choosing your word for the year

What’s the Word on 2018?

Happy New Year, Beautiful Friends!

I’m so excited to finally get this new year rolling…on January 2! For those of you who follow my Instagram, you know that a pretty bad migraine plagued my New Year’s day festivities, leaving me in bed until at least 10 in the morning, and not letting up until later that evening. Not the way I had planned on starting my 2018, but I’m not about to let that get me down. Each day, each breath is a new beginning, so I’m rocking out this first day…on the second! =)

What’s the Word?

Word of the YearMany of you may be thinking about or already have chosen a word to carry you through this new year. This is the third time I’m focusing in on a word for a year, and this year, my word is: GROW.

Growing is a slow and steady process, but it never ceases to move. Without movement, there is no growth. Last year, when my word was Arise, I found myself taking new chances and moving out of my comfort zone. I faced the fear and stepped out onto the path God set before me. Rooted in my faith and calling, it’s time to stretch out and develop what He has given. I’m excited to move and grow in all areas in my life: growing spiritually, growing as a writer, watching my relationships grow – especially in my own family, and remembering the importance of nurturing my own soul to achieve my maximum growth potential. It will be hard work, and most likely I will have to prune and sacrifice things along the way, but I’m excited for this leg of my journey.

First Steps

I’m an Enneagram 9, the Peacemaker. Unfortunately, along with a pretty even keeled personality, I tend to fall into the characteristics of a SLOTH when things get too hard and too overwhelming. Basically, this means when my circuit breaker is tripped, I will literally shut off and be unmotivated to do ANYTHING – except mentally or physically sleep. Proof of this lives in my living room, where piles of my kids’ artwork are still stacked from mid-November (which I’ve been meaning to photograph and toss), boxes and bags of giveaway books and clothing have been sitting for several weeks, and the containers of Christmas decorations (which have only been half unpacked) sit beside the lopsidedly ornamented pre-lit tree. It’s a hot mess, but the picture perfect home of a 9. (Any other 9’s out there with me?)

Word of the Year: GROWSo this year, I’m taking it slow and deliberate, allowing myself grace, but also writing down the realistic goals that I can accomplish in about 10 minutes if need be. Having learned a whole lot about myself this year, I come armed and ready with new strategies to accomplish my goals in 2018.

  1. Write Weekly Lists. Not long drawn out lists of things I want to accomplish over the whole year. Well, truthfully, I’ve  already done that, but from there, smaller, more manageable weekly checklists are birthed. Why weekly? Because grace. I have to be okay with one or two days of not accomplishing anything. On other days, I might find myself in my 1 wing frenzy (again, Enneagram), tearing through that to-do list in a blaze of glory – and probably while singing Blaze of Glory. I purchased a weekly planner this year for this very purpose, and I’m determined to stick with it.
  2. Stop Learning, and Just DO. I read a lot last year. And by read, I mean scrolled social media feeds. I listened to podcasts, signed up for webinars, learned from experts, downloaded checklists (and have yet to print them out), followed new and inspiring FB and IG accounts, watched Stories instead of TV, and got lost in the pits of Pinterest. I learned about all the things, and watched other people doing all the things. The thing was, I wasn’t DOING a thing. (Except learning to make cold brew coffee! Hashtag: Winning!) This year, my input time is limited because the focus is now on producing better output. Instead of learning how to write and what to write, I need to just write. Instead of reading about writing book proposals, I need to write one. Instead of looking up articles on how to create memorable moments with my kids, I need to be present with them. Instead of talking the talk, I need to walk the walk. While quality input is important for quality output, I can’t get stuck on my own insecurities of doing it right, or getting it perfect. Like many things in life, we learn best by doing. And I’ll only grow if I DO.
  3. Be Accountable. Ideally, I’d have an accountability partner. Someone I can bounce ideas off of. Someone who will keep me on the path in a stern, yet encouraging way. But until I find that right person, I’ve got to stay motivated. I’m big on rewards. So at the end of each list, I will pre-write a reward for myself that I’ll get if I accomplish everything on my to-do list for the week. It could be allowing myself to go to the beach for a few hours. Or maybe, I’ll binge watch a few episodes of Fuller House, or The Crown. Maybe I’ll set aside time to bake my favorite healthy-ish snack. Or maybe on the fourth week, I’ll treat myself to a new book. The key is to have that carrot at the end of the stick decided upon and written down before starting the list because a visual reminder is always a more successful one.
Remember, You’re Not Alone in This

Spiritual growth is a priority for me this year, so I’m focusing on starting and ending the day with Jesus. Prayer, bible reading, and inviting Him to walk along side me in my everyday moments is the best way to nurture my soul and maximize my growth. And if I stumble along the way, there’s no one else who can help me back up the way He can.

So as you push play on working towards your goals this month, I pray that you, too, lean on the strength of Jesus, and allow yourself grace. We are not perfect, and mistakes will be made, but His perfect love is limitless and He is forever for us. He is there in good times and hard times, guiding us, encouraging us each step of the way. Take the time each day to call on Him, share with Him, cry with Him, laugh with Him, pray with Him.

Also know that we are designed for community. Find or  build a community of healthy supporters around you. Friends who will help you be accountable. Sisters who will encourage you every step of the way. Loved ones who will pray with you. There are times when I have felt so far away from anyone, too shy to reach out locally, too intimidated to reach on virtually. But let me tell you, having someone a phone call or text away is comforting. Even if you have nothing to say, knowing they’re there, on your side can ease the fear that the enemy whispers in your ear. And if you’re sitting there saying, But Jenn, I have no one! Well friend, YOU’VE GOT ME! =) Email me, message me, catch me on social media…my door (inbox) is always open.

So what’s your word? Do you have your own ways of taking the first steps towards your goals? Share it in the comments below! We are all created perfectly unique and I’d love to hear your perspective.

Have a Blessed and Beautiful year, my friends!

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