As one year ends and another begins, I naturally find myself thinking about what I have accomplished and the goals I still want to achieve. Around this time last year, I wrote about the practice of choosing One Little Word® to serve as a guide. This is what I said: “… you choose a word that speaks to you and the person you would like to become. It is your touchstone, your mantra, for the next 12 months. Broader than a resolution, your one word is a guiding principle for all areas of your life … Think about who you want to be a year from now. What traits do you want to cultivate? What do you want to accomplish?" (Read the full post here.) The word I chose last year was action. Since I have a tendency to overthink decisions, I needed a push to get out of my own head and boldly move forward to achieve my goals. My word was a powerful tool toward this end. Professionally, I jumped headfirst into teaching others about organizing, with classes at OCM BOCES, the Oneida Indian Nation, and several local libraries. I wrote articles for Syracuse Woman Magazine and invested in a course to learn more about online marketing and social media. I started putting those lessons into practice, and I took on an intern, who has been a huge help in that area. In my personal life, I committed to a regular exercise schedule and experimented with intermittent fasting (I’ve retained the former habit but not the latter). I created not one but two new Instagram accounts, one for my papercrafting hobby and the other to share my treasured collection of vintage matchbooks. But by far the biggest personal action I took last year was getting more involved in politics. Like many others, 2016 was a wake-up call about how little I was paying attention to events outside my own life and I vowed to change that. I’m proud that I’ve stayed engaged for an entire year. Action was an effective word to push me out of my comfort zone, which is what I desperately needed last year. This brings me to selecting a new word for 2018. My process in the past has been to reflect on my life and what I need most. The word I have settled on, after a couple of weeks of ruminating, is boundaries. It immediately felt right, but I wondered, is it too negative, too limiting? I already struggle with perfectionism, will this word make me even more neurotic? Still, my gut told me it was right. Mostly, I need to set boundaries on my time. Being self-employed, I create my own schedule, which is both a great thing and a terrible thing. I am embarrassed to admit how often I procrastinate throughout the day and then end up working late into the evening. I reply to client requests at all hours, and I almost never turn down a potential project. While this has helped me stay busy, it means I sometimes do work that is not the best fit for my skills and strengths. I plan to think about how to structure my days and weeks so that I am both productive and have sufficient time to recharge. And I need to think about what type of work suits me and my business best. Not everyone is my client, and that is ok. Another area where I need to set boundaries is my use of social media and time spent online. Between marketing my business, engaging on Instagram, and keeping up with the news, I spent a great deal of time staring at a screen in 2017. While much of it was purposeful, I also found myself wasting hours scrolling for no real reason. I need to set boundaries on how much time I spend online and how to stay engaged without getting sucked in. A goal that I set in 2017 that I did not follow through with was budgeting. My motivation for tracking my spending evaporated sometime in February. I plan to revisit this goal next year, and I think my chosen word will serve me well. After all, what is a budget but setting boundaries on spending?
I hope this peek into my goal-setting process has given you some encouragement to reflect on your own accomplishments from 2017 and think about what you want to cultivate in 2018. If you are interested in using One Little Word® to do this, you can learn more at Ali Edwards’ website. Each year she runs an online workshop about the practice. I’ll be participating this year, and I would love for you to join me!
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