#oneword 2017

Since seeing the #oneword hastag in my twitter feed on new years day, I’ve been subconsciously wondering what mine might be for 2017. A lot of others I saw resonated in some way with me: #present; #resilient; #balance, #discipline, #focus…these are all directly relevant to me as things I aspire to practice this year…but each on their own didn’t quite fully encapsulated all that I want or need for the year.

But when I was out for a walk last night purposeful came into my head. And this, finally felt right for me.

Why purposeful? 2016 was for me hugely chaotic in almost all aspects of life, for many and varied reasons. Whilst the challenges left me exhausted and burnt out, I also learnt a huge amount – about the importance of asking for and accepting help, and the generosity and care of others, about the type of person I am and how this can lead me to take on too much for too many people, about letting go and just being present. That you can only look after someone else if you take good care of your own health and wellbeing first, and that building resilience is about carving out time to do this very thing. The importance of applying balanced focus to your family, work, self and social, and the benefit of talking (to the right people), questioning, reframing and reflecting on situations to see potential solutions, the helpfulness of adopting a mindset of experimenting – a cycle of ‘trying things out’>reflecting on how well it worked>and adjusting or trying something different if it doesn’t (repeat), and the effectiveness of building behaviour change through small, doable, sustainably repeatable actions (habits). Of having clarity on what needs to change to make things better, and clearly articulating what you need from other people to make this happen. About people leadership – how incredibly challenging it is to do and do well, that it’s something which needs to be worked at consciously and honed constantly, what ‘good’ people leadership might look and feel like, and how important dedicated support and a good mentor is for developing good leadership skills….And how a schedule of constant back to back meetings is the single most unproductive and unsustainable way to work (yet lots of leaders still seem to do it – sometimes because it’s the cultural norm of the work environment…but that’s a whole other conversation).

For me, 2017 is about purposefully keeping these lessons front of mind and applying them, purposefully setting a clear big picture long term goal (“the dream”), purposefully making the short and mid term goals and plans needed to get there, and purposefully using the discipline of daily habits to make it easier for me to get there: to build resilience against challenges, and the focus to stick with it.

I hope 2017 isn’t as chaotic as 2016 was – but merely hoping won’t make it so. However, being Purposeful about it just might.

8 thoughts on “#oneword 2017

  1. Michael S. Weller says:

    “Purposeful” is a good choice! I like your ideas around being intentional & reflective, and I especially like your thought on “the effectiveness of building behaviour change through small, doable, sustainably repeatable actions.”
    I’ve been thinking about the idea of “working out loud” since I read your post “Conversation spaces for deep learning” a year and a half ago, and I think my one word would have to do with that in some way – being less hesitant to post a blog entry that feels less than perfect, for example, or working in open Google Docs more often – or writing more comments on the blogs that I follow! 🙂

    • tanyalau says:

      Hi Michael – thanks so much for the comment. Yes I started reading Charles Duhigg’s book ‘The Power of Habit’ a month ago (something I’ve been intending to do for a while). Although I’m only a couple of chapters in, it’s had a pretty big impact on my thinking on this – it shows just how easy it is to develop both good and bad habits and how making small changes in our environment can have a big impact on how successful we are in changing our behaviour and facilitating the change. Incorporating it into your daily routine is key though. I’ve started small – focusing on making my morning routine better, calmer and more focused. (It was previously very chaotic!). My goal was to get up just a bit earlier than everyone else and do 2 things: a mindfulness exercise (I use an app for this) and go for a short run. No matter what else happened if I could do those two things I was happy. This has been pretty successful – in particular daily mindfulness has been extremely valuable for helping me in other areas – like being able to let go (including of perfection etc like you mention), and developing that mindset of experimentation. The physical activity really gets me in a positive frame of mind – regardless of how I felt before. There have been misteps and ‘failures’ – days when I haven’t done these things or done them on time, but I don’t let that get in the way. The other thing that I’ve done in conjunction with the two things above that has helped me deal and move on with set backs is use an diary app to record my reflections and progress. This has helped me put set backs in perspective – the act of writing down what has happened and what actions I can take next or instead to get back on track has been really helpful. I think it’s also helped with writing – as it’s a private journal I just write and record things without worrying about the sentence structure or how it sounds – just even doing this is a step towards writing with less perfectionism. I wrote this blog post pretty quickly – I formed most of it in my head after taking a walk and just jotted it down that night in about an hour. Re-read and did a quick edit and posted the following day. I half thought about including an image (as this is apparently good for blog posts) but ditched that because it would delay posting. I have a feeling that writing and reflecting more regularly in the online diary helped – as the act of writing and reflecting actively a lot of the ‘thinking’ behind the post had already been done.
      Anyway – my intention is to do shorter and more regular posts this year. But it will only happen if I make time for it as part of my weekly schedule (working on this too).

      • Michael S. Weller says:

        I’ve been writing – or trying to write – in my my journal each day, too. As funny as it sounds to say it, though, the idea of simply writing down the events of the day didn’t really occur to me. I know this is the basic idea behind journaling; after all, I am reminded, the word “journal” itself means “daily.” And I do jot down events at times, but this is not my default – I often think of some particular product that I want to work on.

        This is not to say that there’s only one way to journal, of course, but perhaps getting “back to basics” intentionally could help me to be more consistent with my writing.

        I also think you are right in your theory that “writing and reflecting more regularly” in your online journal helped you to write a piece for “publication” – I would compare the daily journal writing to the conditioning exercises an athlete does to prepare for a game. Perhaps it is a paradox: by re-attending to process we can improve our ability to create products.

  2. kjeannette says:

    HI Tanya, It was great to see this in my feed today. I’ve been wondering what you’ve been up to – as I’ve been thinking about some of our past discussions and my blogging goals that haven’t quite panned out yet. I feel like I’ve been on a bit of a similar journey in many respects. Have you read Playing Big? It was a great read about being more purposeful and perhaps more bold in a whole life (not just work life) kind of sense. I am also looking at Bullet journal ideas – some of which I’ve implemented, but more of which I’d like to learn about. I see it’s a great companion to PKM and WOL circles in that it can reinforce purposefully driven habits. There is something very validating about checking off checklist items or migrating them to a new day in a purposeful way, and also very therapeutic in the sense of incorporating some art (via sketches and doodles) into the creation of each day’s list. It sounds like something you might like – or maybe you already have one! Either way, it sounds like we are still on parallel journeys in some ways. Best of luck to you in 2017! I hope 2017 will create more opportunities for me to share like this! 🙂

    • tanyalau says:

      Hi Karen – I think we must have had a bit of a brain sync this morning – as I was *just* thinking about you and getting in touch – for all of the reasons you mention. I remember our previous convos on blogging practice, shared goals and shared interests in networked learning and PLNs.
      Thanks for the book recommendation – that sounds like it aligns with a lot of things that are front of mind for me right now – we’re looking at the logistics of making a big life change (moving out of the city) which is the big goal I’m focusing on.
      Blogging hasn’t been one of my explicit or biggest goals for this year (it’s on the list though) and I haven’t put any pressure on myself to write but I have kept it at the back of my mind and it’s happened almost as a side effect of my private journaling and reflection – as i describe in my response to Michael’s comment above. I am going to be joining a wolcircle starting next week so that is likely to be the focus of any writing I do.
      I was just thinking this morning (on my run) about developing a non-screen related skill and sketchnoting came to mind (again with the brain syncing!).
      Anyway…really glad to have connected again and definitely looking to do more this year.

      • kjeannette says:

        It’s fun to continue hearing parallels. I read the Power of Habit this year too. I like your take on blogging. I’m learning to take the pressure off the goal of blogging and onto achieving those structural life things like journaling and exercise first, too. I especially like that about the WOL circles, that sometimes you have to structure your life first, and that is the goal. It’s nice to have the WOL process and support group to help you start mastering the idea of taking any big goal, something you really care about and exploring it almost as if you are ‘zooming in and zooming out’ so to speak. And then to break it down into manageable pieces that you can learn from and feel good about. It’s so funny how we can really believe in the growth mindset, but have such trouble acting it out in our daily thoughts and actions. Good luck with your big goal. It sounds like a big life change, but very interesting to explore and understand. I look forward to hearing more!

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