Happy New Year!
What a summer! I loved it and I'm sad it's over. Technically there's still another month until the first day of fall, but as any family with school-age children knows, "summer" is synonymous with "no school". Summer is over in my home, a new year has begun.
My husband and I structure our year based on the school calendar because it makes more sense for our work and family: our years start and end in August. We set goals in the summer, and then do a mid-year assessment around January 1 when everyone's talking about New Year's Resolutions. Does anyone else operate this way?
The heart of our summer is our annual vacation to my mom's lake house in Massachusetts. This is our happy place, our refuge, our retreat (see photo above). We return year after year to play, rest, reflect, and fuel up for the year ahead. It's a place of great significance for me, my husband, and our three children.
At the lake, my husband and I take time to bring closure to the year that is ending. We go through a series of questions that help us process the year and all that happened. After this, we start to dream about the year that is dawning: How do we want to grow? How do we want to live? What do we want to accomplish this year? We help one another set goals for the next year so that when we get back from the lake and the school year is about to start, we're ready to navigate our days with purpose and direction.
Here's my favorite part: I boil down my goals to one theme word (or short phrase) that I select as my North Star for the year. This has been a powerful habit for me. It becomes my mantra, the number one way I want to grow or make an impact that year. I'm not a tattoo person, but if I could get a tattoo that lasts for only a year, my theme would be my tattoo.
A few years ago, my theme was NO. I'd gotten into a bad habit of saying yes to too many things and I wanted to course correct: by saying no to many things, I could say yes to the best things. Last year, my word was BELONG. I have some deep rooted insecurities that have no place in the life of a healthy adult and this word was a battle cry for me last year; it really helped me slay some lies in my head, come more alive, and live more free. My theme this year is "+1". Its meaning is less obvious and I won't take the time to explain it right now, but it has already served me well.
I'm excited for this new year. I will continue using this blog and its Instagram account to help you thrive in the wild, wild west of Silicon Valley. Life here can be overwhelming: the pressures, the cost of living, the pace. This is all the more reason to mark your years well, to give them closure and give them foresight.
If the rhythm I describe here speaks to you, it isn't too late—it's actually the perfect time! Grab a pen and paper and brainstorm some rough draft goals. It's helpful to have a few categories that suit your life; my goals are divided into three categories: Me, Family, Work.
If the theme word for your year isn't obvious right away, let your goals simmer a few days and your theme will surface. Have it all finalized by the end of August. Print it out and tape it into your planner, or post it by your desk, and buckle your seatbelt for a year of YOU happening to life.
I wish you a year of personal growth and well-being!
***Click here to go to my Instagram account and see photos from my summer. I've come to prefer the Instagram platform over Facebook. I posted regularly on Instagram throughout the summer.