2018: Ready or Not, Here I Come
The time has come for me to reflect on what’s behind me and what’s ahead of me. In some ways, 2017 was a disappointment. In other ways, it was a pleasant success. And overall, it was a valuable learning experience.
I made 2017 all about gratitude. Save for a small handful of days, I kept a daily journal in which I listed ten (sometimes more) things, people, outcomes, etc., for which I was grateful. This practice was uplifting on good days and reinforcing on bad days. No matter what, I was never in shortage of gratitude.
Personally, I dug into my first year of marriage. People say that first year is always the hardest, and I believe it. My husband and I faced unexpected financial challenges, which changed our lifestyle trajectory, and health challenges, which have a way of putting everything into perspective. And yet, we were grateful to retain many of the qualities of our lifestyle we value—freedom and flexibility to take a couple of road trips (including Devil's Tower in Wyoming and Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, Arizona to attend my brother’s wedding, and Texas to celebrate Thanksgiving with my in-laws); start a freelance editing and book-building business; and—something I had been wanting for many years—adopt a sweet tuxedo cat. My husband and I continued to grow as partners, lovers, and, most importantly, friends. We still laugh together almost every day. Even when we’re not in the same time zone.
We also made a decision to relocate to the East Coast this coming spring. Leaving the Billings, Montana, community that so lovingly embraced me, and the place where my husband’s roots are planted deep, is not going to be easy. But the idea of new adventures, as well as proximity to the ocean and other people and places dear to me, excites both of us.
Professionally, 2017 ended with several highlights:
Yet, I struggled in other areas. I had attempted yet again—and failed, yet again—to maintain a connection to readers via this blog. In fact, I spent much of the year wanting to engage with readers and writers via social media and other options. Other goals, personal and professional, fizzled out.
These are all first-world failures, so to speak. If these are the worst of my shortcomings, then my life is, and continues to be, well-blessed.
So what’s in store for 2018?
I wrote a blog post for The Writer’s Habit about setting goals—I had tailored the post to target my primary audience of writers, but it was inspired by a webinar I had taken hosted by Michael Hyatt for audiences ranging from entrepreneurs to teachers to students to creative professionals to employees of all kinds at every level. As Hyatt says and I have practiced for years, it’s not recommended to share your goals with people outside your inner circle, but I will share one with you here, one that I think will be the game-changer between 2017 and 2018:
Leave my comfort zone as often as possible.
When I examine what I didn’t achieve this past year, whether personally or professionally, the number one reason was that I had been too afraid or reluctant to leave my comfort zone, resulting in giving up on some goals and never getting started on others. I was afraid to take risks. I read and learned a lot, but had difficulty applying what I’d learned. This year I am committed to bringing this particular brand of courage to everything I do, be it writing, teaching, building/growing, and/or moving. I’ll do it with my best friend and favorite person by my side. I’ll do it by thinking from the end and working my way back. I’ll do it with positive affirmations and tracking/measuring my results. I’ll do it one day at a time.
I’d entered 2017 worried. I’m entering 2018 determined. That, too, makes all the difference.
What will 2018 be for you? I encourage you to aim high, leave your comfort zone, and, above all, keep reading.
1/3/2018 10:34:07 am
I retired two and a half years ago, my goals were to get back to being more creative on several different fronts. My first year there were quite a bit of travel opportunities and readjustment. Plus I did one more year as an adjunct professor. Financial restrictions last winter were more of a surprise than I anticipated. I went through a wide range of emotions, but finally decided that it is what is is and I better figure out how I/we were going to deal with it. Getting control was what I decided I needed. There is a lot that I have to go through and organize. We've lived in our house for 40 years...so a lot of stuff. It was overwhelming. I would start one place then think no, I should do that instead. Comfort zone was not comfortable. I have always sewn in my attic but it had become an advanced storage and catch all. I want it to become a sewing/studio area. I did tell some of my close friends of my plans. I felt by telling them it made me more accountable. I was cruising along until Thanksgiving when I realized I really needed to step up because I needed to make several Christmas presents (saving money). So I did get a workable area cleared and I did my sewing, but now that we are in a deep freeze and I'm in bed with a sinus infection, I'm not working on it. That isn't stopping me from thinking about what I'm going to do next. While it's not always easy to do, look at the upcoming changes as adventures and enjoy the journey!
1/3/2018 11:17:04 am
Ellen, thanks so much for sharing -- I hope you are resting and feeling better! Sounds like you have been through quite a transition, with all its peaks and valleys.
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I'm an author of commercial women's fiction and a writing instructor. My claim to fame: I can say the alphabet backwards.