Writing this post in April tells you how the beginning of 2016 went for me. Typically, I’d post this in January, or February at the latest, but life has been crazy since Christmas. Jumping from obligation to obligation, I’m just now coming up for air. The chaos made my word for the year — prioritization — even more important.
Prioritization. Not the sexiest word or the most lofty. And on the surface, it seems rather practical and uninspired, but this word has tentacles that reach into my life’s every nook and cranny.
At the beginning of each new year, I set goals and pick one word that represents what I want to accomplish in the coming 365 days. The word is like the year’s theme. Last year, my word was “soar” because I wanted to step outside my comfort zone, take more chances and conquer some fears. Check, check, and check. (Read about 2015 here.)
My goals typically focused around a few key areas — career, happiness, but mostly and sadly my weight. Weigh X and you’ll have achieved greatness! The X has shifted up 5, down 10, maintain…depending on some random expectation I had in my head. When I finally realized in the last few years that acceptance trumps the X, my weight stabilized. Crazy how that worked out.
So now what? I have room to explore other goals. Holy sh*t, what I could have accomplished all these years if I had been so focused on weight. Well, where to start? As I pondered that question, I came across this story about a jar, golf balls, and sand. It’s taken a few forms and some credit it to Steven Covey. The moral is you have to make room for the big things, aka golf balls, first and then fill in with the little things like sand. If you start with the little things, there isn’t enough room for the big things. My golf balls: family, wellness, writing, and work.
Self-explanatory. I truly like spending time with my family (and a few very good friends who are like family). They make me laugh and are my people. Yes, my hubby can get a little needy (Pisces), so I always try to make sure I have plenty of time set aside for him. If forced to make a choice, family comes first.
Working out and eating well are super important to me. Now that I’ve found my happy place physically and mentally, I don’t want to lose it. On weekdays, I get up at 4:45 A.M. so I have time to get my workout in and walk my pups before getting Ruby off to school. That is my time and it keeps me sane. To get up that early, I have to get to bed around 9ish and yes, some of my friends call me Grandma. The main sacrifice is watching TV, but with my lovely DVR, I can catch up on Game of Thrones or Younger while I workout in the morning — two birds, one stone!
Sadly, my social life sometimes has to take a back seat to wellness. Too many parties, happy hours, and dinners out overtax my willpower. So I prioritize the things I want to attend and skip those I don’t. Many times I’ll attend an event but won’t eat or drink, which throws some hosts (or fellow guests) into a tizzy — something about others abstaining makes people feel icky about themselves. Peer pressure is real yo.
Writing makes me happy and nourishes my soul, but it takes time, focus, and mental energy. When I’m slammed with other obligations or at work, my writing drops off (note, very few posts in Jan/Feb/Mar when I was super busy).
I’m lucky to have a career that pays well, is social, fulfilling, and relatively flexible. Work pays for everything else, so it falls high in the prioritization spectrum.
As I plan out the rest of the year and really, the future, these are the four areas where I will focus. Next up, thinking about how I manage the resources — time, money, and breaths.