Time does fly, indeed. Looking back through some posts, I was surprised to see that I had begun the practice of choosing a New Year’s Word in 2015 (balance). Three years later I still agree with this purposeful sentiment from 2017 (love) :
Choosing just one word can help guide us as we are faced with countless smaller choices throughout the year, a sort of litmus test of what matters most: Do I say yes to this commitment? How shall I spend a free afternoon? How might I best approach this challenging situation? Does this decision move me in the direction of my chosen intention?
When it comes to intention, it is important to see it not as rigid, but as a helpful framework to create more of the life we want. The point is not to feel hemmed in by the habits, but to feel supported by them. If the framework does begin to feel restrictive or pressured, step back and reassess your intentional word. Does it still resonate? What is the resistance about? Change is often uncomfortable. Don’t mistake healthy growing pains as a sign that you are on the wrong track. Perhaps the structure needs some re-tweaking. Perhaps the word does, too. And sometimes it is most helpful to not press for an answer. If we create a bit of quiet, simply posing the question often allows an answer to eventually present itself.
My word for 2018: Empower
definition (dictionary.com) verb
1. to give power or authority to; authorize, especially by legal or official means
2. to enable or permit
This year my intention is to focus on empowering others as well as myself. Over the past few years with Breathe, Mama, Breathe, my mission has been to teach moms how to carve out small bits of time for themselves in the midst of their caring for others. This year I will add women leaders to that bunch.
Through my mindfulness work with women — moms in the trenches with little ones, leaders in the business world, artists honing their crafts — I have come to appreciate that we all share similar struggles regardless of life phase or occupation. We all profit from mindful awareness, learning to be authentic, empowering ourselves and our voices, and uncovering the power to lead. Whether managing a corporation or a household, mindful leadership teaches us how to be the best possible version of ourselves — benefitting our families, our businesses, and the world.
Although each of us may experience somewhat diverse limiting beliefs and unique life circumstances, they are worked with in much the same way. Ultimately, whether leading a family or a corporation, we women are all in the same boat, facing similar challenges. Empowerment is an antidote to playing small (read this fantastic book about playing big), cowering to our fear, and allowing self-doubt and habit to pull us along unconsciously.
And so, in honor of 2018, here are 18 ways to begin:
- Speak to yourself in a kind, yet firm voice (rather than a harsh, judgmental one)
- Follow your curiosity
- Step out of your comfort zone on a regular basis
- Ask for help when needed
- Admit and own your insecurities and self-doubts ( I guarantee you are not alone)
- Dream big without barriers
- Accept what cannot be changed
- Change what can by breaking it down into easily attainable, bite-sized pieces
- Practice daily gratitude and savor the beautiful moments
- Find a flexible balance of life priorities (see Life as Pie exercise)
- Practice self-care: sleep, exercise, nutrition, meditation (see how to start)
- Engage in work or hobbies that energize
- Collaborate and connect with others
- Fake it until you become it
- Speak up in support of others when they need it and in praise when they deserve it
- Develop a daily mindfulness habit to increase self-knowledge, insight, and courage
- Move and exercise your body in playful, enjoyable ways
- Get outside, look up, and breathe it in
How do you empower yourself and others? What’s your word for 2018? I’d love to hear from you!