For the past few years, inspired by friend Jo Knowles, I've chosen a word as a theme for my year. 2017's word was "Prioritize." Today, as I launch a new blog to go with my new website, I'm reviewing how my word shaped my year and how I stacked up against my intentions. My January 2017 entry is below, with added end-of-year reflection under "How I Did."
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It's not a very glamorous word, but this year I need practical, not fancy. I have Plans. I want to Do Things. I also had a really full plate at the end of 2016 that had me working at a high level that is pretty much unsustainable. I was grouchy and snapped at my family, stressed out all the time, and felt like someone had scraped out my insides with a melon baller.
So let's not let that happen again.
How I Did: Haha. Spring of 2017 was a bit of a nightmare.
Here's how I'm hoping "Prioritize" can guide my 2017:
• I've assigned myself three daily priorities: health, family, and writing. I am thinking of them as pillars as I build my days.
Writing: I have big writing plans this year. I want to continue writing different types of projects for different levels of readers, but, in years past, I have struggled with making time to write. I got better about that in 2016, and this year I want writing to be one of my three daily priorities. Each night, I want to be able to point to writing time or something done to develop my writing career. This pillar is crucial, especially since my youngest will be starting kindergarten(!) in the fall. I'll have more time and more opportunity to stengthen this area.
How I did: Whoo-eee! That kindergarten thing is a game-changer. I drafted and (nearly) finished another middle grade novel, plus another picture book. I wrote like the dickens all summer and into the early fall. I also started working with a co-writer on a few (super seekrit) projects. It's been a creativity game changer. For the first time in a couple of years, I feel great about how much writing-work I did.
Reading: I read a lot of books (for me) last year, and am going to continue to read widely and use Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge to guide my categories. Prioritizing reading means going to bed a little earlier to get a few extra pages in, making sure I have a book with me wherever I go--in my bag or on my iPad--and choosing to read instead of look at social media when I'm waiting in lines, etc. I read to my kids every day, and I want to make sure they they see me reading more, too. This is a fun priority.
How I did: I read a ton up until the fall semester, and then my time became eaten up by school-related reading. Still, I read and blurbed three debut novels, and read a few graphic novels and novels-in-verse, which are outside of my typical fare. And now both kids can read, so that becomes even more fun.
Health: This is never a priority for me. I'm a mom who puts herself last all. The. Time. Fortunately, all of my important "numbers" are really good. And I want to keep them that way. I'm no spring chicken anymore, and doing something for my health every single day needs to be one of those major pillars for 2017. And beyond. So, whether it's the new workout I just set up at the gym, a walk with the dog, yoga, or playing in the yard with the kids--health is where it's at this year. I know I'll be better for it.
How I did: I really focused on this in 2017. Although my activity fell off around October, I really worked on my diet. I lost some extra weight I've been carrying around and am feeling--and looking--better.
Family: My kids are at really fun ages, and spending quality time with them and my husband is a must-do. When deadlines pile up, I frequently disappear during the weekends and go out to write at night...and lots of times that's just how it is. But I want to make sure that I am setting aside clear family time to spend with these people I love. Last year, I wanted to take the kids someplace new each month, and I'll be carrying that over. I've also started an ater dinner family board game each night. So this is another pillar for 2017.
How I did: We did a great job getting the kids to new places each month. The board games kind of tapered off, but the trade off was lots of playing outside. So now that it's winter and freezing, it's back to board games.
Financial: In 2016 I was determined to get a handle on our finances. Keeping with our program is definitely a priority for 2017. I tend to lose interest on this stuff, so I'm hoping to find more ways to engage and grow our goals.
How I did: Through a concerted effort to stay engaged, I was able to stick with this. We had financial benchmarks that we hit and exceeded, and I'm feeling like this has become a habit/way of life that I can stick with.
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Okay, next up: 2018's Word of the Year. I'm excited for what it will bring. Stay tuned!