If you had to choose a word–one single solitary word–to represent your hopes, dreams, and aspirations for the new year, what word would you choose?
A word to live out. A prophesy over the steps you’ll take and the dreams you’ll seize.
This time last year, I chose the word, LEAP.
And leap through 2013 I did!
I leapt from the safety of WordPress.com to the great unknown of WordPress.org. And I couldn’t be happier about that decision.
I leapt back onto the theatre stage again after several years off. It felt good to be under the hot lights again. To put on someone else’s shoes for a while. Walk around in them a bit.
I leapt into a new decade, turning 30 this past March. And I have never felt more sure of myself or my leaping than ever before. For that growth, I am grateful.
I leapt onto a cruise ship for the first time this past May, conquering some of my greatest fears in doing so. And not only did I survive to tell the tale, but I dare say I thrived….
I leapt to attend my first blog conference this August. The butterflies in my stomach quickly gave way to warm fuzzies as blog buddies transformed into real-life buddies! And I cannot wait for Haven 2014.
I leapt from referring to myself as “a person with a blog” to “a blogger” sometime around my first blogiversary. For some reason, that felt like a big deal. Bloggers, maybe this resonates?
I leapt to entertain you all by singing a song for you on YouTube. To be silly. To be me. To do something that both terrifies and thrills me all at once.
I leapt to embrace an age-old dream of dying my hair fire-engine red. And I did it! (Peek-a-boo style.) And I have no regrets.
And so that I never forget this past year and all the leaping it entailed, I have that one word spelled out in a beautiful wire necklace, hand-crafted by my friend Johanna. She lives in Germany–we’ve never met in person–yet she made and mailed me a necklace; further evidence that I’ve encountered some of the most kind, generous, and loving individuals through blogging. So, here’s a random idea: maybe we need to watch less of the news and hang out on blogs more. It’s just a thought….
This year, I choose BALANCE. Or rather, BALANCE chose me.
Sometime around this fall, when I was starting to feel really overwhelmed by my overflowing email inbox and the plethora of blog comments I had not yet responded to and blog post deadlines I was struggling to meet, I thought to myself,
“Something needs to change. If I want my blog to be sustainable, and I do, I need to change the way I’m doing things. I need more balance. And since I’m my own boss here, it’s up to me to create that balance.”
And I think it was then that I knew what my “one word” for the next year would be.
Yet this balance I crave? It does not come naturally. Remember, I’m a perfectionist. A people-pleaser. With an “all or nothing” personality. I’ve grown accustomed to going the extra mile to create a really out-of-this-world project, even if it means pulling an all-nighter or ignoring the laundry for a week or (cough) three. But it does not lead to healthy living. Au contraire!
And while I don’t expect zen-like peace every waking hour (nice though it would be), I do know that there are some changes I can make to my life to create more balance. For instance:
a morning routine that involves prayer and Bible reading, prior to even glancing at my email inbox!
regular exercise (because we’ve fallen off the wagon in a major way…and I’d love to get back to our 3x/week routine)
get back into the habit of menu planning (just need to fix a few parts to my Menu Planner to Rule Them All that fell apart after a violent slam of the freezer door into the wall, and we are ready to rock)
working smarter, not harder (i.e. scheduling social media and automating my email newsletter)
delegating responsibilities with The Silhouette Challenge Facebook Group I coordinate (and thanks to my Support Team of 6 great gals, I’ve already started to do that!)
build more margin into my blog posts by posting 2-3 posts/week instead of 3-4; also, working more than a day ahead on blog drafts!
boundary management a.k.a. “the art of saying no” (which is one of my greatest struggles, perhaps second only to my sweet-tooth struggle!)
taking intentional breaks where I “unplug” completely (it was such a valuable exercise for me this past summer)
A lot of the “work” of this goal for balance is done through developing new habits. And that’s never been easy for me. (Discipline is not my strong suit.) But I have hope you can teach an old dog new tricks. Especially if that old dog is fed up enough with the way things are and is yearning for a change. Like this old dog is.
So, here is my new year’s prayer: for the strength to relinquish old habits and the perseverance to commit to new ones. Even though they may go against my natural inclinations. Even though every bone in my body may resist it. Because I know it will be good for me in the long run. Kind of like spinach.
I’ll be back again soon with my Blogging Dreams & Goals for 2014 (<– here they are). And this year holds some BIG dreams! Although I hinted at many of them here, I’ll be sharing more juicy details about exactly what I’m itching to accomplish in this brand new year. In the meantime, feel free to look back at my Blogging Dreams & Goals for 2013. What a difference a year makes, right?
What about you, dear reader? If you had to proclaim one single word for your 2014 year, what would it be?