Social Citizen’s Top 10. #10: My personal strategies for 2009.
My blog has just passed it’s second anniversary, so I thought it would be a great time to post the top ten blogs from the last two years. Over the next few weeks, please enjoy the top 10 posts from Social Citizen.
In my last post, I discussed my need for creating a strategic plan for my life in 2009. In this post, I will discuss a few of my personal strategies.
To begin my personal growth for 2009 I have to recap the “me” from 2008. 2008 was a good year; it had both its highs and lows (like any year). I got engaged, created some other great relationships, began down the track of getting my masters, found a “kind of” niche for my blog, found the areas of civic engagement I love, became stressed out at least once a week, and explored my own personal style more. I want to 2009 to be an extension of all that was good in 2008, and an improvement from all the tough lessons I learned.
Find personal balance.
I just finished reading Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert; it brought me to the answer much of my stress, lack of balance. You see, I tend to over work myself, only focusing on projects, work, and blogging. My personal life tends to take a second, but this side of me is going to be important this year. Balance is something I don’t know if I have ever known. Change and work have been part of me since I was old enough to join clubs and get an after school job. I never seem to rest until I am the president of ten things, working more than 40 hours a week, and taking classes. In 2009, I am going to find the balance I need, and eliminate my need to have control without losing my own strengths.
In her book, Gilbert describes many strategies for achieving balance, all which she discovered on a personal journey. One of her strategies, meditation, sounds like a good option. I am actually quite excited by the idea, but I first have to find out to relax enough to even try. I am going to move toward meditation by setting aside time each day to be quiet, drawing or staring out the window are both good options! These times will give me a moment to reflect on what I really need in life and help me to relax.
I cannot solely find balance through meditation. I am going to have to employ some other tactics. With the scheduling of time to be quiet, I am also going to make sure I complete all of my course work in two set times. I will always leave Friday nights open for date nights with Rob, and keep my time away from the house limited to no more than two nights a week, and keep a to-do list to keep me focused when I do have work time at home.
This one seems easy enough, although all of you that have planned a wedding know how hard and stressful it can truly be. But getting married is important for this year, not just because it is happening in April, but the change in my life is going to guide most of my personal growth and need for balance. Rob is my partner in everything. This year will be a great year for us and learning with him has already helped me be a better person. This year can only get better once we are married. I know its not all sunshine and roses, we are going to have to work at it, but this is a challenge I’m willing to take on.
Set time aside for personal creativity.
One of my own little secrets is I love charcoal, graphite and colored pencil. All three make me very happy. I have spent countless hours drawing flowers, landscapes, buildings, and people (animals aren’t my strong suit). Most of that drawing time is in my past; I just haven’t made the time to devote to it. I have done a few things, but not to the level I used to. During high school I spent every extra minute drawing or in art class. In college, I started with a fine arts minor. I even went to Kendall for a year, before deciding to go back to Grand Valley to study nonprofits. It’s weird how life ends up sometimes, and now art (which used to be the most important thing to me) is at the bottom of my list. This year I am making my artistic creativity more of a priority. I am hoping expressing my creativity in this way again will make it easier for me in other arenas.
Focus my civic engagement.
In the past, I have said yes to everything. I have made the vow to stop before, but now is truly the time to do it. Over the past couple of years, I have come to love the type of civic engagement that lets me be with smart women, working for women, and working to make life an even playing field socially and civically.
I have been burning to return to Africa, working there with women who are stronger than I could ever imagine, but I don’t think the dream will come true again this year. Instead, in 2009, I am going to focus on the projects I am working on right now. Putting all of my civic energy into the League of Women Voters and YNPN. I am not going to take on any more volunteer projects. I always have a desire to help, but can only help if I am a whole and healthy person. (Have you heard that one before?) I can sum up this strategy with one word, “no”!
Make my blog worth writing for.
I have given myself too many excuses not to write on my blog. I enjoy writing for Social Citizen, but for some reason I can’t always get myself to do it. I am sure most of my excuses are because I overwork myself in other arenas, but with my new search for balance I will hopefully have more time to write about my favorite things (mostly girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes ).
To help me with my writing I am going to institute a few more series. Putting up my organizational tips has helped me to make sure I have something written each week. I will most likely make regular conversations out of my board and class work, among other things. I am also going to move my blog to wordpress.org soon, although I am debating on timing. You see with this whole marriage thing my name is going to change and I don’t want to lose followers with a new URL. Moving my blog to wordpress.org will cost more, but will allow me more flexibility. Who wouldn’t want to write for a blog that looks beautiful? I am hoping consistency and a new creative look will be the answers to this dilemma, only time will tell.
Complete my masters without going crazy.
This one is going to be tough, but I think with my new stretch for balance in my life I will not be able to go “too” crazy with my courses and homework. Last semester was rough, and I am sure the next couple will be the same. I have to focus on not taking it too seriously and getting too overwhelmed. I am planning to have regular study times to keep myself from procrastinating, and a head on my reading. I am also going to blog more about my courses, to connect these two parts of my life, and optimistically relieve stress in either direction. Getting my masters is something I want to and feel I should do. I only have eight courses left, so I hope that with some new strategies in this department they will be mostly smooth sailing.
All of my personal strategies are going to be tough to achieve. I am hopeful that with this blog I have committed myself to each of them and will make the best effort to achieve them. Really, in the end, I am better off doing all of them. My next blog will explain my professional strategies for 2009, which will do the same.
What are your personal strategies for 2009? Any new tactics you will be taking on to make your personal life better this year?