2017 – “Create” and “Persist”

Usually, I start my New Year’s post about 2-3 months before December 31st. This year, oh boy have I been dragging it out. I’ve been collecting random bits and pieces of thoughts in my head for the past month, but just haven’t found made the time to sit and actually put them down. Truthfully, I’m still unsure of how my thoughts will shape into something discernible. I keep thinking back to 2015 and how organized and driven I was to make that a great year, and I just don’t know if I can top it. But looking back is a good thing. I’ve formed some really good habits over the past couple of years. I’ve learned a lot about self-care, about setting boundaries and sticking to them. I’ve found really great things that I love to do and places I want to focus my resources on. Looking back can be a really great way for me to remember all that I’ve already accomplished and help me find the gaps I’m missing.

In 2015, I focused on four categories: Travel, Music, Writing, and Art, expanding and developing my hobbies, the things that I found I was most passionate about. I built into my habits a consistency in finding activities centered around these categories, and I continue to be on the lookout. There’s not a month that goes by where I’m not hitting one if not more of these at least once. I also really started to understand the importance of actively choosing relationships/friendships, to really think through who you’re giving your time and energy to. I fine-tuned my close circle of friends and removed myself from those who were negatively impacting my life.

In 2016, I went for more of a general theme idea: Self-Care, Responsibility, Harmony, and Pleasure and I have to admit, it didn’t work out as well for me. It was harder to track the accomplishments and growth. I also moved my whiteboards a couple of times during the year, and it changed the way I interacted with and utilized them. Now they’re back in the hallway, where I see them every day and I’m back in the habit of jotting down notes and seeing goals which sets me up nicely for 2017. Honestly, I think the only two categories I really did OK in was Pleasure and Self-Care. The other two were too abstract and frankly, not a whole hell of a lot of fun to work on. So, they just kind of….faded. My writing also waned in 2016 and I recognized that when I’m not writing, that’s a bad sign. I need that time and space to work through things in my head, to sort out all that’s going on, and to help me reflect on what’s going right.

For 2017 I want to try and create an outlook of what I want to see at the end of the year, so that I can then measure these things as I go along. That will also require me to start back up with my quarterly review posts, as they are a really effective way for me to engage with myself and not ignore when I’m in a slump.

As I thought about words that may be reflective of what I want this next year to be, “Create” was the word that resonated the hardest with me. It came along with the phrase “Create a life you want to be living” and that’s what convinced me it was right. In 2016, I was given the final clearance that I’m in remission, that I can breathe easier, no more oncologist appointments, no more CT scans. It released me from feeling tied down here. It gave me freedom. On a different plane, it’s only been within the past two years that I’ve embraced my own personal creative side. I never really saw myself as creative before, and especially after studying accounting in college, I just assumed that I would always be a left-brain girl. And while I don’t foresee myself becoming some incredible artist, I’ve learned that I do have quite a lot of right-brain tendencies, and I love the artistic world. So, using “Create” as my word has a couple of very personal, very positive, and very challenging reasons.

As I started writing this post under the word “Create”, I felt like something was missing. I wasn’t capturing all that I was feeling and what I was hoping to accomplish in the next year. I took a step back and tried to think about skills and habits that I need to form in order to accomplish all that greatness, and a paragraph in a book I was reading knocked it out of the park for me:

“I, like many of you artists out there, constantly shift between two states. The first (and far more preferable of the two) is white-hot, ‘in the zone’ seat-of-the-pants, firing on all cylinders creative mode. This is when you lay your pen down and the ideas pour out like wine from a royal chalice! This happens about 3% of the time. The other 97% of the time I am in the frustrated, struggling, office-corner-full-of-crumpled-up-paper mode. The important thing is to slog diligently through this quagmire of discouragement and despair. Put on some audio commentary and listen to the stories of professionals who have been making films for decades going through the same slings and arrows of outrageous production problems. In a word: PERSIST. PERSIST on telling your story. PERSIST on reaching your audience. PERSIST on staying true to your vision…” From Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull

And thus, “Persist” was born into my 2017 plans. I am a driven person, that is no secret. But I do tend to get spurts of laziness or I get frustrated and/or rejected and that will inevitably discourage me. So, a habit/skill that I truly want to work on is persistence. To stay true to the course that I am navigating so that I can accomplish what I’ve set out to.

As I’ve now thought about these two words together over the past week, I can see how perfectly they fit together in my life right now.Create is my high-level, long-term, overarching dreams in life. Persist is my day-to-day, measurable, achievable, skill and habit building work. They are my yin-yang, balance.

This is the first year in awhile that I’ve added a health/fitness category specifically, and it was hard to determine if I really wanted to. I didn’t want to set a weight-loss goal. I want to, in essence, trick myself into pursuing healthy habits that include eating well and working out, but in ways that are natural to me. I have the tools, I now just need the discipline. I want to check in with myself more often, with how I’m feeling physically, to regroup and hopefully keep me moving forward. I honestly think the biggest change that needs to happen is redirecting the majority of my “fun” from bars/drinking to healthier activities.

One of my biggest goals this year is to attend Art Basel, one of the largest art fairs in the world, in Miami, Florida. This happens every December, which, coincidentally enough, is at the end of the year. It is the perfect setting to aspire to bringing my best self to and it will encapsulate all areas that I already focus on: travel (going to Miami for the first time), art (all the art!), food (OMG, can you imagine all the restaurant options?!), writing (I’ll have plenty to write about), music (there will be a ton of concerts/clubs/entertainment options).

So, what do I want to feel like when I step off of the plane in Miami?

I want to step off that plane feeling 1000% confident in my own skin. I want to know and be proud that I’ve put a whole year’s worth of work into myself. I want to know that I wasn’t just lazy and passive. I want to have spent 11 months creating something I’m proud of, that I’m successful, fulfilled, healthy/happy (mental/physical), and I have good habits in place to keep me grounded, a solid savings account to enjoy the trip, a carry-on bag with enough cute clothes to play in, but no excess.

Create:
– Opportunities (professional, personal)
– Chances (take risks)
– Art (writing)
– Space (mental, physical)

Persist:
Simplicity/Minimalism (1x/quarter – lean & clean)
Free options around Seattle (2/month)
Boundaries (spending/alcohol)
Books (1/month)
Fitness/Health (3x/week consistency; Class Pass, hiking, home bodyweight)
Home chore list (weekly: vacuum, laundry, dishes, budget)
Writing (1x/month – any topic; 1x/quarter – 2017 recap)
WWOOF (one weekend, local)
Khan Academy (3 subjects)
Meditate (read a book on it, research silent retreats)
YPOS Happy Hour (8x for the year)
Jumping into water (lessons)

And here we are. It’s a couple days late, but here all the same. I’m looking forward to this year. I’m looking forward to furthering my relationships. I’m looking forward to new experiences. I’m looking forward to more acceptance, more joy, less criticism, and a lot of love. Stay tuned!

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