2018 Goals & Intentions

We’re two weeks into 2018, and so far the year is off to a great start, wouldn’t you say? Despite the crazy, bone-chilling weather here in Toronto, life in 2018 has been pretty wonderful so far. I always love how a new calendar year feels like a blank page and an opportunity to invite in new ideas, routines or intentions for the next 12 months. It’s also interesting to see what seems to naturally fall away as the calendar page flips over.

2018 Goals & Intentions >> Life In Limbo

I’ve written recently about how I haven’t been feeling moved lately to set many long-term goals. When I looked ahead to 2018, nothing stood out to me as an outcome I felt that I desperately needed to make happen or an achievement I wanted to create. This is a pretty foreign feeling, given how many years I spent setting buckets of goals for myself as carrots on sticks to keep me moving forward. That being said, I had no trouble coming up with intentions for how I want to spend more of my time, energy and money this year.

Goals

Read 75 books

The goal that will never go away! Having a reading goal each year is really just a way to keep me on task with making time for a hobby that I love and find so deeply fulfilling…but which I can easily be distracted from by the numerous glowing screens in my life. Having a concrete number to aim for helps me take time for reading, which is also one of the best ways I get into flow. I track my progress on Goodreads, so you can always see what I’m reading here!

Choose a monthly theme

I’m actually crazy-excited about this ‘goal’, which represents a great mix of being intentional but also going with the flow of my life. I’ll choose a theme right before the new month starts, based on what I’m feeling like I want to devote more energy, money and time to for the following month. Depending on the theme, I’ll set some sub-goals for myself just for that month, in an attempt to jumpstart my progress in areas that need a little more love or attention. At the end of the month, I’ll give myself permission to re-evaluate, stop whatever’s not working, and hold onto whatever I really loved from that month’s theme.

January’s theme has been Body, and it has been SO MUCH FUN to give my body some love in all kinds of different ways: new forms of exercise, getting a massage, daily dance parties, trying new recipes, buying myself bubble bath, etc. I can already tell how much joy this monthly themed goal-setting practice will bring me.

Keep a daily logbook

I stole this idea from Austin Kleon, who has kept a daily logbook for 10 years! It’s also kind of a riff on my Grandma’s journaling practice: she’s written a couple quick lines each day about what happened that day in a basic agenda for years. She can look up events and happenings going back to when my mom was a kid, just by looking the day up in her calendar. I am so inspired by this idea, so I am starting this year following Austin’s format outlined here – complete with my own crappy doodles to accompany each bullet point! I’ve only done it for 13 days so far but it’s already so lovely to flip back and notice little details I have ALREADY forgotten. What I’m reading, eating, buying, seeing, talking about: these are things I like to remember.

Meditate every morning

I’m very proud to say that this morning was my 127th consecutive day of meditating – by far the longest streak I’ve ever had. I’m also happy to report that I’m currently consistently doing 15 minutes a day, which feels like a huge achievement after years of barely being able to sit through 5. This practice is not easy for me, and it never feels particularly rewarding in the moment, but it’s helpful in about a million ways that don’t always seem obvious at first. I’m hopeful I’ll keep it up every day for 2018, even if some days I can only squeeze in a couple of minutes.

Intentions

Spend more time with my family: In 2017 we implemented a monthly famjam, which has been so wonderful. In 2018, I’m hoping to set up a weekly time to visit with my Grandma, who doesn’t live very far away from me. I’d also just like more puppy cuddles, time away from the city, walks with my mom, and dinners with my sisters.

Have a digital detox monthly: It’s so incredibly refreshing and rejuvenating for me to go off the grid, but it’s something I don’t do nearly often enough. Here’s to a monthly digital detox, for at minimum 24 hours!

Devote more time & love to cooking: For the past couple years, my at-home cooking has been relatively rushed, thrown-together, not-that-thought-out, and not-that-healthy. I want to change this! I am setting the intention to give more good vibes to my kitchen, try new things, and give myself permission to spend time making food for myself.

Make my home my happy place: It already kind of is, but there are lots of things I could do to make my home even cozier, even more me, and even more welcoming. For me this intention also means hosting people in my space more often, which always makes it feel more like a home to me.


A simple list that makes my heart happy. A lot of peace, a lot of quiet, a lot of fun, a lot of love: what more could I ask for? I know that along the way I’ll encounter amazing opportunities and probably check some things off my bucket list, but for now I’m going to let it flow instead of forcing it. Things happen when they’re meant to happen. My job is to keep showing up, keep learning, keep growing and playing and finding my center.

How about you? What do you want more of in 2018?

2018: Flow

This is my sixth time choosing a word to guide my year, and it has become one of my favourite practices for setting intentions and practicing mindfulness. Having a one-word theme really helps me make decisions, choose what to focus on, and find new ways to stretch myself in areas that might need more love or attention.

I first heard of the idea of choosing a yearly word from Elise Cripe and Ali Edwards, but it’s been fun to see how this practice has caught on more widely over the years – so much so that this year at work my boss encouraged the management team to choose a word and share it! I love hearing what my friends’ words are too, it’s such a nice way to connect with them, send them little reminders when I think of it, or help them make progress with their intentions. Choosing a word is such a fun thing to do, but it becomes more meaningful the more it’s practiced.

2018: Flow >> Life In Limbo

My word for 2018 is flow. Flowy flow flow. Like all my favourite words, this one has multiple meanings and ways I hope to apply it to my life over the next 12 months. Here are some of my favourites:

Go with the flow: Similar to last year’s “embrace the situation” intention, I want (need) to continue practicing intentional letting go of my desire to control situations or outcomes, especially when I have strong opinions on how things should play out. On the rare occasions that I am successful at this and remember to mentally release the vice grip on my desired outcome, my experience (and that of the people around me, no doubt!) is infinitely better. I feel calmer. I remember that there’s no “playbook” for how life is supposed to go. I figuratively and literally sit back in my chair a bit and remember that things will usually unfold the way they’re meant to unfold. I am not the tour guide. I am not responsible for everybody else having an optimal experience, no matter how much it feels that way sometimes.

Follow the flow: This year I also what to pay attention to what is flowing into my life easily and without much fuss, versus what seems like climbing a mountain to accomplish. As much as I can, I want to drop the things that aren’t flowing and turn towards what seems easy and light and fun in each moment. I love Jess Lively’s description of life being like a river that has a strong current. We can either let our boats be caught in the flow of the river, or we can turn around and try to paddle upstream. I often catch myself trying to force something to work when it’s clearly not working, instead of revisiting it later. Most of the time when I come back to a problem or a task, either it’s already resolved itself, I’m in a better frame of mind to handle it, or I’ve encountered new information I needed to make it work. This also means having less judgment of myself for not working “hard enough” some days or “too hard” on others. Following the flow means listening to my intuition’s messages about what comes next, without resistance. In 2018: less forcing it, more flow.

Choose flow activities: One of my book clubs recently read the book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, so I got a more in-depth look at the phenomenon of psychological flow. Flow is described as the experience of losing track of time while doing something challenging but also enriching, and the author believes it’s our most enjoyable human experience. A comparison is made between flow activities which bring true enjoyment, and non-flow activities, which bring pleasure (at a kind of neurological level), but don’t help you develop skills, strengthen your sense of self, or make you feel very connected to the world. As much as possible this year, I want to choose flow activities, which for me are reading, writing, knitting, having meaningful conversations, playing instruments, dancing, and taking photos.

2018: Flow >> Life In Limbo

Embody more flow: There are so many definitions of flow that I love, but am not sure yet how to apply to my life for 2018. One is “to hang loosely in an easy and graceful manner.”Another is a scientific term that means “to deform continuously under stress without cracking or melting.” Another is “to abound, to be available in copious quantities”. Another is “to rise and advance, as the tide.” Another is “to proceed or be produced smoothly, continuously, and effortlessly.” All of these make my heart so happy and I can think of ways they can apply to my attitude, my beliefs, my work process, my emotions, my soul. The intention here is to remember all of these beautiful definitions of flow and bring them into my world as much as I can.

Spend more time with things that flow: You guessed it, more time near – and in – the water in 2018! As I write this, Toronto is hitting record-breaking low temperatures, so the idea of being in the water is just about the last thing on my mind. But I’m such a water baby and I know how happy it makes me to go swimming, or even just watch the waves come in down by the lake. I love hot tubs and have been meaning to go to Scandinave, and how cool would it be to try a float tank this year? So fun.

I’m beyond excited for 2018. Last year was better than I ever could have imagined it to be, and I know that this year will have so much magic and abundance and light in store for me too. And flow: lots and lots of flow. Happy 2018!

PS. I would love love love to hear what your word for the year is in the comments below.

You can read more about my words from the last few years below:

2013: Reach | 2014: Abundance | 2015: Grace | 2016: Light | 2017: Embrace

Celebrate the Small Wins

Today is the last day of National Blog Post Writing Month, and it also happens to be the longest work day I’ve had in a very long time, at 11 hours and counting. I’m tired, and I still want to work on my newsletter and Inspiration links before I get to bed, so it seems like as good a time as any to celebrate the small wins.

Celebrate the Small Wins >> Life In Limbo

I wrote a blog post for every day in November after I committed to the challenge (from the 3rd onwards)!

Despite the long work day, I still got to Inbox Zero.

I got to talk to one of my favourite people on my commute home.

I don’t normally have to commute home.

I work with (mostly) extremely understanding and supportive people.

Tomorrow is Friday.

My cat didn’t puke anywhere in my apartment while I was out.

I drove a car around Toronto today and didn’t hit anything and managed to park on busy streets and not freak out too badly.

There was a bottle of wine waiting for me when I got home. (Monkey covering eyes emoji.)

My stepmom sent me a cute picture of their dog today.

I fixed one small piece of what’s wrong with the website for one of my clients.

It’s the beginning of a fresh new month tomorrow.

Thanks for hanging out for NaBloPoMo this year! This will be the end of my daily blogging, at least for the next little while, but I hope to write more frequently in general in the future. I appreciate all your comments and support! You are all huge wins for me.

My Work Manifesto

When people find out I’m self-employed, they usually respond one of three ways:

  • “Don’t you get bored?”
  • “Don’t you get lonely?”
  • “I could never do that.”

These responses don’t really bother me, mostly because I’m usually too busy not being bored, not being lonely, and doing things I love, to notice. I know that my lifestyle is probably not right for everyone, but it’s just right for me.

My Work Manifesto >> Life In Limbo

The walls of my home office. Lettering by Laura Fraser!

While yes, of course, I have boring days, and lonely ones (doesn’t everyone?), for me the freedom of structuring my days and the giddy joy of getting to work on projects I find interesting makes it 100% worth it for me. Most of the time, I remember this and feel incredibly grateful for the quirky career I’m building for myself.

Sometimes though, I forget this and feel sluggish, or stir-crazy, or even – yes! – bored. The afternoons are usually the worst for this, especially if I haven’t been careful with shielding myself from notifications and getting focused work done.

Today I feel amazing (a book I’ve been helping to launch is officially published tomorrow!) so I thought I’d take advantage of my great mood and write my work manifesto, to read whenever I forget, that will help me embrace my work-life:

Don’t treat a gift like a burden

It’s a fun job and I enjoy it

If not this, then an exact replica

Go play hooky

Resist the expectation of an immediate response

The work always gets done

If overwhelmed, dim the noise

Don’t work with your email (or Slack or phone) open

Hold firm on your boundaries

Not for every day, but for some days

Throw your problems in a pile

I am not a robot

What helps you reframe your work? What mantras help you stay focused and grateful?