Since my last post, I have been doing a lot of reflecting on this past year. I have been truly blessed this past year, by being able to check off some things on my bucket list. And while I was able to experience many things, at times, I still felt like I was stuck or stagnant in my life. In my attempt at adulting, I have been introduced to reality. I have learned that reality can delay some dreams, but it can also teach us that nothing worth having comes easy.
At the end of every year, my Pastor challenges us to think and pray about our word for the next year. I love this idea because it helps me to focus on that theme for the next year. For 2016, I decided that my word would be “act.” I was interested in acting and modeling and wanted to continue pursuing more opportunities in 2016. I also wanted to “act” on more of my goals that year; so it was a two-fold word. While I was able to “act” on a lot of my goals, I realized that I was not completing anything; so in 2017, I decided my word would be “finish.” As a symbolic gesture, I decided to finish reading a book that I had partially read. Once I finished the book, I felt like I could take on any task/goal that I put my mind to. Instead of doing multiple tasks at once, I would finish one task and then move on to another task.
However, even with this newfound sense of completion, something was still missing. Have you ever felt like you were pursuing after many things but you were not reaping the fruits of your labor? Or like you were focusing on too many areas/dreams/people/etc. in your life and unsure which should get more of your focus? Well, that’s how I felt this year. I wanted to pursue after acting/modeling, write a short film or book, find a new job, build a successful blog, learn how to be an adult, grow a relationship with God and others, start my own non-profit, exercise and eat healthy, and the list goes on and on. I was having difficulty determining what I needed to focus on now and what could wait until another stage in my life.
In my time of reflection, I came up with eight areas that I wanted to focus on for next year. And since having a general goal can be quite vague, I wrote down specific goals and specific ways I would define success in that area. For example, with my blog I want to: get at least 100 followers next year, collaborate with other bloggers, have new experiences to talk about, create impactful topics, and eventually start generating revenue. By listing mini goals, I can accurately decide if I accomplished my overall goal of creating a successful blog.
After writing down all of my goals and thinking about these past years, I know the word I want to define 2018…intentional. Sure, I could start and finish different tasks and goals, but the intentionality behind them made them unfulfilling in my life. Many times this year I have prayed to God that I wanted more time, more rest, more money, more, more, more. Yet, I think He’s been trying to get me to be intentional with my time, money, etc., I have now. Instead of sitting on the couch and watching television when I get off of work, I can use that time to read the Bible or exercise or write more blog posts. Instead of being super frugal with my money, I could give more and help others. Being intentional takes acting upon somthing to another level. I am really excited about what 2018 has to offer me…but more importantly, I am excited about what will materialize in my life as a result of me being intentional.
If you have ever felt stagnant in life, I challenge you to also come up with a word to focus on next year. I know that 2018 will be even better than 2017 for all of us. I love this picture I found online by Luke Carliff, of a seed growing around dead leaves. There may be dead things in or around our life, but we cannot let those things define us. So with that said, let’s take the lessons of 2017 to have an amazing 2018.