My Word of the Year: Intention
A few years ago, I started creating a word of the year. Like New Year's resolutions, it's really just an arbitrary idea to focus on throughout the year. I love January because once the kids go back to school, it's almost a clean slate – at least when it comes to how your brain operates. Nothing physically may have changed, but something about January pushes the mental reset button and everybody gets excited about resolutions or their plans for the upcoming year. Now that I have a 3-year-old in school, I get this concept more than I did when I was single and January was just another work month for me.
Words of the Past Few Years
A few years ago, my word was “healthy.” A healthy relationship with my husband. Getting healthy for myself. And focusing on healthy relationships versus the ones that made me feel bad. In theory I loved this idea, but little did I know that it truly is hard to be healthy when you have an infant. Life is really about survival during the first year of a baby's life. You're adjusting to being a new parent and “healthy” is basically treading water until you can see land. This may not be the experience for everyone, but it was definitely my experience. Many people told me it would get easier, and thankfully, it did.
Last year, my word of the year was “create.” And 2018 was definitely a year for creation. I spent a lot of time creating content for my own brand, which is something I haven’t done in the past. Much of my work has always come from word-of-mouth, so I never placed a huge emphasis on creating content for myself. I just liked to post pretty pictures of my food & wine adventures.
In 2018 I created my Recipe for Instagram course, which meant that I had to do some marketing of my own to promote it. In addition to the classes I taught, I also wrote for more publications then I ever had in the past. I’m so proud of the articles that I wrote over the past year, and I was able to write even more for some of the marketing agencies I worked with!
Word of the Year for 2019: Intentional
My word of the year for 2019 is INTENTIONAL. Now that I’m coming out of the fog of taking care of a small infant who became a very active toddler (which is a nice way of saying “crazy person”), I feel like I’m able to be a little bit more intentional with the things I do in my life.
This means reading to Rye at the end of the night, going through each page and asking him questions about colors or how to spell a word, versus simply trying to get through the story as quick as possible so I can get him into bed. Or being more intentional with how I answer his questions about why the sun is gone at nighttime (yes, this was a question I got this AM when he woke up).
This also means being more intentional with the words I use. I’ve been known to be sarcastic, and sometimes I’ve gone overboard and accidentally hurt other people‘s feelings. I know that I am trying to be funny when I’m being sarcastic, but I am also aware it can make people feel bad. I know how that feels, and obviously it’s not great, so I want to be more intentional with the words I use with the people I’m around.
I also want to be more intentional with my time. I have gotten to a really good point in my life where I’m able to plan out my day, and I just want to keep that going into 2019 because being aimless during the day means that I’m unable to work on my priorities. This includes tackling big projects, smaller tasks that need to get done, and also making sure that I get a workout or two in.
Being Intentional with My Health
Being intentional also means not scrolling through social media all the time, but being very specific with the time I spend on my phone. My husband and I have a new rule that we don’t pick up our phones between the time dinner starts and when Rye goes to bed. That way we can be very present during our time with each other and with the toddler!
I am also being very intentional with what I eat. We are cooking at home more and enjoying the process of making food. This means more healthy food, and when we do go out to eat, it’s so we can enjoy a meal outside of the house – not just getting a quick bite because we’re starving.
Lastly – and it may sound extremely silly – but on New Year’s Day I spent some time watching Marie Kondo’s new show called Tidying Up on Netflix. She shares details about how she takes care of her clothes and how she folds them. It was such a simple idea that it only took 20 seconds to explain, but for some reason it triggered the realization that I don’t value my clothes. Most of the time my clothing stays in the laundry baskets. In fact, we had to buy more laundry baskets just to hold more clothes. So my clothes, Rye’s clothes, and my husband’s clothes sometimes stay in their own separate laundry baskets, but get crumpled before we can even hang them up.
My plan for 2019 is to be dedicated to buying clothes that I love – not just what’s on sale. I also rent some of my clothing from Le Tote, either for meetings or to test out what looks good on me (try it out, I love the options!). So that’s another reason why I need to respect my clothing and take care of items by not keeping them wrinkled up in a laundry basket.
This also goes back to my time. Spending a little extra time folding clothes after Ryeson goes to bed is starting to become fired because my husband and I talk about our days while doing the laundry. It’s not something that I dread like I used to.
Being Intentional with My Work
I also want to be more intentional with my blog and the connections that I make through social media - both work and personal connections (which for me, blend together). This means hanging out with the people who bring joy to my life and cutting out those who make me feel bad.
I know that was one of my focuses a few years ago, but like I said before…trying to focus on connections while you have a baby is HARD. Also, it’s good to dedicate some time to reestablishing good connections every so often, because circumstances happen, life happens, and things change. I have a few projects that I took on simply because I didn’t want to say no. And I’m definitely regretting that now. So, another focus is being more intentional with my clients and working with people who inspire me.
Instead of keeping the idea of “being intentional” for a short amount of time and letting it go like it's a random New Year's resolution, I am adding this as my affirmation to my daily planner every day. And honestly, being in touch with myself and my connections is a lifelong aspiration.