Champagne was popped, glasses raised, fireworks burst, and a chorus of ‘Happy New Year’ waved off 2018 and welcomed 2019 with open arms…or maybe with reluctant ones. However you spent New Year and however you feel about the next, I hope you have managed to find a modicum of peace in amongst the festive chaos.
I wanted to kick off 2019 by sharing with you an alternative to New Year’s resolutions. I no longer make New Year’s resolutions – they’re too easy to give up on after week one and only become a source of guilt. I already have a tendency to finding myself getting overwhelmed, rushed by all the ‘should’s and ‘must’s that bombard us every day and New Year’s resolutions were another source of pressure. It’s tiring and distressing and unhealthy to feel so much demand from these abstract ideas and expectations. Instead, a few years ago, I began starting my New Years by choosing a word to inspire the kind of intentional living I wanted to focus on for the year. Intention over resolution.
The first year I did this, the word I chose was ‘adventure’; I wanted to overcome some of my anxiety about travel and enjoy exploring new places. The next year I chose ‘nourish’; I wanted to dedicate more time to nourishing and growing all aspects of my life to be what I wanted them to be, not what the media or society or anyone else tells me they should be. last year, my chosen word was ‘serenity’; I wanted to seek peace, acceptance, courage, and wisdom and this seemed to encompass it all.
I have found the process of choosing an intentional word an interesting one. More often than not, all it takes to find my word is a few minutes quiet reflection: What has been good in this last year that I want to carry forward? What has been missing or diminished that I want to seek more of? Where do I want to put my energy and focus? What would enrich my life? I don’t necessarily ask these questions consciously but just allowing my mind to wander and skim over the last year and glancing at what I hope for going forward usually gives me an idea of what I’m looking for. With the general idea in my mind, I’ll play around with different words related to it or summarising it, writing them down and turning them over in my head until I land upon one that feels right.
This year, that reflection led me to ‘connection’. In 2019, I hope to nurture the connections in my life. I hope to connect more with the people who matter to me; when my anxiety spikes, this is something I find difficult so in 2019 I want to find ways to maintain those connections even when I’m struggling. I also want to reconnect with my mind, my body, and my work: giving myself time to let my mind be quiet; listening to when my body needs rest or better nourishment; connecting with my work and exploring the next steps in my career.
That is the other beauty of choosing a word of intention instead of making resolutions: the right word can be used to represent many different hopes or ares of your life you want to focus on.
If you’d like to try this practice but are unsure where to start or can’t seem to find the right word for you, you could try playing around with some of the words from the wordle below:
You can also google ‘word for the year’ and there are loads of websites and blogs with lists of words for inspiration. If you decide to choose an intention word for 2019 I’d love to know what you choose.
Hoping that 2019 brings you whatever you need.