It’s almost a full week into January as I write this, and it’s been a whirlwind, for sure. Coming back from the holidays, you can feel exhausted and energetic all at once. You’re exhausted from parties, get-togethers, family, and vacations, while feeling energetic and optimistic about the New Year and the new changes you’ve decided to make in your life. I purposefully say ‘new changes’ instead of ‘resolutions’ because I’ve always hated the mandatory resolutions that came with New Year’s Eve. It felt like before that ball dropped or before it turned 12:01, if you didn’t have a resolution, you had failed in life. But the truth is that most resolutions fail. As I open up my handy-dandy statistics book (OK, it’s Google, but listen anyways), only 9–12% of people keep their New Year’s resolutions. According to a 2016 study, of the 41% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions, by the end of the year, only 9% feel they are successful in keeping them.  I won’t continue throwing statistics at you, because statistics give me a headache, but mostly because that isn’t what this is about. What is this about, you ask? Let me tell you.
Like most of you, I keep up with my friends out of state on Instagram and Facebook. I was scrolling through the other day when I came to a halt on one of my old school friends. Her name is Jennifer, and she is a pastor in, Pennsylvania. You can tell through her posts that she is an inherently kind person, that she puts forth great effort to practice what she preaches, and that she has a great sense of humor. I have been a great admirer of her posts for a long time now, and during the pandemic lock-down, I found her to be incredibly inspiring. Her New Year’s post is equal parts inspirational and motivational.
As we head into the New Year, we are often looking backward into the year before or even further back to mistakes we’ve made, failed accomplishments, or things about ourselves we need to fix. We are seeking ways to “try again” instead of starting over. A new year should be about starting fresh, and I love her idea of choosing a word to focus on instead of something to fix. I am the type of person who can get bogged down in details and lose focus on the whole picture. It’s why I practice meditation, and this is a lot like meditation. You choose one word to be your focus for the year, and then you use that word to set intentions for the year.
“Willpower,” for example, could encompass passing the cheesecake or wine at a party if you are watching your weight; it could include hitting the pavement at 5 a.m. to get that run in; or it could entail setting boundaries and having the strength to say no to a toxic relationship in your life. Another word is “journey.” Maybe you have a goal like finishing school or getting that extra degree. Is there an idea for a business that you want to get off the ground? These are all journeys that we take in life that are sometimes long roads with ups, downs, and detours.
Your journey may be a physical one, like a move across the country or out of the country. Maybe a trip by plane, train, or car is something you’ve been putting off. Or is this a metaphysical journey of the self or a spiritual journey of the soul? These are all journeys, and while your focus word may be that one word, it can unite with so many different aspects of life, allowing you to delve into different parts of yourself, your life, or your relationships.This is also an invaluable tool for the Spoonie community. These intentions that you set for the year allow you to focus on all these different aspects of your life at your own time and pace. I think it’s a kinder and gentler way to approach New Year’s goals without having a resolution breathe down your neck, that most of the time fail miserably. Let’s look forward to the New Year and all the possibilities that await us and what are you waiting for? Choose that word for the year! Here are few to get you started.
By the way, I chose Grace. <3