I’m writing this from a cheap hotel room in Fort Nelson, British Columbia. It’s -9 degrees fahrenheit outside, so we’ve been crossing our fingers and hoping for pet-friendly hotels open in mid-winter as we’ve criss-crossed rural Alaska, then the Yukon, and now British Columbia as we make our way south to Seattle, praying that we don’t end up huddled under sleeping bags in the back of the truck (just because you can doesn’t always mean you should)…Read More
A new year is upon us, y'all.
A year that is shiny with possibilities not yet dulled by missed deadlines or failed attempts. A year that has 12 full months of clear calendar days without a single unfinished to-do list among them. A year whose secrets still remain hidden, as yet undiscovered despite my giving the box a good shake. A year that is new, in every sense of the word.
I love the entire concept of new year. I am a gigantic fan of any and every reminder that it is never too late to start, to begin again, to hit the reset button and come back at it. I am of the very firm belief that this is true at ANY point in the year, not simply here at the official start, but it's undeniable that a fresh new calendar can do wonders for that "clean slate" feeling.
There is always a lot of discussion around this time about resolutions, usually of the weight loss/fitness variety. I just can't quite get on board entirely. That's not to say that I don't have goals. Oh lordy, do I have goals. I have goals coming out of my ears...and plans...and dreams...and secret hopes. No, it's not goals that I can't get behind. It's the rigid list of resolution that tend to be overly ambitious in some areas and not even a tiny bit ambitious enough in others, that tend to feel like a bunch of rules, that tend to leave me feeling like an utter failure the first time circumstances pop up that call for breaking one of the precious rules.
So I just don't make resolutions anymore.
A few years ago, I stumbled upon Susannah Conway's workbook for finding your "word of the year." Intrigued, I gave it a try. And I totally fell in love with the process and the concept. No list of rules. No setting myself up for disheartening failure.
Just a single word.
A filter for all of my decision-making, chosen to support a larger value that I want for my life. As choices come up throughout my day, my week, my year, I have a single word to remind me what I wanted for myself this year and to weigh each choice on that scale.
Choosing my word this year was insanely difficult. Like ridiculous. I have a LOT in the works right now, and everything is going in every possible direction. Writing projects, photography projects, a 200 hour yoga teacher training, and a class that I'm in the midst of developing. All of this on top of plans to sell our home here in Freeport this summer (more on that in the coming months!) and a humungous downsizing of possessions. So many good things. But what word is the right filter to help me keep my head on straight? "Balance"? "Work"? "Joy"?
And then a few days ago, I woke up in the wee hours just before the sun rose and my word was just sitting there fully formed and perfectly settled, as though it had been simply waiting for me to notice it.
Health. Health is my word.
Physical health, of course (because, duh- #cancersucks and I've already done that), but more than that. Decision making that supports every aspect of health in my life, from the mental health I gain from spending more time among trees and mountains, to supporting the health of my community and the environment by actions like doing my shopping at the farmer's market, to protecting the health of my marriage by seeking to be the best listener and partner I can possibly be.
I want healthy relationships and to live in a healthier world and to eat scrumptious food grown in a healthy way within a healthy community. I want to have a healthy balance between indulgence and discipline and to have a daily dose of healthy laughter and healthy humility and good, healthy perspective. I suspect this word will also mean a solid dose of good, healthy work as well, but I've never minded hard work so long as it's balanced with some hard play!
So here's to a new year and to health and to no resolutions to strangle the joy. Word to yo' mutha'!
Want to figure out your word? Give Susannah Conway's Find Your Word workbook a try!
Want more direction than just a word? You might want to check out Lara Casey's goal setting series and powersheets...prepare to dig deep here- she's not messing around! I'm not a religious person in the traditional sense and Lara works from a place of great faith, but I find her materials to be totally useful and not at all limited to only people who share her views.
Have a business you'd like to grow or a ton of creative goals you want to manage? Check out Lisa Jacobs over at Marketing Creativity! She puts out a fantastic "Your Best Year" workbook that is chock full of great structure for setting up and tracking your goals.
I'm also trying something brand-spanking new to me this year! Have you guys heard of "bullet journaling"? I think I might be a little late to this party, but I'm super stoked to give it a whirl! I'm especially excited about how Kara at Boho Berry seems to work it, though I'm going to try keeping everything in one notebook since I'm already an avid journaler and have no intention of messing with a system that's already working well there (a notebook + journal is probably enough to be getting on with!!). I will follow up in a month or two and let you know how it's going!
Happy New Year!!