Unraveling the Year Ahead – 2018

I want to start by saying that this, too, is going to be a VERY long post. These reflective posts are how I make sure to live my life intentionally. They matter to me and I love being able to look back on them in future years. I know that this might not be interesting to many (if not any) of you, so please feel free to skip it. If some of you find it interesting, all the better.

This particular exercise is following Susannah Conway’s Unraveling 2016 sheet. You can download it right here. I split the reflective questions looking back on 2017 in and the questions to help clarify goals/dreams for 2018 into two posts. This is part II, the 2017 reflections are here. All questions are Susannah’s and are copyrighted to her.

  • First, choose a word to guide you through the next 12 months. Pick a word that makes you feel expanded. Encouraged. Inspired. There’s no right or wrong answer so go with your gut. What’s your Word for 2018? My word for 2018 is strong.
  • If you lived and breathed your Word every day in 2018, what would be different for you? I would feel so much stronger both emotionally and mentally and I would look, feel and be stronger physically. I would feel proud of myself. I would stand in my power.
  • List some ways you are already experiencing or embodying this Word: I am showing up to exercise daily. I am doing strength training 3 times a week. I am strong when it comes to showing up for my people, my work. I am strong in my convictions. I am strong in my morals.
  • What could you do this year to bring more of your Word into your world? I bought a bracelet and a ring. I will buy something red to remind myself. I will also change my passwords.
  • Choose four extra words to support your Word this year. They could be anything from inspiring words to names of people to things you want to invest in...My extra words are my core desired feelings. They are: fresh, lighter, wonder, true
  • What are you looking forward to in 2018? Getting physically stronger. Changing my relationship with food. Also working on my emotional strength.
  • What are you feeling apprehensive about? Not being able to change things enough. Not giving up my bad habits around food. Not spending enough time with self-care.
  • What life lessons are you taking with you into 2018? That my life is magical and full of wonder. That I am incredibly lucky and surrounded by incredibly supportive people who want the best for me.
  • What area of your life do you most want to develop in 2018? Physical self. I want to be comfortable in my body and I love the idea of doing it through getting fitter. I want to be strong. I also want to fundamentally change how and what I eat. I made a lot of progress in 2017, I want to lock that in and make it permanent.
  • What part of yourself do you yearn to nurture in 2018? My idea of myself. I want to see myself differently. I want to own who I am and become the best version of myself. Stronger version of myself physically, emotionally, mentally, and psychologically.
  • Fast-forward to December 2018. You’re sitting in a cafe?, musing over the last 12 months. Where do you want to be…
  • in your head? (work, dreams, goals) I want to be scaling up the quality of my work and create processes that can scale. I want to develop relationships with leadership and add value to all of my teams. I want to think of myself in a way that allows me to show up without hesitation. I also want to listen better and talk less.
  • in your heart? (relationships, family, friends) I want to make sure to prioritize people who matter the most to me. I want to develop deeper friendships with the Tamara, Kelly and Leslie. I want to make good friends in Nathaniel’s class. I want to continue to foster my friendships with Evelyn and work friends. I want to put my family first. Support my nephews. Talk to my sister more. Go on regular date nights with Jake. Continue teaching the kids. Continue taking photos.
  • in your soul? (beliefs, practices, self-love) I want to get stronger in my sense of self. In my ability to be okay with who I already am, in drawing boundaries. In choosing to spend my time in ways that are most meaningful to me.
  • in your physical world? (home, health, hobbies) I want to continue to buy flowers. Continue to exercise daily, and start doing it at home, too. Add massage at work. Do more consistent self-care. Eat way way better and drink a ton of water. I want to do more art but only when it gives me joy. Continue the new way of scrapping that I am loving.
  • Okay, let’s take it up a notch. Use this page to describe what 2018 looks like in your ideal world. Be specific! What are your dreams for love this year? Work? Play? Where are you hungry for change? How do you want 2018 to FEEL? Use your answers from the previous pages to craft your ideal vision for the next 12 months. What would saying YES to your life look and feel like? Write out everything your heart desires for this new year. Be bold. I am exercising every single morning. I am drinking a lot of water and taking care of my skin, my hair, my teeth. I am feeling strong and healthy and alive. I am trying new things that feel fresh to me, I am appreciating the wonder in my life. I am choosing what to spend time on and loving the time I spend on it. I am feeling positively about my choices. I am spending a lot of time with Jake. And with my kids. I am talking to my nephews regularly. I am working hard. I am teaching my kids. I am reading. I am resting. I am showing up for life.



  • List 3 unhelpful beliefs about yourself you’re ready to release


      1. I am not strong physically. I hate exercise.
      2. I can’t quit XX where XX is any particular food. I can quit and add anything I want!
      3. I am not enough.


  • List 3 duties or commitments you feel ready to let go of in 2018


      1. No more lit club after this school year is over.
      2. No more Math Circle.
      3. Maybe no TV?
  • List 3 skills you’d like to learn or improve in 2018
    1. Math, I want to do even more math with my kids.
    2. Drawing, sketching, art in general.
    3. Science. Both my kids are into science and I know practically nothing.
  • List 3 books you intend to read this year: Lol. I read 280+ this year so I am not going to worry about reading at least three this year.
  • How could you bring more calm into your life (and head) this year? More journaling. Quiet moments in the morning and evening. Taking much more time out. Muting when on VC.
  • List 3 things about yourself you positively love
    1. My willingness to show up.
    2. My desire to learn more and more and more.
    3. How much I love the people I love.
  • List 3 ways you could be kinder to your body this year
    1. Take care of my skin + teeth.
    2. Massage my body and release my muscles + stretch more.
    3. Take Yoga and Pilates to increase flexibility.
  • List 3 ways you could connect with loved ones in 2018
    1. Regular date nights with Jake.
    2. Biweekly check-ins with my nephews.
    3. Weekly meeting with a friend.
  • List 3 people you could extend compassion to
    1. Myself.
    2. My kids. Much more compassion and kindness.
    3. People who annoy me. I want to be much more compassionate towards people I usually am short with. I want to assume the best of everyone.
  • How could you bring more love into your life this year? By choosing joy. Assuming the best. Realizing that things always work out because I try harder and harder until they do. Realizing the magic that is my life. Being grateful. Paying attention to the support I have. Being thankful.
  • List 3 interests/hobbies you would like to explore more in 2018
    1. Rock climbing
    2. Does journaling count? I want to do it much more regularly.
    3. Taking online classes. Or maybe even in person ones!
  • List 3 ways you could feed your imagination this year
    1. Try new things. Fresh things.
    2. Go on adventures. Travel. Especially to places I’ve never been to.
    3. Read different books (things I wouldn’t typically pick up.)
  • List 3 ways you could bring more passion into your world this year
    1. Show up and be fully present
    2. Care deeply about one thing. Do something about it
    3. Speak up more. Bring awareness.
  • List 3 dreams you would like to manifest this year (personal or professional)
    1. I’d like to be really much stronger. Be able to do pushups with ease.
    2. I’d love to have handful of really close friendships
    3. I’d love to deepen my relationship with Jake even further.
  • How could you bring more creative energy into your life this year? I would like to journal more. I’d love to bring back my sketching habit, not sure if I can but I would love to. I still love looking at those sketches. I’d love to do another 100-day project.
  • List 3 ways you could bring more mindfulness to your mornings
    1. Take 15 minutes to journal each morning.
    2. Take 5 minutes to meditate.
    3. Exercise first thing in the morning. (continue to wake up at 6am!)



  • List 3 ways you could cherish your home this year
    1. Buy flowers!
    2. Fill my house with twinkly lights.
    3. Buy sheets that we love for each of us. Decorate our rooms to feel more our own. Put our family photos into frames.
  • List 3 ways you could connect more deeply with nature in 2018
    1. Take weekly walks and monthly trips to water.
    2. I still would love to take hikes.
    3. I think I’d like to swim more this year, too. Need to think about this one more.
  • List 3 places in your city, town or neighbourhood you want to explore
    1. The city. We definitely don’t go there enough.
    2. Marin. Especially the headlands.
    3. Go to the woods more. Learn new hikes.
  • How could you bring a sense of groundedness into your life this year?  The easiest way to ground, for me, is through journaling. Sitting in the back yard with some tea. Watching the water.  Taking a moment to be grateful.
  • Using your favourite tarot or oracle deck, draw one card for the overall theme of the upcoming year and then a card for each month of 2018. Tip: I like to shufle 3 or 4 packs together to give the reading even greater scope. If you don’t have any decks go to www.susannahconway.com/ cards to see my favourite decks and app recommendations.

I am not into Tarot Decks and I did this last year and found it not to be that inspiring or interesting. However, back in 2013, our January OLW assignment involved setting intentions and I really enjoyed that, so I thought maybe I can do that instead.

  • January: Strong Silent Type: Your challenge this month is to speak less, listen more. How can you influence with fewer words. At work, at home, even in your own head. Pause one more beat before replying. Mute the VC. Wait six seconds. Do what it takes to give this a try.
  • February: Physically Strong: This is your month. Get out there and get strong. Increase the weights. Add more cardio. Make a plan. You can do this. You have it in you.
  • March: Party Strong: This month is for celebrating. You’ve worked hard, they’ve worked hard. Everyone’s working hard. Make sure to pause and celebrate. Have a party. Take a moment daily and pat yourself in the back. Pat your loved ones in the back, too.
  • April: Emotionally Strong: This is the time to work on being a better version of you. And loving you. Loving what is.  Respond and don’t react. Journal more.
  • May: Quietly Strong: How can you bring more calm into this month? May is chaotic with lots of endings and transitions. Celebrate but also stay calm. Stay grounded. What will help here?
  • June: A Stronger You: This month involves travel. Kids at home. Lots of chaos and also wonderful. It will challenge you and you will use the time to get stronger. You will also focus on yourself as needed. Take walks. Self care.
  • July: Mentally Strong: Time to learn some new things. How can you grow intellectually? What classes do you want to take? What do you want to teach the kids?
  • August: Shine Strong: This month is for showing up. Show up at work. Show up with the kids. Show up as we close out the summer and start a new school year. Let your light shine on everyone you meet this month.
  • September: Love Strong: This month is hard. There are transitions, new schedules and more. Use this month to think about what it would look like to love more. Love yourself more: more self-care and kindness. What boundaries can help you? Love Jake more: what’s something you can do for the two of you? Love your kids more: How can you help them with the transition?
  • October: Stronger than Before: Here’s your chance to give it one last push before the year’s over. Where are you still wanting to be stronger? How can you help yourself get stronger than before? How can you take things one notch higher? One notch deeper?
  • November: Stronger Together: Time to enjoy the company of others. Go out and socialize. Appreciate the community you have. Spend time with your family. Bask in the joy of friendships+community+family. What’s one thing you can do to appreciate your people?
  • December:  Rest Stronger: And finally here we are. You’ve worked hard all year and gave it your all. Time to rest. You pushed yourself to get stronger and now you need to rest so you can be ready for 2019.
  • 2018 will be the year I finally get strong in my body.
  • I will nourish myself with a lot of water and vegetables.
  • I will make more time for eating healthy and exercise.
  • I will recharge my batteries by resting, massage, and exercise.
  • This year I will open my heart to peace with my body.
  • I will pay more attention to my boundaries.
  • I will learn more about:
    1. Science: as much as I can.
    2. My body: how to make it stronger, how to take care of it.
    3. Who I am. I will pay attention to what I do and what I say and what my values are and own who I am.
  • I will release my attachment to chocolate. The past. Coffee. Things + people who don’t nourish me.
  • I wish for 2018 to feel strong, baby! Ligther, full of wonder, fresh and new, and true. And brave, always brace.
  • This year I will say NO to things that don’t nourish my body, soul, mind, heart.
  • This year I will say YES to living life fully.

I wholeheartedly believe that everything is possible in 2018!


Like last year, as I finish these words I went back to some of my previous blog posts and I am not surprised that I mention many of these same thoughts here, here, and here. I am pretty sure these themes have been in my life in some way or another for many years. I know that they will likely still be around in 2018 and 2019 and onward. What I’d like to do this year is to make a dent. To move things forward a little bit. Every forward step I take moves me in the right direction and that’s all I can ask for.

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine stepping into the shoes of you from December 2018, one year from now. You are one year older and one year wiser and you’ve lived every day of 2018 fully and completely. You have a message of encouragement about 2018. There’s stuff you want to share… stuff you’re eager to tell yourself. When you’re ready, open your eyes, pick up your pen, and write a letter from your future self, starting with Dear Karen: Congratulations. Here’s to one more year in your magical life. I am so proud of how hard you try, how much you show up. Keep going, you got this!

2 comments to Unraveling the Year Ahead – 2018

  • CarrieH

    I love this! Last year, I filled out my own answers to these prompts and found that they helped me have more focus on my intentions throughout the year. Thank you so much for sharing your heart. I so enjoy your posts and your thoughtfulness.

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