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2012 - A Year to Savor

I know we’re still over a month away from 2012. However, I generally use the time from Thanksgiving to New Years Day planning for the next year. I am already mentally done with 2011 and ready to think about the new year. And the first thing I like to do is choose a word to represent the theme for my year.

This year, I decided to share my word and my projects with you early in case one of them tickles your fancy and you like to do it, too. It also gives me a chance to get organized earlier. So as we wind down 2011, I will be sharing them with you. (I will also do recaps for my 2011 projects.)

I really struggled with my word for next year. As I thought about my projects and what I wanted next year to represent, here are a list of words that I considered:

  • mindful
  • grateful
  • slow
  • calm
  • enjoy
  • present
  • joy
  • thrive
  • pay attention
  • appreciate

Gratitude has been a big theme for me since 2009 and I loved the idea of putting it upfront and center. But it wasn’t enough. I felt like I really embraced my word for 2011 and I wanted the one for 2012 to be just as powerful. While gratitude is a powerful concept, I felt like I was already embracing it and I wanted to challenge myself more. The second theme in my words was about being in the present more. Being more aware, noticing things, slowing down, paying attention. If you read my blog regularly, it’s easy to guess that this is a big challenge for me. I am pretty type-a and I am result-focused. So I don’t always pay as much attention to the process as I would like to. I liked the idea of challenging myself to purposefully slow down. And the last theme I noticed was one of embracing joy. Thriving, appreciating happiness. This is another challenge for my usually self-critical and worrying self. I am often anxious and tend to focus on the negative. So, seeking joy would be a welcome improvement.

I liked all three themes of gratitude, mindfulness, and joy. I didn’t want to give any of them up. So I kept searching and searching.

And I finally settled upon: savor.

Savor.

I like that the one word somehow combines all of my themes. Savoring something often implies slowness and calm. It implies joy and appreciation. And even gratitude. I considered other words like bask that didn’t have heavy food-implications. But savor felt just right.

So savor it is.

To keep my word upfront and center this year, I already changed my blog banner. (If you’re reading this in email or on an RSS feed, come take a look.) I also started a new project called The Savor Project (more on this on Thursday) and I ordered two little rings.

They are both from the Cinnamon Sticks shop. It’s the heart stacking ring and the silver stacking ring. I ordered two the silver ones a few years ago. One of them says “Karen & Jake” and the other one says “David & Nathaniel” and I wear them on my left index finger all the time. I will now add the heart and the new silver (which will say “savor”) on top of the two I have. I haven’t received them yet but will take a photo and add it here when I do.

Following on my tradition from last year, I also made my Priority List for 2012. Just to remind the idea behind this is:

I was listening to The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and one of the things the author mentions is managing our time and how we spend much of it doing what’s urgent instead of doing what’s important. As in, we’re often reacting instead of thinking ahead and calmly acting in the direction of our dreams and priorities.

So I decided it would beneficial for me to make a “Priority List”. A list of goals and people I want to prioritize during the year. This way, when an opportunity or request came my way, I could check my list and make sure it is aligned with my priorities before I accepted it. It’s easy to lose sight of things and take on projects that end up eating a lot of my time and not making me fulfilled. If I had my list to look at each time, I could keep what’s important at the forefront of my mind and make sure to prioritize it.

Here’s my Priority List for 2012:
* Family
* Health
* Work
* Art
* Storytelling
* Reading
* Self-Reflection
* Learning
* Community

Like last year, these are not in order. Yes, most of the time my family comes first. However, there are times when work takes higher priority because it has to for a brief time. Or sometimes I might choose to exercise even if my son wants to play at that moment. These priorities are fluid for me. They are all a part of me and I want to make sure I value them and dedicate time to each. I also want to make sure I turn down anything that doesn’t line up with one of these.

The list is similar to last year but not exactly the same. And like last time, I know you could make everything fit into one of these categories but, in my heart, I know what these mean. And I know when something comes along that doesn’t fit. Above everything, I want to stay true to my gut. I’ve made the mistake of doing something that will look good and make others think well of me before and it was a lot of heartache for me and so I want to listen to myself more and trust my gut and know that if I turn down something that feels wrong, other opportunities will still come my way and I will know when the right one is there. So I will have faith in myself and in the universe.

And I will prioritize the important.

And there we are.

Here’s to an amazing 2012: The year I will SAVOR each moment.

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