Last year I made a digital vision board to help set the mood, if you will, for 2021.
Ah yes, “work hard, rest hard”! The underlying message here was balance. I have a penchant for overdoing it and subsequently burning out. I knew that if I was going to maintain my sanity amidst the continuation of covid, the flat-out denial by some of the election results, the toxicity of my job at the time (I have since moved on), and more, I needed something to hold on to. And that something was doing a whole lot of nothing *insert satisfied smirk here*. Now the question, did I stick to my vision? Well, let’s see!
I implemented a lot of new habits in 2021:
- I didn’t answer work emails after 5pm or on weekends…for the most part
- I actually used the short breaks between appointments and meetings to, you know – take a break! – instead of stuffing every minute with work
- I extended nothing but kindness towards myself when not everything on my to-do list got checked off
- I allowed myself to do nothing on weekends except watch movies in my pajamas and take Rosie on her 3 obligatory walks
The funny thing is, some of these habits were not exactly new but how I felt about them was. Previously, I felt guilty about taking breaks or not finishing everything on my to-do list but not in 2021, baby! There were definitely moments that the guilt machine in the back of my mind started to crank up but I shut that shit down real quick. I really embraced the idea that rest is not something you have to earn but instead, it is something that is inherently yours as a living being. So the next time you feel like you have to earn rest, throw that nonsense out the window and go take a nap.
Another important aspect of my vision-setting for 2021 was that I did not set any specific goals. Now, I know that for a lot of you this seems counterintuitive because S.M.A.R.T. goals, amirite? While I’m on board with making specific, measurable, achievable bla bla bla… goals most of the time, my vision for 2021 was to embrace myself as a human, not as a machine whose existence revolves solely on production and output. I was, and still am, so sick of “hustle culture”. So you can bet your butt that I am taking my 2021 vision with me to 2022.
But what is my 2022 vision? Let’s take a looksie!
Soften your heart. Be vulnerable. Embrace tenderness. That is my vision for 2022.
My process for arriving at this vision was a little different than what I did in 2021. Last year, I went straight to collecting images and phrases or words of what I wanted to cultivate. More on that process in a previous post. But this year, I went a lot deeper. I asked myself questions like:
- What are my strengths?
- Who matters most to me?
- What are my values?
- What do I believe in?
- What new activities am I interested in or willing to try?
- If I wasn’t afraid, I would ______________________
- What am I passionate about?
- What do my dreams tell me?
- What am I grateful for?
- What do I need to feel nourished? To feel safe? To feel capable?
I took some time, a lot of time actually, to reflect and journal on these questions. Only once I had responses to each did I begin looking for images. I then began identifying common themes and noticed that I had chosen lots of images of hearts, people hugging, and individuals holding hands. It’s important to note that none of these images were romantic in nature. What this told me is that I really want to cultivate and nurture my friendships and familial relationships this year. This requires that I soften my heart, rather than hardening it whenever I feel slighted or disappointed by someone or something. It requires that I be vulnerable, instead of closing myself off to connection. Lastly, it means that I need to embrace tenderness, rather than hide behind a tough exterior.
By now, you may have noticed that my vision boards are not the typical image-heavy, goal-driven visuals that you would normally find. This is intentional because, as I mentioned previously, I really want to get away from making my life all about what I produce. There is so much more to life than wasting it away on one to-do list after another. My visions also build upon each other. My 2021 vision helped me be more balanced between my work and personal life. This is a skill that I’ll always have going forward and it will allow me to focus more on my 2022 vision.
If you made a more traditional vision board or a list of new year’s resolutions – that’s great! Please know that I have nothing against either. They just don’t work for me personally. I would, however, encourage you to give this version of the vision board a try. You may be surprised to find that what your heart and soul need go far beyond the S.M.A.R.T. goals you may have set for yourself.