Present. That was my 2019 word. My theme. My mantra if you will.
To to be present and aware and awake. I wanted to feel and breathe and listen and slow the heck down.
Every year I pick one word as my theme word. Something that in the morning I can say "Ok, I'm going to be more blank today." and at night I can ask myself "Was I blank today?"
Something that I can focus on and work on becoming for an entire year. I love this idea so much that I joke, but am 100% serious, about getting a tattoo of all of my words throughout the years. Here are some from the past.
2016: Go. Do.
What a journey it has been. I LOVE looking back a whole year later and seeing how my word affected me throughout the days.
I can confidently say I thought about being present every single day. I can also confidently say that there is a BIG difference between thinking about something and doing something.
Was I perfect? Ha! You already know that answer.
No I was not perfect.
But that’s not the point, not for me. It’s not some sort of checklist that I had to be present 3 days a week. The point is to grow. To learn. To become better.
And with that as my parameter, I think I did it. I really do.
I thought about being present so darn much this year. And even more so, I did something about it.
What I found interesting is that the idea of being present was more about being aware of distractions rather than the actual being present part. I found that when I got rid of distractions, the being present came easy. Distractions like my phone, working just to work not to be productive, having unrealistic goals that when I didn't accomplish them stayed with me, not having a plan or intention in my day.
I could tell when I wasn't fully present and most times was able to identify why. That part of it was a surprise and I think will stick with me for life. Present for me isn't just a 2019 thing. It's a life thing. A lifestyle and mindset and something I want to continue to pursue every single day.
So what did I learn from a year of being present?
I SLOWED DOOOWWWNNN.
You know I'm all about that slow living life. I've realized that when I slow down, both my body and mind, that I am waaaaay more aware and present.
Life can get busy and it's not always perfect. But finding ways to slow down each day has been HUGE for me. Annnnnd...I was such a fan of this idea that it's how I finally came up with the name Each Day Slow for the blog!
See, the one word a year really does work!
THE DANG PHONE.
Our phones. I swear that time is passing us by in large part because of our phones. We’re constantly on them, constantly scrolling, constantly looking at what every one else is doing. If there's a fast way to remove yourself from the present moment, it's getting on your phone.
It's a slippery slope and a fine line but I am aware and determined to establish boundaries and healthy phone relationships. If I had read that last sentence 10 years ago, I'd have laughed out loud, but today, in 2020, it's a real thing.
Focusing on being present had me come to terms with how much I'm on my phone and what I want my life to be about.
I just know that every time I took a break from social media and my phone, real life was a whole lot richer and I want more of that.
I GAVE MYSELF REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS.
I’m a 3 on the Ennegram. I love to work and do things and lead and have people notice it. I have a really ugly tendency to do more more more and beat myself up when I fall short.
Being present this year helped me set realistic expectations for myself and PRIORITIZE what NEEDED to be done.
Instead of mindlessly working into the wee hours of every night, I gave myself a deadline and whatever I didn't get done I had to finish the next day. I gave myself room to rest and cook supper, and just be.
I did a brain dump almost every other day and was able to shut my brain off more than I have before.
Oh and a lot of grace. I gave myself a looootttt of grace this year too. That helped me be more present because when I didn't get something done, I found a way to work it into the future instead of being bummed that I didn't accomplish it.
Yep. This was the year people! I finally wrote every single day this year.
Thanks to the Q&A a day: 5 year journal, I was able to answer the questions daily in this easy to use format. When I started my day with writing down thoughts, I felt more centered and connected with the day. Aka more present.
If you're looking for a super simple format to kick off your journaling experience, definitely check out the 365 journal!
I (for the most part) CREATED A MORNING ROUTINE.
Halfway through the year I found myself falling behind with my book a month goal. It was a deciding moment of "ahhh I failed another year" or "gol dangit, I'm going to do this thing."
Part of being present was prioritizing what was really important to me and reading was a part of that.
I decided to start a morning routine. I woke up 30 minutes early, got myself a cup of coffee, read 10 pages, filled out my 365 journal, created a to-do list for the day, and did the dishes from the night before.
This helped my slow the morning down, establish priorities for the day, and tackle the day with vision and enthusiasm. I'm still not perfect at this, but I'm working hard at it!
I DID THINGS WITH INTENTION.
I love the one word because I can give a clear yes or no answer for if what I'm doing is helping me achieve that word.
Every opportunity I said yes to, every time work ran late, every walk in the woods, every early morning snuggle with Scott and Gibson, I could answer the question of if I was present in that moment.
I gave myself space from work. I left my phone at home. I asked more meaningful questions. I looked less at what others were doing and more at what I was creating.
Being present helped me be more intentional this year.
I SHARED THE IDEA OF BEING PRESENT WITH OTHERS.
The change that being present had on my life, I wanted others to experience that too. That's why I love blogging. I get to share my life and experiences with you!
I found that so many others were searching for this slow living lifestyle. That you were feeling overwhelmed by work and expectations and social media.
That you could relate by taking a walk in the woods or reading 10 pages in the morning or shutting your phone off at night.
Sharing being present with others, made me think about it even more throughout my days and doing that for an entire year, well, that really, really starts to add up!
2019 was a beautiful year of being present. I will forever cherish what this year taught me and continue to find ways to be present in life. It's when I feel most alive.
As for 2020, my word is.....
I want 2020 to be a year of abundance.
Not abundance as in more. Abundance as in opportunity.
I want to have an abundant mindset instead of a lacking one. To see the opportunities, good, and fullness in my every day.
I can't wait.
If you've never picked a word for your theme, check out this blog post I wrote to find out more!
Cheers to you and your word and this beautiful little life.
Psssttttt...if you liked this blog post, you'll probably like these too!