Prioritizing time, money, attention and energy can help create more opportunities for good experiences while preventing lingering stress from ruining those good experiences. But it’s not as easy as making an resolution as the author has discovered. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)

Prioritizing time, money, attention and energy can help create more opportunities for good experiences while preventing lingering stress from ruining those good experiences. But it’s not as easy as making an resolution as the author has discovered. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)

I Went to the Woods: Prioritizing in 2022

I only have priorit-eyes for one focus word.

By Jeff Lund

It’s fashionable to make New Year’s resolutions.

It’s fashionable to be a resolution cynic.

It’s fashionable to be outspoken about a resolution as a means to be held accountable.

It’s fashionable to be quiet with a resolution as a means to protect yourself from ridicule if you fail.

Yes, there are enough people out there for all four of those things to be “in.”

I am firmly on the side of resolutions and people who make them because I like being associated with people who want to improve. The most crushing realization or reality I could face, would be that I am operating as an iPhone 2. Or worse yet, a Blackberry. Meaning that I have done nothing in a decade to improve how I function. I am an outdated model, configured for an optimized existence in a time that passed long ago. If I was 70, then OK, well, yeah maybe, I’m not looking to scout a 15-mile hike to mountain goat territory in August. But I do hope I’m crushing it for a 70-year old when I am that age.

A few years ago, my buddy introduced me to the concept of focus words. I know it sounds like some hip, fashionable thing from a self-help book, but it also seemed like a good way to focus on not just a number of animals killed, fish caught, hours in the gym or whatever measurable thing that may or may not be successful. It was a way to look for opportunities for growth.

My word was prioritize.

I looked for ways across my schedule, job and hobbies to prioritize the right things and felt that I did a better job over all of attacking the year by being efficient with my time.

Even with all there is to do in Alaska, it can still be difficult to do. Not everything is in season, and oftentimes the weather doesn’t cooperate. The motivation to prioritize can also wane by the time it’s actually time to do the thing you’d like to prioritize. That can be the problem with setting a goal to say, camp 31 nights during the year or fish 100 days. Chances are neither will start until warmth and daylight return and who knows what you’ll think of that number by then. By the time the year ends, it might be hard to even recall a single time in which the word that was supposed to be the focus, received any.

You’re supposed to choose a new word every year, but this is my fourth year on the same word. So in that way, I haven’t made a resolution since then because it seems like I’m still trying to be a practitioner. That’s another subtle thing I’ve added to my jargon. Rather than attempt, and fail, at the quest for mastery, view everything through the eyes of a practitioner. There is always more to learn. There is always a new experience to have. There is always room to improve.

I like that a lot.

After watching a documentary on one of the elite of the elite alpinists Marc-Andre Leclerc, I was taken by the fact that he did what he did, to do what he did. He did it for himself. He didn’t self-promote. He wasn’t a production. He prioritized the experience in a way that almost doesn’t seem possible and it was refreshing.

The difference between ability to post and opportunity to share is subtle, but important. Intent. Priorities.

I am not sure I will ever have to have another resolution because so much stems from the simple need to prioritize what’s most important or what brings value. Plus, as I said, I have to remind myself constantly to differentiate between wants and needs, things to worry about and things to let go.

• Jeff Lund is a freelance writer based in Ketchikan. His book, “A Miserable Paradise: Life in Southeast Alaska,” is available in local bookstores and at Amazon.com. “I Went to the Woods” appears twice per month in the Sports & Outdoors section of the Juneau Empire.

More in News

Police arrested a 20-year-old for a variety of charges stemming from a string of incidents where he shot passersby and other vehicles from a car with a BB gun. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Man arrested following BB gun attacks

He allegedly shot both passersby and other vehicles on the road.

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
COVID at a Glance for Monday, Jan. 24

Numbers come from reports from the City and Borough of Juneau Emergency… Continue reading

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Float of ducks off Pt. Louisa with Eagle Peak, on Admiralty National Monument around dusk in Juneau winter.
Wild Shots: Photos of Mother Nature in Alaska

Reader-submitted photos of Southeast Alaska.

FILE - Participants wave signs as they walk back to Orlando City Hall during the March for Abortion Access on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in Orlando, Fla.  State-by-state battles over the future of abortion in the U.S. are setting up across the country as lawmakers in Republican-led states propose new restrictions modeled on laws passed in Texas and Mississippi even as some Democratic-controlled states work to preserve access.  (Chasity Maynard/Orlando Sentinel via AP, File)
With Roe in doubt, states act on abortion limits, expansions

“This could be a really, really dramatic year…”

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
COVID at a Glance for Friday, Jan. 21

Numbers come from reports from the City and Borough of Juneau Emergency… Continue reading

Ted Nordgaarden of the Alaska Bureau of Investigation imitates the gesture made by the defendant during the trial of a man charged with killing another man in Yakutat in 2018. (Screenshot)
Investigator testifies as trial concludes second week

The jury watched video of the defendant’s initial interview in custody.

Peter Segall/Juneau Empire
One of the last cruise ships of the 2021 season docks in Juneau on Oct. 20, 2021. Local operators say it’s too early to know how the upcoming cruise season will unfold, but they’re cautiously optimistic.
Smooth sailing for the 2022 season?

Cautious optimism reigns, but operators say it’s too early to tell.

Most Read