annual retreat: one word, year two

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Last year's annual retreat was to the most beautiful, dreamy cabin in the woods. This year, we've been traveling so much that we decided to hold our annual retreat at the one place that we knew we'd focus, be comfortable and open to discussing our deepest and most personal selves. At home, with our pup at our feet and plenty of hot coffee warming our bellies and keeping us alert.

We started off by making breakfast, coffee (duh) and watching the TED Talk "Adam Grant: The surprising habits of original thinkers." We talked about the idea of procrastination (Lyndi does, Justin doesn't!), the appeal of not reinventing the wheel and how terrified we both are of not trying to make something extraordinary of our lives together. Maybe we are Originals and maybe we aren't, but the idea that we could strive to be or think like one put us on the right track.

Next we reviewed our goals from last year and discovered that we each only accomplished about half of what we set out to do in 2016. Ever feel like your lofty choices in January don't hold up after a few months? Us too. We discussed why these goals weren't met, we realized three common threads weaved through each goal:

  1. We didn't check on our goals. Not once. We even had to search for the notebooks where we wrote them down! This made it impossible to be held accountable.
  2. We didn't clarify our goals. We wrote everything down and didn't discuss why we chose them, how we planned to achieve them or what they really meant to us.
  3. We didn't set the right goals. We accomplished so much in 2016, but we didn't seem to have them written down in January! Our goals were too focused on the present, fleeting moment and not on the many facets of our lives.

We're not kicking ourselves over this, because like we said, we accomplished a ton in 2016! It doesn't have to be written down in early January for us to feel great about that. But we're also realistic in that if we don't make a concerted effort to discuss some of our biggest ambitions and put them into manageable chunks, they may never happen. Sometimes it's as simple as a goal to be in the right mindset to create, maintain resilience and reach for those stars.

So this year we are ditching the term GOALS. The concept of timelines and checking things off of a list seems unrealistic to human nature. After all, we are human and that means we are constantly growing and changing, and our lives and decided achievements are growing and changing as well. Instead of goals, we are focusing on INTENTIONS for 2017.

We've decided what we want out of our year, and while some of our intentions are extremely specific, others are qualitative and ambiguous, and we are okay with that. To help guide us in reaching our intentions, we expanded them to include all facets of our lives and for each of them to embody our WORD for the year, both collectively and separately.

Based on this article from the guys over at Live Better, we chose to set intentions under five categories: Relationships, Personal, Business, Physical and Nutritional. We also made sure we each had a way to check back in with ourselves weekly and with each other quarterly.

But before we did this, we had to choose our WORD for the year first, which meant plenty of wordsmith-ing, thesaurus-searching and honesty with ourselves and each other. We are excited to finally share our WORD for each other and for us as a couple!

JUSTIN: BALANCE

When I chose DEPTH as my word for 2016, I was scared. I was scared that sharing aspects of my life with friends and family was going to make me vulnerable. And it sure as hell did. But, once I ripped off the bandaid, it felt amazing. I was longing for deeper relationships and realized sharing is a two way street. People were never going to open up to me if I didn't open up to them.

When thinking about words for 2017, I wanted something powerful but not aggressive. Something that could be considered daily and in the grand scheme of things. That's why I chose BALANCE as my word for 2017. I believe that life can be so much more gratifying when you are balanced. For me, balance is all-encompassing. It includes my physical, mental, and emotional well-being, as well as my daily routine and lifestyle.

In the past I have noticed how easy it is to neglect certain aspects of my life and have it completely throw off everything else. So, this year is all about making space for everything that's important to me. Just because I'm traveling doesn't mean I have to eat like crap. Just because I'm busy woking at a desk doesn't mean I don't have time to work out or stretch. And just because I'm living a healthy lifestyle, does not mean I'm not going to indulge in a chocolate chip cookie and cocktail when the mood strikes.

Here's to a year of balanced nutrition, relationships, fitness, work habits and all around lifestyle!

LYNDI: BRAVE

Last year I chose CONFIDENCE as my word, because I knew I needed to learn the balance between arrogance and confidence. Being proud of yourself and shining bright doesn't mean you aren't capable of humility and gratitude. It was a beautiful lesson in practicing that balance rather than believing it in theory, and the more confident I feel, the more I've been able to express my gratitude towards those around me.

This year, I chose BRAVE because I tend to hold back when I begin something new. Ever make your to do list for the day and then instantly find a way to procrastinate? Yeah? Me too. In fact, that's my M.O. for most daunting tasks. Eventually everything gets accomplished, but not without a healthy sense of fear of the unknown.

I realized that in order to accomplish some of my bigger intentions for the year and continue to dream big, I need to push past that fear. Paraphrasing from Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, I have to let that fear sit in the backseat and not in the driver's seat. I know it's there, and it's ok to coexist with fear. But no, it cannot even choose the music on my journey because 2017 is going to be a big year for me, and I refuse to listen to Metallica. For obvious reasons...

Unlike last year's proverbial caution tape that I initially wrapped around my word, this year I feel more excited than ever to see where this word takes me! Let's do this!

THE REARDENSTEINS: PAUSE

We chose this word with reckless abandon and an intense longing. We don't think the word even fell from our lips before we both said "YES!" With 2016 being our biggest travel year yet, we felt exhausted and exhilarated at the idea of slowing down. Last year sent us across 7 countries, 25 cities, and approximately 36,829 miles. Did you know it's "only" 24,900 miles around the earths circumference? While we loved every minute of it, plain and simple: it wore us down. The idea of PAUSING was sounding pretty great to us come January.

The word PAUSE isn't really about less travel, although that seemed to be at the forefront of our minds at the moment. The more we discussed this word, the deeper it expanded into our vocabulary and the more meaning it began to hold. PAUSE is about smarter and more intentional choices. To us, it's more about holding on to a feeling in the moment, taking time to be kind to each other and the people around us, and making more of an effort to say "yes" to the right things and "no" to the wrong ones.

One of our most substantive intentions around this word is the idea of being present, with each other and with those we love. This means putting phones away during meals and in bed, and more focused time with friends (think: one on one, in places where real conversation can happen). Another essential intention is holding ourselves more accountable for what we purchase and constantly asking if it adds value. We defined value as bringing joy, beauty or utility to our lives. We hope this year's word teaches us more about PAUSING so we can more intimately focus on the people, places and things that mean the most to us.

Did you set a word for the year? Set your sites on something you're excited to accomplish this year? Share below, we'd love to hear it!