This year, to wrap-up/look forward, I worked through Susannah Conway’s free Unravelling 2013 workbook. I really enjoy taking time to reflect on the year that’s passed and get giddy-excited about the year to come. (Note: I’ve done this with other workbooks, or just in a notebook of my own – it’s not the format that matters to me, it’s the act of actively looking forward that helps me most.)
My favourite exercise was choosing a word for 2013. I had read about having a guiding word for the year before (here and here) and I absolutely loved the idea. I’ve written before about having mantras or words to focus on while running and how much they help me to refocus. So having a word to try and center around this year makes total sense to me.
My word for 2013 is reach.
It’s a word that represents a lot of different things to me, and really captures the types of goals and intentions I have for 2013. I also love that it’s a word that implies autonomy – it’s up to me to reach up and out, it relies on me and my motivation. Reaching is self-driven: I can take it at my own pace, no pressure. Some meanings “reach” has for me, so far:
- Reach, stretch, grow. Learn, practice, improve, read, try new things, say yes to things that scare and thrill me, say no to things that drain me.
- Reach my potential. Ironically, I really want to stop ‘reaching’ in one sense of the word – I want to stop escaping into my phone, into social media, into the next big plan or idea. In 2013, I want to be more present. I want to be really in each moment and each experience. I want to let go of the desperate need to document every moment to share it with others, instead just letting myself live through it. I want to experience how wonderful something is while it’s happening, instead of realizing that it was special after it’s happened. I want to be more present and connected with the people I love. I want to reach my potential for health – continuing to eat better and exercise regularly. I want to take pride in the things I love to do. I want to notice the magic and beauty of my everyday life. I want to be grateful and fully love my life.
- Reach out to others. Keep in touch with my family and far-off friends, more than I do currently. Plan more shared meals and coffee dates. Deepen my friendships. Ask for help, advice, wisdom.
- Reach for the stars. Dream big. Stretch out of my comfort zone. Have a Great Safe Adventure. Make the impossible seem possible + plausible. Make it happen, all by myself. (I’m in the early stages of planning a great safe adventure in Europe for this summer/fall. It’s exhilarating and seems magical and distant and fantastical but bit by little bit I’m going to make it a reality.)
2013 already seems magic, and full of life, and bursting with happiness and possibility. It is also a picture that is slowly coming into focus but still holds a lot of mystery and things unknown. Which is why, this year, I’m moving away from setting big goals like I did for 2012. The scope of New Years Resolutions is much too wide for me in 2013. I don’t know where I’ll be in 6 months, so setting goals for the year feels wrong and pointless. It’s also true that for the last few years I’ve felt a bit restless and stuck, so setting creative goals to give me something positive and productive to focus on was extremely helpful and adaptive. Yet more and more, they are beginning to really feel arbitrary and constricting. I am happy with all the things I was able to create and achieve through setting lists of goals (and the joy of crossing things off my lists), but for the moment they don’t appeal to me.
In 2013, I’ll be giving myself a short list of goals or intentions each month. I think it will be good to have the flexibility, and to be able to include the things that are truly exciting for me each month. Normally, my intentions for the year get forgotten, because they can be vague and difficult to measure. But intentions are important, and I think by including some in each list of monthly goals, I’ll actually be able to focus on them and incorporate them into my life.
Here’s to 2013! Here’s to freedom, determination, happiness, beauty, good food, great friends, flexibility, lightness, being kind, stretching, adventures, and great big love. I love you, 2013.