This time of year tends to be full of reflection and planning for me. I try to think about what I learned and how I want to plan my year to live more fully. I’ve learned a few years ago that having year-long projects focused around my personal goals works for me. It gives me a framework to work with and I still feel creative freedom.
So one of the things I pay attention to as I plan my year long projects is my list of “things I want to learn” or “things I want to get better at.”
In 2011, I knew I wanted to get better at drawing so I committed to sketching daily. And to make sure I followed through, I also committed to weekly blog posts where I shared my sketches. I created a similar structure for art journaling. And in the two years I’ve been working on these skills, I’ve progressed immensely and found my own little voice in both of these. I went from never knowing how to art journal to being published in the best art journaling magazine.
All because I set the structure for myself.
The other list I look at when I am trying to decide my yearly projects is the list of “things I want to do more of.” For example, in 2010, I wanted to spend more time with my son and I created “crafting with David” where we created an art project each week. In 2011, I read a book a week to David. In 2012, I created a “Book of Good Memories” with him. This year, I also did Letters with Nathaniel. All of these are creative ways to spend more time with my son while doing something I would love to share with him. I know I want to spend more time with my kids so I create these projects as an excuse to take the time. (This is not to say I don’t spend ‘free’ time with them, it’s just an extra special thing we get to do.)
In 2010, I started exercising for the first time, so in 2011, I created a project “Healthy for Life” so I could track the progress of getting and staying in shape. Making healthier choices. I wanted to do more of it so I created a year-long project for myself. Same with books. I’ve had “A Book A Week” for three years now and I’ve read over 150 books thanks to my project. In 2010, I realized I wanted more photos with my kids where I was actually in the photo. Out of that wish came the “Us Right Now” project (which then morphed into Weekly Diary.) I now have over 100 photos of me with my kids and husband.
So most of my projects are born out of the “what do i want to learn” and “what do i want to do more of” lists.
But, there’s one more important list that I am trying to make sure to honor next year: “what matters most to me” and “what fulfills me the most.” Two years ago, I did the Weekly Gratitude project and it was really profound for me. I learned the value of gratitude. So much so that it’s become one of my core values. This year, I did the Savor Project and it allowed me to enjoy and savor my life as it happened. When I think of my projects for 2013, I’ve been thinking about what fulfills me and gives me the most joy. If I can create a project around something that fulfills me, I get to experience the joy of that on a regular basis. If I can create a project using my values, then I get to honor them regularly. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from all the coaching classes I’ve taken and the client calls I’ve had, it’s that the trick to life is to align your life with your values and spend time doing what fulfills you. That’s it.
That’s all it takes.
So, as I spend time contemplating the upcoming year, I am making my three lists and taking a good look at what comes up, so that I can create frameworks around them and make 2013 a wonderful year.
Here are the three lists:
1. What do I want to learn/get better at?
2. What do I want to do more of?
3. What value do I want to honor and what fulfills me?
What about your list? What goes on your three lists? If you’re willing to play along, I’ll share my lists on Wednesday and maybe you can post yours too?