Two years ago, I chose the word REST for my Word of the Year. And it changed my life.
I’d tried to jump on the whole “Word of the Year” bandwagon before, but it just never stuck. I would begin the year with these big ambitions and then I’d fizzle out.
OR, I wouldn’t really define what that word meant and how it was going to shape my goals and my focus for the year. So it was just a good idea that never went anywhere.
I thought maybe I was just not cut out for the whole Word of the Year thing. I thought maybe it didn’t work for my personality or something.
That was, until I declared 2016 my Year of Rest. And well, the rest is history.
I’m not the same person I was when I started 2016. I’m so much calmer. So much less stressed. So much healthier. So much happier. So much more content. And get this, I’m so much more productive! Because I’ve learned to invest my life in a few things and do those things really well. Instead of chasing a hundred things and just feeling constantly overwhelmed and exhausted.
So how was I finally successful at this whole Word of the Year thing? Well, I believe it was because of three reasons:
1. I drew a line in the sand.
Instead of thinking that I just needed to get more organized or sleep less or find a way to use my time more wisely, I realized that I needed to draw a line in the sand and make some major changes in my life because I didn’t love my life at all and didn’t want to live life so exhausted and overwhelmed and lacking joy… just trying to make it through.
2. I defined what it would mean.
In addition to drawing a line in the sand, I sat down and defined what it would mean to claim Rest as my word for the year. It meant that I would say no to pretty much everything and everyone except the absolute necessity until I found some breathing room in my life. I wanted to actually discover what it would feel like to not live life at breakneck speed, to not constantly be going-going-going, and to not be so overwhelmed by my to do list.
3. I declared my intentions publicly.
I got brave and posted publicly that I was committing to have a Year of Rest in 2016. Putting it out there for all the world really gave me the courage and accountability to follow through with me.
At the time, I didn’t even realize that my worth was coming from what I did or that productivity had become a sort of “drug” for me. When I committed to a Year of Rest, it gave me the space I needed to untether myself from being chained to a worth based on productivity, to pry my hands off of my tight grip of trying to control so many things in my life, and to step way back from my usual highly-driven, task-oriented focus.
And it was there, that a whole new world opened up for me! It was colorful and full of life and joy and breathing room. And I’ve never gone back.
Inspired by my 2016 Year of Rest success, I chose the word Yes for 2017. This wasn’t about saying Yes to adding more to my plate, it was about saying “Yes” to more fun and spontaneity and the few things that really matter most and are my priorities in this season of life.
I loved spending some time today reviewing this past year and seeing all of the fruit of my commitment to saying Yes. In 2017, I said yes to:
among many other things!
As I’ve been contemplating what my word for 2018 would be, it just sort of came to me at the beginning of November. But I let it simmer and marinate for a few weeks before I even mentioned it to Jesse. Because I wanted to make sure it was the right word.
I still felt a peace about it after a few weeks, so I told Jesse. He loved it.
So I got brave and told and few close friends. They loved it, too.
And it was settled.
So without further ado, let me introduce you to my Word of the Year for 2018… SLOW.
2018 is my Year of Slow.
Anyone who knows me well knows that this word isn’t a word that you’d think of to describe me. I’m someone who is fast — my brain thinks quickly, I make decisions quickly, I respond quickly, I’m a fast reader, a fast eater, a fast walker.
As an INTJ, Enneagram 8, my brain doesn’t slow down much. 🙂 I don’t like to sit still, I get bored very easily, and my definition of a “quiet day” is very different than what most people would consider a “quiet day”.
So, S-L-O-W is not my usual pace.
Let me be clear: I’m not trying to change my personality this year, but I want to challenge myself to slow down in certain key areas. Because I think this would be healthy and good and, quite possibly, life-changing, for me.
Here are the specific ways I am planning to walk out more slow living:
1. I’m going to focus on being slower to speak and slower to react.
You guys, here’s the blatant truth: I can steam roll over people if I think that my idea is better than theirs (which I usually do) or if I think that my way is the right way (which I pretty much always do!) or if I feel like they are just wasting my time by talking about something when I’ve already made up my mind (which is a LOT of the time!).
My personality is such that I am able to assess situations really quickly and know what path I want to take. I’m typically a very quick decision-maker. And once I know the path I want to take, I don’t stand around worrying that I might be making the wrong decision or waiting and hyper-analyzing and researching to make sure I feel like the decision is right. I pretty much make up my mind quickly and then I JUMP.
Which can be a great trait… in many situations. But it’s not so great if you’re married to me or in a close relationship with me and I’ve made up my mind and you are not in agreement with me or haven’t had enough time to really make up your mind. (I’m sure you can envision how that would play out!)
I get impatient easily and I have a habit of cutting people off or shutting people down — without even realizing it. And it’s not good.
So one of my aims in 2018 is to s-l-o-w down when it comes to conversations with others. I want to really take time to listen if someone disagrees, to wait to move forward until I’m on the same page with Jesse, and to not cut people off or get impatient with them in conversation (I do this especially when it comes to my kids, Jesse, and a few people on my team).
2. I am going to have one SLOW day each week.
Beginning in January, I’m taking Wednesday off from work every week to have an intentional SLOW day — an unplugged, offline day where I’ll move at a slower pace.
That’s the day I have Discipleship Group in the morning and I’m planning to go on a date with Jesse after Discipleship Group. It will be my day to invest in my local community, hang out with Jesse, read, and enjoy a quieter and slower pace.
I’ve planned our routine and my weekly commitments accordingly and I’m really curious to see if I can actually consistently do this! Will you help keep me accountable??
3. I’m going to stop reading self-help books this year. (Shocking!!)
I know. Did you just fall out of your chair??
Considering that this is the genre I almost always gravitate toward and considering how much I love to read, this is pretty shocking. I came up with the idea a month or so ago and it took me two weeks before I would even say it out loud because it felt so scary.
But when I told a close friend, she said, “If it scares you, you might consider whether that means it would be a really good thing?”
And I knew she was right. Jesse agreed.
So here’s the reason I’m not going to read any self-help books in 2018: In the spirit of my Year of Slow, I want to stop reading books that are making me feel like I’m not doing enough — that I need to do more and add more to my plate.
There’s nothing wrong with self-help books and I think they can be fantastic — especially when you’re in seasons where you need the encouragement and motivation. But there’s also a point, when you’ve read so many books about time management that you just need to stop reading them and get up and apply what you already know.
So instead of reading self-help books, I want to read books that are going to help me exhale — spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally. (Such as story-driven books, inspirational books, fiction books, biographies, etc.)
So there’s that! I can’t wait to see what my Year of Slow holds for me, what I’m going to learn this year, and how this word is going to change my life!
Did you choose a word for 2018? If so, I’d love to hear what you chose and why you chose it!
Speaking of time management books and productivity, I have been working on a surprise project the past 2 months and finally get to tell you about it! I’m launching a live group coaching in January called 4 Weeks to a More Productive Life where I’ll be walking you through some life-changing principles to help you live a much more productive and fulfilled life.
It’s designed for you if you…
- Wish you could change your life, but don’t where to start
- Hope to find a way to become more productive and get more done, but feel overwhelmed by the thought of taking yet another productivity course or reading yet another book on time management.
- Want to make 2018 the year that you actually stop wishing and hoping and planning and start DOING.
Doors will open for a few days only beginning January 1, 2018. If you are interested, you’ll want to sign up to be on the waitlist because you’ll be the first to know when it’s available and you’ll also get access to my brand-new printable called 6 Ways to Start your New Year Well.
Go here to sign up — I can’t wait to have you join me for the live coaching!