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For the past two years, I have set a one-word intention instead of making New Years Resolutions. I first heard about this ritual from a close friend and after doing a bit of research, I set my first one-word intention in 2017. I found it so helpful, that I repeated the process in 2018.

If you aren’t familiar with one-word intentions, I suggest you read this post before continuing. It will answer what they are, how to pick one, and why they are better than New Year’s resolutions. :)

My 2019 One-Word Intention is Focus

If you have followed my story for a while, you will know that I’m about halfway into my Professional Gap Year. I’ve been using the time away from my traditional 9-to-5 career to improve my health, volunteer, and travel. I’ve reflected a lot on the privilege this time has afforded me and have done a lot of soul searching (and discovery!).

Reflections and Observations

During my time off I’ve also learned several lessons. The most important lesson learned is that I need to ensure that my cup is full (enough) before I can share with others. By prioritizing myself I will have more time and energy to give back to others, my passions, and eventually work.

My biggest observation during this time has been that I am easily distracted. I can be sidetracked by the smallest things and find it hard to buckle down when I know I have (basically) unlimited freedom to do what I want when I want. I’ve always been easily distracted, but it seems so much more pronounced these days. Ya girl needs a schedule!

Wrapping these lessons, observations, together with my professional gap year goals, I have decided to make focus my one-word intention for 2019.

2019 Target Areas

This year I will focus on the following target areas:

  • my physical health by prioritizing whole foods, regular movement, and natural interventions,
  • my mental health by practicing meditation, mindfulness, and yoga
  • efficiency in my actions and tasks,
  • reducing my impact on our planet by reducing single-use plastics and increasing my use of sustainable products/processes (even if it takes more time/money) and,
  • connecting with other stewards of inclusive outdoors through my actions, blog, and resources.

I will share progress summary at the end of the year like normal (2017, 2018), but if you look closely at my posts in the coming year you will also see these areas showcased in a variety of different ways. 

Recap of My 2018 One-Word Intention: Simplify

When 2018 started and I selected simplify as my one-word intention, I had no idea just how ingrained that simple word would become in my world. Originally using simplify as my personal mantra meant that I would be focusing on the following intentions:

  • more distraction-free quality time with my husband,
  • streamlining our household possessions,
  • moving towards a capsule wardrobe,
  • improving work processes,
  • and consolidating my digital footprint.

Target Area Progress

Due to my professional gap year, I was able to tackle these at a level that was much deeper than I had originally hoped. Read more about my progress in each area below:

More distraction-free quality time with my husband

Our decision to move to California enabled us to have several weeks of travel time in which we spent distraction-free time driving across the country, visiting national parks, hiking, and camping. Now, since Hubs is the only one of us working, we have more time to spend together at home.

Streamlining our household possessions

We relocated on short notice so everything we owned was professionally boxed and loaded into the moving truck. When we arrived in California, I spent weeks opening each box and evaluated each item to see if it should be donated, recycled, or kept. (This was before Marie Kondo’s Netflix show, lol.) I ended up donating 4 SUV-loads worth of possessions. It was freeing.

Moving towards a capsule wardrobe

Moving towards a capsule wardrobe has been life-changing. I had previously done this for my work clothes (black pants/skirts, black & white tops/blazers/cardigans, and black/white dresses) with great success. For my casual wardrobe I started by selecting pieces from my current wardrobe that I absolutely loved and quickly noticed they were nearly all basics in olive green, black, gray, and white. I also added jeans and a cranberry color to allow me to switch it up a bit when I feel like it. I donated anything that didn’t fit into these colors and haven’t looked back. As an added bonus, I find this “limitation” helps to keep me from impulse shopping!

Improving work processes

Would quitting a job count? I did end up leaving my job to take a professional gap year, but before I did I had evaluated several processes and developed templates to help guide development and/or streamline the workflow.

Consolidating my digital footprint

While the move and my subsequent gap year have put a dent in the amount of consolidating I wanted to do, I have still made good progress. I closed a couple little-used social media accounts (BTW, why do they make that process so difficult?!), sorted through old memory cards and flash drives, and started work on our external hard drive.

Overall Summary

Plain and simple, I am SUPER happy with my progress in these target areas. However, I know that if I hadn’t had the privilege of taking a professional gap year I wouldn’t have made it as far. With that said, I am going to continue aim big again this year knowing that if I focus I will succeed. ;)

Share Your One-Word Intention

I would love for you to share your 2019 one-word intentions with me below in the comments or with me on social media!