Everyone seems to be choosing power words for 2017. While I am not entirely sure what a power word is or does, it was fairly easy to discern a theme for my life in the coming year: Growth.

This will be a big year for me and for us as a family. I will complete 30 revolutions around the sun while Fire Monkey will round out his very first. Science Guy will complete his doctorate after approximately 24 consecutive years of school. (Someone get this man a medal, or, failing that, an overpriced funny-looking hat and hood.) And there’s a good chance that we will relocate for his job, which will be only the second time I’ve lived away from my hometown for more than, say, a month. There will be lots of change, which isn’t my favorite thing ever, but I’m trying to get more comfortable with it by seeing opportunities for growth.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to set resolutions this year because most days my only goal is to make it back to bed with all family members relatively clean and well-fed. Traditional resolutions like weight loss or job searching aren’t super relevant for me right now, but I can still set some goals for personal and professional growth.

A plant grows primarily through three organs: roots, shoots, and leaves. Growth also occurs as both enlarging cells and multiplying cells (technically called division, but whatever). So as I think about how I want to grow this year, I think about what I want better and more of in my self, my routines, and my work.

Roots reach deep to anchor a plant, preventing it from being blown or washed away, and to bring important nutrients to the plant. I need practices to anchor me to who I am behind the many roles I play now.

  • Take a minute to reflect at the end of each day and jot a quick note in my planner. One of the things I regret most about 2016 are the large blank spaces in my planner in the first few months after Fire Monkey was born. I know things happened, both magical and mundane, but I have no record of most of them besides the photos I took on my phone.
  • Keep time for my fabulous faith community of spirit-filled and open-minded peeps. This community has really become my anchor since Fire Monkey was born and I stopped working…Sunday is often the only day of the week I recognize anymore because that’s the day we go to church.
  • Maintain a regular exercise routine even when it’s cold and evil outside. This is why I give up precious floor space at home for exercise equipment.
  • Practice yoga or mindfulness meditation at least once a week. Meditation is a new one for me and trying new things is not my strong suit (ask my husband about trying to convince me to watch movies I haven’t seen before) but I think it will be very helpful. Anyone have any recommendations for resources?
  • Replace unnecessary apologies with thanks. “Sorry for venting,” becomes “Thanks for listening to me.”

Shoots provide plants with structure and connect the roots with the leaves, just as routines lend rhythm and security to our lives. The last year or so has been an object lesson in the importance of routines…or should I say, shootines? (Mom humor + biology teacher humor = poor Fire Monkey)

  • Put things away when I’m done with them. This has been a lifelong struggle but as Fire Monkey’s paraphernalia colonizes more and more space (he doesn’t even weigh 20 pounds, how does his stuff take up half the apartment?!) I’m finally realizing how important it really is, especially now that the baby goes to bed two hours before we do and if I don’t want to open the door to put something away, I need to do it during the day.
  • Leave myself 15 minutes before bed to pick up and replace things. If picking up at the time doesn’t happen, a quick sweep at the end of the day means I can wake up to clean house less of a disaster zone, which feels pretty good.
  • Systematically declutter. I doubt I’ll have enough dedicated time for a full KonMari rampage, but picking an area to attack each week seems to be working fairly well.
  • Find/create a schedule for cleaning. I tried to get Science Guy on board with this two years ago but he thought the organic approach was working fine. It’s not. I have a dry-erase calendar and I’m not afraid to use it.
  • Plan meals for the week. And grocery shop accordingly so I’m not hauling the baby to the store 3 times a week. Believe it or not, this happened for awhile during the warmer months. Maybe part of me just wanted to get out of the house, but now it’s just a pain in the butt.
  • Write a snail mail letter to a friend every two weeks (give or take). I recently went through a box of saved cards and letters dating back to 2009 and remembered that letter-writing used to bring me a lot of joy, so I’d like to bring that habit back.
  • Floss my damn teeth. And so it goes…every year…

Leaves use light energy to turn carbon dioxide and water into sugar. (THEY DON’T TURN LIGHT INTO SUGAR. GET IT RIGHT.) They also happen to provide shade, shelter, and food for other organisms. These are the outward-facing goals I hope to achieve.

  • Complete business coaching and create a plan to work sustainably and profitably from home. (Or at the very least, subsidize some child care and regular massages.)
  • Build a community through my blog.
  • Sew something my child can wear in public. That isn’t just a Star Wars costume…
  • Do something I’ve never done before each month. This is terrifying and difficult for me. Taking suggestions!
  • Save up for our next family vacation. I know this is not very specific yet. Waiting to see how the first leaf plays out.

What about you? How do you hope and plan to grow this year?