Last week I️ talked about my goals for 2018and I️ mentioned I️ decided to also have a word for the year.

When I took a look back at what I felt I truly struggled with & what a good portion of my goals had to do with, it only made sense that my word be PRESENT.I have been struggling to fully be committed to things and be in the moment. Last year, I read Present Over Perfect(highly recommend BTW) and it was a real eye opener. It showed me how much I worried about making sure I had the perfect Instagram post or photo-op - I am actually ashamed to admit that I went out of my way to plan some things because I knew they would be great posts. WHAT KIND OF LIFE IS THAT? A terrible one and one that leads to way too many internal struggles & too much comparison, and straying away from my beliefs & who I am.

Now, if you saw my goals post, you’re probably like, “none of those goals have anything to do with being present.” And if you thought that, you’re right. I definitely left off my goals that had to do with being present. Some of it was because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share them, and then there was part of me that was like “oh, if I do share them, I should just wait & have a separate blog post” - the latter may have been solely to check off that two blog posts a month goal.

Anyway, I have had a lot of people ask about how I decided on my goals for the year and a lot of people saw that I had a word for the year and asked about that too. Without further ado, here are some of the ways I think can help be more present:

  1. Be authentic

  2. Stop comparing myself to other

  3. Don’t worry about what others think

  4. Put my phone away & off at dinner with friends - heck leave it in the car

  5. Don’t worry about posting everything on IG or stories - take a break from it

  6. No emails on phone

  7. Take a break from (personal) social media on weekends

  8. Actually listen to what people are saying more

  9. Focus on that moment - stop thinking about what needs to happen in 5 minutes

  10. And stop focusing on the past. Move on & keep living!!!

So here we are, I decided that if I am going to be more authentic & open, then I need to lay it all on the table. Some of these were actually a little hard to write, because I had to acknowledge that I struggle with some of these things, and actually putting it out there was a big step. But one of the things I am working on this year is health & it is not healthy to keep all the things I do bottled up - I love that my friends trust me to share their struggles & successes, and I need to realize that they are there for me as well. And some of those insecurities come from constantly comparing myself to others based on what I see on social media. I know I am not the only one who does this - thank goodness for those out there (looking at you Sarah Libby) for addressing this. It made my “issues” seem a little more normal when you know other people, who are sometimes the ones that you’re comparing yourself to, go through comparison issues too. This is going to sound odd coming from a social media manager, but this is why I hate social media. We all have different life experiences and journeys, so obviously what is shared on social media is not going to be the same. ALSO, who ever wants to shares the negative side of their life when they post? Just because someones life looks “perfect” on Instagram, doesn’t mean they don’t have struggles of their own. And this is definitely something I need to remember when I start to have those doubts. It is also something that I want to work on in the “be authentic” area, because the struggles are what make what you share real life.

Now, what do those things have to do with being present you ask? Great question, slightly because I am still trying to figure this out completely. But the conclusion that I have come to so far is that if I am constantly worrying about only showing and sharing the “perfect” parts of my life, then I am not being present in how I am feeling and not present in my relationships because there is something that is holding me back somehow from truly being present in what is happening since I am focusing on all those other things. Okay, final thing on this whole topic before I get off my soap box and move on to how I am going to be more present with friends - so many times I do things, or don’t do things, because I worry about what others will think if I do/don’t do whatever. WHY?! Why do we care so much about what others think? If you don’t like it, okay, that doesn’t bother me. I am working more on being confident in who I am and not worrying about how others perceive that or what their issues are with a decision I made. Great example, not drinking or eating dairy. Soapbox over.

This past Sunday at church, our senior pastor made a comment about how when he looks around when out at dinner and most people are on their phones. And that hit home. I am definitely guilty of worrying about what is on Instagram, posting about my meal on IG stories, who’s texted me, etc., and not focusing on spending time with the person(s) I’m with. We are all guilty of this. But what we really need to look at is how that makes the person we are with feel? If I wasn’t the one with the phone out, would I feel like the person I was with didn’t care about our relationship? My parents always, to this day, make it a point that we all leave our phones off & away (sometimes they made us all put them on the counter so we weren’t tempted) during family meals - that way we were devoting 100% of our attention to what was happening. So why can’t I do this more? I was listening to a podcast a while back and the host was talking about how when she goes to dinner with her husband, they leave their phones in their car. Such a simple way to remove that temptation. Whatever is happening on my phone can wait for an hour or two.

The funny thing about wanting to not worry about posting constantly is this is everything my job revolves around and growing my side job. In this day, if you are in the creative world, you are expected to post on social media 24/7, promote yourself constantly & people should be able to get ahold of you at the drop of a hat. But is my sanity worth it? Some of my comparison issues stem from what others in “the industry” (design & blogging) are doing, so I have felt the need to keep up. Also, this is all part of my day job but at what expense to my sanity and outside life? I need to take a break from those things and just be. If my design business doesn’t grow, OK, maybe it isn’t what I am meant to do? No one looks at my blog? OK, I am just going to keep using it as my personal journal for the world to maybe one day see. I’m learning to be OK with both of those, but it is definitely leading to some re-evaluation of what I am actually supposed to be doing with my life. So part of taking a step back from all those “work” things and focusing on my life after 5, means leaving emails off my phone. I promise you - there is nothing that can’t wait til 9 a.m. the next morning, and if it really needs that quick of attention, someone will call. Now, taking a break from social media on the weekends is rough. You know why, that is when everyone is doing “all the fun things” and you don’t see it - you can’t show the world what “fun things” you are doing over the weekend. WHO CARES!!! Take time to be present in what you are doing - even if it is just lounging around your house. I logged out of all social media this weekend (except for my work accounts *eye roll emoji*), and it was so great. I picked a book up to read, caught up on a movie without distractions, and spent quality time with my sweet pup & my favorite little kids. This was easy to do when there wasn’t anything going on, the real test is going to come later when I know there are things going on or when I am actually doing something fun - but that’s what #latergram is for, right?

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve made it to the finish line. I was going to explain number 8 - 10, but those are pretty self-explanatory - not that the others weren’t but I’ve ranted long enough for one post.

What is your word for the year? How are you going to use that word in your year?

xo, Kate