3 Words to Shape the Year Ahead

January 2, 2014

Happy New Year 2014!

While many people have already put together their list of resolutions for the new year, I haven’t taken the time to think about what I want to work on in 2014. Until now.

Yesterday, my sister Renée launched a new blog, My Meadow Report, which she has been working on for quite some time. Her first post for the new year is about the three words she has chosen to shape the year ahead. She got this idea from a mentor of hers, Chris Brogan, who explains that “the idea is to use the words as triggers for actions you intend to take, and maybe other actions you seek to avoid.” Renée explained that she chose three words that are broad enough to keep herself focused on what she wants to do and who she wants to become in the year ahead, but specific enough to motivate her daily. (You can read more about this and her three words here.) This is similar to what I tell clients about goal setting: make one or two long-term goals and a few short-term goals that will help you achieve the overarching goals you have set.

So with that in mind, I got to thinking: What are the three words I can focus on in 2014? 

#1: Calm

The past couple of years (basically since my twin daughters were born) have been extremely chaotic and stressful. Not unlike other working parents, I wear many hats, including wife, mother, housekeeper, chef, homemaker, daughter, friend, mediator (toddlers can fight!), and of course my professional role as registered dietitian nutritionist. I absolutely love all the roles I play in my life, but sometimes (always?) it can be overwhelming and I often feel like a chicken with my head cut off, rushing from one appointment or item on my agenda to the next. It’s anxiety-provoking to say the least, but somehow I manage to get everything done and stay in pretty good health despite the less than optimal amount of rest and downtime I give myself.

But I would prefer to have a little bit more calm in my life. To take the time to enjoy going to my daughters’ gym class, rather than being physically present but checking email the whole time. Or to shut down the computer by the time my husband gets home from work and call it the end of the workday (when you work for yourself, it’s a challenge to set hours because there’s always work to be done).

#2: Strength

By this I mean physical strength and emotional strength.

First, the physical. My girls are growing, yet they still want to be held – and I want to hold them. I need to keep my muscles strong, stretch my back, and tighten my core to support their weight.

Second, the emotional. Life is hard. As you can tell from what I wrote above, it’s not always a walk in the park. To get through the ups and downs that are thrown my way, I need the emotional strength to deal with what faces me on a daily basis. To stay calm (there’s that word again!) when the girls pull each other’s hair, when it’s 6:30 pm and dinner isn’t made yet, when my mother says something that irks me, and most importantly when I’m being pulled in 1,000 different directions.

#3: Concentration

As a type A person, I have always been pretty good at focusing on the tasks at hand and what I want to achieve. But lately, the ability to concentrate on specific goals has waned as my life has become more hectic. So in 2014 I hope to regain some of the focus that has slipped away.

How can I achieve Calm, Strength, and Concentration when the to-do list seems to get longer as the kids get older and as my career continues to advance? I have some ideas – like making yoga a regular part of my life (and not just another item on the to-do list); waking up 30 minutes earlier to get a jump-start on the day; taking deep breaths when the kids are screaming, I’m trying to fold laundry, and make dinner all at the same time; and drinking a cup of chamomile tea before bed.

What are your 3 words for 2014?

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  1. These are great words, Jessica. Remember that overwhelm and anxiety are emotional patterns that you can control. You can condition your mind and body to respond differently, just like you condition other muscles!