My birthday always feels like such a BIG beginning to me.

It holds so much promise and potential for the next year.  For that reason, it has always seemed like a natural moment for goal-setting.  But as I get older, setting goals seems less important than making major shifts in who I want to be and how I want my life to feel.  It is less like “getting to the gym 5 times a week” or “reading one classic a month,” and more like changing my mindset.

So I just had my big day, and it was time to choose a birthday word.  I used to choose a birthday resolution, but these years it’s just a word.  Picking a word is like picking a mantra for the year.  A chant that you can repeat to yourself often, allowing it to guide you at key moments.  It becomes your compass whenever you are feeling a little lost.

And this year’s word is LESS.

Truth be told, I’m really a “more” kind of girl.  If some is good, then more is even better!  Needless to say, this is going to be a challenge.  And it isn’t necessarily unhealthy stuff that gets me in trouble…I want to do more, learn more, be more!  We are such a go-go-go ambitious society.  But the result is that life feels so busy all the time and the quality of everything we do diminishes.

There are so many ways LESS can be better.  And when I ask myself what I really want, I really want less.  I want to…

  • do less
  • speak less
  • consume less
  • strive less

DO LESS: There is a great fashion quote from Coco Chanel.  “Once you’ve dressed, and before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take at least one thing off.”  I intend to use that advice regarding my calendar.  Once I’ve filled it in for the week, what item can I remove?  Whether that is getting help or ditching it entirely, I plan to take at least one thing off.

SPEAK LESS:  I am always inspired by the brilliance around me when I shut my mouth for a while.  When you speak less (and when you do less), you give other people in your world the opportunity to step up and participate.  That little bit of space not only allows someone else to shine, but also gives us the chance to learn new things.

CONSUME LESS: Sure, I’d like to consume a little less cheddar cheese and fewer gallons of gas.  But there is another kind of consuming I’d like to do less of, and that is my consumption of bad mojo.  Political rants, upsetting news, entertainment that highlights ugly behavior, and especially all of the negative energy I absorb just being in contact with angry people.  Those are the things I really want to consume less of.

STRIVE LESS: Now, that may sound a little peculiar coming from a coach whose work is moving people forward.  However, I don’t intend to put the brakes on.  Instead of running as fast as I can in a million directions, I can strive smarter.  I can slow down and make well-informed choices so that I am doing less while simultaneously being more effective.

I want to feel life slow down so I can drink it in.  I want to experience the people around me in an unhurried way.  I want to stop racing and start feeling still.