My One Word Goal for 2017

Sometime around the first of January, along with the usual slew of resolution posts, a number of educators in my extended PLN started posting their One Word Goal for 2017. One of my favourites, Aviva Dunsiger, wrote hers a little early and as usual challenged us to think about our one word. I was always very skeptical of the concept of a one word goal. How could anyone possibly use only one word in creating their learning plan for the upcoming year. I am a goal setter and have been for a long time. I have two massive whiteboards posted in my living room in which I lay out those goals and hold myself accountable. With all the resolution posts, I noticed that my goals for 2016 had been mostly erased and that the board needed updating. (It still does.) So I took a minute and started thinking about what I wanted to accomplish in the next year. Here are some of my thoughts:

  • I need to learn to prioritize what gets done. I do prioritize, but I don’t think I’m always very good at it. I could get better.
  • I need to continue to cut down on my commitments. If you read my about me page, it becomes abundantly clear just how over-stretched I really am. I love everything that I’m involved in, but it’s not humanly possible to do everything and do it well, so choices need to be made. Here prioritizing will help.
  • I need to make more financial progress, which means that I need to work hard and keep as many sources of income as possible, but also I am exhausted and need to cut down on commitments, one of which might someday need to be some of the work. This one will be tricky.
  • I also have goals around working out and being healthy, finding time to read, finding time to exercise, and finding time to relax and spend time with my family and friends and stopping being a workaholic hermit.

This is when it hit me. My one word goal, the word that all of these come down to is this: balance. I need to find some balance. I need to figure out how to balance my financial imperatives with not burning myself out. I need to figure out how to balance being the teacher that I’ve always wanted to be with also having a life and not working 18 hours a day! I need to figure out how to balance the things that I love to do (the volunteering, the reading, the puppy time, the creative work that I do for fun) with the things that I need to do (like working as much as possible to pay off my student debt and not incur more debt). I need to find balance.

I have always been terrible at this. I dive into things with my whole heart and overcommit all the time. So here’s where I need your help. What do you do to find balance?


  1. Aviva Dunsiger

    What a great word, Melanie (and thanks for the kind words too)! Balance is a hard one. I’m not sure that I’ve ever truly found balance before (maybe this would be a good word for me as well), but my question is always, does a “balance” need to be “equal?” What helps us determine the balance that works best for us? Maybe this is where some prioritizing could help. I wonder. What do you think?


    1. Melanie

      Thanks for the comment Aviva! I have never really considered balance as needing to be equal (except maybe in math). It’s more about maintaining enough equilibrium to be healthy and work towards my goals. A balanced diet includes all 4 food groups, but in different amounts based on how much we need of each to be healthy. I feel the same way about life – we need things in different amounts to be healthy, but I am really struggling to figure out where the guidelines should be. My hope is that this time around I will figure out how to set my priorities better than before so that I can finally come a little closer to that elusive balance.

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