past year, so it was really hard to move past. I’m still not sure I have completely.

But my goal this year is to forgive. My goal is to move past bitterness, and to rejoice in the Lord rather than complain. We have been given eternal life because of what Jesus did for us. Even if that was all He ever did for us, it would be enough. But it wasn’t! We have so, so many reasons to rejoice, and my goal is to start living like that instead of complaining about everything that’s wrong. I ended up telling my good friend to shut me up if I started complaining. We’re both doing that for each other now 🙂

In the area of stress…

I’m pretty sure stress is my middle name, and not Aline. As I mentioned, my bitterness and anxiety resonated a lot from the same place. I can’t remember a year that was quite as stressful as last year. I won’t go into detail about it, but several things were going on in my church, and it consumed my thoughts all the time. It was a lot of the reason I complained so much. And along with writing, school, as well as trying to blog, play music, and just get things accomplished in a day, it was a lot.

But what I never really took to heart- not truly, or things might not have been so stressful- was this verse. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Did you know that there is a God in heaven who loves you and wants to help you? He’s just waiting for you to ask. He’s waiting for you to pray. And let me say, I spent a lot more time complaining about it rather than praying about it. And all along, I could’ve given it all- the stress, the worry, the bitterness, all of it- to Him. And I could’ve experienced that peace that “surpasses all understanding.” But rarely did I sit down and ask for help. And when I did- when I laid it all down before Him- I found myself picking it right back up again.

That’s not what we’re supposed to do when we give something to Him… When we give something God, we’re entrusting it to Him. If it’s anxiety, you’re trusting that He is enough, and that His grace is sufficient. If it’s bitterness towards someone who has wronged you, you’re leaving it in the hands of a just God. “Vengeance is mine. I will repay.” If it’s a loss of someone close to you, you’re believing that God has a plan for it, and you’re trusting in His will. And I’m hoping to give it to Him this year and never touch it again. I hope you’ll do the same thing. Remember that there’s a God who loves you. He’s just waiting for you to talk to Him.

In the area of thoughts…

Have you ever kind of…justified your thoughts “because you’re a writer”? Allowed the complaints and bitterness and whatever else might go through your mind on a daily basis in because you’ve got a wild, writer’s brain?

I have… I mean, it’s so easy to justify wrong thoughts that way. Or sometimes, I don’t justify them. I just go back and forth, like, this is ok, right? It doesn’t matter what I think about. Nope. “Take every thought captive.” Again, maybe it’s just me. But I think we could all really start applying the last part of the verse to our lives- it’s the hardest part for me.

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever thing are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy- meditate on these things.”

It’s so funny, because one day I was thinking about my problems. And I thought of the middle of this verse. But then, I remembered the rest, like, out of nowhere, and it was like…wait a minute. This directly applies to my thought life issues. It’s not that I didn’t know that. But the realization that those verses were together in the same spot was almost kind of a *mind-blown* moment for me. And it pushed me to take it more seriously. To take it to heart.

My goal verse this year- it’s Philippians 4:4-8. I don’t want to just know it, have it memorized. I want to live by it.

So, this post was really all over the place *gives you hugs for sticking around*, but this is what I’ve struggled with and hope to change this year. I hope that you guys can take away from this as well.

To wrap up this post (and get back into a lighter mood haha), here are a few things on my goals list/bucket list.


  1. Read at least 36 books. (Kinda sad compared to all you book worms, maybe, but it’ll be an accomplishment if I can actually get this much read).
  2. Prepare my dystopian novel to send off for a critique. (Maayyybbbeee. We’ll see what happens).
  3. Finish Driver’s Ed and get my license.
  4. Write a novel for Camp NaNo in April and July.
  5. Win NaNoWriMo. (Because I’m seriously pumped after this past NaNoWriMo).
  6. Go to Realm Makers. (THIS IS A BIG ONE.)
  7. Go see the Han Solo movie. (My expectations for this movie are far too high).
  8. Go see Infinity War movie. (If it’s clean…sadly, it likely won’t be…)
  9. Get a job?
  10. Practice forgiveness and live by this verse.
  11. Have more of an “after high school” plan.

Let’s Talk!

So, can you relate to any of this?? What are your goals and/or bucketlist for the new year? Tell me your list in the comments!

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16 thoughts on “New Year 2018 {GOALS}

  1. All of these goals are wonderful ones, Riley!!

    I can’t wait for Infinity War, either….it’s going to be epic!!

    Don’t worry about having a small goal – it’s one that you feel comfortable reaching for, and that’s the important thing. I have rather pitable word goals in comparasion to my writing friends but I’m a rather slow writer.

    Realm Makers!! I dearly hope you attain this one!! It sounds like a blast!!


    1. Thank you, Catherine!

      I KNOW! It’s going to be AMAZING. And thank you for the encouragement 🙂

      Yes, I’m really hoping to go- it sounds pretty awesome! Thank you for reading, Catherine!
      ~ riley aline

  2. GOOD GOALS. *nods approvingly* Looks like you’ve got lots of big stuff coming up in 2018! I attended Realm Makers last year and it was a SUPER FUN experience. I’m not sure whether I’ll be attending this year or no, but WE SHALL SEE.

    Also I’m getting a job this year also!! WOOT WOOT. Where are you thinking to get a job at? Because I have literally no ideas hahaha.

    1. Thank you! (I am seriously just now seeing this…it wasn’t showing up for some reason.) That’s awesome! I’ve heard so much about it, and I’m really, really hoping I get to go! I’m super excited.

      I’m honestly not sure yet. I was originally wanting to work at a kid’s camp over the summer, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen. I’ll probably work at Sweet Frog or just the grocery store (boring, but beggars can’t be choosers, I guess XD). I hope you find something! Thanks for reading, Jonathan!
      ~ riley aline

  3. I relate to this SO much. Stress was like a slavedriver for me last year, to use a pretty brutal word for it. It just wouldn’t. let. me. stop. It was sucking the joy completely out of my life and it was bad 😛 And gosh…Philippians 4:4-8 is literally one of my favorite verses too. *hugs*

    On a lighter note…if you need beta readers, I’d love to help out 😀 And REALM MAKERS. I’m screaming that a lot these days but I really hope you get to go and I hope I can make it too.

    Beautiful post, Riley!

    1. SAME. And for real, it’s such an awesome verse!!

      I would love someone to look over my story- mainly just to get some feedback on the story line. It’s still really unfinished. If you’d be interested, that’d be AWESOME!


      Thank you, Audrey!! <3
      ~ riley aline

  4. I feel hardcore stress. Learning how to cope with it and just learning when to take a break has been hard, but it’s something I’ve had to learn (I’m actually going on a break until my blogiversary pops up).

    I’m super stoked for Infinity War! I’m sure there’s probably going to be swearing in it, as usual, but I don’t they’re going to throw a curve ball in terms of cleanliness.

    I’m so stoked for NaNo! I hope I can actually participate in it this year, since this past year I have not been able to take part in it at all…

    Also, hi! I’m new to your blog. xD

    xoxo Abigail Lennah

    1. I totally feel you. Breaks are definitely necessary…I’ll probably take one soon as well.

      Yeah, that’s true. I hope there’s nothing crazy. My brother and I are super excited about it!

      I hope you get to participate in NaNo this year!! Last year was my first time- I LOVED it!

      Nice to meet you, Abigail! Thank you so much for your comment <3
      ~ riley aline

  5. dude stress is so real. I hope you get some relief from that this year.

    Also, great goals! I love reading other peoples’ goals because they’re always so motivating! Good luck with all your writing goals: you writers rock!

    1. It definitely is. Thank you, Hannah!

      I know right! It’s really cool to see everyone’s goals. Thank you so much! Thanks for reading!
      ~ riley aline

  6. Love your blog colors 🙂 I’ve been writing since about seven…so almost 9 years now. I love it so much…I love making the characters deep and authentic.
    Beautiful blog!

    1. Thank you so much! Wow, really?? That’s awesome! I only started writing just recently. So, are you 16 too? And I agree, writing and developing characters is the BEST.
      Thank you for reading, girl! <3
      ~ riley aline

  7. I love all of your goals, Riley! I hope you et to accomplish them all. =) I especially love the last one-have more of an after high school plan. I should probably do that too, even though I’m only a sophomore.

    It’s comforting to know that I’m not the only one who, is, well, stressed! I think that one thing I need to do this year is take the time to be still and truly rest at Jesus’ feet.

    I love all of your points! Here’s to an awesome 2018! =D

    1. Thank you, girl! Haha, seems it’s never too early to figure things out…the older I get, the faster time flies!

      You’re definitely not the only one! Is there any way I can pray for you?

      Thank you for reading, Micaiah! I hope you’re having a wonderful 2018! <3
      ~ riley aline

  8. Good goals! I definitely relate to the bitterness aspect of this post! I can be very bitter sometimes, especially when other people around me are bitter. Instead of relying on God, I allow myself to go with the flow and be bitter like everyone else. (Also, I completely understand about the church. Our church has been through a lot lately, most of it not fun at all. I’ll be praying for you and your church family).
    I’m worried about Infinity War! I think it has the potential to be really good, I’m not sure how it’s going to go. It’s going to have so many characters and I think it might just get confused….

    1. Girl, saaaaame. It’s so hard not to be sometimes. (Aw, thank you! I’ll be praying for your church as well <3 )
      I sure hope it’s expectations might be a little high...oops!
      Thanks for reading, Chelsea <3
      ~ riley aline

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