Annual Retreat: One Word, Year Three


Normally we like to post our blog about the new year as close to January 1st as possible, but this year has brought on a lot of changes, so here we are heading into March. 

While we worked on the new site in January we intentionally chose to keep this blog post on hold until later. Why? We thought that right about now is the time when we start noticing ourselves and others slipping into old habits and forgetting about our set goals for the year. We believe that so much of reaching goals and being intentional involves mental strength. The mind is a powerful muscle and sometimes that muscle needs to be flexed (daily). We are huge believers in using visualization and checkpoints, and we wanted to post this at a time when we could all use a reminder of those dreams we set out to accomplish in January. 

As we developed these goals, we tried a new exercise. We imagined what our world would look like heading into 2019. Are we dreaming big enough and yet still choosing attainable goals? Can we SEE what that looks like? And for us, that meant drawing ourselves and our accomplished goals and then talking about what would be different about each of us and us as a couple when achieved them. Would we be a stronger unit? Would we like what we saw in the mirror? These visualization exercises were thought-provoking and invigorating.

The last thing we changed is the way we began our sessions. The past two years when we have written about our Annual Retreat, we focused a good amount of time and energy into thinking about the previous year and considering why we didn't reach certain goals. This year when we glanced back, we felt at peace that some goals weren't met. While we wanted to emphasize the importance of processing the good, bad and ugly from the year as a tool for growth, we suddenly realized that these pieces of our past were holding us back. We decided to focus wholeheartedly on our present and future.

So this year, we are heading into a new season with a little more time spent checking in with each other, visualizing our goals, and focusing on our present and future.


This year I chose DYNAMIC as my word for the year. The end of December 2017 presented me with a huge unexpected change. When I could have curled up or screamed in frustration, I chose not to stay in that negative space for long. At the end of the day, the decision had been made and there was nothing I could do to change it. Instead I chose to use that experience as momentum to propel me forward into bigger and better things. This is why I chose DYNAMIC as my word for 2018. My main focus points this year are to: 

  • Evolve to a life that is constantly changing, but always keeping my eyes and mind on my end goals, even as they begin to transform or change.
  • Change how I define freedom and build a career that I truly love 
  • Create a life that is enriching in all areas; BONDS, CRAFT, MIND and BODY. 

This brings us to the new format that we adopted this year with our goal setting. We created sub-categories where we could focus on more precise areas of our life. BONDS, CRAFT, MIND and BODY. We feel that these four pillars are the most important areas for us to focus to build a life that is meaningful to us. 

BONDS focuses on building lasting and intentional relationships with friends and family. CRAFT zeroes in on building The Reardenstein Collective into a company this is fulfilling, flexible and centered around helping other businesses flourish. MIND is centered around activities that increase my intellect and creativity (meditating, journaling, reading) and less on mindless scrolling on social media. And BODY focuses on mobility and mindfulness around what I'm putting into, and getting out of, my body. 



While this may seems like an easy word for some, living with untreated anxiety for years has given me zero tools for how to find HARMONY in my life. If you met me, you know that I have zero chill when it comes to achieving tasks. Lists are my love language and not finishing a task will leave me jolting awake at 3am with stress-induced insomnia. My body's physical reaction to dissonance in my life is debilitating. I lose sleep, I eat poorly, I talk myself into not having time to shower or take care of myself.

So this year, I decided to tackle this head-on. I need a new way to cope with a never-ending to do list, because my body is begging me to take care of her and I'm finally ready to listen. What does HARMONY look like for me?

  • To find balance between the need to accomplish and my health
  • To offer myself grace and acceptance when I can’t do it all
  • To ask for help when I need it, and to accept it when it’s offered

I am finally ready to find a sense of ease within my need to achieve. Being tired and stressed over things I can't control no longer serves me. My overarching goals this year are to listen to my body, to go deeper into self-care and to accept my limitations gracefully and with an openness to asking for help.


Though we each have our own words, we have found that defining a word as a couple is helpful in making sure we are on the same path. This year we chose ADAPT. For us it's vital to be aware of the ebb and flow of daily life. Because honestly, shit happens. Things change and it's important to see those changes, hold space for and accept the shift and decide how to move forward. We chose to make it a point to welcome new experiences and gracefully say goodbye to ones that no longer serve us. Even when we aren't ready to make that shift yet, which is usually the case. Being open to change doesn't mean you have to like it right away, and being aware of that is our first step to acknowledging that ADAPT is exactly the right word for us as we enter new seasons of life in 2018.

ADAPT also means accepting each other when we don't handle situations very well. In the past, we've each struggled to hold space for each others' negative emotions; instantly wanting to fix them and "turn that frown upside down" rather than allowing for the hurt or frustration or anger to sit for its necessary amount of time. ADAPT means allowing the other person to properly experience whatever emotion that arises, even if it doesn't fit our mood or our expectation.

While we think this may be our toughest word choice yet, we are really looking forward to doing the work and seeing what kind of growth we experience as a couple.

How are things coming along with your goals and intentions?