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Ending the Year: A Few Easy Things to Do

Ending the YearEnding the Year: It’s that weird week between Christmas an New Year’s where you may be working, but you aren’t quite back in the saddle. I thought I would offer a few things to do in this in between week that will help make your new year a little brighter.

Choose Your One Word

I’m looking ahead at what I want to see next year and what I think I might encounter and I am solidifying my choice of word. Here are some questions you can ask yourself as you go about choosing yours.

Jot Down All the Ideas

I’m in the process of putting down all of the ideas I have for goals for next year. A friend recently asked what the difference was between New Year’s Resolutions and Goals and honestly, probably nothing, except my goals get worked on all year and the bad rap that Resolutions have for fading off in the month has always made me wary of them. I usually do 9 goals, but am considering 12 this year because either I’m overly optimistic or I want to really hustle. Either way, this time is when I start writing down all the ideas. No idea is too big or too silly at this point and they are a mix of work goals and personal goals.

Purge Your Closet

I will be spending some time this week packing away the warm stuff, getting rid of the things that I never wear, and pairing down my clothes in general. I’m completely enamored by Un-fancy’s approach and am thinking of really doing a capsule wardrobe. I don’t love clothes (for a variety of reasons that I’m sure a therapist would enjoy) and want to look polished and put together – that is my only goal. Either way a purge to the closet is in order this week.

Goodbye Old Cornstarch

On Christmas Eve I made traditional fondue, which was great because my daughters boyfriend had never had it. Unfortunately, when I opened the cornstarch there were creepy crawly things in it. Umm. Yuck. So, this week I will be going through our pantry and saying goodbye to anything old and outdated.

Read All the Books

I am diving into the Name of the Wind, a fantasy fiction tome that I would never have chosen, but our badass book club learned that Lin-Manuel Miranda has the rights for TV and film for it and we wanted to be in the know. Therefore I have stepped into unknown territory and am reading a book that has a map with faraway places, killer iron spiders and magicians of some sort. It’s the perfect week for this epic tale.

Ending the Year Doing Good

Move Your Body

I broke my eating plan with a few (literally three) chocolate chocolate chip cookies and an orange roll this holiday and you might have done even more damage and so this week is a great week to do some slow yoga, go on walks and move a little more than you were moving over the holiday.

Whatever you do this week love your people and be kind to those around you. Last week I had to stop into Walmart (something I don’t do very often) and I stopped the worker in produce and asked if they always work in produce. He visibly tightened and said yes, but he wasn’t the manager. I let him know that I didn’t need a manager, but wanted him to know that the current batch of California navel oranges that they have is amazing and that I am so pleased to have them this winter. He relaxed and said no one ever says anything nice and only complains. He was stunned and wished me a happy holiday. People, we can do better. We can be kind during this week and throughout the year.

Answers About Choosing One Word for the Year

One WordIt’s that time of year when you are either freaking out over the holiday or you are preparing for the new year. I’m doing a little bit of both, but mostly I’m thinking about what I want my One Word to be for next year. In the free Do Good Work group we have had people message me with questions about having One Word and I thought I’d answer them here (you know their question might be your question).

Why Have One Word?

Q: What’s the point to choosing a word for the year? I like that people do it, but I just don’t see how I can use that in my own life.

A: If you have ever made a New Year’s Resolution you have an idea what doesn’t work. That idea, picking something you want to change, usually only lasts until the end of January and then you are back to eating donuts every morning and skipping the gym. That’s how choosing One Word is different. It isn’t about changing any one thing and is instead about having on idea to focus on for the whole year. It’s about living by intention instead of just ping ponging through your day. For instance, if your word is Focus, you might realize that you need to pay better attention in meetings, let go of procrastination or pay attention to the things that really matter.

Choosing One Word doesn’t change your life by some magic of the word. It’s about you putting it into your life and work in a meaningful everyday kind of way.

How Do I Make My One Word More Real This Year?

Q: I’ve chosen words in the past, but they just didn’t seem important. What am I doing wrong and how can I put them in the forefront.

A: You are what you pay attention to and that is the same with your One Word. If you choose it in January and then just stop thinking about it you aren’t really using it to make a difference. Throughout the next year in the Do Good Work Facebook Group we will have monthly prompts and check in on where we are with our word to make it more relevant to our day to day. Some things you can do are post it prominently in your workspace or somewhere you spend a lot of time, some folks purchase jewelry with it stamped on it and wear that throughout the year and you can add it as a hashtag to your Instagram photos to keep you focused on your intention.

I Can’t Decide on My Word

Q: I have a few words that I am thinking about, but I can’t decide.

A: The questions I ask myself when I’m deciding on my One Word are: What are you trying to achieve? How do I want to feel? At the end of the year what would my word and world look like to me?

When someone can’t come up with their word I often suspect that they are afraid of what they really really want. So, write down all the things you really really want and your word will come out of that.

Whatever word you choose I hope your year is stellar!

Simplicity – A Light Filled Holiday

Simplicity

Simplicity… oh if only the holidays could scream simple! This year, more by circumstance than all the choices, they are. My husband has had the flu for over a week. He starts to get better and then feels miserable again. I also, as the director of our Main Street program, plan 4 solid weeks of holiday fun for our downtown. That, btw, is way better than the flu. Both together means we haven’t really started our own holiday at all. Simplicity it is!

This is a series to kick out 2016 with all the joy I can stand.

What Simplicity Christmas Looks Like For Me

Gifts: I’m thinking that people need less. Like way less. I’m considering doing two gifts per person and a stocking and that’s it. (Doing means I haven’t started, which is how it goes.) This is the last year it is going to be just all adults and I want to savor in that a little. Kids mean stuff (although I know my daughter is going to try to do less stuff). This year we can just enjoy each other, play games, do a puzzle and unwrap just a few things.

Decorations: Usually we would have our tree by now, but with my husband sick he just wasn’t into going out and getting one. I’m going to go tomorrow and see if I can find one. I’m planning on white lights and possibly no decorations. For me the look of a tree with lights is all I ever really want any more.

My beautiful friend felt so bad on hearing about the the delay of our decorations gifted be a beautiful hand crafted wreath. It’s just gorgeous and looks perfect in the hallway/dining room/entryway (tiny house/cottage problems).

Food: We already do a simple hors d’oeuvres only Christmas Eve dinner. We snack, play games, do a craft all evening. It makes that meal simple. The snacks are beautiful and take a tiny bit of time, but it is relished over hours instead of the typical meal which lasts about 10 minutes.

We do a large breakfast, but now that I am grain/sugar free this could be challenging. We used to make orange rolls and a big breakfast casserole, but that won’t be in the works this year. I’ll just have to get creative and make something good, but good for us, too.

Dinner that night will be pot roast in the crock pot probably. Although I love to cook I have more fun just hanging out that night and have found something easy makes the evening just, well, simpler.

Simple to me means without fuss, spare, but not sparse, light and airy. I love the simplicity of decorations, less rushing to buy gifts and enjoying easy food. For some this might seem like the antitheses of the holiday, which by design, seems fueled with overconsumption at every level and if that’s your thing – go for it! For me I’ll enjoy a light filled holiday with friends and family.

Basically I live the “hygge” lifestyle already and should live in Denmark, Sweden or Norway. What’s Hygge? According to How to Hygge: The Secret to Nordic Living, “Every country and family has their own version. It’s kind of a zen-like state. Think mindfulness 2.0. It’s about relishing the simple things in life, stepping back and noticing the things that matter, but instead of looking inwards as you’re encouraged to in context of traditional mindfulness or meditation, it’s centred on looking outwards, restoring yourself socially and simple, everyday indulgences. It’s not concerned with perfection, it’s all about appreciation and living life well, but not necessarily by the book.”

“Hygge values the idea of cherishing yourself: candlelight, bakeries, and dinner with friends; a celebration of experiences over possessions, as well as being kind to yourself and treasuring a sense of community.” It’s about being cozy, calm and safe – and is THE trend for this winter AND in my house.

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