One year ago this month, the word was CREATE. That was my theme for the year, my guiding star and the touchpoint that I would use to focus my efforts for the next 12 months.
As someone who can be more excited by ideas than implementation and easily taken off course by attractive metaphorical squirrels, The Theme is an essential part of how I plan for each year. It has served me well for more than a decade.
I don’t overthink my themes. They naturally present themselves as part of a full reflection and planning process. They’re usually right on target, and CREATE definitely delivered (yes, you guessed it) a whirlwind of creation.
Everything that’s happened in the last 12 months — from the tangible results to the new ways of being — it’s all ebbed and flowed from that one big idea. Right now, I’m in the midst of my year-end savor, celebrate and plan process, so a new theme is starting to emerge. It’s not fully formed yet, but it’s close.
Here’s how my year shaped up… and what I’ve learned. I’ll walk you through the questions I’m asking this month.
Celebrating + Savoring
In the last 12 months, I celebrated creating a new home, and taking stewardship of a beautiful garden and a blank canvas of a vegetable plot. This feels like my roots. I was an avid gardener at one point in my life, and the beauty and nourishment of playing in the dirt, surrounding myself with beauty, and watching a landscape grow and change feels right, right now. I celebrated creating opportunities to work with amazing people, contribute time to an organization that is changing lives, be more visible in the world of my work and business, and unfold the next layer of Whole Life Strategies.
I’m grateful for many things, but creating wellness is chief among them. It’s the easiest to take for granted. I had my share of minor health and body concerns this year, and as the year ends, I see them as the minor annoyances they were. Nothing more. I look back on completing my first-ever backpacking trip (two, actually), and on spending half the year retraining my muscles to do their jobs properly.
I created space for a more mindful life by reconsidering how I interact with technology and online-everything. My digital Sabbath days were one of the best decisions I made this year. (I’ll be keeping them on.) So, I’m ending this year healthier, more grounded and itching to get back to a more physically active lifestyle. (Yoga, I am back!)
I’m grateful for perseverance and a creator mindset, including that we stuck with the often-frustrating process of finding the right home, even when it seemed improbable. Grateful for trusting myself and listening enough to make decisions that nourish my work, like developing the Launch Your Reinvention self-study, and that I continue to blend and flex in ways that ensure my personal life and work life continue to balance, feed on and complement one another.
What did I accomplish? I learned a lot this year. I stepped straight into creating a new chapter of my life with both feet (a big hearty YES), and bounced with the inevitable changes and transitions that come with getting clear and reaching for what’s next. I deepened my own mastery of my coaching and writing work in areas from new methodologies and ethics to neuroscience and centering. I delved into what it will mean to bring more of “me” to Whole Life Strategies. I ramped self care up to an 11, took a retreat, and accomplished physically slowing down for months to let my body heal properly from injury.
Where did I grow? Slowing down and reflecting has been a huge and fruitful piece of the creation process. Creation is, sometimes, an evolution not a revolution. Learning to be patient has been required. Slowing down to speed up. Letting go to make room for new and better. Aligning with what’s new, what’s upleveled and what’s on the way. Patience with things that naturally take time. I also fully embraced the lesson that my way is the right way when it comes to nutrition for my body. Let everyone else play with giving up this or that; it’s never worked for me. I continue to choose to eat what nourishes me in body, mind and soul.
But I was disappointed with the slowness as well. Sometimes, things are challenging and wonderful all at the same time. It was hard to slow down the progress I made on certain projects, even when the choice to take them slowly was an important and conscious one. It was frustrating to spend months being less active so that my body could re-align itself back to normality. And re-aligning myself with big transitions to new places, new routines, and new opportunities… well, that’s always a process of testing and trying to find what works best.
It would be great if all of our creating happened overnight. It doesn’t. And that is as it should be.
I surprised myself with my ability to make this choice. It’s not easy to choose the slow path when you are used to being in motion all the time. It’s not always easy to stop and take stock before plowing ahead. I learned that I am always capable of surprising myself. (So are you, I bet.) I intend to keep that up, too.
As I go into the new year, I want to feel settled and empowered and filled with joyful expectation. I want to experience full alignment– in my body, my work, my new daily routines. I want to continue in the knowing that I operate with my own definitions of balance, success and trust, and surrounded by the amazing people that are in my life (chalk that one up for grateful as well).
This will be the year that… I prioritize those back burner projects again (well, that’s already happened, so look for more blogging along with a new book). The year I have fun with that creative idea that has been nipping at my heels for a while now. This will be the year that I even more fully blend my work and life, each evolving as the other does until they feel (again) seamless. It will also be a year of vision, adventure and growth (in the garden, in my business, in travel, in my partnership).
Going forward in the next year, I’m setting my actual goals in the way that feels most balanced and natural to me. The way I always do. I prefer these categories, though I always leave space for that one inevitable category that defines itself based on what life is bringing to the table.
- My Work
- Financial Well-Being
- Health + Wellness
- Family + Community
- Physical Environment
- Fun + Recreation
- Personal Growth + Spirituality
- Writing + Creative Projects (that’s the wild card one)
This year, I’m setting goals leisurely, while traveling, most likely over several days and some good conversations. And wait for the theme to emerge. The more I align to my chosen areas of balance and test those goals against what truly matters to me (values), the more reliable that theme is. Every time.
More on that soon. Cheers to what you’re creating this year.
In the meantime, if you want to play along, grab your own free copy of the Playbook and savor-celebrate-vision-plan along with me. Of course, I want to hear all about what you discover. And what your year ahead is going to look like.