Discover Your ‘First Things’ for Success in 2015

Spring Dogwood Blooming, Oxley Nature Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma photo by kristin nador kristin nador writes anywhere blog
What are your ‘first things’?
by Kristin Nador/@KristinNador
The start of a new year inevitably creates pressure to think about the past, and the future. We examine what has happened during the last 365 days, take away fine memories, or slam the book shut on an unproductive or particularly difficult or heartbreaking year. We have a finite amount of time, and time seems more pertinent as the years progress. Each year means one less year on our personal ‘deadline’, and while some feel the pressure to make the best of it, others experience guilt that they haven’t been using their time wisely up until this point.

2014 was a tumultuous year for me, and my lack of blog posts is evidence of that. On the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, an interesting scientific measurement of life event stress, I get a 269 for the year, with various changes like moving from Oklahoma to Kentucky, selling our home and adapting to apartment life, and funky things like injuring my foot, ankle, and hip (which I’m still doing physical therapy for), my beloved cat dying, and other negative things I’d rather not publicly share. On the other hand, even though I get stress points for it, I wouldn’t change welcoming my second grandson into the world (and even getting to be present at his birth!). For me, a lot of 2014 was spent reacting to circumstances and situations. I’m hoping 2015 will be a little less bumpy and a little more proactive.

Some of us make resolutions at the beginning of every year, knowing they will barely get through January before they give up. Some say resolutions are BS, and are resolute in their goal to have none. Some like to give resolutions fancy and productive names like ‘goals’ or ‘objectives’ or ‘mission statement’. Others use vague and less committed terms like ‘hopes’ ‘dreams’ or ‘wishes’, or maybe even ‘bucket list’.

None of those are bad concepts, but I think the bottom line of successful resolutions involve two things: ritual and priority. Creating ritual around the things you want to make the priority in your life. They can be big, but more than likely there are small adjustments in daily life, that, given treatment as precious, will get you closer to your vision of a best life.  Ritual is making a practice out of the first things. Setting them aside as non-negotiables. Deeming them sacred.

Priorities can change with the seasons of your life. Twenty years ago, making sure my three children received the support, physical necessities, and nurture they needed to become productive, well-adjusted adults was my priority (even if at times this goal seemed in serious peril). Today I am satisfied and proud I completed that task, though in hindsight I might have done some things differently. Age and wisdom gained through experience tend to give new insight into past dilemmas. But now it’s no longer a priority for me.

Other priorities push their way forward, like getting and staying healthy, writing the books that continue to nag at my subconscious, and plotting ways to stay financially solvent through retirement. I’m still in a self-discovery process of what exactly all that entails. I also have some more ‘bucket list’ type items I’d like to make priorities like learning to play the guitar, get basic fluency in Spanish, and be mobile enough to hike a mountain path when I go to visit my kids in Montana.

But there are a few non-negotiables. My ‘first things’. Priorities that will always be priorities, though I struggle with the ritual of them, the habit and practice of them.

My spiritual growth, making time and place for things like prayer and study and listening for that still small voice. Strengthening my relationship with Keeper Hubby, who is still a keeper after 27 years, by nurturing that sense of discovery and joy over someone you’ve spent over half your life. Finding balance in my new role as grandma, building relationships with little ones, while giving just the right amount of motherly advice as to be helpful but not threaten the evolving adult friendships with my children if I become too ‘pushy’ with that advice.

I want to prioritize my first things in 2015, and begin making ritual around those things I want to become first things. My writing qualifies as a ‘first thing’ so I’m taking steps to put sacred boundaries around writing activities as well, and that means firing up kristin nador writes anywhere on a consistent basis again.

The blog will reflect my changing focus in some ways: essays on midlife, memoir, and occasional explorations of the spiritual. I want to talk more about history and genealogy, which is one of my big interests, but hasn’t made any headlines here in a while. I will also be getting back to some of the basics of why I started this blog three years ago: to talk about the writing journey, blogging tips and hacks, and share more creativity adventures. I hope you’ll join me, and we’ll share our 2015 exploits and encouragements.

Do you have any things in your life that need to become ‘first things’?

How will you establish rituals to make them priorities?

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10 thoughts on “Discover Your ‘First Things’ for Success in 2015

  1. So many times a day, I think “I need to be better at XZY”. But, the thought of being better at so much is so overwhelming and it leaves me feeling more like a failure because if I need to better at everything, then I must be doing bad at everything. Ugh. lol. I think my first thing, and perhaps the only thing since I believe the one thing will change a lot of things, is to try to see the positive in everything and stop all negative thoughts. This doesn’t mean I can’t ever have a “moment”, but I’d like to refrain from them as much as I can. lol. Congrats on your grandson!!


    • What a great ‘first thing’, Angela! I’m going to follow your lead and add that to my list. I am a recovering pessimist so I always need to focus on the positive. 🙂 I think a lot of us struggle with a positive mindset. The world in general focuses on the negative, so it’s hard not to go with that flow. Negative thoughts, particularly when it has to do with what we perceive as our own lack of accomplishment on a daily basis, seem to speak much louder in our minds than all the positive things we do and even more important, who we are. Others can see all our positive qualities, but we have blinders on for the positive, and put a magnifying glass on the negative. I know I also struggle with negative words, mostly about myself. We need to love ourselves just like we’d love a beloved family member, and throw out the magnifiers and start speaking good words over ourselves. Thanks for sharing!

      And thanks for the congrats. Grandkids are awesome. 🙂


  2. I really like this idea of “ritual” and “priority”. I think we often make goals or resolutions but don’t give any thought to how we’re actually going to accomplish them. Refocusing every day works well for me, and remembering that each day is a new chance to get there!


    • Yes, I think we tend to think of goals in grandiose jumps, rather than the sometimes boring or ‘unsexy’ everyday steps to getting there. Keeping focus in the present day moment is a good strategy.

      Thanks for stopping by, Lana!


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