Words. Thoughts. Feelings.

In the past couple of years, I've gone away from making New Years resolutions. Instead, I've chosen a word that embodies how I want to live that coming year. Last year, I chose the word "thankful" to remind myself to live in the moment and be grateful for what I have instead of always wanting more.

I have an ambitious personality, and I'm always thinking ahead about what I want to accomplish. Sometimes I achieve a goal and instead of appreciating the moment and being grateful for that blessing, I just say to myself, "Ok, what next?" Ambition isn't a bad thing, but failure to savor your true blessings in each moment can lead to a perpetual sense of dissatisfaction, which isn't conducive to how God wants us to live. This word was top of mind all year, and it held me accountable for my feelings and inner thoughts. I chose to be thankful, and 2012 was filled with positivity, optimism and deep felt gratitude for His gifts in my life.

After careful consideration and prayer, I've chosen "focus" as my word of the year for 2013. This doesn't mean I'm abandoning my "thankful" theme from 2012, but I'm simply adding to it. This year I want to be both thankful and focused.

What does focus mean to me in 2013?

In 2013, I resolve to focus on the things that really matter.  I want to direct my attention to the things that I hold dearest: my faith, my family, my friends, my health.

When I evaluate my life, I know that I sometimes spread myself too thin, say yes to too many things, and tire myself out to the point where I can't give 100 percent to the most important parts of my day.

To be honest, this blog is one of many extracurricular activities that absorbs my time and attention. Can I work full time, coach volleyball on the side, post on my blog four times each week (not to mention the projects that have to be done for those posts), go to Bible study, attend church, exercise and be the wife, daughter, sister and friend my loved ones deserve?

At church on Sunday, our pastor talked about how different our lives would be if we devoted the amount of time we spend on diets, exercise and other traditional New Years resolutions to "spiritual training." I thought to myself, what if I spent as much time studying my Bible as I spend contemplating a new rug for the living room? Eesh. I'll spend hours working on a blog post but only three minutes reading the Bible before bed, exhausted and half-asleep. What does that say about my priorities?

The first step is identifying the problem, right? Now that I realize how easily I'm distracted from what should be my main focus, I can take action and make changes.

I'm not trying to say that blogging, shopping, exercising and other activities are all bad. They're not. But when they take up too much of your focus, you have to make adjustments.

So in 2013, I'll be continually reminding myself to focus on the most important things. I won't beat myself up if I'm too busy to post on my blog that day, or if I have to say no to that volleyball gig, or if I need to cancel any other engagement because I don't have the mental energy to do it all. We aren't super heroes– sometimes you have to simplify your life to make big strides. Do less, but do better.

Thankful and focused. Let's do this, 2013.

* Evaluating *

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