A new year calls for new intentions: I love a fresh start! Here is my 2024 word of the year, along with vulnerable disclosure for why I chose it and the tools I’m using to put it into action.
How to Choose a Word of the Year
My ‘words of the year’ are all born out of some source of pain. Last year’s word was curiosity, and I chose it because I felt like I was living life (both in business and personally) with blinders on, completely in my own head. In order for me, and our team, to expand our understanding of what was possible, we had to be curious. And in many ways, the word served us well in 2023. I still love that word, and recommend coupling it with courage. Be curious enough to try something new, and be brave enough to take the path less travelled. The question to ask yourself is: “what is the biggest problem I am trying to solve this year?”. In other words, where did you feel the most pain last year? Asking for a friend;)
My 2024 Word of the Year: Simplify
After much contemplation and journalling, I’ve chosen my word for the upcoming year: “Simplify.” Here’s the deal.
My business coach Simon observed something in me over the last couple of years, and called me on it. “Tori, you have a habit of equating value with volume”. Ouch. And he’s right. As a productivity junkie, somehow over the years, I have learned to equate busy with worth. If I were to get real with you and peel back the layers of the onion a bit more, it all stems from my fear of failure. My (flawed) logic: if I pack enough in and do more things, I’m less likely to fail. The implications of this mentality have led to what feels like burnout, leaving me feeling more scattered and diluted than ever. Turns out you can do anything, but not everything, and there’s no hero cookie for simply being busy 24/7. I’m quite frankly tired of feeling like I’m being chased by a pack of lions. Oh my gosh am I basically sharing a journal entry?!
How Do You Want to Live Your Life?
One of my favourite quotes is “how we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives” (Annie Dillard). I think about this all of the time. It’s the reason I quit my stable 9-5 job years ago to do what I’m doing today.
In a world that often pulls us in countless directions, there’s so much power in simplifying our lives to give us space to focus on what matters. But to live this way means that you have to say a hard no to anything and everything that can drain your energy and focus, and be very stingy with your yeses. And as a “yes girl”, that is HARD for me!
Start with putting first things first. Spend an hour or two writing down the most important things you want to accomplish this year, and schedule them in. These will be your rocks in your ‘jar’. That way nothing will get in the way of that vacation you want to take, the book you want to write, Friday date nights or…(fill in the blank).
3 Ways to Simplify Your Life
Unless you’re super-human, it’s not enough to rely on willpower or intuition when you are making changes. As such, I wanted to share the tools that I’m using to stack the card in my favour and ensure that I’m high-fiving myself at the end of 2024 for a job well done. Why not join me?!
1. Declutter: Less is More
I would swear I’m pregnant (I’m not, for the record). I am on a tear, organizing and either selling or donating anything I don’t need. In the paraphrased words of William Morris: if it isn’t beautiful or useful, it’s clutter. While harder to do, I’m also trying to declutter my mind by slowing down and doing fewer things but doing them better (wish me luck).
Tools for decluttering and simplifying:
- Atomic Habits, by James Clear (10/10 read)
- Go Simplified: Megan has a number of paid and free resources (great to follow on Instagram)
- Deal with ONE item at a time. I get overwhelmed easily, and this has helped. When is the last time you used that item? This blog was a great read if you are overwhelmed with where to start!
2. Decision Fatigue: It’s Robbing You!
I had a chance to fly in business class and sat beside someone who turned out to be rather accomplished in his career. I asked him for his best piece of advice, and he said to reserve your energy for big meaningful decisions and put the rest on autopilot. As someone who gets paralyzed with a restaurant menu, I’ve come to realize how too many choices or options can cause unnecessary stress. What to make for dinner each night, what to wear … the list goes on. Decision fatigue is the mental and emotional burden that comes with too many choices. Where can you trim that decision fatigue in your life?
Tools to Minimize Decision Fatigue:
- Meal plan. Few things are as stressful as constantly figuring out what to eat every day. Put “what’s for dinner” on autopilot with a meal plan – a shameless plug here, but we happen to have the best one around, Fraîche Table, designed by yours truly, that does all the work for you, from planning the meals to creating the grocery lists. You don’t have to do it all alone, superwoman.
- Make decision rules: For instance, have a rule that you order the healthiest thing on the menu every time at a restaurant, lay out your clothes the night before… you get the idea.
- Get more sleep. Even the smallest decisions are overwhelming when you’re sleep deprived. Speaking from experience here.
- Maintain a routine. Set up your day to minimize extra decisions you need to make. When you wake up, when you exercise, and when you eat dinner can all be set in advance.
3. Take Care of YOU!
YOU are the most important project you will ever work on. Repeat after me: self-care isn’t selfish! I’m done with burning the candle at both ends, you? I’m planning on slowing down and integrating more self-care into my daily routine: getting to bed early, reading and writing more, exercising in the mornings (no negotiating with myself) and fuelling my body with food that feels good.
Top Tools for Self Care:
- Stock up with healthier food: Give yourself the gift of a kitchen stocked with healthier choices to make it easier to eat well. Our meal plan is filled with better-for-you recipes to prep ahead, from energy bites (you must try the Chocolate Chunk or Lemon Poppyseed ones) to nourishing salads and endless smoothies.
- Don’t negotiate with yourself. Don’t feel like doing something? That’s normal. Establish a routine, start something and give yourself 10 minutes: chances are you’ll finish. The book Atomic Habits is full of helpful tips here.
- Join a book club! I wanted to read more, so I created a Bookie Club (book & cookie club). Join me! It’s really helped me read more, which I love.
- Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction. Do something, not nothing, and be proud of yourself. Be kind to yourself: would you say that thing to your best friend? You deserve to feel great.