If You Could Only Choose One, What Would It Be?

Coffee Shop

Every January, my friend, Julie, and I meet at our favorite coffee shop. Outside, it’s usually dark and rainy. The string of lights across the awning welcomes us in. The furniture – mismatched wooden chairs, worn velvet couches, uneven table legs – makes us feel like we’re entering a home as opposed to a place of business. With coffee in hand and most likely, a Pear Pumpkin muffin, we lean our heads together and one of us starts out by saying, “Okay, do you want to go first?”

I told you last week that in my July posts, I would share my goals for the year with you. My desires. How I arrived at them. And in doing so, I hope that my stories will offer some inspiration to you for making a plan toward reaching your own goals.

“But it’s smack dab in the middle of summer, Carrie.”

I know. I know. But in last week’s post, I explained why summer is the best time to let your mind hone in on your deepest desires. And just a couple skips away is September. And really, which month better defines a new start, ingrained in all of us since we were preschoolers, than September?

I believe it’s been five years since Julie and I started our annual tradition of sharing our goals. Although we are close friends, we’re always a little nervous at this “meeting.” It takes an incredible amount of focus and effort to write out my goals. To speak them out loud, even to a dear friend, takes a lot of courage. My goals aren’t just about “quarterly numbers” but they are about who I strive to be as a person.

At our inaugural meeting, I went first. I pulled out my 3-ring binder and flipped to my excel spreadsheet of goals five pages long. This “Carrie’s Goals For the Year” document was a masterpiece with categories – personal, business, family, house – and subcategories – health, finances, writing, photography, kids marriage, kitchen, yard. I even had a color-coded pie chart documenting how I planned to divide my time each day to reach my goals. The whole kit and kaboodle was a thing of beauty.

After I took my bow, my eyes still glistening from the emotion of my declarations, Julie pulled a red leather bound journal from her purse. She flipped to the page marked by a satin string where she had handwritten three goals. One involved her business, one was about her health – both physically and spiritually, and the last was about the kind of Mom she wanted to be for her kids.

While I frantically slapped at the details of my subcategories, just trying to hit one like a pesky mosquito but never getting them all, Julie went on to check off her three goals that year.

The following year, I still had my spreadsheet but I had narrowed it down to 10 goals.

This year when we met, I only had one.

Dark and Rainy

To declare only one goal took focus and as well as a bit of sadness around letting go. I had to be willing to answer the question, “If I can only accomplish one thing this year – even though there is a 5-page spreadsheet of other things I really want to do but simply do not have the time for – what would it be?”

Maybe it’s my age. Maybe it’s the canyon-deep loss of my mom. Maybe it’s learning from past mistakes but I feel most proud of my goal this year. I feel inspired and motivated to reach it but not overwhelmed. Will it take a huge amount of work? Yes. Can I do it? Yes.

I will share my goal with you in a later post, but next week, I will begin by sharing the desires that shaped it. And in-between posts, I will be diligently working toward my goal. For the first time, Julie and I are meeting in September to check-in with each other. To share our progress and darn it, I will have progress to share.

I’m curious, what are your greatest challenges/obstacles in setting and reaching your goals? In realizing your deepest desires? We’d all love to read about them in the comments below.

For everyone off to celebrate the Fourth of July this week, have a marvelous time! And for those of you Down Under, stay warm.

As always, thank you for being here,



  1. Wendy Kotila says:

    Launching my own business, laying the foundation for a profitable, location-independent business within 3 years.

    Spending quality time with my husband and daughter, and nurturing our little one.

    Building and investing in my community of friends and neighbors.

  2. It is brave of you to share your goals with a friend and then hold each other accountable. I lean more towards being like you in terms of goal setting. I need to scale back!

    • Yes, Kel, scaling back is my biggest challenge but I’m finding when I don’t scale back and I keep everything on my plate…I have a hard time actually finishing anything.