At the start of the year, instead of making the traditional New Year’s resolutions, I choose to focus on the word “balance”. I saw this idea popping up on Facebook and thought it might be a way to challenge myself but also, well, focus on myself.  After years of setting unattainable goals or resolutions, I figured choosing one focus word couldn’t hurt.  Becoming a mother in 2015 had changed me and my focus.  I thought in 2017 I could find a way to balance some of the “old me” with my new responsibilities.  

Upon further research, the “one word” trend stems from a book published in 2012, My One Word, by Mike Ashcraft. The point is simple — lose the long list of changes you want to make at the start of the year and instead focus on one word that will help you focus on a vision for change.  This process provides clarity by taking all your big plans for life change and narrowing them down into a single focus. Just one word that centers on your character and creates a vision for your future.

For more information on the movement, visit My One Word.  

It’s a simple concept, and I’m glad people weren’t afraid to share their focus words on social media.  I thought in 2017, I could focus on finding more balance between being mom and being McKenzie.  Although I started strong, I quickly found that the year faded, so did my focus word.  By the end of October, I realized I had lost sight of balance.  I felt worn out. I had snapped at my husband numerous times in a single day. The impatience I had with my son became unbearable, and I couldn’t wait until his bedtime many nights. I felt bloated. I felt tired. I felt disconnected from myself.  I wasn’t a person I even wanted to be around.

When I chose “balance” I pictured changes I would make to my personal life. Before becoming a mom, I worked out every morning before work.  I ran 5Ks.  I went out for drinks with girlfriends. My husband and I got dinner out frequently.  Getting a coffee or going on a walk with a friend was done without question.  Now, I workout a few times a week-but I often am tired after work or am drawn into something my son is doing instead.  I make plans with friends completely dictated by my son’s sleep schedule, and often I’m too tired to want to make any plans at all.  In the two years since his birth, I can count on less than both hands how many legit date nights my husband and I have been on.  

So with a little time left in the year, I decided to make a change.  I joined the gym.  Being able to workout-and having access to childcare at the same time made me feel strong.  I took a little time away from the TV and started reading books.  I checked out The Magnolia Story and was inspired to work on house projects I have put off for years.  I scheduled a girls night (thank you, QC Mom’s Blog and your Mom’s Night Out for the perfect timing) and a date night.  I found that taking a little time for myself rejuvenated me, helping to make me a better mother, wife, and friend.

As women and mothers, it is so easy for us to sacrifice ourselves to those around us.  But it is so true that in the end, we cannot take care of others if we do not first take care of ourselves.  As we enter into the new year, I encourage you to take a moment to choose your focus word (I know I definitely plan to embark on this journey again).  Take time to think about what kind of year you want and the person you want to be.  But most importantly, focus on that word every day, and in turn, you will focus on you every day!

I’d love to know what word you choose!

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