It's the start of another year. A great time to re-align our goals - and dream away.
Yes, in reality, it's just another day. Nothing truly special or magical on New Year's Day. It's only special and magical if we assign that meaning to it. And, yes, I choose to do just that. In fact, I love what Sarah Ban Breathnach says about the first day of the new year:
"New Year's Day. A fresh start. A new chapter in life waiting to be written. New questions to be asked, embraced, and loved. Answers to be discovered and then lived in this transformative year of delight and self-discovery. Today, carve out a quiet interlude for yourself in which to dream, pen in hand. Only dreams give birth to change."
That's why I usually try to prepare myself for this time of the year. For as long as I can remember, I've been journaling my reflections of the year that has passed - and writing about my hopes and goals for the year to come.
And yes, I have chosen my 10th Word of the Year!
According to Dictionary.com, thrive means:
It's a bold word in my book because whenever I choose a word, I often look at its opposite meaning. To me, this is important to think about because I believe that when we choose a word, we invite both its affirmative and negative energies to teach us something in our life that year.
That's why I never take the choosing of One Word for granted. It's powerful stuff. And, that's why I'm almost always a little bit scared whenever I choose a word.
In some ways, I see that as a good thing. To me, if I'm a little scared of the word, it means that it's meant to teach me something.
If you've used the One Word Workbook, you'd be familiar with some of these ideas and concepts. Including my annual habit of choosing a project to accompany my chosen Word of the Year.
I have shared more projects in my mini ebook, One Word Projects (available with the workbook).
Well, for one, it's a word that has stayed with me over the last few years. It seems to be waiting its turn to take centre stage in my life. So, when I started writing in the workbook, and journaling, the word kept re-appearing.
And, I realised that yes, I don't want to just survive in 2017. I want to thrive - in life and in my business. And to me, thriving means not just growth or success. It's about growing and succeeding, amidst challenges and tough times.
You see, the last 6 months or so for me have been very tough and challenging - both personally and professionally. In fact, in some areas, the challenges seemed to have been going on for much longer.
Some of the challenges can't be easily changed or removed. So, I am choosing to thrive, in spite of that fact.
That's why over the coming days, weeks, and months, I hope to learn what it means to really thrive. Perhaps, find out how I thrive. Some people thrive in adversity. Or chaos. Or external validation. I want to define my own key to thriving. And, I also look forward to understanding what it means to empower others to thrive.
This is the exciting part of choosing One Word. The part where I make it 'mine' by doing these projects, asking these questions, and maintaining an ongoing interest on how to embed the word in my life.
And yes - if you follow me on Instagram and/or Facebook, watch out for my first giveaway of the year. You'll get the chance to win your own copy of the One Word Workbook (with One Word Projects Mini Ebook) and/or a Custom Digital Art of your Word of the Year.Read More
When One Word Workbook launched last week, I was cautiously hopeful. It's something that I've wanted to do and share for so long, I was really hoping that others would love it like I do.
So far, I've heard some great feedback. My biggest pleasure is seeing the workbook actually used by someone to find focus and inspiration.
To show that I'm actually using this workbook for my own One Word of the Year, I decided to do a video walkthrough (see below). It felt a bit odd, reflecting and writing 'in public' - my thoughts, feelings, and experiences laid bare. Granted, it's all sped up, but I still felt quite vulnerable. 🙂
Thing is - I knew it would work. As I mentioned in my previous blog post and on the workbook, it is a process that I have been using for years. I even started writing it all up 3+ years ago, thinking I'd create an online workshop. But, I now think that the workbook format is a good one.
In any case, as I was filling out the workbook, I thought I'd share some tips on making the most out of the process:
Even if it's just a few words. You don't need to write in full sentences. If you notice in my entries, I used a lot of a just words and phrases. Incomplete thoughts. But, it's good to work on each concept in the process. It really helps!
There were a couple of times I thought I'd skip some, especially since I was doing a video capture. I thought people would understand. But, I also realised that it is detrimental to my own process. So, I kept at it. And I'm glad.
Even if you feel like you only have one or two things to write for now, that's okay. Keep moving! Don't stop. Just allow your mind to unfurl and open itself up on the page. Don't overthink. Reflect, write, and then go to the next item.
Yes, One Word is not necessarily a linear process. If you filled out a box and decided to move on, it's okay to go back. Add some more words, phrases, or sentences to something you thought you've already completed.
When I was collecting my words - I didn't discount my sources. I found words from books nearby, receipts, letters, poems, notes, boxes, Post It Notes, and such. I let everything speak to me.
And, in the process, I discovered words that I didn't think I'd even consider on a usual basis. The theme that emerged was completely unexpected, but not a surprise.
I've added links and such in the workbook. Make use of it! It's helpful to have an internet connection available, especially if you're filling the workbook out digitally.
If you decide to print out the workbook like Margo Min, have your digital resources handy. Or, at least, keep a dictionary and thesaurus nearby.
Oh, and yes - don't forget to save your work while you're filling out the workbook!
If you haven't got a copy yet, get your One Word Workbook here. And, please do keep me posted. I'd love to know how you're going with your One Word journey!Read More
As the end of the year closes in, how do you start winding down and preparing for the new year?
Usually, there are holiday parties, family get-togethers, and glorious get-aways that take up a lot of our energy during this season. So, taking time for planning and preparation can be a challenge.
However, one of the things that CAN make a difference in how our year unfolds may be attributed to how we approach the coming days, weeks, and months.
That's why one of the many long traditions in our society is making New Year's Resolutions. We make them with the hope of creating the change we hope for in our lives. But, unfortunately, it's something that most of us inevitably break within a few days of stating our resolutions.
Goal-setting is also another practice that many undergo in the new year. Myself included. I love setting goals. But usually, what we hope to achieve at the beginning of the year may not be the same a few months into the year. Our situations change. Our viewpoints shift.
So, while a year's worth of goal setting is also great practice, this is actually something that should be approached with a bit more fluidity. We need to review and adjust our goals every few months or so to make them fit into the more current version of ourselves.
The practice of One Word is not one that you can break or fail easily, like New Year's Resolutions. It also doesn't need to be reviewed and adjusted regularly, like goal setting.
If you've given your One Word enough time and consideration at the start, it's an amazing tool to use as a guide throughout the year. And, if you commit to 'owning' your One Word throughout the year, it can leave a lasting, life-changing impact.
Blogger and fashionista extraordinaire Julie Bonner of MomFabulous.com has this to say about the One Word practice:
"Once I started doing a word of the year instead of resolutions, things started falling into place. It also made making decisions so much easier because I base them on my word."
Julie Bonner, MomFabulous.com
And, I wholeheartedly agree. One Word offers a simple and powerful way to find focus and create change.
That's why when people started asking me questions like: "How do you choose your One Word of the year?" or "Do you find that you lose touch with your One Word as the year goes on?" - I started taking notes and documenting my own One Word process.
I want to help others find the joy and empowerment that One Word can bring. That's why I ended up creating the One Word Workbook, as well as its companion resource, the One Word Projects mini ebook.
In a nutshell, One Word Workbook is a 50+ page PDF document with tips, ideas, interactive ('fillable') pages, inspirational quotes, and check-in pages. It helps to guide you in a more thoughtful, considered way of choosing your One Word for the year. And, it provides some resources to keep you accountable and focussed, so you can really 'own' your Word and keep it top of mind throughout the year.
This type of commitment to your One Word helps to unleash its real power and potential in your life.
After all, what's the point in choosing a Word of the Year if it doesn't really do anything for you, right?
In my experience, such a commitment to my One Word helped to open an incredible array of opportunities and lessons that helped me to grow and find abundance in many ways. Amazing businesses, friendships, jobs… These are just some things that have come about through my words of the year over the last 8+ years. This is why I love sharing about this practice.
I know many others have found similar successes and joy. And, I hope that many more will find such rewards from the One Word practice.
If you're someone who wants to see what One Word can bring you in the coming year (or even many years to come), I hope that you'll give One Word Workbook a go. I look forward to supporting you in the process!
One Word Projects is a 20+ page mini ebook in PDF format. It contains 10 projects, with tips and ideas on how you can maximise the use of your One Word. You can opt for simple or more elaborate approaches to the projects.
The idea is that you get to develop a relationship with your One Word, so you can experience its true value and impact.
You will have to live with it for a year. And, if all goes well, even for longer than that.
Yes, you can choose it using a 'gut-feel' approach. This can work for a number of people. In fact, I've done it during the first couple of words I've chosen. It's only when I realised just how powerful it is to choose a word that I decided to be more careful and deliberate.
No matter how you decide to choose your One Word, it will attract certain people, situations, events, and opportunities into your life. That's why it's important to have that confidence in the word that you invite into your life.
So, if you would like some guidance on choosing and committing to your word, then One Word Workbook might be able to help.
As a journaling practice advocate for many years, one of my long-time dreams came true last year. That's when Paper Boat Publishing came to life and published Today: Life guided journal.
It was exciting to see an idea turn into reality. It was even more exciting when I started seeing it in bookshops - online and in person. And, I was beyond thrilled when people started buying them and using them.
I love it when people see the benefits of journaling. It's great when people use journals to record memories, explore creativity, and brainstorm ideas.
I know I'm not alone in encouraging people to develop and maintain a journaling practice. There are many articles written on the benefits of journaling out there. One I came across recently is this Inc.com article, by Benjamin Hardy. Here, he lists 5 ways the practice of journal writing can improve your life -
There's also this article at Huffington Post that shares 10 benefits of journaling. And, PsychCentral supports journal writing's health benefits - including strengthening immune systems and stress relief.
So, yes, journaling has become more than just a "Dear Diary" practice. Many people journal to remember day-to-day lives or special travel memories. And, there are also those who uses journals as part of therapy, coaching, counselling, training, and education.
If you haven't started journaling yet, the tips below can help to get you going. If you've been keeping a journal for a while, the tips might help give you new ideas to revive or improve your journal writing practice.
You don't have to write daily if your schedule doesn't allow it. But, if you're able to commit to a simple schedule, then you would see the benefits of journaling a lot more.
In Julia Cameron's classic book on creativity, The Artist's Way, she supports the notion of developing a journaling practice called "Morning Pages". The idea is to write three pages a day, first thing in the morning, to dump everything's that's on your mind. No edits, no re-reads, no stopping - until you get to the third and final page.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of people who can attest that the "Morning Pages" is an incredible journaling practice. But, you do need at least half an hour to an hour to do this. If you're able to make that time - then it's definitely one worth doing.
If such a schedule is too tight for you - try to come up with something that's more doable. Try doing just one page, for example. Or, commit to writing in your journal at least five minutes a day. You can do this either first thing in the morning or the last thing at night.
Writing daily lists under certain categories in your journal might be an option. There are also people who choose to write one sentence a day.
It doesn't matter what approach you take, as long as you commit to it and practice it. Show up on the page, no matter what.
One of the most common concerns of people trying to journal is: "But I run out of things to write about!" Or, "Nothing interesting ever happens to me that's worth journaling about!"
This is when schedules help. Knowing you need to show up on the page no matter what can help to keep you going.
Being prepared is another approach that can prove helpful. Preparation may include having a list of journaling prompts and ideas. Or, having a collection of themes and helpful hints.
This is where guided journals like Today: Life can be useful. There are also many other guided journals that offer guidance and inspiration. Check your local library or the bookstores for some ideas.
Another way to stay inspired when journaling is by joining journaling communities and challenges. If you're interested, check out ShaiCoggins.com's new Journaling For Success Mini Challenge. It's a five-day journaling challenge that offers daily themes, prompts, and tips. The main theme covered in the daily themes is all about 'success'. The challenge is free to join and you can complete it at any time.
Part of the fun of journaling is using journal writing tools. These may be in the form of beautiful pens and notebooks or fancy apps and cool books.
My personal preference is a mix of analogue and digital tools. I use cheap $2 notebooks and beautiful Moleskin journals. I also use OneNote on my Surface Pro 3, my iPad, and my Windows phone. I also have a couple of journaling apps on my iPad, but I don't use them as much anymore.
And, yes, I have a growing collection of guided journals apart from Today: Life.
There was also a time when I actively used a web app called 750 Words.
Regardless of your preference, the important thing to remember is to choose the tools that would help you journal in the best possible way. And yes, there's no one way to do that!
To make the most out of your journaling practice, try to make time for reflections. Being able to reflect on the things that you've written about in your journal can be enlightening.
If you write daily, take the time to look at what you've written at the weekend. If you only write a few times a week, try to review once a month or once a quarter.
Notice patterns and themes in your journal writing. Do you find that you write more positive things or negative things? Do you focus on gratitude, opportunities, and happy memories? Or, are you more likely to write about difficult situations, problems, and challenging people? What does it make you feel reading back on some of your journal entries?
Reflecting on your journaling practice helps you to see any recurring ideas and observations. It can also help you to notice any progress or changes that occur over time.
On The S Squad Content Library, you'll find the Daily Notes PDF download. In the worksheet, you'll see five days' worth of short journaling on a page. There's also a box where you can summarise (or reflect on) the five days of journal writing.
This interactive PDF was designed with the Journaling For Success Mini Challenge in mind. But, you can use it in any other journaling practice. If you're logged in, you can download the PDF for free.
So, how about you? Do you keep a journal? Do you have a schedule? What are your favourite tools? What do you like about journaling?
If you don't keep a journal, would you consider starting one now? If not, what's your biggest obstacle in getting started with a journaling practice?
Over the last month, I have written over twelve blog posts. Out of the 12+ blog posts I've written, I have only published two. So, I have ten left in my OneNote drafts notebook.
Ten blog post drafts remain unpublished even though I haven't updated this blog in almost a month. I could've been publishing at least once a week (my current goal). Instead, I got stuck with just writing and not publishing. Why?
It's that other block I didn't name last time: Perfectionism.
Even though I am an overthinker/overanalyser, I don't generally think of myself as a perfectionist. But, there are certainly situations where I get affected by that need to get things not only done right, but also done really well.
That's why when it comes to blogging or social media in general, I can't help but want to make sure that I have the right words and the right images to use. If I don't think it would be good enough, I don't want to publish or share.
This is part of the ongoing story of my blogging life. One of the many reasons I don't update as often as I'd like to. It's never because I have nothing to say. I'm just always second guessing if I am able to say it all in the best possible way.
But, as the inspiring and insightful autor/researcher Brene Brown points out: "Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be our best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth; it's a shield."
We sometimes use the excuse of 'perfectionism' as a way not to start something. Or, as an excuse not to finish or share something. But, doing our best doesn't mean making it 'perfect'.
Early this year, I started my Daily Art practice commitment and shared it online. Even though I've made a personal commitment to making art daily before, I didn't make that practice public. That's why I never felt the need to share something daily. I just did my work and shared what I felt was 'good enough' to share.
This year, since I've made this commitment public, I noticed a shift in my approach. Not only do I create art daily no matter what (in one form or another), I have also learnt that even when I feel like my daily piece isn't as good as I'd like it to be, or even when it's nowhere near finished (in fact, some are still a complete mess), I share it anyway. And, strangely enough, pieces that I didn't think was all that great end up still connecting with some people.
Key takeaway: We can't always be the best judge of our work. So, why do we have to create these ideas of perfection?
Many of the pieces I've shared wouldn't have made the cut once upon a time. In fact, at least 50% of what I've shared in my Daily Art practice, I probably wouldn't have shared had I not made this commitment. Yet, several of those pieces that I never would've shared end up getting a lot of great feedback. Not that feedback is everything. Far from it. But, feedback is a helpful indicator of how we wish to progress with our work. So, sometimes, putting something out there helps us to evaluate our own work.
This process of creating, sharing, and evaluating is teaching me how to look at my work in a different way. And, as a result, I started learning to trust my instincts better. With that, I've seen my work improve over the last 100+ days. And, as a result, I have at least three completed pieces that I'll be exhibiting by the end of this month (three pieces in one show is almost unheard of in my book!). And, I'm finally developing a body of work that I never could accomplish in the past when I kept judging my work's level of perfection.
So, my 'imperfect' work actually isn't so imperfect after all.
"Perfect is the enemy of done."
I once read this somewhere. Not quite sure where now. But, the sentiment stuck with me because it's true.
If I didn't just continue creating and sharing my art, no matter what, I'm not sure I would've developed some of the skills that I now have over the last few months. I certainly wouldn't have the amount of work I have completed.
That's why I'm not really moving forward as best as I can on this blog. I'm still applying that "I need it to be perfect before I share" approach here that I used to apply to my art.
And yet, every time we try to achieve the ever elusive sense of perfection, we get stuck. Why? Because trying to achieve perfection is like trying to catch a unicorn. It seems so attractive to find, but it's futile. When did anyone ever catch a unicorn or achieve perfection?
Maybe that's why we should make it a habit to add the word "enough" with such aspirations (writing, art-making, blogging). This way, we can find and do things that are perfect enough. Achieve things that are good enough. Like this blog post.
Yes, I feel that this post is still a long way off perfect. Even though I've already written and rewritten this several times - spending more than a few hours putting this together for well over a week now. Part of me thinks I can still keep rewriting and editing. But, if I did, I will continue NOT having anything to post.
So yes… This blog post isn't perfect. But, it's perfect enough. For now. And, I'd like to keep working on doing just that.
If you're looking for more ideas on overcoming perfectionism, the Positivity Blog has some tips for you.Read More