Resolve to budget time, goals


Shauna Nivens

By Shauna Nivens

Guest columnist

It’s February. Has your resolution already been tossed aside? What is the purpose of a resolution?

I think the New Year is a moment where we pause to reflect on how the past year has gone and how the new should continue. It shouldn’t just be wishful thinking, but a planned strategy. Budgeting our time wisely plays a critical role in that success.

When I took sociology class in college, something stuck with me. There are many different parts to self: mental, emotional, educational, social, spiritual and physical. This has been an invaluable tool in deciding how my life is going and what to do next.

During college, I had a lot of emotions to face from my teenage years and learning to be on my own. Education was my highest priority and emotional health was a close second. For a couple years, I saw a counselor. My resolutions were about my emotional health.

Shortly after college, I experienced a very dry spiritual time. Because it was so hard, I avoided facing that part of my brokenness. I think God’s work on my life took even longer than it should have because of my avoidance. Eventually, I learned the lessons God had for me. My spiritual health became of utmost importance and the center of my resolutions.

As that part of me was strengthened, social bonds became of highest priority when my family was growing. This is a time where four young children put such strain on life that continuing friendships had to change and adapt. Attempting to not completely lose myself to motherhood, I spent a few years focusing heavily on hospitality within my home and serving within my church.

A few years ago, I had part of my thyroid removed that was overactive and cancerous. For the first time, I was struggling with my weight and health. I spent several years focusing on recreating exercise habits, drinking a healthy protein shake, and creating healthy eating habits.

In 2021, I became the women’s director at Park Chapel Church. Because of this, my focus is shifting a bit again into the spiritual, but from the position of leadership. I feel the need to not only keep myself healthy, but to follow the Lord’s leading in guiding others too. Prayer was my resolution last year and continues to be my highest need.

Thankfully, over all this time, I have gotten better at keeping old habits and building new ones. If I could offer one word of advice, it’s this: you will have to say no to something if you expect to add something new into your life. When we cut out sleep for exercise or spiritual devotions, we are not creating a sustainable habit. I find it helpful when time feels too short to create a time chart. This helps me to figure out how much time I truly have to budget. The caution in this is to also budget plenty of rest, without which you won’t have the energy to sustain that pace for long.

Budgeting your time wisely is perhaps the most crucial step in creating goals that are sustainable. Addressing the most broken part of your life is the most valuable way to define your newest resolution. Best of luck to you in creating and sustaining yours.

Shauna Nivens is a wife, mother of four and Womens and Hospitality Director for Park Chapel Church in Greenfield. She can be reached at [email protected].