From the Publisher - January 2016
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.”
With the stress of the holidays behind me, which included two straight months of agonizing early deadlines, many extra-long workdays and weekends void of downtime, I finally feel I have a moment to take a breather. Relaxation doesn’t come often or easy for me, so I cherish the moments I get to just breathe in and breathe out and actually notice I’m doing it.
Needless to say, this is one of my favorite times of the year. I don’t know if it is purely psychological or if there is a physical energy actually at play, but somehow the New Year seems to naturally generate feelings of freedom from last year’s burdens and bolster the determination to start fresh.
So, as we all ready ourselves at the starting gate of 2016, with 364 glorious days ahead, I look at those yet-to-be-lived days as unwritten chapters in the book of my life. The more I am involved in myself, the more the story will actually be one I want to live. I am as guilty as the rest of America in getting caught up in the mundane, the routine and the procrastination of it all, not only in what I do, but also in how I do it and how I think about it. I have to admit 2015 was not stellar. I want to change that. I want vibrant days, meaningful connections and lots of laughter. In order to have those things, I must do and be different on purpose. Here is my plan:
1. Do something new: I started something new in December and plan to continue it throughout 2016. I created what I call the Eight Eleven Women’s Table. The premise behind it all started with the shift in how I like to entertain. I used to enjoy throwing large parties with 50-plus people. Now, I enjoy simply filling my dining room table, which seats eight, including me, with interesting women, who I may know well or barely at all. The first dinner in early December was a smashing success. It started at 7:30 and was midnight when we all looked at the clock and couldn’t believe the time. Women always amaze me in how they can connect emotionally, laugh and cry together and relate to and counsel each other. My plan is to host a group of women each month.
2. Read something old: Every year, I pick one classic I have never managed to read and plow through it. Last year, I chose to conquer the Holy Bible cover-to-cover and William Faulkner’s Unvanquished, which has been on my reading list since 1986 and on my bedside table for the last two years. I didn’t do either and I am changing my goal for this year. I am choosing The Count of Monte Cristo. I was supposed to read this in a junior-level college English course years ago, but didn’t. I barely scanned the Cliff Notes. Thus, this book (actually my lack of interest in this book) is why I failed that class, which ended up being a far greater lesson than The Count could ever teach. However, theguardian.com describes the book as a “revenge thriller set in France after Bonaparte: a masterpiece of adventure writing.” I’m scratching my head wondering why I didn’t devour this book in college. Oh yea, it’s because I was in college.
3. Stop something you’re sick of doing: One of the most powerful words you can tell yourself is “stop.” My life coach used to interrupt me by saying “stop” when I was talking non-sense or going down a negative path. She explained using the “stop” technique interrupt brain synapses and helps the brain get on a better path.
Admittedly, I have many bad habits that I would like to stop, but to avoid setting myself up for failure, I am only going to focus on one: Staying up too late. I had conquered this one several years ago and it has snuck back into the bedroom with me—Bastard! Staying up until one or two in the morning serves no purpose and hurts me in many ways. I am a natural night owl whoo needs to change this horrible habit.
5. Finish something you’ve started: There is internal power in finishing a project. God knows I have started stuff and not finished it. The most glaring being the book I started writing in August of 2012. This is it; I’m telling you and everybody that I’m finishing it this year. I told you the same thing last year. I didn’t do it (yes, I am hanging my head in shame and regret). Feel free to stop me and gently ask me how it’s going. What have you started that you haven’t finished? Let’s all say this together: Just do it!
6. Set a daily mantra: My staff and I stumbled upon a mantra during our yearly planning meeting. We didn’t set out to have a mantra for 2016, it just sort of happened by coming up over and over again. Our mantra for the magazine, which I have chosen to take on personally, as well, is “Hear Me Roar.” I want to wake up every day ready to roar, ready to make a difference, ready to grow and be productive. Those are the best days—the days I don’t get bogged down in the negative minutia, which is so unimportant, yet so powerful when it comes to having a stronghold on productivity and feeling good about myself.
Now, what about you? What will your 2016 story be? Do you plan to be the author or will you let someone else write it for you? I have to remind you that this is your one wild and precious life. Don’t wait another year to start living on your terms. Give your life thought. Live on purpose. Make 2016 anything but routine. Live. Laugh. Love…because if not now, when?