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    My 2018 word

    by Christie Browning

    For a few years now, I've spent the week between Christmas and New Year's pondering the past year that was coming to an end and planning goals and ideas for the upcoming year. Part of this thought process includes settling on a word that I want to focus on for the new year. Maybe it's a word that will keep me on target for the year. It could be a word that I want to be my "theme" for the year. This year, my word will act more like a filter.

    My 2018 word is "Simple." 

    This word, for me, doesn't equate to a trimmed to-do list or mean I should purge my closets (I already did that in preparation for our move in November). However, what I want "simple" to mean for my 2018 is less distraction, less noise, less chaos. I want to do my part to keep my life calm, in control and centered around the things that are most important to me. I know that life will throw its share of curveballs, but even in those moments, I still believe my heart and my mind can focus on the "simple."

    2017 brought a lot of chaos, a lot of noise, a lot of busyness and running from one thing to the next. I don't believe my to-do list was overloaded, but my heart and my mind were racing constantly. Part of that was due to my own choices. I neglected to tend to my heart and my spirit. When I leave behind the things that settle and anchor me most, I get tossed about a whole lot easier when life gets rough. 

    So this year, I want there to be more margin. More room to breathe. More control in a world that is sometimes out of control. I know I won't succeed at this every day, but if I even do it half of the time, it will be better than just doing nothing.

    Here's how I plan to incorporate "simple" in 2018:

    1. Keep a consistent time for my PB&J (prayer, Bible & journal) time. I know when this is a daily part of my routine, I feel refueled, recharged and at the same time grounded and ready to tackle life. For me, this works best in the morning and I've already blocked time in this week's calendar for it!
    2. Work in time to workout. Mat and I moved within a half mile of our YMCA. So we got a membership and plan to hit it! I know when I workout my body, I feel better and my mind and spirit are clear from stress, anxiety and pent-up energy. It's not only good for my physical body but it's a must for my emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
    3. Read a little more for fun. I enjoy reading, but the majority of material I read tends to be Bible studies and spiritual development. While these are great reads, I know I best decompress when I have a good ol' book to read for fun. Since we moved, Mat and I are now within our libraries district and we recently got library cards. I hit the non-fiction shelf for a good, suspenseful read and man... that really helps the brain to unwind!
    4. Create one day a week that I am free from work and social media. I work a fulltime job and I work another fulltime job on the side as a writer and speaker with reVision and also providing social media management for small businesses. It's easy to just work around the clock but still feel like nothing got done. I know I need a break from it all. I need to unplug and walk away from it for a bit each week. 
    5. Breaking the year down into chunks. I recently read the book by Brian Moran "The 12 Week Year" and it totally changed my way of thinking about goals and a timeline for working on action steps. Basically, you treat every 12 weeks as its own year and create a plan of action for what you most want to accomplish in those 12 weeks. The idea is you get laser-focused on those action steps for 12 weeks. This eliminates feeling overwhelmed by all you could be doing. It also gives you a sense of winning and momentum when you see accomplishments every 12 weeks. This is a major key player in my "simple" mantra for 2018. I need to minimize the other things that I could be doing, the million other ideas I want to chase and all the other distractions in life and just dig in and focus on what's important for that 12 week period. 

    So what is your 2018 word? Share it with me in the comments! I'd love to know and share in your journey. What ideas do you have to help me in my quest for "simple"... and what are you doing to chase down your word for 2018?