Since 2011, I’ve chosen a word to set my intention for the year ahead when New Year’s Day rolls around. For 2011, my word was Space. For 2012, my word was Clarity. I chose each of them because they reflected a quality I was hoping for more of in my life.
Did choosing a word work? It’s hard to say. In 2011, I actually brought a whole lot of new things into my life. I did make some difficult choices around letting things go, but the truth is that I actually started the year with more space than I ended it with. When it was time to choose my word for 2012, I reflected on that experience. I knew that choosing a word wasn’t enough. I needed a word that I was willing to work with. A word that would be about more than casting a wish out into space. After some back and forth, Clarity came to me.
Photo Credit: mindfulness on Flickr
I can say that I actually do feel that I ended 2012 with greater clarity than I started it with. Somewhat ironically, I worked harder to create space during 2012 than I did during 2011. I had to – I was under a pretty severe time crunch. At the beginning of the year I had something like five jobs. Five. They weren’t all very big jobs, but still, it was a lot. I felt as if I was under constant time pressure. I was pulled in a whole lot of different directions, and I wasn’t always doing any of it all that well. I had to get clear with myself about what my priorities were, and what I did and didn’t have time for. It wasn’t easy, but in the process, I found the clarity I needed to create space in my life for myself.
With 2013 starting, I’m actually in a pretty good spot. I feel like I have a sense of direction, and I know where I’m going. My word this year isn’t about self-exploration, so much. It’s about making sure that I’m actually taking the time to enjoy my life. With my daughter Hannah rapidly approaching her eighth birthday, it’s ever more apparent to me that I need to make sure I’m actually pausing to see and appreciate what’s going on around me. Since I work from home, it’s really easy for me to blur the lines between the professional and personal, and spend a whole lot of time with my face in my phone, or trying to finish an article when I should be doing something with my kids. I guess you could say I want to be more present in my life, so that I don’t miss it.
This led to my word for 2013: Presence. It’s about cultivating mindfulness. It’s about focusing on what’s in front of me, and spending less time looking at a screen. Will the year bring me what I hope? I think that’s up to me. I need to be willing to work on it – my experience in 2011 showed me that. I chose the word Presence because this is important to me, so I would say that I am willing. Now I just need to put it into action. The first way I’m doing that is by Crafting my Life. I’m going to spend a little less time writing, and a little more time living.
Now, I’d love to hear from you. Do you choose a word, or a theme, for the year? What are you hoping 2013 holds for you? Please leave a comment and let me know. And Happy New Year!