A year ago, I decided to try out a “Word of the Year” for the first time. And I have to say, I feel like it was quite successful. I’ve never really been one to truly keep hard-set resolutions. Having a Word of the Year, though, helped me to create some good habits and kick some bad ones and overall improve myself and my life.
If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend thinking of a word or a short phrase to keep as your theme throughout the year. It doesn’t have to be anything profound or abstract. It could simply be a word like Read or Rest that encourages you to do more of something in the coming year. The whole idea is that this word or mantra is threaded throughout your daily life. It helps you make decisions and acts as a reminder of what you want to do, be, and accomplish. Don’t worry about how others are doing it – just make it work for you.
My Word of the Year: Intention
This year, my Word is Intention. One of the things I learned in 2015 is that happiness and contentment require intention. I have grown so much over the past year, and have really come to be more at peace. I feel great – better than I have in years.
The challenge for me now is that when I am in a really good place like this, I start to feel like I can take on the world! That’s when I start to lose my intention. I start to make quick decisions and take too much on, which leads to being over-committed. I begin to fill my time and mental space with things that do not fulfill me, add to my happiness, or help me accomplish my goals.
Now that I’ve gotten some mental energy and enthusiasm back, my wheels have been turning. I’ve got so many ideas for the blog, I’ve had several exciting opportunities come my way for my consulting business, and just tons of ideas for personal projects. Oh yeah – and I’m having another baby this spring! And it sort of hit me all at once just a few weeks ago. I really need to take it slow and be careful with what I put on my plate so that I don’t slip back to where I was a couple of years ago.
What it Looks Like
So what do you really do with a Word of the Year? Well, I’m a practical, strategic-thinking INTJ, so I can tell you what it looks like for me. But I really don’t want you to think this is “how you do” a Word of the Year. Like I said before, just make it work for you.
Here’s what I do:
First, I think about the overarching theme. That’s my word. Then I do a mind map, adding branches for each area of my life that I want that theme to touch. For each of those areas, I think of some ways I can bring that theme in to improve that area of my life. Then I distill those down to some actionable tasks. I don’t consider these set in stone. They are just my guide. And I like to complete this process over a few days, taking breaks and sleeping in between, which helps me to give it a good amount of thought and consideration.
So, as an example, one of the areas in which I want to be more intentional in 2016 is in how we spend money as a family and how I spend “fun money”. So that branch of my mind map might be labeled “Money”. Then I’ll have some ideas coming off that branch for ways to make that happen. For example, I want to be better about really budgeting our monthly spending. Instead of just budgeting an overall amount and keeping everything within that, I want to really look at what we spend in each area. So an actionable task to that end might include finding or creating a budget worksheet to use each month.
Another area in which I want to be more intentional is in how I spend my precious hours with my kids between afternoon naptime and bedtime. Soon enough, our schedules will get busier and busier with kids’ activities, but while they are little, we have lots of time together. I want to really spend that time in ways that I feel good about. And I’m not just talking about playing with them more, although that is a part of it. I also want to find ways to get them engaged while I’m doing housework. That might sound weird to some. But as a working mom, my kids go to daycare. Time spent doing housework is time I could be spending with my kids. They already help with some things, but to this point it has usually been tasks that keep them out of my hair rather than something they do along side me. INTJs love efficiency, so to me it’s natural to tie these two things together.
What You Can Expect
What does this mean for Little Bits of Granola? Well, one of the ways I want to be more intentional is in growing this blog. So I’ve got ideas for posts, products, and brand partnerships that will help me do that. You’ll see some of that this year.
Also, like with my 2015 Word of the Year, I’m certain you’ll see occasional thoughts and reflections on what I learn and experience throughout the year as I focus on being intentional.
Finally, just for fun, I decided to use the hashtag #2016YearOfIntention on social media to document and share my journey. Feel free to join me, or just follow along!
Do you have a Word, Theme, or Mantra for the year? What is it? I’d love for you to share in the comments!