Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 Phrase to Live By

Well, this is year 3 of choosing a phrase to live by instead of making goals/resolutions. I love this new approach to new year beginnings and tweakings. I grew up making lots of goals and resolutions. That served me well for a while, but this new approach is serving me well now and suits where I am in life.

I like that it's more of a philosophical approach instead of a list of particulars. When I'd make a list of goals (stuff like "exercise daily" or "write more letters" or "stop cracking knuckles"), I'd start off well enough, but by February or March, things would have already waned, leaving me waiting ten more months to set more goals that would drop off within two months. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

With a phrase of the year, I honestly think about it daily, weekly, monthly. Quite often, I'm thinking about the phrase and reevaluating how much my life is fitting with my intentions, thoughts, and feelings. That's one of the things I really like about the phrase -- it's not forgotten by February or June or November. It's something I think about A LOT.

The other thing I really like about the phrase of the year is that it's something I can continually adjust throughout the year since it is more of a principle than a hard and fast expectation.

So, in 2009, I chose the phrase "Live Authentically." And boy, did I. Big time. Lots of big life changes. Lots of decisions. Lots of listening to my heart. Lots of living true to my heart. That was a great year as far as that goes and I'd definitely label it a success in the phrase-of-the-year department.

For 2010, I chose "Live Intentionally" as my phrase. I'd say it went okay. It was such a great segue from living authentically that I thought it would springboard me into some serious accomplishments. And there were some. But not as many as I had envisioned. And that's okay.

I thought about the phrase a lot throughout the year and alternated between being pleased with how it was going and feeling that it wasn't going as well as I'd hoped. I would consider the phrase and tweak how things were going and think about how I'd approach 2011, even contemplating a repeat of the phrase so that I could work on it some more with perhaps better results.

But, I don't want to look at it as glass-half-empty (and I don't). I've grown in many ways in the "Live Intentionally" approach. Even as I sit here and write this post, I see that it actually went better than I give it credit. Anyway, like I was saying, I like the "Live Intentionally" approach. And I can take that forward into this new year.

In my post for this past year, I listed some things I wanted to actually DO and not just talk about doing or put on "to do" lists. There have been some success and there are some things still waiting for a little (or a lot) more attention.

I called that new friend. I called those old friends. I read those books. I saw those movies. I got together with old friends. I cut my hair short. We studied those subjects. I did NaNoWriMo again. We got to the beach. We went to that concert. We organized some stuff.

And I didn't call that new friend. And I didn't read some of those books. And I didn't watch some of those movies. And I didn't get together with old friends as much as we'd hoped. We didn't study some of those subjects. And there's plenty we didn't organize.

A mixed success. And that's okay. We came up with several new organizing systems (including the corkboard wall that I love). And there are yet more to do lists. And, again, that's okay.

So, in evaluating all of this, I decided I wanted a new phrase. Something similar, yes, but also something fresh and new. I decided to go for the same results I was seeking but with a different (and more self-affirming) approach. Rather than focusing on living intentionally per se (where I would just DO whatever thing I wanted to do instead of putting it on a list or waiting for everything to be just right in order to do it), I want to try to live more that way but not for the sake of accomplishment this time. I want to do it because I have that level of respect for myself.

So this year's phrase?

"Live Respectfully."

The more I think about it, the more I see this as a natural blend of living authentically and living intentionally, as well as a continuation of both.

I don't want to accomplish things for the sake of checking them off my list. I want to do them because I respect myself that much. I don't want to clean out closets just to have them better organized. I want to clean out those closets because it's important to me and to the feeling in our home.

I want to "carpe diem" more than I do, not just so I can say I did this or that, but because I respect myself enough to grab hold of life and LIVE IT.

I want to be okay with saying "no" or "not right now" more, so that I'm not run ragged in doing for others at my own expense (which truly does no favors to myself or others anyway).

I want to manage my time better -- whether I'm completing projects, working with clients, or taking time to meditate each day-- not so that I can be super turbo-organized woman (in fact, no thank you), but so that I can mindfully enjoy every moment of life and all that we do. So, that I can feed that self-respect with more self-respect.

I want to exercise more, not so that I can have more checkmarks on my Wii Fit calendar or meet some weekly goal, but because I like myself so much that I want to feel good both physically and emotionally for me and for my family.

I want to do things because I want to do them, because my heart tells me to, because I said I would. You know, if I promised someone else I'd do something for them, I most likely would do it. I want to live that same level of respect for myself.

I want to meditate more, organize more, exercise more, play more, read more, write more, learn more, do more (or less sometimes). But rather than make goals that involve specifics of doing those tasks, I want to live with such respect for myself, that doing those things is a natural extension. My approach will involve time for myself, meditation, affirmations, action, and intention.

So, this may seem like the same approach as 2010's, but it's not. I'm looking to live intentionally, yes, but not just to do it for the sake of the outcome this time, but because I respect myself, respect my body, respect my heart, respect my family, respect my mind, respect my friends, respect my health, respect my resolve, respect my soul.

Bring on 2011. I'm ready.


Lindsay said...

That is great! 2011 will be a good year!! I just finished writing out my goals for the year, but I like your idea of living by a phrase.

the Lady said...

I love this. You are already a respectful person, Stacy. I don't foresee you having any problems with this phrase. And as far as your prior phrases are concerned, I think that the wonderful thing about having a phrase at the beginning of the year is so that it might become a part of us permanently, from year to year. Obviously, this is working for you.

I can't wait to give this a try, too. Best wishes for your new year!

Boquinha said...

Thanks, Lindsay. It's an idea I've learned from several women -- an old friend from medical school days, our SIL Jessica, etc. I love it!

Bethany, thank you. I love hearing from you. So looking forward to seeing you and your family soon! Maybe at the bowling activity this week?

J Fo said...

LOVE it! I think it perfectly blends the previous years, but also gives you a direction to look in. I totally saw you living intentionally in simple ways like cutting your hair or waxing your eyebrows. ;)

Boquinha said...

Thanks, Jess! And I knew just who to call for advice, too. :)Thanks, again.

Vivian said...

I have to admit that I like "to do" lists. I like the feeling of accomplishment when I set a specific goal and see a tangible success. I also really like your approach of a phrase to live by. More than just a check off list, I see it as a way of life. Not just "doing" but "being." You've put a lot of thought into your phrases. Best wishes on a respectful year.

the emily said...

I like the idea of respect, because there are so many different aspects there. Respect for yourself, your kids, your spouse, your environment, your job, your time, your health...I think it's a perfect choice. Love it.

Boquinha said...

Thanks, Vivian! That's exactly it -- I still have (probably too many) "to do" lists (they are my nemesis sometimes!), but I'm trying to make the phrases a way of life. So far, pretty good!

Yeah, Emily. I'd thought of those extensions, too! There are so many aspects! I'm starting with myself and my time, but you can't help but consider respect for others and the world around you. If I got really crazy, I could choose a different one each month! But, I think that would be a slippery slope for me right back to the specific, quantifiable list stuff. :P But, hmmmm. Food for thought . . .

terahreu said...

All good stuff. It's got me thinking about my yearly motto. You'll do great. I see a great 2011 ahead for the Foley family.