For the past three years, instead of writing a long list of resolutions or goals, I’ve come up with ONE WORD I want to guide my year. I’ve also encouraged my family to come up with their own words and share why they picked them.
You can see the trend. I’ve picked words that are aspirational and that describe what I want to do or have more of in my life, which is very full and can tend to be fast-paced, busy, and anxiety-inducing.
I continue to want breathing, peace, and focus to be a big part of my life, and focusing on those words has helped me make some fundamental changes in my daily habits. As I brainstormed what One Word I want to guide this year, I jotted down in my journal concepts and ideas that I’ve been contemplating and that have resonated with me:
Slowing down and living a less hurried life, with more “margin” between projects and events.
Taking a true Sabbath / a full day break from work and screens.
Simplifying – having fewer belongings and more organized, functional spaces.
Having more time in nature/outside throughout the year.
Spending more time connecting well with family & friends, listening well and focusing completely on them.
Being quiet and sitting in silence.
Using more brake pedal and less acceleration.
Living in the moment.
After giving it some thought, my One Word for 2020 is Presence.
I had fun creating some presence-related graphics to inspire my year. Feel free to download and use yourself!
Resources I’ve Found Helpful
Books I’ve already read:
When the Heart Waits, Sue Monk Kidd
Books I plan to read this year:
Presence, Amy Cuddy
Tips for Being Present
So, how do we stay present? The first thing to recognize is that, try as we might, we really can only do one thing at a time, so we ought to do that thing wholeheartedly. Most of our time is spent in the past or the future, rather than the present moment. What we end up doing is passing through that moment on the way to somewhere else and, in doing so, we miss the moment. That’s how life ends up passing us by – we do it to ourselves.
Instead of having a mind full of so many different thoughts, ideas, and worries, practice focusing on what’s right in front of you. I love this image from Lyndhurst Meditation:
In 6 Practical Ways for Being Present, Leo Babauta suggests having a small, regular daily practice, something as simple as just two minutes of breathing. I’ve found the Calm app, which I started using about a month ago, extremely helpful. After practicing the simple breathing/mindfulness the app urges, I’m finding myself, throughout the day, reminding myself to notice my breathing and my thinking. Another suggestion Babauta has, and one which I find helpful for being present in the moment, is daily journaling and reflection.
“There is only one time that is important – NOW! It is the most important time because it is the only time that we have any power.”
“I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.”
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
I will keep presence at the top of my mind with a daily reminder as my computer screensaver.
And using sticky notes, of course!