Around this time every year, members of a large group of friends of mine choose a “word” for the year to come. My word is usually a sentence or phrase. We put a lot of thought into our decisions and usually choose a theme for the year that represents some area in our lives where we’d like to improve or expand.
Several times throughout the year, we discuss again the themes we chose and how we feel we’re doing. And at year’s end, we do a thorough review of the year gone by, and how well it reflected our theme for the year. It’s a fun and effective practice!
This time, however, instead of focusing my keywords on areas where I want growth, I’ve decided to spend 2017 well and truly attentive to where I already am. I’ve had a couple of very good years in a row. But I don’t feel like I’m spending enough time enjoying it all. Instead, I’m always focused on how to maintain it and goose it even more.
But if you think about it, what’s the point of having goals, unless it’s because you’ll feel great when you achieve them? And if that’s the point, then it kind of requires us to take the time to notice when we do.
What is Success, Anyway?
I’m kind of very off topic, here, but bear with me for this quick sidebar. It’s important. Everyone probably defines success differently, but for me, success in business means making a living doing what I love. And by that standard, I’m already there. Think about how you define success, and then look to see if you might be closer to it than you think. And if you are, celebrate it!
What you pay attention to, grows
I want to relish every goal I achieve in business, and every other wonderful blessing in my life. So my word for 2017 is actually four words. And here they are:
I will stop to bask in every delicious moment of my life and business: A great review, an unexpected promotion, a moment on one of Amazon’s ever-changing bestseller lists, a day when sales were higher than usual.
And I’ll take time to bask in every wonderful thing in my non-business life, too: an afternoon with children, or the delightful beauty of snow on evergreen boughs after a storm.
I like the definition of “appreciation” that says “to increase in value.” I think a rainbow is worth far more to a person who stops what she’s doing to just stand and look at it for as long as it remains in the sky, than it is to a person who glances up, notices it, smiles and goes back to what she was doing. And far more than it is to a person who never looks up and notices it at all.
I intend to increase the value of everything in my life and in my biz by maxing out my enjoyment of it.
And this also means making the most of everything I have. For example, in the book biz, finding ways to re-package, market, even rewrite the books in my catalogue and the new ones I’m creating, instead of focusing on my frustrations over the ones the publishers still refuse to revert.
Most of us never take a shower.
Yes, we stand under the spray. But our minds are already ten steps ahead, thinking about the tasks of the day or the stresses or worries that kept us awake the night before. Hardly any of us are actually IN the shower.
This year, I’m going to work on being fully aware and paying attention to where I am and what I’m doing. To be present in each moment. Not flipping through emails while talking on the phone, but giving my full attention to the person on the other end of the call. Not driving the car while worrying about being late, but taking my time and enjoying the scenery going past.
Some of us spend our entire lives either mulling on the past or worrying about the future. But our life is now, the present moment.
Finally, as I pay more attention to what I already have, I will sing its praises. My topics of conversation will be what’s happening right now. I will share every piece joy, because joy shared, is joy expanded. And I’ll give thanks, too. To my higher power, to my higher self, to my readers, to my colleagues, and to every person who has helped me along the way.
Gratitude is everything.
My Book of Praise
I decided to start a Book of Praise to help me keep my focus on my four keywords; basking, appreciation, presence and praise. (BAPP for short.) 😉 I chose a pretty blank book from among the dozen or so I have around the place. (I love pretty blank books!)
Each night, the last thing I do before bed, is sit down and write in that book every wonderful thing that happened during the preceding day. I’d intended it as a 2017 thing, but I decided there was no point in waiting, and started already. And it’s a glorious practice! I feel lighter, somehow, and it really does help train my brain to pay more attention to the wonderful little things that happen every day, because part of me is on the lookout for things to write in my book that night.
This is a fantastic practice that has the side effect of automatically attuning me to being more present in each moment, to noticing and relishing all the good things I already have, to making the most of all of them, and to celebrating every single one.
Best of all, it is making me into someone who is living every moment to its full potential. Moments, after all, are what life is made of.
Happy Holidays! Blissful 2017!