I don’t do New Year's resolutions, but I still have goals. As a busy teacher, writer and mother, I need something more simplified; which is why I write themes for each year instead. A few years back, I wrote a concise line in my journal on January 1st: “I have a voice.” Throughout the entire year, I held onto that statement, purposefully engaging in situations where I could express my thoughts and opinions. I sought courage to voice myself in places where I'd usually remain silent. Whether with friends, as a mother, or within my marriage, I focused on clear communication, refusing to settle for holding back my true thoughts.
Gradually, I used my voice to take brave steps, such as applying for a different position at work. I also dared to bring my thoughts into the open by writing more frequently, a dream I'd confined to scattered journals on my nightstand since childhood. Eventually, my unfiltered voice became published in my first children's book and various online articles. I shared it openly within online communities, among both friends and strangers.
The more I shared my voice, the more comfortable I became. Rather than a list of unattainable goals, I made actual progress on something that helped me grow in my relationships and self confidence.
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In the following years, I wrote themes that built on that first one. Just simple lines in my journal that built on the years before. Last year my theme was " I am a resource." All year I focused on sharing my expertise as a teacher with the world. I spoke at education conferences and created 100s of videos on social media to help other teachers grow. I then added my second children's book as a resource in my own classroom library.
Fast forward to 2024, and my theme is "I am fully present." In our digital age it is tempting to constantly multitask, especially as a working mother. My goal this year is to slow down and give my full attention to one thing at a time. I want to savor conversations with my husband in the kitchen. I hope to play more board games with my kids. I plan to write more unhurried words of my own while in my pajamas.
I decided this year that I needed a more creative way to remind myself of my yearly theme. So this winter break, I made bracelets with some of the themes that have been most meaningful in the last few years. As a teacher and an author, I know the power positive words have to shape our goals, our dreams and our homes. Beaded little words like "voice," "resource” and "present" will remind me daily of where I am going and how far I have come.Taylor Hagemeyer is a mama of two, a coffee enthusiast and a succulent gardener. She holds a master’s degree in early childhood special education and is a pre-kindergarten teacher in a small Nebraska town. She has always been a children’s book collector who dreamed of writing her own books someday. You can find “Things That Rhyme With Autism,” and “Things That Rhyme With Type 1 Diabetes,” the books she wrote for her students, on Amazon. She also writes for educational sites like We Are Teachers and has recently started making mom content to make tired mamas smile. You can find Taylor sharing ideas to grow kids, faith, laugh lines and community @growhomewithme on TikTok, Facebook and Instagram.