My theme for this year is Do the Work. I had to think long and hard about it, even as the phrase kept flowing through my mind for the last couple of months. I had to make sure that it wasn’t a way of beating myself up, a subconscious way of saying You Are Not Enough, Your Efforts Are Not Enough, This Is Not Enough.
But no, that’s not how I mean it. It’s not a reprimand. Rather, it's a natural progression from the themes of the past two years, which were Start Where You Are and Set the Tone.
Start Where You Are
Set the Tone
Do the Work
I’ve decided to start, I’ve dressed the part and lit the candles (so to speak), and now I’m going to buckle down.
I juggle a lot on any given day, even on those when I fall into bed feeling unproductive. But in many ways, I’m on an endless cycle of prepping for something and not actually DOing the something. I endlessly prepare, but often don’t actually do the thing. Do the Work. So I read parenting books about discipline (we currently do not have a discipline problem that needs to be addressed) and scroll through websites and pinterest feeds about how to organize or decorate a room without actually ever organizing or decorating the room. Figuratively. Well, and also literally.
This has left me stymied. This has left me feeling perpetually low-grade frustrated. Only recently have I put my finger on the fact that I’ve done a decent job of treading water while in the tiny children stage of life, now it’s time to lean in to forward momentum.
I bought a full set of yoga clothes, I haven’t been to yoga in over a year. I have a whole closet full of purchased, empty photo frames. Awhile ago I got so overwhelmed with my email inbox that I just...stopped. I pay a lot of lip service towards the importance of rest, but my sleep habits are still so far from ideal. The monthly discipline challenges are part of this mindset I’m attempting to steer towards. Another way of saying this year’s phrase would be Do the Things You Say You’re Going To Do. But that doesn’t ring in my ears the same as Do the Work.
So maybe the “work” is actual work, but maybe it’s an investment in my kids, my marriage, myself. Maybe the work some days is forced rest. Maybe the work is therapy. Great lives are not an accident, and I want mine to be less about emotional survival and more about pursuit and enjoyment.
Lastly and most importantly, I have two (three?) writing projects that I’ve been thinking about constantly for about six months. But I can always find something more pressing or more instantly gratifying than to write hard stuff. So I don’t. But now I’m gonna. So says my new year mantra: Do the Work.
photo by SpringWools via flickr