My word for 2017 is <i>grace</i>.
You may have heard about the trend of choosing a word for the year. Perhaps you’ve set one yourself. The word - or sometimes, a short phrase -- serves as a simple touchpoint, an intention to guide you in the coming months. Personally, I love taking the time to reflect on my previous year and thoughtfully select a word for the coming year. And while I’ve tried to set New Year’s resolutions in the past, the simpler framework of a guiding word has served me better over the course of a long and unpredictable year.
Why am I writing about this in October?
I’m sure that many of you find yourselves looking at the calendar as you flip the page to October, and you wonder how this year has gone by so quickly. You’re on the precipice of planning holiday travel, making gift lists, booking out your social calendar, and planning around school events and community gatherings and all of the things that make this time of year so full. It’s the beginning of a non-stop rush through the holidays and into the new year.
That’s why this is also a perfect time to check in with yourself and where you are in your life these days.
Here are a few ways I check in with my trajectory and make sure that I’m prepared to make the most out of the final quarter of the year, whether in my personal life or in my business.
First, Look Back
Think back to your word of the year, or any other goals or intentions you set for yourself back in January.
Are you still focused on your word? Are you keeping it in mind, allowing it to influence your decisions? Or have you allowed it to slip to the side, forgotten in the midst of your busy schedule and life demands?
Perhaps more importantly, is your word or intention still relevant for you? After all, a year is a long time.
Maybe you started the year with a word like “build”, with every intention of growing in your business and in your life, and mid-way through the year you lost a family member or a loved one. This may have utterly shifted your priorities as you turned inward to grieve and heal.
Or perhaps you selected a word like “connect”, and you’ve built new relationships that you’re proud of. However, now you’re finding yourself overbooked and without enough time to actually invest in these relationships that you wanted so much.
Then again, you may have chosen a word that still fits you like a glove, aligns with your desires, and will guide you positively through the remaining months of the year.
Wherever you are -- it’s a good time to check in with yourself and evaluate whether the YOU of January is still motivated and encouraged by the same goals as the YOU of October.
This is also a great time to take an honest assessment of how you have grown this year. What goals have you achieved? What steps have you taken to reach the next stage?
Maybe you’ve committed to your fitness plan, and now going to work out 3 times a week feels natural. That’s a huge accomplishment! Or you’ve revised your grocery shopping regimen, and you’ve been able to stick to your budget 4 months in a row. That’s fantastic! Sometimes, when we reach our goals, we immediately focus on the next step. It’s important to keep moving forward, but it’s also crucial to take a moment to appreciate what you have achieved. How has 2017 been a success for you so far? And what changes can you make now to prepare for success in the final quarter of the year?
Next, Look Forward
October is a great time to start thinking ahead to the coming year.
What goals will you set for yourself?
How can you prepare your life now, so that you’re ready to embark on new adventures in 2018?
What steps can you take to prepare your business for growth? How can you set yourself up for flourishing relationships and vibrant health?
I’m not suggesting that you add a bunch of new goals to your plate in this busy season. But maybe you can take this time to make some observations and establish some micro-goals that will ease these final few months, ensure you stay connected with your original vision of 2017 (or the elements that are still relevant), and set you up for the year ahead. Perhaps you can leverage a new tool to streamline your work, adopt a temporary dietary habit to keep yourself healthy, or talk with your family now about gift-giving budgets.
For me, I use this time and the inspiration of the upcoming holiday season to reconnect with people I’ve lost touch with. I take stock of my business and identify areas where I need to focus my attention. And I evaluate my health, knowing that months of celebrations, parties, and time with friends and family will require me to find some balance in exercise and eating patterns. In essence, I look back, and I look forward, and I see how I can bring a little more grace into my life.