How to Guarantee a Great Year in 2018

Every year I choose a word that becomes a mantra to take me through the next twelve months.  I write that word down and try to manifest it. I write the word on the wall inside my closet and on a post-it note to stick to my mirror so that I can see it every day as a reminder of a small but attainable goal that I can inch toward as the year progresses. 

Last year I chose "purpose" as my word and each time I felt like I was struggling or facing some difficulty, or felt uninspired, or frankly deterred and depressed by the state of affairs in our world, I turned to my word, PURPOSE, to bring me light and remind me of what I am meant to do and why I am meant to do it.  I tend to take on too much and then I get very worked up and stressed and disappointed in myself if I can't check everything off of my to do list.  So, I try not to set grandiose resolutions every year and instead I focus on my word as a bit of a guiding light to reach the small goals that I set for myself as the year goes on.  I tied the word "purpose" to my goals as a mother and a wife, and as a creative person trying to find my way.  By the middle of the year I found that I was asking myself the purpose of each task and wondering where something that I was about to do take me.  It helped me to feel grounded and focused.  Choosing a word for a year works!

In 2017 I lived outside of my comfort zone and I pushed myself to stay there longer than I wanted to (scary stuff) and I learned, sometimes the hard way, that that's where the growth happens.  I learned to slow down, to stop rushing and to start doing - really doing. I marched on Washington; I started to fulfill the lifetime goal that my husband and I set for ourselves when we first married of showing our children the world and traveled with them to Buenos Aires to visit with my family and later to summer vacation through Greece with friends and my parents; I meticulously rebranded, planned and executed the launch of this site; I turned 40 with many mistakes made and lessons learned; I made art with my children every day and read my favorite books to them (and discovered some new favorites) every night; I visited one of my happy places, Santa Fe, New Mexico for a long weekend; I painted and created from my heart and started to sell my artwork; and, after years of working from home, I signed a lease for a small studio space.

With every step I took I constantly reminded myself of the purpose of my actions and the purpose of my goals.  I tried really hard not to get lost in the noise, the self-doubt, the insecurities, and I stayed in my lane and opted to focus on the things that I could control instead of the things that I could not.  2017 brought me a major shift creatively and a new kind of energy and vibe that I never knew I was missing until I finally discovered it.


For 2018 my chosen word is "PRESENT" and that's where I hope to live as we make our way through the year.  I think that goals are important and necessary but I'm hoping not to miss the forest for the trees.  I have many, many goals for this year (and beyond) but I'm hopeful that continuing to learn some patience and focusing on the moment in front of me and staying present will get me there.

Do you make resolutions?  Do you have a tip for how to have a great year? If you had to choose a word for the year what would it be?

Happy new year, and thank you for reading.

PS--I recently gave an interview on my career, how and why I face and acknowledge my fears, and a bit more on my professional story.

Monica Shulman Studio Door