For the last few years, I’ve chosen a word or theme as a filter for my goals. Last year was about personal growth, and while I had some very specific goals in mind, the way that personal growth ultimately manifested in my life was totally unexpected. Somewhere around my birthday (which, to be honest, is my natural place in the year to implement change) I decided to start investing more in my relationships – the friends and coworkers in my life, as well as being open to new friendships. I started paying more attention to the people I spent time with, the things I liked about them, the things I liked about myself when I was with them. I found some things I didn’t like that I wanted to change. I found some things that I love that I wanted to feed. I learned a lot about myself and a lot more about the people around me. And in the end, it was a very successful year.
So this year’s theme is about strength. This word means different things to different people – physical strength/working out or becoming stronger intellectually or emotionally. Most people hear this word and think about the process of becoming stronger. But I want to look at it a different way.
I want to look at it from the perspective of using my strengths. Applying all that personal growth that I did last year. Using the knowledge I’ve gained for my health (and putting it into practice – shocker). Continuing to build my friendships by being the type of friend I value. And writing and sharing from my studies and experiences.
I am prioritizing my very limited time based on this theme – if a goal or an event doesn’t make me “stronger” or use my strengths, it goes further down the list. I’m paying more attention to experiences that reveal my weaknesses (I just had a pretty upsetting one recently – I need to process it more before I write about it) – and praying and studying and watching for ways to improve in those areas. Above all, I’m relying on God and His promised strength when I’m weak, because the truth is I’m not capable of doing the kinds of things He wants me to do without His strength!
If you had to pick a word or theme for 2017, what would it be and why?