What’s Your “Word” For 2019?

Do you set New Year’s resolutions? I have not been a big fan of resolutions in the past simply because they seem to have a poor stigma surrounding them. Resolutions seem to have become the butt of jokes, a frustration for gym rats, and stress-inducers for those who set them. For awhile I aimed to set goals rather than resolutions. My thought process behind this decision was completely based on definitions. Resolutions are decisions to do or not do things, whereas goals are focused ambitions to achieve a desired result.

Over the last few years, I made goals for myself at the beginning of each year. These goals provided direction, and also allowed me to plan and prepare to take realistic actions for my desired outcomes. Sometimes I realigned my goals throughout the year to better serve my changing lifestyle. Other times I quit on my goals or rolled them over to the next year. There were even a few goals I proudly achieved.

For 2019, I neither set resolutions or goals. Instead, I’ve chosen a single word to bring me guidance throughout the year. It took me some time to narrow down what my one word should be though…

I was talking with a few of my girlfriends this past week on their New Year’s resolutions. Instead of resolving to change or setting goals, each of them had instead chosen a single word to use as guidance for the upcoming year. One had chosen “present” to remind her to be happy with her current place in life and to keep her grounded when thoughts of her past or future may surface. The other chose “content”. She has struggled with finding contentment in her life, either rushing or attempting to persuade circumstances to fit what she feels is best. This ultimately adds more stress to her life, so she has aimed to focus on finding the silver-linings in the here-and-now.

I had heard the idea of One Word before. There’s actually a book called My One Word by Mike Ashcraft and Rachel Olsen which goes in depth on how to choose your word. (I’ve never read the book, but have known a few people who have.) The authors state that choosing your Word is a year-changing process. This process “provides clarity by taking all your big plans for life change and narrowing them down into a single focus. Just one word that centers on your character and creates a vision for your future.”

Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, also begins her years choosing a single word to bring her guidance. In a LinkedIn post on January 1st, Gates explained that this tradition “encapsulates her aspirations for the year ahead.” She focused 2016 around the word “gentle” which helped her fight perfectionism, and 2017’s “spacious” prompted her to make room for the things in life that truly matter. She is doubling on the word “grace” for 2019 as it served her well in 2018.

I love the concept that one Word can set a theme for the year and be a constant reminder to focus on creating positive change in your life.

Looking back, I can roll each year into one word. In 2017 my year was focused on “release.” I released responsibilities, people, and stress from my environment in order to thrive (and in a few circumstances simply survive.) In 2018, “gratitude” was the resounding theme. I was grateful for a new career path and a loving husband and a first home. I was grateful for Life shining bright and for the releases of 2017 to finally make sense.

As I walk into 2019 I have been finding difficulty in narrowing the next twelve months into a single word though. The reason I didn’t make any goals was because I hadn’t considered what they may be — in all honesty, I am very content with my life as it is today and am not sure what more I could aim to achieve.

I considered “contentment” along the lines of my friend. Remaining content can sometimes be a challenge for a long period of time and perhaps that could be more 2019 focus.

I also thought I could narrow my theme to one of the goals I set back on my birthday. However, the whole point of One Word is to encompass a number of aspirations for my future.

I thought some more.

And some more.

I considered “wine”… to which my friends shook their heads and laughed.

So I thought ever harder.

And I realized that as I tried to figure out my intentions for 2019, my Word was right in front of me:

Intention.

Though I am living in a very happy, content bubble at the moment, I acknowledge that much of my life is lived in habit. Each part of my life (whether it be activities, things, people, etc.) has a sort of control over me and I see now I need to take the reigns. Intentionally.

I want to speak intentionally. I want to make intentional decisions. I want to intentionally put my life into action.

Gone are the days where I make significant number of choices simply because. Moving forward, I yearn to live with intention — living with more purpose on purpose. I don’t want to continue getting caught up in the outside noise of Life. You know, the busyness of everyday habits or the control of social media and other’s perceptions. Areas that may quickly spiral out of control if left unhindered and unchecked.

Instead, I want to take every step in my life as a well-thought, well-planned, and well-executed decision. To move my happiness and contentment of Life into the greater plane of joy.

I am aiming towards sustainable joy.

Thus I choose to live with intention.

Have you considered a Word of the Year for yourself? If so, what did you choose for 2019 and why? And if this little blurb made you think about a Word, what are you thinking to focus on in the new year? 

Until next time, friends,

5 Resolutions Worth Setting

I’ve never been one to make New Years resolutions. I tend to stick with yearly goals, holding more accountability to my success rather than making a simple statement of something I want to do in the new year. One way to do this is by taking baby steps rather than resolving to make drastic life changes. Any progress is good progress, so start small and consider the aspects of life which will help you reach your goals in the long run. Here are five resolutions I believe are worthy to be set every year:

1. Stay Positive
Something negative will happen in 2015. Something will break, someone will hurt you, something will be lost. Remember you cannot control everything! So do what causes you to heal and let it go. It is normal to have a wide range of human emotions, but focus on developing the majority of those emotions to be positive. As long as you did your best, there is no reason for you to be ashamed of any failures. Keep moving forward.

2. Get Physical
The most overly exaggerated and overly failed New Years resolution, getting physical can mean many things. The trick is to not make your goal to be about weight loss or vanity, but simply to become healthier. Make an easy goal such as using your body for only 15 minutes a day and then work your way to more. The benefits will quickly become apparent to you, both mentally and physically.

3. Practice Kindness
Take it upon yourself to extend genuine warmth to everyone you encounter, be they new acquaintances or old friends. There is something to be said for the person who can fully embrace those around them. Choose to be fully supportive of those around you. All of us are valuable parts of the human race and all of us have numerous purposes (with some still waiting to be discovered.) No one is greater than another, and it is important to be kind and caring to anyone whose struggles, outlooks, opinions, and/or beliefs differ from our own.

4. Be Happy
Your happiness does not depend on anyone or anything other than yourself. If you want to create, then write or paint or craft. If you want to be richer, then save. If you want to be in love, then find someone who fits the mold. What are you waiting for? You have the ability to do whatever you want! Go be happy with your life.

5. Become More Aware
It seems that the world is becoming less and less aware of what is going on outside of social media. Similar to what was mentioned in my The Facebook Fear post, it’s important to evaluate how much time you spend using technology. Then adjust accordingly. Perhaps reserve an hour a day to be completely digital free. Instead, read a book, do volunteer work, go outside, meet a friend for drinks. Just get away from the monitor and your all-seeing smart phone. There’s nothing more rewarding than making yourself more aware of the world around you, and you might even strengthen your interpersonal connections in the mean