I was listening to an interview with author and motivational speaker Jon Gordon on the Rich Roll Podcast recently and Jon talked the idea of picking a single world each year to remind you of the reason why you’re doing things to help keep you focused and motivated. According to Jon, “We don’t get burned out by what we do… We get burned out because we forget why we’re doing it.” By picking a word for the year to be your guiding light, it helps to keep you on track and stay energized. His words for the past six years were purpose, pray, serve, rise, forgive and still.
I love this idea, especially as someone who tends to focus on too many things at once and annually builds a list of more than a dozen, disparate New Years resolutions. I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about what I want my word to be and the word that came to mind was service. 2017 was all about me and my needs; I had let myself get burned out after a few years of health problems combined with a demanding job, and I had nothing left to give. So, I got rid of half of my stuff, gave up my apartment, and headed out of the country to take a break, get a new perspective on life and see the world with my husband. In order to do that, I needed a ton of support from friends and family, and that support rained down on me profusely. I was extremely lucky to have such amazing people in my life to help get me back on my feet.
Now in 2018, I want to give back. My time away helped me heal from burnout and gave me a new perspective on life. As mentioned in my first blog post, I saw incredible amounts of pollution during our travels and learned just how much we have damaged our planet. I also saw great inequities in between how we live in the United States and how others live in the more remote corners of the world. The differences are staggering and have convinced me to live a more simple life, embracing minimalism to its fullest and hopefully using the extra time and money I have from living more simply towards the good of others and our planet.
As such, my word for 2018 is service. I hope to be able to give of myself others this year; to be there to support those who have supported me and to look outside of my immediate community, to the world community and to our planet, and be of service to them. This means that before saying yes to something, I’m going to remember to take the time to ask myself, “How does this align with my word of 2018? Is this helping me work towards ‘service’?” I realize that I will need to set boundaries, because with a word like service, there is endless service to do and only so many hours in the day, and I’ll be useless to everyone if I’m terribly overcommitted, which I’m prone to.
I’m extremely excited about going into 2018 with a single focus to guide my actions and keep me pumped up. I thought about a few things that I want to achieve this year based around this concept of service. I came up with three key goals that I would like to pursue:
- Run a marathon in support of Charity:Water, an excellent non-profit dedicated to bringing potable drinking water to some of the most impoverished communities in the world who struggle with horrific water-based illnesses that could easily be prevented.
- Host a showing of A Plastic Ocean to spread the word about how dire the situation with our planet is. This documentary captures perfectly what I saw with my own eyes and much more.
- Blog weekly to help inspire others to try out making small changes to their lives to collectively make a big impact on our planet.
In the same podcast, Jon suggests that goals are non-actionable and it is important to write down your commitments, the things that you’ll do to get to those goals, in order to actually achieve them. For example, to reach my goal of running a marathon, I will be committing to building a training plan and running 3 days a week. To reach my fundraising goals for Charity:Water, I will be committing to personally reaching out to people I know and those that I don’t know through social media to request donations.
What is your guiding word of the year, what are three things that you want achieve, and what are you committing to do in order to achieve those goals?