Checking Boxes

2018. A New Year. What does that mean for you?  Last year was probably the first time that it meant much of anything to me.

Discovering that I didn’t have much in the way of direction, hobbies, dreams or goals when 2017 came around was disconcerting.  It was as though I had been underwater for some time and was just resurfacing – and in a way I had. I had become very, very good at making sure that everyone else’s needs were met.  I had just gotten through one of the more challenging seasons of motherhood, the season where each new stage is something new and different, where the demands are ever-evolving and it feels as though you are constantly working to meet the new dynamics that a newborn-turned-infant-turned-toddler brings to the table. My role as a mother was constantly being recreated and that, justifiably, took as much energy and creativity as I could muster.

In December 2016, looking forward into 2017, I found myself on the precipice of my youngest transitioning from toddler to preschooler, and I was met with a strong feeling of lack.

“What I discovered…was that I harbored a mix of discontentment, frustration, dissatisfaction; I felt unfulfilled in an area that I couldn’t quite pinpoint.”

Not that my marriage was failing to fill any void, not that raising and connecting with my three daughters didn’t still have demands, not that being a wife and a mother was not rewarding, not that my relationships and my career didn’t still take up the majority of my time and emotional energy, but lack on a very personal level.  I couldn’t quite have told you who I was, or what I wanted, outside of those roles.  Outside of those roles, I didn’t quite exist.

I spent some time in 2017 working through all of this. Now, I’m ready to move on to purposefully planning, focusing on and building who I want to be.

My inbox, social feeds, podcasts and conversations have been inundated with discussions about the New Year.  Through the myriad of messages, sales pitches and memes, one really hit me – instead of focusing on what I want to do in the New Year, why not focus on how I want to feel?

Perhaps this resonates because listing out the many things I hope to accomplish in 2018 feels overwhelming.  Another list of To Dos isn’t necessarily aspirational. The question of how I want to feel, however…there is something there. Because doesn’t having goals really mean that you’re chasing the feeling that attaining those goals will give you?

I want to feel (in no particular order):

Energetic, joyful, present, calm, growth, optimistic, grateful, creative, fulfilled, accomplished, successful, strong, confident, worthy, compassionate, loving (and loved), connected (to the things and people that matter), disconnected (from the things that don’t), committed, comfortable, cozy, nourished, joyful, inspired, challenged (in a positive way), knowledgeable, prepared, abundant, secure.

And hydrated. I would like to feel more hydrated in 2018.

By focusing on how I want to feel, my action items then become “How can I feel more insert-your-word-here?”  They aren’t limited to just one action, to one goal; they can cross into every facet of my life.

If I want to feel these things, there are steps I will need to take to get there, but I gain much more buy-in if the end result is any one of the feelings above, versus a check-box on yet another checklist of things that I need to accomplish.

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