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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ask the Matriarch - Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Happy Christmas! I hope all of you are enjoying a holy season and finding some rest and renewal following the demands of Advent. Our question this week is short and to the point:
As we say good-bye to 2012 and hello to 2013, what are your personal practices for reviewing your year, professionally and personally, and setting goals for the new year? Are there books or other resources that you use and would recommend for this process?

Anne writes:

I have had differing levels of success with this one; but I try to be cognizant of the "Wellness Wheel" and set some goals reflecting at least half of the wheel.  When I was part of a clergywomen's monthly group we spent an entire year working our way through the wheel.  The accountability helped all of us do a better job at setting goals and maintaining the disciplines.  

With the start of 2013, our church staff and our daycare staff will begin a friendly competition focusing primarily on physical fitness.  We'll have a fitness challenge between the two staffs - goals as of yet to be determined.  The majority of the staff could happily lose weight and increase muscle tone and core strength.  After we've worked on the physical with some success over a few months, I'm hoping we can consider goal-setting in a second area. 

I just bought pedometers with a calorie counter for all the daycare staff as Christmas gifts, and a couple pieces of equipment for everyone to share: jump rope, soft hand weights, ankle weights, and a ball.  We're starting a zumba class together soon at church.  

Happy New Year to all the RevGals - from a soon to be trimmer me!  :)


Jennifer offers:

I set goals personally and them share them with the Personnel Committee. They’re a good group of savvy folk who help me to be realistic and not too hard on myself. Their support and my self-critique balance nicely.
I’d be very interested in books or other resources that all have to share. The best book our committee has used for review is Jill Hudson’s book, published by the Alban Institute, called When Better isn’t Enough.

And Ruth adds:
I feel like every year I resolve to be more in control of my diary & more able to free up to time to respond well to all the demands of ministry. This year I might actually manage it – as I’ve just finished reading Stephen Cherry’s book “Beyond Busyness: Time Wisdom for Ministry” . I’d recommend it to anyone wanting to take stock of how you use your time.

Hope that helps!

Thank you, Matriarchs, especially for offering these good responses during such a busy time!

At the beginning of this year, I worked through the book Your Best Year Yet by Jinny Ditzler. I had seen a retreat offering based on the book, and I was inspired to try to take my own personal retreat with the book while on vacation. I found it to be a great way to frame the new year for myself, though I didn't do so well with following up each month to make sure I was staying on track with my hopes for the year. Still, I liked it enough that I may revisit it for the coming new year.

What about the rest of you? How do you take stock of the old year and prepare for the new? Are there resources you might share with the rest of us? Please join our conversation in the comments section. 

We are welcoming a new editor for this column. Crimson Rambler will begin putting this column together in January. Help us welcome her to the helm by sending us some more questions for our queue! You can send us your questions at askthematriarch[at]gmail[dot]com.


  1. Someone on the RevGal FB page suggested The Art of Extreme Self-Care a few months ago. I bought it and read through it, but have not done much else with it. It has 12 chapters that I think can be modified to address one area per month with a bit of creativity and I have been pondering doing that over the new year. I'm not good at big changes all at once, I do much better with gradual incremental changes. I'm going to try it because I know there are changes I want to make, I just don't yet know what all they are.

    1. I'm the Art Of Extreme Self Care evangelist. I got it from my therapist and we have been working through it. It's designed to be done one-practice (chapter)-per-month, but I do it (assigned by my therapist) in random order and on random schedule. I don't love all the practices, but most of that is more about my issues than about the actual material.


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