For the past four years, my therapist and I have used our last session of the year in December to recap some big wins and set new intentions and priorities for the upcoming year. It’s not so much a list of resolutions as it is committing to a mantra. I consider the ways I want to feel so that when I’m making decisions, I’m very clear on the why behind them. Last night was our final session of the year, and I left beaming over the priorities I’ve set and the mantras we created to keep me focused on the path forward. I’m always inspired to hear what others are working on, so in the spirit of sharing, here are a few priorities I’ve set that might help you discover how to prioritize your life, too.
Feature image by Riley Reed
A moment of celebration as this was very much a win for me in 2021. For the first time in a while, I took back my calendar and energy, and put myself at the top of list this year. I had been so available for everyone from work to dinners and hangs that I often felt resentful, tired, and always behind. Now, I feel in control of my schedule and most importantly, my mental and physical health.
Here’s what that looks like: identifying the moments you need to pump the breaks. When I travel, I block my calendar two days before and two days after to rest up and catch up on the essentials with work and home. If I’m giving a big presentation or moderating a panel, I block my calendar before for an entire week to rest, move my body, and fully prepare. Listen, athletes have no problem zoning in on what needs to be done to perform their best, and that’s the way I approach my performance in work, friendships, etc.
I’m continuing this as it sets me up to be fully present with my friends, family, and work.
More Honest and Tough Conversations
I grew up an appeaser, one that was afraid of big feelings, “rocking the boat,” or making others feel uncomfortable. Therapy has helped to bring me closer to having tough conversations more often. In the past year, I dove in strong and 100% of those conversations have been worth it, and have always saved time by being direct and honest. It’s true what they say, the more you have them, the easier it gets, and for me, it’s imperative if I’m to truly live in alignment and make my relationships flourish and strengthen. If I can impart any advice from my experience: get out of your head making up scenarios and just have the conversation. And remember, you’re not responsible for other’s feelings, so please don’t take that on. Yes, be kind in your honesty, and be responsible for your part, but other’s emotions aren’t your problem to absorb.
Feel like this one is always top of mind, but my approach is different. I know my body and self well enough to know that when I move it, I feel 100% better. In the past, movement has meant breaking a big sweat, going hard, and even on my days off, still doing the most. All things that are impossible for me to sustain. What I want, and what I am prioritizing is 30 minutes of movement every day. Whether it’s a light walk, taking the stairs versus the elevator a few times, walking to the store, swim, bike ride, yoga, stretching, or something a bit sweatier, the idea is that I’m simply doing something. Not for a goal of losing weight, but to live an active life and feel good.
Consumption for the Planet
In an effort to be kinder to the planet and not contribute to waste, I’m reprioritizing how I’m accepting gifting from brands, and how much I’m consuming. One look in my closet and I’ve been a bit detached from what I actually need, wear, and receive. There’s no shortage of clothing rental companies from Rent the Runway to Nuuly, not to mention my own sister’s closet. Ever notice how having more things takes more time? More time to clean, take inventory, or if you’re like me, spend more time trying to find things? I’ve made massive efforts in my kitchen, storage, and water bottle usage, and this is next on my list.
The older I get, the more I understand the types of things (and people) that give me energy and what sucks it up. It’s very much along the lines of my first tip, “Me, first,” which is: I don’t have the capacity to do or be around people (willingly, anyway) that suck my energy, the energy of the room, or to be a part of a project that doesn’t light me up. Our energy is limited, and we need to preserve it for those that are deserving of it. Not sure what to tell someone that wants your time, and you don’t want to give it? Simply respond with, “I’m not available, thanks for thinking of me.” We don’t owe anyone an explanation that we don’t want to give one to. I mentioned to my therapist that I’ve been doing this, and I’ve been ruthless with my schedule, and she helped me reframe that one to I’m not being ruthless, I’m being very mindful and intentional with where and how I want to spend my time. I hope that reframe helps you, too.
New Year, New Part-Time Location?
I really shouldn’t put a question mark in there because it’s very much something I believe will happen. You know what they say, watch out what you put into the universe because it’ll happen. So here I am putting it out there and excited where it leads. My grand plan is to live outside of Austin during the summer (June 1 – Sept 1) and head back to California and/or Colorado to be closer to the ocean and mountains. The flexibility of working remotely paired with my disdain for Texas summers and my love for the coast and mountains is calling me loud, and I’m working hard to make this a reality. If you’re reading this and think you can help with rentals, spaces, etc., I am listening.
After my therapist and I identified my priorities she said, “How do you want to feel in December 2022 in our last session of the year?” My response?
I want to feel nourished and fulfilled by the way I spent my time, and how I took care of myself, my friends, my family, the community, and the environment.
I think these priorities will help me achieve just that. What are yours?