This year I was encouraged to come up with some words that were my personal goals. It doesn’t mean I’ve attained perfection in these areas, but they would be areas of personal growth and focus. It was hard to choose just a few, but I narrowed it down to these three words: Available. Intentional. Healthy.
When our energy is divided it doesn’t go very far, but when we focus in on a couple of things, those same efforts are amplified and go much farther. McKeown’s full time job is helping companies and individuals narrow their goals. Clarify and simplify their mission statements for the biggest impact.
For this, I wasn’t allowed to be ambiguous. I had to define what was important me – at least for this year – as far as personal growth.
Essentialism = You can’t be all things to all people. Do one or two things and do it well.
After I quit my job, one of the words God gave me was Available.
Before that, I had been so caught up in feeling Productive, that I had made myself less Available – to my friends, to Josh, and to my children.
Even when I was present in body, sometimes I was too exhausted from work to be mentally present. Or I would snap and be in a hurry to put the kids to bed when I got home.
I didn’t think I was ready to handle the free time that staying home with my kids would give me.
I was afraid of not being Productive.
I was afraid of my mind going somewhere dark without constant stimulation and problem-solving.
But here I am, and God has confirmed this decision time and time again. One of the reasons he’s showed me is to make more Available.
It came up so much that I chose it as one of my personal words for this year.
What does Available look like to me?
When I’m Available, I’m not full of plans.
There is mental space and room on the calendar for seeing people and catching up.
There is room for cuddling my kids and for lazy days at home when we need them.
It isn’t about go-go-going all the time.
It’s about having space.
It’s about the memories that happen when the rushing ceases and time just stands still.
And we’re present with one another.
As an American, it is hard concept to grasp. We are taught hard work, productivity, and the American Dream.
But I’ve been practicing and I think I’m getting better at it.
I’m grateful that I didn’t wait any longer to open up my life to the (scary) opportunity of free time.
And grateful that once I did it, my brain didn’t go to a dark place.
I struggled with postpartum depression, especially after giving birth to my second child, and working helped me power through some of those lonely places.
Social interaction and a full plate was what I needed at the time.
And I don’t judge working moms one bit. It’s a challenging thing to juggle and you have my utmost respect.
But for me, God was telling me I was well enough to take a leap of faith and open up that free time.
To sit in the space and be there for others who might need a shoulder to cry on.
I’ve been there. Maybe I can help others.
This simply means that I think before I act.
I do the things I do the way I do them on purpose.
I do things intentionally because I intentionally eliminated the less-important things.
I prioritize as best I can and focus on those few, important things. I do them as well as I can and I don’t mess with the rest.
Intentionality may be one of those vague, breezy words floating around out there on the internet. But to me it is a very specific lifestyle.
I’m defining Intentional as being careful with my time, and being fully present in whatever I’m doing – giving my full attention to the person, place, or thing that is with me.
It means under-booking our schedule and saying yes to the things that I’m genuinely and wholeheartedly excited about.
It means being mindful with my time and my daily habits. If I’m not intentional, I’ll easily squander an entire day surfing the internet and come away feeling depleted and empty.
Likewise, it is laying down the need to feel “busy” and “important.”
It is contentment coupled with mindfulness – lived out.
Intentionality takes practice. I don’t think any of us are born good at it.
I’m not an expert at this, but it’s a goal and not an achievement. You have to start somewhere.
It isn’t selfish on my part to take it.
If I’m not well, then my family isn’t well.
This means physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health.
This means pouring into healthy relationships, and maintaining a healthy marriage.
One of the very best gifts I can give my children is a healthy momma. I don’t take it lightly.
Many women struggle to prioritize themselves. It’s easy to lose our identity in our children.
It’s easy to wonder what people will think if we pursue our own interests or go to the gym in the evenings.
I care about myself.
I believe I matter.
I believe that pouring into myself is worth it, and there is no shame or guilt in that.
Some of the best moms I know take time to themselves every week – or even every day!
You are worth it. Your family deserves a healthy you – even if there is a cost involved.
Again, I haven’t fully arrived in this area. There is vast room for improvement.
I don’t tend to put myself last, but I do tend to put financial goals higher on my priority list than taking care of myself.
But I’m working on it. I went to the doctor this year when something was bothering me – even though I didn’t want to swallow the copay, I knew my health was worthwhile.
If you feel that you need to prioritize your health, and baby steps are all you can muster for now – that’s okay. Baby steps add up!
The biggest thing is creating those habits. Making it feel more and more natural to nourish your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
What are your words for this year? Do you have any resolutions or goals you want to focus on going forward? I’d love to hear it!
Photography by Alex Marie