Monday Monthly Mission #16

January 3rd, 2011 - filed under: Furthermore » Monday Monthly Mission

On the first Monday of every month, we take on a ‘mission’ – a shift or habit or inspiration – to work on together. There’s strength (and support) in numbers! On the last Thursday of the month, we reconvene to see how far we’ve come.


Happy New Year!

What’s your plan for seizing 2011 and making it yours? You know, it’s positioned to be the best year of your life. So how are you going to dive in and dance? What are you doing to manifest the best version of yourself? How will you live your truth out loud in 2011?

Each year I set intentions for the 365 days ahead. I’ve done this for the past three years – before that I was an “anti-resolution” sort of person. But the problem with resolutions is that they tend to be too vague . . . people say things like “I’ll lose weight” or “I’ll find a meaningful relationship”. If you’re going to make your life exactly what you want it to be – and you can! – then you’re going to need a clear strategy. You’ll need measurable benchmarks and you’ll need to be specific.

Draw up a plan of attack. Yes, attack. Be a happiness warrior. Be proactive! Me, I like to make lists . . .

Each year in December I begin a new Word doc. I title it with the upcoming year (so this one was ‘2011’) and it lives on my desktop for 365 days. In this word doc I’ll formulate my action plan. I’ll draft a list of ambitious, achievable goals. I’ll jot down general themes that I’d like to incorporate. I keep a running list of every book I read, and each year I try to read more than the one before (always successful as long as I’ve been tracking!) Under the current year’s goals, I’ll copy-and-paste the previous doc, which also includes copy-and-pastes from the years before. This way I can scroll through and see my growth in the bigger picture. A running list of my personal development. It’s very encouraging! Revisiting success always motivates me to keep striving.

More often than not the doc is topped with some short phrase to sum up my approach to the coming year. For example, 2009 was entitled “Living The Dream” and included such goals as “get pregnant” and “never get a ‘real’ job”. And for 2011?

Quality Over Quantity

I’ve spent pretty much my entire adult life prioritizing productivity – measuring myself in terms of ‘success’ and forgoing pleasure in favor of purpose. Now it’s certainly good to be driven, and I’d much rather be a doer than a talk-about-doing-er. But I think it’s unhealthy to focus so much on compiling accomplishments. It can come at a cost. For me, it has.

So 2011 is all about enjoying my life. For once, I’m in it for the fun of it. It’s not what get’s done, but how the getting done is *experienced*. And less will get done . . . (that’s okay!)

I’m giving it a year. It kind of goes against everything I’ve trained myself to be . . . but I’m going to give it an honest go. We’ll see where it gets me in 365 days. I can always go back to my high-powered production in 2012!

I’ve got an assortment of bullet-pointed action items to guide me into my new modus operandi. YOUR mission, should you choose to accept it, is to do the same. Set a theme for 2011 and then outline some specific goals to get you there.

As a side note, I may be going a little lighter on the blogging in the coming year. I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE! But, I need to take some pressure off of myself. So instead of spending my nights working until midnight, I may just take a bubble bath instead. I do hope you know how much this site means to me; I hope you’ll understand and I hope you’ll continue on with me in the new year and beyond.

  • Lenn

    For once, I’m ahead…I already have a huge list for the year with the move coming up and us going to be trying to start a business and such.

    For the bubble bath, try tossing some chamomile or peppermint or green tea bags in with you. I do that and it just makes my skin glow and is so relaxing. :)

  • Ms. Polkadot

    I think that’s a great start to the new year! While it’s good to have goals, it’s also good to stop and really be in the moment as you go along.
    for my resolutions, it’s all about finding a balance to work, school, and my social stuff. I just went back to school last semester full time while working full time, and I let everything else go. So now it’s all about being organized and flexible enough to do a bit of everything :)

  • Sarah

    Do less! Be more.

    Unmeasurable, but awesome, in the best sense :)

  • Rebecca

    TOOO funny…I JUST submitted an article for my magazine’s local newsletter on this same topic and how to overcome “bad” resolutions (i.e. make more steps…etc)

    I would post it here but should probably wait till it is sent out on Thursday…great minds, my friend, great minds!

  • Melisa

    Owing much to you, Sayward, I was super optimistic and motivated last January. This year, though things are better for my family by almost any measure, I’m having a hard time getting inspired (probably due in part to some serious post-holiday blues). I have been toying with the theme ‘Fuck ‘Em” for 2011, as in stop worrying that I don’t fit in at work (“Am I going to the midnight showing of ‘Eclipse’? What the hell is ‘Eclipse’?!), that friends will think I’m strange for my crunchy lifestyle.
    So, yeah.

  • Sayward

    @ Lenn – Ooh tea bags is a great idea, I’m totally trying that. Thanks!

    @ Ms Polkadot – I’m with you on the finding balance. It’s such a difficult and delicate game. Good luck to you!

    @ Sarah – Yes! Good one!

    @ Rebecca – Haha, great minds indeed!

    @ Melisa – I think ‘Fuck ‘Em’ is the right attitude with the wrong emphasis – it shouldn’t be about them at all! Who cares if judgmental people judge you, right? Shift the emphasis to you, so not ‘F Them’, but more like ‘Go You!’.

    Sorry for the post holiday blues. At least the days are getting longer and there’s awesome online community! Good luck to you in 2011!

  • Rachel

    I must say you’ve inspired me recently. Unfortunately, I’m much more of a talk-about-doing-er than a doer, but I want so badly not to be anymore. My goal this year is to be creative-to find something I love doing, that I can do from home and that will bring in a little income so I can finally invest my time in my kid (soon to be kids). Here’s to me finding my niche and my husband finding a job! It can be done!

  • RK

    Question about the coconut oil… Do you use the oil that is for cooking or is there a specific coconut oil for the body?

  • Pat

    happy new year to you all!
    new year resolution: be more organised! and for that I will need a plan! ever since our son was born, my days have been pretty chaotic, and normally I am a person with a plan and a timetable and at least a mental list of to-do’s, it just does not seem easy, there are days I wonder how mothers of 3 or more kids manage their daily chores?? don’t they suffer of baby brain at all?
    so my plan for 2011: get some structure back into my days! I think I will start with to-do lists on paper as my mental ones “wash away” due to “baby brain”….

  • GrowingRaw

    My NYR is basically to make sure I’m putting my best energy into things that matter.

    First step is get my energy peaking… that way there’s more to go around. The easiest and most enjoyable way I know to do that is eat really, really well (the style that suits me best is high raw vego so I’m back into it.)

    Second step is prioritise the kids – that means more playfulness – hoorah! 2011 I worked and worked and worked – I’m surprised the kids still draw pictures of me with a smile rather than the back of my head in front of a computer.

    Third step is to make my time effective on the few things I have the energy left to focus on: my website, aikido and my garden. I’m a list-maker but I’m easily distracted… for example by, which is very distracting but in a completely beneficial way!

    Hey Melissa, the book BloodThirsty by Flynn Meaney might cheer you up, or at least give you a laugh. It’s about a teenage boy who pretends to be a vampire to get the girls, but it’s also a satirical take on vamp culture.

  • Court

    sayward-as much as i adore this blog, i highly encourage you to take time for yourself!!

    i am on day 2 of the master cleanse. i did it last year and found it to be so rewarding. detoxing, yea.

    when i look at my list of accomplishments this past year, there are so many things that would not have happened without the help of this blog.

    Thank you.

  • Donna Mae

    I will have many changes this year some wonderful and some a little scary. Moving to AK (eeek) to be with my boyfriend of three years but one year is long enuff. In this I will be leaving a stressful job with stressful people a small town that has no active community so I am feeling very positive about this year. My NYR is Wu Wei which I heard resently and thought it fit perfectly. Taoism and means something like “stop wasting energy on what you can’t control and use it on what you can”. My goal with this is to use this year to set me up for next year of no to do list or list in general. I have a list for everything becuz I never want to forget something that I could learn or do. But I feel a build up of not enough time to do these and enjoy them…lol silly
    So I will focus on a few this year and then see where life takes me from there.

  • Leslie

    Two things are at the top of my list========Stop procrastinating, my personal pet peeve about myself ( I usually give myself 6 months to two years to get something done once I start thinking or talking about it, seriously!!!!!} Second, become a Raging Animal Activist….anything from shelter rescues to spray painting baby monk seals to keep them from being slaughtered for fur to putting myself between a harpoon and a whale. Open to suggestions!! And a big hug of gratitude to Sayward and her amazing BA blog for making 2010 an amazing year for me…as my daughter would say, “YOU ROCK!!!”

  • Sayward

    @ Rachel – Yes, it can be done! I’m rooting for you, good luck!

    @ RK – It’s the same stuff as for cooking, I use the extra virgin stuff.

    @ Pat – Oh man I feel you. Saving my sanity post-baby was equal parts 1) list-making like crazy and 2) just letting go, ha! But pen-to-paper lists really do help. Good luck!

    @ GrowingRaw – What a splendid plan! I love it, girl you have all your priorities RIGHT!

    @ Court – Thank you, that is such a wonderful thing to hear. And I hope you know how much it goes both ways, and how much doing this work and meeting all of you enriches *my* life! Good luck with your cleanse and in the new year!

    @ Donna Mae – I love that phrase, it sounds like you’ve got a ton going on and harnessing a little Wu Wei will take you soaring into 2011! =)

    @ Leslie – Haha, love it! Rage on, lady! Do you have a farm sanctuary near you? I think that’s a great place to put your energy. Also, just my 2 cents, steer clear of PETA. Good luck with everything – I want to hear all about your activist adventures!

  • Angela

    I decided todo something similar this year but I gave myself 1001 days instead of a year. I never considered a theme, but there’s always the next 1001 days, huh?
    Great post re: your 20′s btw. Very deep and raw. Baring your soul to the world is a scary thing to do and you conquered it beautifully.

  • HoneyB

    I recently found your blog and I love it! I’m planning to make 2011 my year of working smarter – I’m slowing down my business and vowing to take more than 1 day off each month. Once a week is a goal for the near future! I’m also planning to kick butt in my post bac studies and start my Master’s program right in the fall. Other goals include buying a condo and growing a fabulous vegetable garden!

  • Monika {windycityvegan}

    Gah! HOW IN THE HELL DID I MISS THIS POST? Honestly, it just drives home my 2011 resolution to re-establish work-life balance. I need to stop living in fear of the university’s newest round of impending budget cuts and find time for my family and myself again. Oh, and time to study for the LSAT. *sigh*

    I’m a list junkie myself (Google Docs spreadsheets are my current poison) and decided this year to post my Birthday Year To Do list publicly, on my blog. Now, off to your round up for the first week of this MMM!