I didn’t start out with a plan to pick out a word.

I started out with a plan to reinvent the wheel and start a bullet journal because pinterest. The first problem I ran into was that I am not Kara but want my journal to look like I am. My solution was to create a rough draft notebook where I would sketch out all the checklists and calendars and practice pretty headers and task lists and when I got everything the way I liked it – I would recreate it over to my real bullet journal with fingers crossed that I didn’t mess any of it up.

Because I have time for that.

After day 2 of trying to get it just so, I realized that I was spending way too much time trying to create the perfect bullet journal and not enough time actually living my less than perfect life so I ordered myself a datebook and went back to different notebooks and scraps of paper everywhere. It’s not the tidiest of systems, but at least I’m not worrying that my to-do list handwriting it isn’t pretty enough.

Which led me to my next problem:  I wanted a bullet journal because I wanted the grown up sticker chart of a habit tracker checklist for my resolutions which included such things as:  I’m going to get up early and go to bed on time and exercise and eat more vegetables and less sugar and clean everything and craft every day and take lots of pictures and read two books a week and hand write a letter once a week and go to Mass each Sunday and practice yoga and never, ever, ever raise my voice.

(The fact that my brain thinks that a complete life overhaul starting January 1 is completely doable may contribute to my depression and anxiety issues.)

So how did I get from resolutions and bullet journals to setting a word?

Rita.  I blame Rita.

She mentioned Susannah Conway’s 5-day online class to pick a word so I went over to check it out. I’ve never picked a word intention before because I’ve always felt they were silly and twee and a bit woo-woo.  And reading a few of Susannah’s thoughts on the matter didn’t change my mind that much on that front, but during one of the exercises something became very clear to me.

All my checklists and goals and plans for the year are an attempt for me to fulfill a need. And I made that need my word for the year.


So this year instead of making multiple resolutions that I’ll never keep, I set an intention.  And I’m excited about it.  (Thanks, Rita.) And instead of worrying about getting everything done so I can feel calm, I’m going to focus on feeling that way no matter what is going on around me.  I want to cultivate it in my home and in my life.  I still want to make myself a sticker chart (because I’m still basically a seven year old girl) but more than anything, I want to create a calmer heart and home.

On an unrelated side note:

We got snow.


And I love it.

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  • I also think the word thing is twee and woo-woo, but I love the word I found and I’m really glad I went through the process this year. I will try to write about it soon.

    But about you: I love your word, too. If I were in a different place, it’s a word I might choose myself. And OK, Kara’s journal is very lovely–but I actually think it is a bit too silly and twee. It’s more like a piece of performance art than a working journal. I like the idea of a word intention rather than more lists and concrete things to do because it allows for the messy life, and the messy way things actually unfold. Maybe there is some other place in your life that your yearning for pretty (and stickers!) can come out? I’m exploring some of those myself… 🙂

    • I’m excited to read about your word. After going through some of the process (I had family in town and started late so I didn’t use all of Susannah’s class), I find that I’m less inclined to eye-roll and more excited about reading the words other people decided on and their reasoning.

      As for Kara’s journal, you’re dead on. I love the idea of a bullet journal as a beautiful and functional scrapbook, but that just isn’t how my brain works. When my babies were little I used scrapbook with my mom but then I found knitting and something had to give – I may just have to find time to pick that up again. Looking forward to seeing where your exploration leads!

  • So I read Rita’s WORD post this afternoon, while on the drive home from taking our daughter back to university, and I thought to myself, “Hmmm…if I were choosing a word, what would it be?”. And — no word of a lie — the word I came up with (albeit with no coursework, and with only a good 5 minutes of pondering) was CALM. Because that’s exactly what I want for this year too — I want the ability to remain calm in the face of whatever gets thrown at me. Because I too, want to do ALL the things and never ever EVER raise my voice!

    And — Oh. my. gosh. that journal you linked to … it’s gorgeous, but that extreme level of personal organization and planning is just something my “I-keep-my-to-do-list-in-my-head” self cannot relate to at all. (Which perhaps explains a lot, actually, and Rita’s post on journals has gotten me re-thinking how I do things, and I’m wondering if a list here and there would actually be helpful. I’m always busy, and I DO get a lot of stuff done, but it might be helpful, at the end of the day, to actually be able to recall ALL I’ve accomplished).

    • I’ve always been envious of people who can keep their to-do list in their heads. I can not. My brain is always going a million miles a minute and if I don’t write things down I am guaranteed to miss something important. Like milk. (The other day I ended up at the grocery store twice because I forgot my list at home and the whole reason I even was going to the grocery store to begin with was because we desperately needed milk, but that was one of the things I forgot.)

      Also: my original to-do lists were actually not to-do lists at all but lists of what I accomplished during the day. When I had bitty babies I always felt like Jesse would come home from work wondering what in the world I did all day because dinner wouldn’t be ready, the house was messy, and I was a frazzled mess. It makes me laugh but they were my PROOF that I hadn’t just sat on the couch and at bon-bons while the kids played. Now I have more a list of things I want to accomplish in a day and I cross them off as I complete them (oh, that makes me feel so good) but to be honest, if I do something not on the list I will still write it down just so I can cross it off.