Have you ever created a focus word for the year? 2016 was the first year I did it – the year of ambition – and I loved having a mantra to help me push through the times I wasn’t feeling so ambitious. This year I’ve created a new focus and I urge you to do the same! Think of it as a mantra, the year of _______! Here are my tips for setting a focus word for the year:
Take time to think about it
I initially did a lot of brainstorming before choosing a word. I thought long and hard about what I wanted this year to be all about. When I say long and hard, I mean weeks! Maybe your word will just come to you, or maybe it’s going to take some soul-searching.
Feeling stuck? I wrote down a few words that I was thinking about and then waited a few days to see if I still felt drawn to them. Creativity ended up sticking out to me the most. You can also try looking up the dictionary definition of a few words to see which you feel most aligned with.
What does this word mean to you?
So, you’ve found a word that really resonates with you!? Awesome! Here come all the philosophical questions….
- What does this word mean to you?
- Does it get you closer to a happier, more authentic version of yourself?
- How will you embody the word this year?
- How will it impact your life?
How do your goals correlate with your focus?
Be sure to do your research. Do those goals correlate with your focus? Are they doable?
I’ve talked about this particular No Meat Athlete podcast episode in my #MakethemostofyourMonday emails before but I’m mentioning it again because it resonated with me that much! Definitely worth a listen… Basically, the guys at NMA talk about setting an umbrella goal then be more specific and defined in different areas of your life.
My umbrella, my FOCUS, for the year is to be more creative. That’s pretty encompassing and can’t mean a lot of things…. and that’s great! Then it’s up to you to define how you’ll put it into action.
A few weeks ago I wrote about goal setting and my 2017 goal setting and my 2017 goals . In the spirit of creativity, this year I tried to think creatively while setting my goals. In the past I have set fitness goals like “run 1 half marathon and 1 ten-miler” or “run 5 days a week” but did I stick with them? NO… because I would get stressed out or overwhelmed. Our goals should inspire us, not set us up for failure.
With my focus in mind, I took a totally different approach to goal setting this time around. For example, one of my main goals is to run at least one race each month! This was my tricky little way of getting myself to run more, while not setting too many limits. One race, of any distance, per month. Plus, it’s a fun and achievable challenge. And if I’m racing that often, I’ll HAVE to train. See what I did there?
Put your focus into action daily
For me, that means doing something every day that helps me get in touch with my creative side, whether it’s writing content for the blog or newsletter, playing guitar, painting, decorating our apartment, editing photos or videos, or even doodling in my planner.
Think about the many ways to put your word into action. I suggest even making a list of things you can do – big or small – that correlate with your focus.
It doesn’t always have to be something you DO. Researching or reading books related to your focus helps you get in that mindset. I recently bought The Creativity Challenge, The Little Spark, and Big Magic to get my creative juices flowing. Do a quick search for your word!
Maybe there’s an online class or challenge to get you on the right track? If you enjoy journaling, keeping a daily focus journal is another great option.
Give yourself reminders
I have sticky notes, quotes, and reminders posted all over my office and in my planner to remind me each day to embody my focus word. Write it on your mirror, make a playlist, or write your focus word on every page of your planner if you have to! Because I did it last year, I made myself a #wearwhatyouneed bracelet that says “creativity.” I wear a few of these bracelets so I have a daily reminder of the way I want to live my life and focus my energy.
It’s never too late to create – or change- your focus!
You don’t necessarily need to have your focus word ready on January 1st (obviously not, since we are well past that date by now). Maybe setting a focus for an entire year doesn’t feel doable for you… try setting a monthly or quarterly intention instead. Whatever will give you that extra KICK to get busy living.
Or, if you find that your focus has shifted, it’s okay to change your word. It’s not a legally binding agreement or anything- this is YOUR life. A focus word is put in place not to restrict or change you, but a reminder to be mindful and reflective, as well as to help push to be the best version of yourself!
My 2017 focus: creativity
After careful deliberation, I decided to claim 2017 as my year of creativity! I had other words in mind, but I’ve been itching to get back to my creative roots and just MAKE STUFF. The past few years have been wonderful and full of new experiences but I’ve been so all over the place that I haven’t taken as much time for myself to do these things I love. Creating a focus or mantra allows me to hone in on one aspect of my life and myself that I’ve been neglecting a little bit while I put school and travel first.
As a kid, I loved doing crafts, pottery, painting, you name it. I took every art class my high school had to offer. In college, I was always that friend with an overflowing craft bin under her bed, ready in 5 with my paintbrushes or glue gun. You could find me and roommates up late painting shells and wine glasses, or DIYing our own Halloween costumes. I would sit by the beach and paint canvases for my friends just because. I recently found myself wondering how in the world I had time for all of this? Obviously, I had fewer responsibilities but the moral of the story is that I made the time.
I desperately miss doing all of the artsy things. So this year I’m determined to once again make the time to create. It relaxes me, makes me happy, and it’s just plain good for my soul. So this year, I’m making creativity a priority. Being “creative” is pretty encompassing, which is awesome!
I also want to find ways to incorporate creative thinking into all parts of my life. I spent a few days this month organizing all of my craft and office supplies into my craft closet (which I’m excited to share soon!) so that I have a creative space that’s useful, accessible, and inspiring. Now everything I need to get crafty is all in one place, adorably organized! I have my instruments hanging up on the walls, just begging to be played. I plan to get creative at school by bringing my guitar in more often and choosing projects as assignment options for my classes.
I want to creatively incorporate more fitness into my life- like joining a running group and trying a new pole studio! I didn’t want to tell myself to go weekly or get a membership or jump back in, but to take baby steps back into a type of creative exercise that I used to love for making me feel strong and beautiful and capable. I want to get back to those feelings. (For those of you who are not aware, pole dancer is not synonymous with stripper. Pole fitness is an incredible workout that works muscles you didn’t even know you had. … More on that in a future post.) I also hope to form a more consistent posting schedule so that I have more time and energy to pour my heart into quality content to help inspire you guys!
Have YOU created a focus word for the year? Let me know in the comments!