The year of momentum

I’m a planner. By the time eighth grade rolled around, I already had my entire high school course load mapped out. My senior year in high school barely began, and I knew every class I was going to take for my college major and which clubs I was going to partake in. My dad would chuckle and remind me, “When people plan their lives, G-d laughs.” It wasn’t long before I understood my father’s meaning: I graduated from a college I never intended to attend; I reside in a place I never dreamed of living; and my career doesn’t remotely resemble what I studied. Still, I plan. But with much more flexibility and the knowledge that it can all go to s#*! at any moment.

Last year, my planning stalled. For lots of different reasons, I threw my hands up in the air and asked, “Why bother?” You know what happened? Nothing. I didn’t blog. I barely wrote. I created virtually nothing. I stood still. Sure, I thought about doing all those things, but life circumstances paralyzed me. Spending the better part of the year spinning my wheels, I ended the year (in terms of my personal goals and passion projects) in virtually the same place where I started. And that felt BAD.

As 2016 was moving toward the rear-view mirror, I stumbled upon Belong Magazine on Instagram; and as I got to know the founder, Brooke, through her daily photos and accompanying words, she became an inspiration. I recognized her struggles with her goals as my own, and her encouragement to take baby steps became a mantra of sorts in my head. The one thing I did a LOT of in 2016 was read, and so I added books like Gretchen Rubin’s Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of our Everyday Lives and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear to my reading list.

All of this inspiration led to my one little word for this year…

momentum: one little word 2017

Belong Mag’s Instagram post a few days ago sums up the reason behind my word momentum perfectly: “If you don’t take a step forward, you’ll always be in the same place.” In her book, Elizabeth Gilbert told a story about her mother that beautifully illustrates the concept of doing your future self a kindness. This resonated with me to the point of almost haunting me. It is my future self that I must keep in mind when faced with the choice to move forward or remain in place. From something as simple as trying to decide if I should take five minutes to make a sandwich for lunch, I think of future me, who is going to be hangry if I opt to do something else with that time. When it comes to my goals, I must also think of the future me and make decisions that leave her in a more positive place than she was.

What is your one little word for 2017?

Mama’s Losin’ It

Photo credit: Mubarak Fahad via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

 

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2016: The Year of RELEASE

It’s been two years since I’ve committed to One Little Word because the only word in my vocabulary during that time was “survive”: survival of profound loss, survival of learning how to be a mom, and survival of all the “adulting” that went on in between. Although things finally feel like they’re settling into a new normal, I didn’t plan to choose One Little Word this year. But then, during a late-night cuddle session with The Toddler Who Refuses to Sleep Through The Night, I began mentally listing my goals for the year, and I realized they all had one thing in common: release.

release

Goal: Release myself and my home from all the material things that neither bring me joy nor are essential to keep.
Plan: Using The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy as guides, I will focus on at least one category per month to tidy up so that hopefully I have a simpler household come this time next year.

Goal: Release myself from the negative self-talk, unrealistic expectations, and unattainable perfectionism.
Plan: I have two strategies going into this one. The first one I saw on Facebook, and I really like it. It’s basically a form of aversion therapy. Whenever you say something mean about yourself, something you wouldn’t let anyone say about your best friend, you have to give up your phone for 30 minutes. The second I credit to a friend of mine: Turn the negatives into action statements. So instead of saying, “Ugh, why can’t I ever remember to call So-and-So on her birthday?! I’m the worst friend,” you’d re-frame it: “After I call So-and-So today, I’m going to put an alert on my calendar so that I’m notified of her birthday every year.”

Goal: Release myself from financial stress.
Plan: Asking for help is not one of my strengths. I always think, I can do this, no matter what this is. Confidence is one thing; stubbornness is another. No matter how many years I’ve spent attempting to budget and whatnot, it’s time to bring in the experts. In addition to making calls and attempting to lower rates on cell phone bills, etc., I’m going to work with a professional to get out of as much debt as possible this year (school loans, I’m looking at you), create a budget that’s realistic, improve my credit score, and make sure I’m putting enough in savings, retirement, and college funds. Normally I’d be stressed just thinking about this, but having a plan, not just a goal, is freeing in itself.

Goal: Release my dreams from living solely in my mind.
Plan: If you were with me during my heyday of blogging, you know that this is one I’ve been struggling with for years. While I’ve made a lot of progress on certain things, like getting an article published and becoming a contributing blogger, there’s a lot more I want to do that I’ve constantly put on the back burner for excuse after excuse.

anne lamott quote

I do a pretty good job of living without “what if”s. To borrow from one of my favorite poems, I don’t want a dream deferred to fester like a sore. The plan is a little fuzzy at best. I’m going to start with writing down the dreams and steps I need to take to attempt them. Then, I’ll start following the steps. Note, achieving the dream is not the goal; finally attempting it is.

What is your One Little Word this year?

Photo credit: “Monarch Release” by kcolwell via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA