Intentional: (adjective) done on purpose; done by intention or design
It’s the start of a new year, which means it’s time to pick a new theme for the next 365 days.
You may be aware a pick a new word (or phrase) to focus on at the start of each year. I do a lot of reflection and goal setting at the end of the year, and ultimately there is something that always pops up that I seem to be “craving.”
My phrase for 2014 was Letting It Go. I was newly laid off from my job, adjusting to life as a full time blogger, adjusting to being self employed and being my own boss. I had to let go of all my pre-conceived notations of what it mean to work for a living. For the first time, I was accountable only to me – which sounds awesome, I know. But it comes with a lot of emotions, confusion, and hardships.
My word for 2015 was focus. During my “experimental” year of 2014, I made a lot of mistakes and spread my attention and efforts over too many projects. It was a tough lesson to learn (one I am still learning) and in 2015 I scaled back while still adjusting to the normal curve balls life can throw at you sometime.
My word for 2016 was simplify. I felt overwhelmed with all of my blogs and all of the clutter in my life. I looked around at all my responsibilities and all of my “stuff” and I longed for a simpler routine and lifestyle. At the top of 2016 I combined all my blogs (2 active blogs and 2 archived blogs) into one site – This Fairy Tale Life.
My word for 2017 was powerful. After cutting out some of the clutter, professionally and emotionally, I was ready to conquer the world! Well, maybe not quite … but at least conquer my little corner of the Internet. I tried a lot of new things during this year – I created online courses, I created designs for shirts and products, and over the course of a year I wrote my first book (more on that later). From a personal standpoint, I completed three 10ks and two half marathons, got my RunDisney Coast to Coast medal, and despite gaining a bunch of weight I actually feel really strong. We also celebrated five years of marriage, which feels like a major milestone for someone who never thought she’d get married. It was a powerful year, indeed.
But despite all these accomplishments, I still feel like my business is growing at a snail’s pace. It’s almost as if I took a year off of my “regular” work to learn a bunch of new things. And it was tough, and scary, and I’m proud of it all … don’t get me wrong. But some piece is still missing.
I really struggled with choosing my theme for this year. I have an entire notebook page of brainstorming from the past few weeks. Words like “confidence,” “active,” and “progress,” grace the page. I even wrote down the uber #girlboss mantra “hustle” and strongly considered it for a couple days. Ultimately, I knew none of these were quite right for this time in my life.
This morning I was listening to my daily meditation through the Calm app, and today’s topic was “Intentions.” The speaker talked about setting goals and feeling depressed when we fall short. But when we act with intention, it’s less about what we need to fix and more about what we want to create. It was a message that really spoke to me.
In the past, I feel like I did things just because I was supposed to. Because I was expected to keep busy and appear productive.
I published five blog articles a week because it’s industry standard. And I beat myself up if I missed a day.
I designed shirts because I had a spark of an idea and wanted to act on it quickly. And I should have done more research and development.
I created an online course because I set it as a goal last year. And didn’t work on a marketing plan along side it.
I’m really not trying to downplay any of my accomplishments. I’m very impressed with everything I’ve created this year (which includes nearly doubling my revenue from the prior year) and I know nothing is ever perfect. But I want to do things less because I feel like I “have to.”
In 2018 my goal is to be more intentional with everything I do. I want to make sure the articles I write are meaningful and helpful for you. I want to create products you’re really going to love. And I want to get my current courses into the hands of the people who need them the most.
Basically I want to wake up every morning and know I’m going to be working on something meaningful that’s going to move my business forward, not sideways.
And I have to admit, I’m very much looking forward to what 2018 has in store for me.
Top photo by White Rabbit Photo Boutique