Focus Word for 2012 is Nurture - Interior and Design Photography by Lola Akinmade ÅkerströmMy plan was to have my focus word all picked out by January 1st and have a post ready, but it didn’t happen. The word hadn’t reached me yet. I really didn’t want to force it. So I waited for it to come organically, and it did.

Back in 2009, I stopped doing resolutions mostly because after doing them for years, they weren’t productive or motivational in anyway. I still skipped out on exercise, chucked all my routines out the window, poorly managed time, ate carbs with glee, overworked, didn’t get enough rest and relaxation…yadda…yadda…yadda.

But once I stumbled across the concept of picking a single focus or theme word, that made more sense to me. It brought some level of consistency across various aspects of my life. I could apply that single word across multiple levels and live more holistically.

2009 – Focus – In 2009, my focus word was ironically “focus”. I was transitioning from my past life and kept feeling pulled between both worlds. So I needed to prioritize and focus on making that transition to full-time freelancer and expat, and decide what it was I wanted to be spending my time on.

2010 – Discipline – Once I focused, things started happening. Work rolled in faster. Projects began to kick off, and so I decided what I really needed to do in 2010 was apply adequate discipline to all aspects of my life to keep the momentum going.

2011 – Growth –  By 2011, I’d begun to get a clearer view of where I was headed, what my passions were, and more importantly, what my purpose was. So last year was my year of personal growth. I fully settled into my life in Sweden, and grew it. I fully settled into my life as a freelancer, and grew my portfolio. I outgrew some old relationships and grew new ones. Outgrew some old schools-of-thought and embraced new ones.

In essence, 2011 added another notch of maturity and balance to my life.

My focus word for 2012 is…”Nurture”

2012 is the year I go that extra step in nurturing existing relationships -> with family, friends, editors, clients, business partners, my blog readers, my social network.

While I do try to keep a healthy online-offline, work-life-travel balance, I really want this year to be much more personal on many fronts.

2012 will be the year I continue nurturing my business and form more solid partnerships within the travel industry as well as beyond it. 2012 will be the year I continue nurturing those editors who’ve been wonderful to work with over the last few years. 2012 will be the year I nurture those creative projects and passions that have sat patiently by the wayside while I grew other aspects of my life. 2012 will be the year I nurture my time and resources, my family and friends.

And above all, 2012 will be the year I continue nurturing my spiritual life and the loves of my life.

Thanks to all of you for following my blog and looking forward to seeing what 2012 holds for us all.

  • @Lynne – Love the idea of choosing health! Best to you as well in 2012. Thanks so much!

    @Eileen – Awww. Thanks Eileen. Hope we cross paths again in person in 2012.

    @Neha – Haha. Thanks and wishing you the very same!

  • You’ll own this focus word before the year is even half way through, I have no doubts about it. Hope you’ve had a wonderful start to this year!

  • And it’s easy to believe, Lola. You are, by nature, a nurturing person. Wishing you warmth, care and love in all directions this year. What a great tradition!

  • I love this idea of a theme word for the year. I had a fitness client who said that her year (a few years back) was to focus on health…of body, mind, finance and relationships. I thought this was great. Kind of like your word for 2012. Hmm…got me thinking about what my word should be…best to you in 2012. You have become a bit of an inspiration for me as I progress with my photo and writing career. Thanks for that!

  • @Germaine – Thanks!

    @Oneika – Thanks! And looking forward to what 2012 holds for you as well!

    @Lyn – Great to hear your voice again and thanks for stopping by! Love the concept of “Giving”. I was mulling over that one as well for this year before deciding on “nurture”. Wishing you a wonderful 2012 full of solid connections.

    @Perlina – Thanks! Definitely keep in touch and let me know when you move to Sweden. Focus on being grateful every single day and you’ll be happy.

    @Julie – The very best to you as well!

    @Laura – Love the quote and thanks for sharing! 2012 will bring great things your way and it’s already started with the Guardian photography win and assignment. Congratulations again and looking forward to following your journey.

    @Ify – Thanks lady! You’re an inspiration to me as well and hopefully you come to Sweden in 2012. May God grant you all your heart’s desires.

    @Abbie – Thanks! And same to you.

    @Kseniia – Thanks for stopping by. Sounds like we’ve got similar personal stories! Wishing you the very best in 2012.

    @Ekua – Haha. Thanks! 🙂

    @Andi – Thanks and I love yours – “Balance”. Something we all need to do more of – balancing our online lives with our offline lives. The photo is of a girlfriend’s place. I’ll probably work a photo of my own place into an appropriate blog post further down the line 🙂

  • I LOVE your word!!! Mine is balance. What a great picture — is that your house? Gorgeous! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!

  • I like this idea, Lola. Now, to pick just one… 😛

  • Kseniia

    What a great post and such a smart idea with a focus word rather than “New Years resolutions” (which I also bailed with the same reasoning as you wrote about). Moreover, it felt so relevant to read about your experience as right now I’m in the same kind of transition you were back in 2009.. settling in Sweden, trying myself in freelance and deciding what it is that I want and should spent my time on. What to say more – your words here are inspiring! Thank you and all the best in 2012!

  • Great idea, Lola! Here’s to a great 2012! 🙂

  • Ify

    This is awesome! It’s exciting to see how you’ve grown over the years & the fruits of how you’ve chosen to live–tuning in, gaining clarity, and moving outward. It’s been a treasure too to share some of the way with you! You’re an inspiration. Best for you in 2012.

  • Hey Lola,
    Just seen this and love the idea of a word for the year and nurture is a good one! Reminds of a quote I once heard (I believe something singer Jody Watley said): ‘Eventually you get into the nuts and bolts of reality; nuturing, caring and getting along’. I hope 2012 brings you many opportunities to nurture but also to be nurtured. 2012 – a year to strengthen the nuts and bolts of reality! May God bless you in this.
    I appreciated all the mentoring on the U in 2011.

  • Great focus word. Best of everything to you in 2012, Lola!

  • Perlina

    You have nice gaol for 2012. I which you to succeed in every things. Mine will be to move to Sweden and try to be happy…i hope.

  • Lyn

    Lola – I love this idea! It is too easy to have clutter even with regards to our goals. Picking one simple intention helps us focus on and integrate the principle into every aspect of our life. Last year I focused on “giving”. This year I am focusing on my “connections” – similar to yours, I will work at building and nurturing connections with the people in my life. Lovely post — and happy new year to you!

  • This is great, Lola! I love the natural progression and connected-ness of your goals from year to year! All the best!

  • Germaine

    Love it!