I didn’t mean to keep you all in suspense for so long over my word for 2019! I just didn’t want to tell you what it was without also giving you the full backstory on it and explaining what it means to me and how I plan to walk it out.
But hang with me, because I hope that this post will help explain my why behind choosing this word and how it will be driving my year.
First off, I should say that no one guessed it correctly. Which honestly, I wasn’t surprised about… because it’s actually not a word that I’ve heard someone else choose before (though I’m sure someone has!)
But I did give you a little hint back in September…
Here’s the funny thing: I randomly picked up this book called Chasing Excellence from a search on Amazon. I didn’t even know who Ben Bergeron was when I bought the book.
I just was so inspired by watching the athletes at the CrossFit Games that I went on Amazon and searched for, “CrossFit athletes”. It pulled up Tia-Clair Toomey’s book and then Chasing Excellence was recommended, too.
It’s rare that Amazon steers me really wrongly, so when I read the premise for Chasing Excellence and thought it sounded intriguing and worth reading, I bought the book.
Little did I know that this book was going to become the basis for my word for 2019!
This book was one of those that you wanted to read both quickly and slowly. Quickly, because you wanted to gobble it all up as it was so good. Slowly, because you wanted to savor it as it was so good and you didn’t want it to end.
For those who are unfamiliar with the author like I was, Ben Bergeron, is a coach to some of the world’s most well known CrossFit athletes. If you love CrossFit, you must read this book. But even if you don’t care a tiny bit about CrossFit, this book is packed with nuggets of truth and inspiration.
The entire time I was reading Chasing Excellence, I was so inspired and moved and challenged. And instinctively, I knew I wanted to pick the word EXCELLENCE for 2019.
But it also scared me a lot. Wouldn’t this go against everything I had been learning and growing in? Wasn’t my heart’s desire to continue to work on savoring life, not living life at breakneck speed, and not feeling like I needed to hustle and climb a ladder to success?
And yet, I couldn’t get this word out of my mind and heart. So I took September and October to mull over it.
I realized there were many areas in my life where I was settling for mediocrity. I wasn’t intentionally pursuing excellence; I was just doing what I’d done for a long time because it was getting me by.
I had gotten stuck in a lot of ruts. They weren’t terrible ruts; but they were ruts and I wasn’t seeing a lot of forward momentum. I also wasn’t feeling super excited and motivated in many parts of my life — especially as a business owner, in some of my personal disciplines and habits, and when it came to growing as a person.
Yes, I wasn’t failing (in most areas). Yes, I was doing a decent job (in most areas).
But do I want to just do a decent job at life? Or do I want to pursue excellence?
Y’all, I want to pursue excellence. And so, it was decided: My word for 2019 is EXCELLENCE. And I’m really excited about it!
My heart’s desire is to be much more intentional in how I invest my time and how I structure my life so that I am not just coasting through, but that I’m truly seeking to live with excellence in those few areas that matter most to me.
And on the flip side, I’m good with letting most everything else that’s not on my priority list go for this season of my life. Because I can only do a few things with excellence.
How I Want to Pursue Excellence
1. I want to pursue excellence in my relationship with the Lord.
I don’t need to be more or do more to earn God’s love for me. I know that I am loved immensely by Him. It’s because of this, that I want to spend more time deepening my relationship with Christ.
In 2018, I didn’t spend as much focused time intentionally investing in my spiritual walk and relationship with the Lord. I read my Bible and I prayed, but it was often sort of squeezed into my morning instead of being a top priority.
In 2019, I’m committing to begin my days with time in God’s Word, time reading a good devotional (I’m reading Streams in the Desert and the Daily Light), and time in prayer. I want to start my day on a foundation of excellence.
2. I want to pursue excellence in my marriage.
I’m blessed to be married to a great man who loves me selflessly. We have our struggles and our fights and our disagreements, but we are both incredibly committed to each other. However, I know that it’s easy for me to take Jesse for granted and to let other things take priority.
I am committed to making one-on-one time with Jesse a priority for every day in 2019.
3. I want to pursue excellence in my personal life.
I’ve gotten a little lax in recent months when it comes to consistency in my personal life.
I haven’t been going to bed early enough. I haven’t been eating as healthfully. I haven’t been spending as much time reading as I would like to (mostly because I was distracted by “shiny things” on my phone — like Instagram!). And I’ve not been doing enough offline things that were really life-giving to me.
This year, I want to get back to better habits personally that will serve my soul and nourish my body so that I can live with excellence in my other priority areas.
4. I want to pursue excellence in my mothering.
As I’ve alluded to recently, 2018 was the year I really woke up to the fact that my mothering clock is ticking away and my kids won’t be living here for that much longer.
I’m excited to get to “launch” our kids into the world, but I also want to make the most of the short years we have left together. I want to use these next 5-10 years well — spending time together, nurturing our relationships, teaching good habits and life skills, and pouring love into these three precious kids.
This year, excellence means being offline more so I can invest more one-on-one time with the kids (As I told you in my goals post, I’m committing to 40 minutes of one-on-one time with each of them individually at least three times per week.)
5. I want to pursue excellence in my business.
Last year, I had some rough patches business-wise. I felt like I spent at least 3-4 months of the year in survival mode as a business owner. Much of this was due to a number of things that were outside my control. But some of it was due to me not compartmentalizing business and personal life well and not having clear-cut objectives and plans for many parts of the business. I felt like I was just along for the ride and barely hanging on sometimes.
I spent the last 6 weeks really asking myself where I succeeded, where I failed, and what needed to change. And I’ve made some pretty big adjustments as a result.
This year, I’m committing to only doing a few things business-wise and doing those really well. I’ve decided not to announce these changes publicly, but I think you will pick up on them in the weeks to come… and I think you’ll like them. 😉
6. I want to pursue excellence in relationships.
I did a great job in this area in 2018 and I want to continue this in 2019 as it the stuff that real living is built on.
I am committed to continue to open up our home and be very proactive about investing in people and going deep in friendships and building into local community in 2019.
So there you have it! I feel so excited and motivated by this word I’ve chosen and what it means to me and how I plan to walk it out. And I hope that my heart behind it comes through in this post.
Excellence, for me, is not about doing more or pushing myself in a way that is unhealthy; it’s about pursuing excellence that is life-giving and life-changing — for myself and for those closest to me.
By the way, if you go back and look at my Goals for 2019, you’ll see how these goals line up with my word, Excellence. (Or at least I hope you’ll see how they do!)
My Daily Habit Checklist
One way that I’m seeking to stay accountable is through a daily habit checklist. If you saw my checklist that I shared in an earlier post, I actually ended up adding a few extra things to it: namely, 40 minutes of one-on-one time with Jesse, Kathrynne, Kaitlynn, and Silas every day.
I know that I won’t always hit that goal every day (or any do any habit on my list perfectly!). But my hope is to aim to check 5 boxes in each line of my checklist every week.
Some of you might feel like a checklist seems over-bearing or not grace-filled or something that could cause stress. For my personality, it’s actually motivating. It helps remind me of my pre-determined priorities, it keeps me on track, and it serves as a sort of built-in course corrector.
Plus, if I find that I’m feeling exhausted or stressed or discouraged, a quick glance at the list might provide some clues as to why — maybe I’m not getting enough sleep or I’m not spending enough time offline or I’m not investing in life-giving things, etc.
So far, the checklist has been so helpful and I’m excited to see how it works as the year progresses. I’ll definitely keep you posted!
Here’s to a year of Excellence in 2019!
Did you choose a word for 2019? If so, I’d love to hear what it is, why you chose it, and how you plan to walk it out.