Making plans for 2017? Do this first.

The beginning of a new year is always a time for making plans and resolutions, whether it’s planning your garden for next season or bigger life projects related to work, family or community.

But before you forge ahead into 2017, I want you to take a moment, if you haven’t done so already, to acknowledge all that you accomplished in 2016. Don’t just do this in your head, put it down on paper. Take a full blank sheet of paper and write down everything that you did. Whether it has to do with your work, your garden, your kids, your house projects, or volunteer work, write it down, and fill up the page

If you’re like me, this isn’t an easy exercise. It’s especially tempting to follow up that list with everything that you didn’t do, isn’t it? The regrets, the failures? But now is not the time to dwell on what you may or may not have done, now is the time to acknowledge and congratulate yourself on what you did.

Now why would I have you do this?

In ecological terms, we can’t hope for a plant to grow and thrive if we don’t feed it with nutrients and replenish the soil year after year. The same goes for human beings; we can’t continue being healthy and doing good work if we don’t acknowledge and feed ourselves with gratitude and an awareness of everything that we have done each year. The list that you make serves as your own ‘nutrient’ bank, as fertilizer to feed yourself and to motivate you to move forward in the year ahead.

As gardeners, we are constantly looking for ways to grow fertility on our land and to hold it in the soil. As human beings, we need to look for the ways in which we can replenish ourselves in the same way. So in addition to writing your list, remember to participate in what feeds you, gives you energy and motivates you this year. 

​So make a list and let me know how it goes in the comments below. When you sit down and give this exercise the time it deserves, you may be surprised at everything you accomplished!

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2017 where we continue to regenerate land, plant gardens, create resilient local economies, foster hope, and build community.

My very best to you,