Last year I started a New Years Resolution Plan called Rosebud that I got off one of the podcasts I frequent. The process essentially looks like this:
Step 1: List Three Roses-
This is the stuff that I would consider the greatest strengths, successes or accomplishments of the past year, the stuff that has managed to blossom into a Rose.
Step 2: List Three Thorns
This would reflect my greatest personal struggles of the past year.
Step 3: List Three Buds
This is a list of what I would like to “bud” into Roses in the coming year.
Step 4: Come up with a word for the year
This should be a single word that can help reflect the direction I want to head in the coming year, a single word that can give my year a theme or a recognizable flavour.
The great part of the Rosebud system is that it allows you to document these things by year so that you can follow your growth, keep yourself accountable, and target the yearly summation of your hopes and expectations in ways that are more practical, personal and balanced.
So looking back, here were the 3 buds from last year that reflected the things I had hoped to bud into Roses:
1. More focused writing
2. Small Steps, namely in areas like debt repayment, giving more, and taking smaller more manageable trips (because opportunity to travel and see new places is important to me).
3. Travel (in the manner mentioned above)
And my single word for 2017: Time
So how did I do?
The first bud was definitely successful (more focused writing). There were some lulls in 2017, but I am happy in general with how much “time” I was able to give to writing more and writing with more focus. My hope down the road, if I can continue to focus my writing, is to be able to take that time and figure out a way to turn some of it into a book.
The second bud (small steps) came with some hits and some misses. The latter half of the year saw some setbacks in certain areas (I was not where I wanted to be in terms of finding areas to give more), but at the same time we made some positive (small steps) towards positioning ourselves to be better equipped this year to tackle some small steps.
The third (travel). Not where I wanted it to be. I think looking at some of the thorns of last year, this lack of budding increased some of those thorns (namely anxiety, social isolation). Some of this is due to a phase of life. So much of our time (which is important to travel) was invested into our son over this year. And no regrets there at all, but it does speak to a reality that we have to learn how to navigate together if we are to increase our investment in “family” time. And I think (small step) travel is one of the best ways to do that. And the truth is it does help my anxiety as well, and that means I am better equipped to really give into the family in other ways as well.
So on to 2018:
1. More focused Writing
I wanted to include this again not as a retread but as a way of making sure I don’t fall off the wagon. I just wanted to acknowledge that it did become a noted strength in 2017, not because my writing is great but because I feel I have been able to articulate some important things for myself in times and in ways that I have needed.
2. Engagement at my job
This wasn’t on my radar when I did this in 2017, but by the end of last school year I was not very engaged with my job. I am a school bus driver by trade, and last year was a really tough year. So much so that rather than engaging with my kids I just wanted to hide most days as I tried my best to trudge through it all. At the beginning of this school year I made a commitment to reengage with the students and to reinvest in the time I was spending with my bus (small steps). I feel like it has payed off. I am seeing stronger relationships, and although there are still challenges I have stayed engaged and involved and creative.
3. Risk taking and lifestyle changes
We made some tough choices this year, especially in the latter months, to try and reposition our family towards where we needed to be. Some of these choices involved taking a risk and a step of faith. But I feel like this is a positive strength for us as a family, The ability to make changes and to maybe do some things a bit off course than the way we normally might do it makes me excited for the potential and possibilities down the road.
This is a retread, and for good reason. I suggested last year that this is one that will likely be ongoing. The struggle this past year grew from manageable to a negative and not very manageable in the latter half.
2. Social Activity
Again, a retread, and again for good reason. It goes hand in hand with the anxiety. When my anxiety is high the number one place it manifests is socially. And when social activity is low, anxiety grows. It is a bit of a vicious cycle.
Time was a positive last year in certain respects. It was my word for the year, and I chose it because it was necessary for my buds to grow. But time also remained allusive and not balanced in other respects, especially in making use of the summer (we are all on the school system and are off for those two months), and also in balancing family time with a crazy schedule for our kid in the fall months.
1. Make Travel Goals
I have put this at number one not as a selfish goal but as a proactive one. Some of the changes we have made in our house involve planning with more intention, so I think with this bud I wanted to see something more intentional as well, keeping in mind that I also want to approach this according to the “small steps” mantra of last year. So here are some possible and intentional ideas:
Toronto- The ball was dropped on me getting our son Sasha (and us) back to Toronto. And time is ticking for opportunity to get him over there so that he can build some relationships with his extended family. This is a manageable trip. We know how to do it and we know how to do it on a budget. Couple this with the fact that they are also opening up a brand new, multi level go cart track in Niagra, and this will be a great opportunity for Sasha to get down there again and for all of us to see family.
Old Mid-West Trip– This will coincide with my second bud, but I had this idea for a blog that revolved around the Western. I wanted to pair some movies with a visit to some Western icons that are not far from where we live. Hopefully I can find that opportunity this year.
Duluth– Our son Sasha really wants to get back there to do some snow boarding.
Memphis/New Orleans– this is the year to think about racial issues and civil rights. A few different anniversaries are being celebrated in 2018, including an important anniversary of New Orleans.
Detroit and Cleveland- A short trip over the border from Toronto are two of the top cities to visit in North America in 2018. I had been hoping to get Sasha down to Detroit so that I could take him to the museums and introduce him to some of the history of race relations and civil rights. He got really interested in that last year in English class. Maybe this is the year where that is a possibility.
Omaha– weekend away with my wife. What better place than this mid-west city and the gondola ride down their canal.
2. More Focused Reading Challenge
I typically stick with the generic Good Reads challenge, and typically I make my goal of reading around 50 books in the year. This year I hope to become more intentional with my reading challenge. My goal is to research different creative ideas around how to read and what kind of books to read and then formulate it into a plan. I think this will help slow my reading down, give it more intention, and branch me out to different ideas and opportunities.
3. Creative Giving Ideas
Rather than just giving more, I hope to be able to look at this as branching out in more ways than just financially. It used to be a really big part of my character to come up with creative ways to give. And if this is an opportunity, it is an opportunity to challenge my social thorns as well. Because to give creatively means to give of time, to give towards specifics, and to know the people and situations and circumstance and personal ideas where giving might be meaningful or purposed.
One word for the year: Intentional