Every year, during the downtime between Christmas and New Year, I choose a word. One word that will define what I want out of the year ahead. This word might be what I want to give, receive, learn or achieve. Usually it’s a combination of them all.
For 2019 I’ve chosen the word VALUE.
I want to be intentional about what I commit my time and energy to this year. Providing as much value to the people I serve (family, friends, community) as possible and receiving the same kind of value for the time I invest. I’m usually the kind of person who likes to paint with a broad brush, trying to cover as much as possible. In other words, I often try to do all the things possible. But by spreading myself, my vision and my ambitions too thin I risk making little impact on the world around me, if at all.
By narrowing my focus to things that will be the most meaningful, I hope to create more time for what will make the biggest difference, both in my life and in the lives of others.
This is also a journey to try to balance my own mental and spiritual health against the madness of the world.
I will cut negativity and refuse to participate in toxic activities.
I’ve been cutting ties with groups and pages I follow on social media that only spread negativity, or don’t in someway challenge me to be better. Honestly, I am seeking to limit the time I spend on these platforms in general. But it’s not only social media where I am looking to pull back. In everything I do, I will choose to engage in what inspires and withdraw from things that only drain my energy. No more energy vampires!
I will seek to challenge myself and others.
I have a habit of ignoring the things that are uncomfortable and challenging. Projects. People. Even things I’m responsible for sometimes. The basis of this, I think, is fear. But if I want to grow, I need to be challenged. So I will no longer refuse to engage because something seems hard, or because I’m afraid I’ll fail. Instead I will seek out the hard things that will produce value as they sharpen me, and I will engage. This will give me more to share with others.
I will criticize less and build up more.
The world needs less ugly and unproductive criticism. We need people of character who will embrace others, challenge and inspire. That’s the kind of person I want to be. That’s the kind of role model I want my kids to have. Speak life. Live transparent. Offer value.
I will take time for the little things.
I have been learning that when my head is less cluttered with trivial worries and negativity, I have more time to witness the little things that get taken for granted. An ice crystal full moon at dusk through the barren tree branches after a snowstorm. The way my daughter subtly watches to see if I notice the picture she’s drawing (and the big grin and sparkle in her eye when she sees that I did indeed notice). There are so many things that I miss when I am frivolously busy. It’s these little things that make life magical. We all have things to do, and on the farm I will never run out of things to keep me busy. But I will take time for the organic moments that happen in between the mundane.
A drive to accomplish much.
I am driven to succeed and to accomplish things. That’s how I’m wired. But when I take on too many projects or activities nothing really gets accomplished. At least not well. By intentionally seeking out the projects and activities that have the most value, and narrowing my focus there, I think I can actually be more productive and accomplish more by the end of the year. I will share my list of projects soon (because accountability) once I prioritize them.
- The regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.
- A person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.