Cultivate

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I hate resolutions. I know I’m not alone.  It’s hard to resist the temptation of making goals and plans at the beginning of a new year.  After all, we’re all excited about the possibilities that a new year represents a new you, right?

Well, I resist.  Or I try to.  This is why I like the #onelittleword challenge, or whatever you want to call it.  Rather than creating a list of resolutions (that, let’s face it, we probably won’t follow through on), you come up with one word to guide you through the year.  A word that will remind you of the person you want to be all the time.

It’s simpler than a list, and yet harder too.  I mean, summing up what I want to be in one word?  That’s tough!  I’ve done my thinking and I’ve made a decision.

Cultivate.

I chose this word for many reasons (which I’ll share in a minute), but also because I liked all of the definitions.  Here are some from Dictionary.com that most resemble what this word means to me.

  • to promote or improve the growth of (a plant, crop, etc.) by labor and attention.
  • to develop or improve by education or training; train; refine:
  • to promote the growth or development of (an art, science, etc.);foster
  • to devote oneself to (an art, science, etc.).

Aren’t those great?  Now, I know I just said you don’t make a list with this, but I’m going to make a list to share why I chose this word.

What I want to cultivate this year:

  • relationships-  In my personal life, I want to devote myself to my husband, my family, and my friends.  It can be hard not to let work get in the way of relationships, but by focusing on these, I hope to be more productive while at school so I have less to do at night and on the weekends.  At school, I’d like to improve my relationships with students and their parents.  I can be kind of “standoffish” (not in a mean way, just in a “I’m not a super emotionally attached person” kind of way).  I doubt that my emotional connectivity will change much, but I want to make sure to cultivate my relationships with students so they know that I care about their success and happiness.  
  • Spanish-  Later this month I will be taking an adult Spanish class and I am SO excited!  I have always loved the language; at one point I considered minoring in Spanish.  I kick myself all the time for dropping Spanish after my sophomore year of college after 6 years of study! UGH! What was I thinking??  Anyway, I can’t wait to improve my shaky Spanish skills.  
  • health- (This one reads awkward, but whatever, I’ll make it work).  I want to improve my health by cultivating physical activity and increasing my intake of veggies.  This one is going to be HARD.  I’m lazy (seriously) and I veggies just don’t go with everything, so I they’re hard for me to eat. I need to stop eating so much sugar too, but man I love chocolate. And cookies. And tea. And cake. Moving on.  I have images in my head of me running (I look great!) and just feeling amazing afterward.  But you know what?  I HATE running!  I got together two teams of friends to run a relay for our local marathon, but the thought of running for my 5k portion is just not appealing at all.  So, cultivating my physical health is going to be crappy.
  • reading- This applies to me and my students.  I read a lot and I read quickly, but I’ve signed up for the goodreads challenge.  My goal might be too low, but I’m aiming for 30 books this year. I read 15 over the summer, so I may have to adjust that.  This one cultivates a lot of things: my knowledge, my mental health, my productivity (by relaxing, I can be more productive when necessary…I may have made that up).  For my English 11 students I’m going ham on reading.  I have already sent a letter to parents about my goals for the semester. Students will be expected to read 50 pages a week of whatever book(s) they want.  I’m going to have them all join goodreads and run it like a book club where we can share our books, what we like, etc.  I really want to show them how passionate and excited I get about books.  Maybe that will be motivating?  We’ll see how it goes.  Fingers crossed!  
  • confidence in Copper (the horse)- we have made SO much progress together, but we still have a lot to do.  We both need to trust each other more: I need to grow my confidence IN him and he develop more confidence.  It’s a lot of work but it’s fun work, so I’ll take it. 🙂
There’s more but I think I’ve said enough for now.  Cultivate.  That’s what I’m going to do this year.  
What’s your #onelittleword?  
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