About the Author

Mary is a writer and speaker who lives for good books, spicy queso, and television marathons – but lives because of God’s grace. She writes about giving up on perfect and finding truth in unexpected places at MaryCarver.com. Mary and her husband live in Kansas City with their two daughters.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Mary, I love your perspective about celebrating the steps along the way. Because that is progress towards success isn’t it! I applaud your efforts at exercising regularly for the first time – what a great example for your daughter. That, alongside bible memorisation with her, are definitely worth congratulating!

    • Thanks, Pauline! My daughter actually loves doing exercise videos with me. Of course, her definition of exercising is pretty different than mine. She hops around on one foot and swings her arms around for about four minutes. Then she spends a few more minutes “coaching” me (echoing the instructor on the video), and then she’s off to play with some toys! πŸ™‚

  2. I so appreciate your perspective. As a 52 year old mother of grown girls and 30 years of marriage, I can say my list has looked very similar and feelings of “failure” heard clearly through the echos of each approaching January. This year I’m trying to approach “resolutions” with more fun. What new things do I want to do or improve on this year, it makes each day a fun challenge.

  3. Oh thank you so much for this post! What a breath of fresh air. I’ve also been coming around to the idea of tweaking my definition of success. I recently blogged about my struggle with keeping resolutions — the notion that I have to always be doing more in order to succeed. I am learning that oftentimes success comes through surrender. Thank you so much for your insights–and congratulations on taking those smaller steps–you are an encouragement to me. πŸ™‚

    • “Oftentimes success comes through surrender” – Sarah, that is beautiful. And it fits so well with a post I’m writing for later this week that I’m going to quote you! Thank you for sharing your heart and your lovely words!

  4. I really appreciate this perspective and outlook on goals. I LOVE how you said “as long as I took that step, then I’ve succeeded.” Amen sister! This is a revolutionary way to view successes, big or small! Thanks for sharing w/ us!

  5. Thank you for your post.
    i’m grateful to say that God helped me:
    1) eat more veggies and fruits this year intentionally
    2) run a 5k
    3) record some original songs I wrote

    Also (this is a women’s post right?) – I must say my Period has regulated a lot and it’s been pretty irregular over the years. All of this stuff shows me God’s hand is present and he is the Good shepherd; because I never really put these things ob my daily list but he brought them to me and helped me adjust my values. I am counting on Him to do the same and more this year. Thanks Abba,

  6. Friend, my goals list looks a lot like yours–more redone than done. Whew. I feel a lot better about that after reading your post. And it makes me want to set new goals because, hey, at least they lead to something good even if it’s not the original plan!

  7. I love the idea of redefining success, Mary. It is hard to stay properly motivated and encouraged when driven by fear of failure. Any small steps toward are resolutions are more than if we had never set the goals at all! Blessings to you.

  8. Wow…Love that you bare your journal page/resolutions to the world with open honesty! Great to see the progress = success that you made!

    I have recently learned to focus on “EVERY 30 DAYS”. I break my BIG goal(s) into every 30 day goals and focus on one day at a time, accomplishing my three priorities each day to accomplish my 30 day goal/focus! I’m loving it!

  9. Love the perspective of baby steps (kaizen). Made resolutions this year: Get in and stay in shape; run/walk a 5K–doesn’t matter just that I finish. Also will have dates with hubby.

    One way to read the Bible through in a year is to go to Biblegateway.com and listen to it each day. I do it daily, usually while feeding animals or emptying dishwasher. That way you’ve read it–in a sense.

    Good luck on your resolutions!

  10. Goals get me moving and stepping out – in any direction. Otherwise I’m too tempted to remain in sameness. So, whether I reach them, or not, or the goal shifts, or circumnstances change or it no longer matters in the same way and something else becomes a greater priority – at least I’m moving towards a target. That same momentum propels me forward even when the goal shifts somewhat and keeps me sharp and engaged in life! Life is a process, not the end result.

  11. Thank you so much for this post! I love how you said our steps are important. I am a task oritented person so if I don’t accomplish all of the task I tend to feel like a failure. You have opened my eyes to a completely different mindset. Thank you!

  12. Thank you! I tend to see all my failure and shortcomings, rather than my successes and well-doings. Thank you for your encouragement, but also to that I know I’m not alone. My goal is to change my view of myself and my life — to purpose to see the good things I do instead of dwelling on the mistakes.

  13. I feel the same way as most of these ladies. Great perspective and a great way to start the new year. Looking forward to moving down the road with 2012 goals and as long as I’m not standing still and allowing God to guide my path I will consider it a good year!

  14. Love this one today. Sometimes we get so caught up in the “should have dones” that we forget to acknowledge to everyday successes in our lives. I think it helps to think and write about the things we have accompished and what we are doing to be better. Success is not necessarily a finish, it is a path to get there.

  15. I didn’t make a list last year, but I did learn, at some point during the year, that making lists of even the small things is very freeing! We beat ourselves up for not achieving EVERYTHING when we should celebrate every victory.

  16. As a parent of two (nearly) grown children, I’ve learned a lot in the past two years about redefining what success looks like in each of my children’s lives. I set goals for what I think success looks like, then God surprised me with children who are very different than I am. One will probably never measure up to academic measures of success, but has gifts and talents in other areas that just blow me away. I’m learning to redefine success as moving forward in becoming the person God created me to be and embracing my shortcomings and failures as opportunities to ask for forgiveness and see how desperately I need Jesus.

  17. I would define it by doing and completing what God says HE wants me to complete, honestly because if i get too lofty, nothing will get accomplished or matter. So that’s all really.

  18. Thank you for the perspective. We’ve run into some obstacles, not unsurmountable but they are there and this helps remove some of the mountain from the molehill,

  19. Me too…love the redefining success….great encouraging post…thanks.

    We moved back to the states after living over seas and it’s been a rough transition for me and it’s not over as we are moving from Ky. to California soon. During this transition so many other things have taken place that have nothing to do with our transition. Lots of illness, a wreak, more illness…had to just plain drop some of the goals I had so of course FELT like a failure. Finally came to the conclusion the goals I could not meet were just that “my goals”. I have slowed down so much and all the illnesses have given me more time to see His steps laid out before me. His steps are slower, smaller, easier to walk and more revealing of some areas in my heart that I would have over looked had I stayed on my agenda.
    I don’t feel like a sucess but I don’t feel like a failure either. Just feel blessed to have such a personal God whose eyes is on the sparrows but I also know He watches me. I sense His personal interest in me, little old me with all my fraility and set back. I just plain feel LOVED by the most awesome wonderful Holy God. He is my sucess.

  20. […] 13, 2012 By Diaper Diaries Leave a Comment Love this new way to look at New Year’s Resolutions::: Redefining SuccessThis has been all over Facebook, but in case you missed it::: Why I Hate Religion, But Love […]